A Little Perspective

My thirteen-year old sister wrote this and asked me to put it on my blog. She loves to write and wanted all of us future teachers to know what middle school was like from a student’s perspective. I’m so proud of her for wanting to get her writing out there and make it public like I have been doing all semester. Hope you guys enjoy and have a wonderful break!
~Marie

Middle school sucks. It’s not all that bad but majority is horrible. Walking down the halls is a great feet that only the bravest and strongest succeed at. Every direction you are shoved and prodded into some other poor soul just trying to get to their next class, and with only four minutes it feels like the times running but you are standing still (which you are). Although walking through the halls is a great challenge it is nothing compared to the challenge of not becoming the laughing stalk of the school year. The way you dress, act, even breath can change the outlook of you. Dress the wrong way and the nerds are holding your author’s addition of Great Expectations and the sweaty, sit right in the middle. Act the wrong way and you are stuck with the girls who believe in witchcraft and magic. Breathing to loud, and you have no friends at all, alone all the time.

One the first day of school, the “authorities” shove you into a new room, new school, with new people, and tell you to learn a lot and have fun. Great advise if only everyone in the class didn’t look like they wanted to kill you. As you pray to whatever god you believe, you hope for the teacher to save your day, if only. The teacher is not only grouchy, short, and ugly but has targeted you as her lease favorite. Great! Not only is the work she gives almost impossible but now she will grade twice as hard because your just her “favorite”. Your next class, the teacher picks favorites which means, that if you don’t bake 24-7 then she will stick you in the back where all the “Challenged” students go. Paying attention is too difficult because the guy next to you won’t stop loudly snoring in your ear. Finally lunch, or so you think. Lunch is confusing like I said, the way you portray yourself represents how and whom you will be stilling. Everyone says that being popular is the correct table but I have learned that being the regular girls that are really sweet, pretty, and smart is better than have groups of people talk consonantly about your little flaws. The rest of the day goes on boringly as your teacher changes everything the last one said.

Yay, the day’s over but really its not even close, the bus is the next step on the long list of disputes. Better not sit in the wrong seat or else you are shoved and beat up everyday for the rest of the school year. Think you want to sit by yourself? Think again. Find a friend that you made and sit with them. If you even try to sit by yourself, you are again stuck with the “challenged” kid who picks his nose. Once its your stop try to get off first or else you never get off. Home you think you can finally relax but then you remember that you have at lease four hours of homework, plus any sport that sounded fun at the time. 1094 days left until freedom, but then there’s high school which a whole nether set of challenges.

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Break Time = Reading Time

Immediately after selling my textbooks back on Thursday I ran over to the bookstore to buy books to read over break. Selling books back only to use the money to buy more books; it’s the life of an English major. I ended up buying Master and Margarita from Old Fire House Books first. I adore this little book shop! Buying from a local store is always great and the older gentleman who works there is so sweet! If you haven’t stopped by there, you really should try to before going home for break! Unfortunately, that was the only book on my list that they had at the time. So then I had to get on College and fight the incessant traffic to reach Barnes and Noble. There I picked up Cat’s Cradle. Over break I hope to finish these and maybe make a dent in Gravity’s Rainbow, which I have been slowly, but surely muddling through since June…

Point is, I can’t wait for break because I can’t wait to finally get some quality reading time! Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t done any reading this semester. What I’ve been reading just isn’t literature I would choose to read in my own time. I really doubt I would pick up Mrs. Dalloway of Lives on the Boundary to read on my own accord. When you are forced to read things, that requirement automatically instills a little bit of resentment towards the piece of text. But choosing a book that you want to read! About something you are interested in! It’s all just so exciting right now.

I think that as teachers we need to remember this joy when we are teaching literature. While talking about books with a friend at dinner tonight, he pointed out that he didn’t really read any of the assigned books in high school. And looking back on it, I didn’t really either. Why do kids choose not to read? Easy: because the book was assigned. When you force someone to do something, it takes all the enjoyment out of the task. If we presented opportunities for choosing from selected literature in book groups or independent studies, students will feel like they have a say in what they are reading and will be able to choose something that they are actually interested in. Students may not like every book in the cannon, but there is probably a book about something they are interested in there. When I begin teaching, I hope to compile a list of books, sorted by topic, to give to kids before break to encourage them to do some reading for fun.

Realistically, I know that many of them won’t read. But there has to be one or two kids like me out there. Kids who count down the days till break as days till they can start reading something for fun.
I would love to hear what other people plan on reading over break!
~Marie

I’m Still a Kid!

