Archive for June, 2008

30
Jun
08

You Can’t Have Him

I fully agree that this ad seems a little contrived and is definitely cheesy, but the concept is correct.  People are not paying enough attention to McCain’s stance on the Iraq war.  I know the economy sucks and that’s a pressing issue for all of us, but while we’re being steered to pay attention to the economy, people are still dying in Iraq, and familes are separated.  According to McCain, things could be that way for a very long time.  Long enough that my son could actually be affected by this stupid, illegal, and immoral war.  I agree with Alex’s mom.  i will travel to the ends of the Earth if I have to, but Mr. McCain, YOU CANNOT HAVE MY SON. EVER.

4,110 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq (again, this number does not reflect those who have died of injuries once they have air-lifted out of the country) 30,247 Us soldiers have been wounded in Iraq

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24
Jun
08

I’ve Been Slacking

I used to be a workaholic, but then I had a baby.  I am desperately trying to juggle all of the separate factions of my life. I’m working harder than I ever have before, and I still feel like the biggest slacker in the universe.  It’s a “too many irons in the fire” syndrome.  I’m doing a lot of things, but I don’t feel like I’m doing any of them particularly well (the best I can, of course, but never quite good enough).

I only get to see my son for an average of 3 hours a day.  I leave for work before he wakes up. I don’t get to pick him up until 4:30, and he goes to bed at 8.  I make the most of the time I have with him, but I never feel like it’s enough.  I feel like I’m missing out on major things.  I didn’t know he could do the hand motions to “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” until I saw him do it by chance a few days ago.  I reinforce what he does at day care,but someone else is teaching him.  I rationalize by reminding myself there are millions of children in daycare all over the world, that we have chose carefully, that my husband works in the same building, and that he is a bright, independent little boy who seems to be thriving (as far as I can tell) in that environment.  I still feel guilty.

I don’t put the prep work into my lessons that I used to.  I love my job and I truly believe that my students deserve the best education I can offer them, which requires a lot of preparation.  I have to consider various intelligence levels, learning styles, interests, and language abilities.  I have to grade one quiz and one test a week for 120 students (and I teach Literature, so it’s not like they’re multiple choice), call the parents of those who are failing, meet with those who have behavioral issues, and do whatever my principal asks (which included planning the prom, explaining PSSA and SAT questions, and creating and grading the Senior Projects).  An hour and a half a day is simply not enough time.  I used to work from home, but by the time the baby’s in bed and the house has been tidied, I’m exhausted and can’t quite come up with a new and exciting project about Chaucer.  I “stole” one from the Internet and adapted it to my students to the best of my ability to my students and felt incredibly guilty.

I juggle playing with the baby and tiding the house until my husband gets home , but I never feel like I get enough done.  I can fold some laundry, do some dishes, vacuum the livingroom, or make dinner, but I can’t do them all in an hour or two and watch the baby.  I use Sesame Street more than I should.  Domestication is not my strong suit, and my working hours have added to the struggle.  A little boy adds to the mess and the distraction (and the exhaustion) .  I do what I can and feel guilty about not getting to the rest.

I write when I need an outlet.  Unfortunately, I’ve only found the time once a week or so since school started, but I plan on taking a little more time for myself during the summer.  I’ve been a little self-centered.  I haven’t given enough attention to the war in Iraq, gas prices, and the war.  I’ve stuck to what’s easy – opinions on religion, philosophy, and science.  I feel like I’ve gotten rusty and complacent.  I’ve been slacking.  I should sleep less, drink more coffee, and write more (after my son is in bed, the housework is done, I’ve finished my lesson planning for the year, and I’ve had an actual conversation with my husband).

23
Jun
08

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Mother Fucker, and Tits!

For my entire life I have heard that George Carlin is a bad influence, that he swears and is irreverent about the church.  I have heard that he is a dirty old man, that his jokes really aren’t that funny, and that he is misguided.  All of that is true or false, depending upon who is asked.

A while ago I heard an interview with Carlin on NPR.  He talked about his upbringing, what caused him to question the church, and what “polite” society deems right and wrong.  It struck me that he and I aren’t all that different, that our thoughts come from the same place, that in actuality, we are both deviants – political, social, and religious – and I couldn’t be more proud of my company.  Mr. Carlin was a brilliant writer and philosopher whose musings were so dead-on that they took on the guise of comedy.  He will be missed.

17
Jun
08

Flood of Incompetence

Wouldn’t it be nice if, during this time of a national environmental crisis, in which towns are being leveled by tornadoes and swept away by floods, we had some sort of force – a National Guard, perhaps – to help these towns and cities clean up and rebuild?  Wouldn’t it have been wonderful is some past President had thought of a situation in which we might need such a “Reserve Army” if you will, and had made provisions for such a thing?  And if a President had done so, wouldn’t it be a little irresponsible (maybe even slightly criminal) for a current President to commit that force elsewhere, out of the country which they had taken an oath to serve, to fight a foreign enemy on foreign soil and leave them there for an extended length of time, even when they are needed despareately at home?  Might that not be a reason for impeachment, especially if it had happened more than once during a particular President’s term?

12
Jun
08

A Big Effen Deal!

The staff is still walking around in a haze.  We have Junior move-up day today, and we still have to clean out our building, so reality hasn’t quite set in.  We started out this year with a senior class of 135 and yesterday we graduated 126 of them.   The school District of Philadelphia has a graduation rate of around 50% and we graduated a little over 90% of the students who came to us at the beginning of the year with enough credits to leave by the end.  Not only that, 100% of our graduating class has been accepted to college.  The received about $305,000 in scholarships.  One got a full ride to LaSalle.  Wow!  It seems like a lot more of an accomplishment when it’s written out, especially when you know what’s behind those numbers.

Our kids are the throw-aways.  We have the kids that the City of Philadelphia has given up on.  They’ve been kicked out of their neighborhood schools, dropped out because of pregnancy, street life, or laziness, or remanded to our custody by the courts.  No one wanted them – in many cases, not even their parents.  But we took them, worked with them, counseled them, and taught them.  This year we’ve lost students, parents, and staff members, but we gained strength and courage.  What happened yesterday was a big deal, and nobody knows it but us!  When we say, “No child left behind,” we actually mean it!

06
Jun
08

Do It Right

A few days ago Saur asked why her atheist friend held himself to a higher moral code than most Christians.  I have often felt the same way – that my actions, and even my thoughts are closer to what Christianity teaches than many who claim to be its followers.  I think this happens for one simple reason: divinity doesn’t get in the way.

If you remove the sacrifice of Christ and the omnipotence of God for the equation, all that remains are the lessons.  When you force yourself to see religious texts as allegories instead of absolutes, you are able to learn more from their pages.  It allows you to ignore what is least important and focus on the moral message, no as a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Jew, but as a human being, inherently flawed but never condemned.

Living this way is not easy.  Atheism is not a cop-out for those intimidated by the rigors of the truly religious.  Quite often it is more difficult, forcing one to examine a myriad of philosophies, form one’s own moral code, and amend it as one continues to learn – without the expectation of some great reward.  Similarly, one is free to take risks and make mistakes without fear of eternal damnation.  If this life is all you have, you’d better do it right.

03
Jun
08

Goodbye, Rosemont College

Rosemont College has decided to go co-ed. I know that doesn’t mean much to most of you, but it means a great deal to me.  Rosemont was one of the few remaining Women’s Colleges in the country.  The caliber of education rivals that of Harvard and Yale, especially as it is one of the few schools still requiring Undergraduate Seniors to take a comprehensive test (an exam on everything learned in a particular major over 4 years) and write a thesis.  But that is not the biggest loss.

Rosemont is where I learned to be who I am.  I was able to speak up in class because I didn’t feel intimidated by the boys.  I was able to take a leadership role in activities because there was no gender bias.  I felt safe on my campus.  No one had to worry about getting raped on the way back from a party.  The only men on campus at night were the security guards and they were forbidden from seeing students socially.  Our education was what it should be – completely academically oriented, and it shows. Rosemont women have done extraordinary things – from inventing Pampers to being the among the first women to hold Ambassadorships. 

I believe in single sex education, for women and for men.  I believe that the disillusion of the Women’s College will be a great loss to the academic world, but especially to women.  I don’t know how this was allowed to happen.  The alumni were not adequately informed.  I wish the board would consider separating the sexes into different classrooms to allow for the spirit of a Rosemont education to continue, but I know that’s a long-shot.  Goodbye, Rosemont.  The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.




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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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