Students teaching (and actual teaching!) is drawing nearer and nearer. While I’m so excited for this big step, I’m also really nervous. Thinking about being in charge of a classroom forces me to confront one of my biggest fears about teaching; how am I going to teach a roomful of kids when I still feel like a kid myself?

I hear all of my mom’s old fart teacher friends complaining about these “young teachers”, well that’s about to be me! It’s scary being a young teacher, but it’s inevitable, you have to start out somewhere. When I think about being 22 and it being my job to educate 18 year old students, it’s a little unnerving. I’ll only be four years older than them! I am worried that it will be difficult to gain respect as an authority figure with such a short age gap. I never had any young teachers when I was in high school, but I did have a young poms coach. She was 26 and I hated her. In my mind she couldn’t possibly know anything because she didn’t have enough experience. She was less than ten years older than me; I might as well just coach the team! Now this girl really was clueless, but that didn’t have anything to do with her age. To me however, age was an easy way to citizen her. This is what teenage girls do. They will find some way to find something wrong with everything. And as a young teacher, I am sure that the relationship between age and experience will be a high point of criticism.

I think that my male students will take my age in another way. Whenever I’m at any social event and explain to anyone that I want to be a high school teacher, their immediate response is always “well, those high school boys will just love you!” I hate when people say this. First of all it makes me feel really awkward and second, it reminds me of that fear of being a young teacher. No one wants to be objectified, especially a young teacher. Being a new teacher is hard enough without dealing with hormonal boys and critical girls. My appearance is a big concern for me. People usually think that my thirteen yea old sister is older than me, so that puts me at what, twelve? I have a baby face I guess. When I start teaching, I will just be waiting for that day when the security guard tells me I can’t be in the halls after school and I will have to explain that I am, in fact, a teacher.

I also worry about my maturity a little bit. I am probably one of the worst students ever. I miss class all the time, don’t do my homework, and am never prepared. These skills probably don’t translate well to becoming a teacher. How can expect my students to act a certain way when I know I don’t? I think that I have a lot of growing up to do in the next year. I can’t do anything about my age or appearance, but working on my skills as a student will help me feel more confident about becoming a teacher.

~Marie

Procrastinating

I can assume that many of you are probably in the same place as me this week. You’re probably running out of exciting things to blog about and you probably don’t really want to somehow produce 500 words about something or other you have yet to come up with. You are in a lull. Like me, you probably thought that you were going to do a lot of school work over break but you ended up stuffing yourself with turkey and spending obscene amounts of money on Black Friday bargains instead. So now you have a pile of homework the size of Mount Everest and are wondering what you are doing with your life. So take a break! I know you’ve probably been on Pinterest or Facebook for the last thirty minutes anyway, so why not do something as distracting as it is productive! How about taking a break and looking at some of these hilarious blogs? That way, you can waste time looking at trivial things while also expanding your knowledge of blogging! It’s a win win. Enjoy the blogs that are completely irrelevant to education and procrastinate all those projects a little longer.

http://theoatmeal.com/

http://waveatthebus.blogspot.com/

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

http://www.lamebook.com/

http://myhusbandisannoying.com/

http://www.catladyland.net/

~Marie

Books to Movies

So is it just me, or have a lot of books been made into movies lately? Every time I go to movie theater lately I see a new preview for yet another beloved book being made into a major motion picture. And I’m not talking about Harry Potter or Twilight or any other sissy books. These are actually great pieces of literature! You’ve got Cloud Atlas, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Life of Pi, Les Misérables, The Great Gatsby, On the Road, and Anna Karenin. And that’s just some of them! I’ve seen countless pins on Pinterest captioned “books to read before they become movies!” It seems to be quite the fad recently.

I like to think that I read fairly widely and it’s true that I have read around eighty percent of these book to movie conversions. This, however, makes me a little apprehensive to see the movies… My mom has been telling me as long as I can remember, always read the book before you see the movie because the movie is never as good! And she’s always right. The first book to movie combo I was ever exposed to was Tuck Everlasting. I remember reading it in one of my elementary school classes and we took a class field trip to see the movie in theaters as it came out that same year. I can remember being so excited going into the theater and so completely disappointed leaving. My mom was right; the book is never as good as the movie. The continuance of my book reading/movie view experiences has lead to the same conclusion. There’s A Clockwork Orange, Into the Wild, Sherlock Holmes, The Time Machine, Fight Club (now this is a great movie, but I still would argue that the book is a hundred times better!) the list goes on and on. The only movie that I would say is better than the book is Twilight; you only have to suffer two hours to watch the movie opposed to the countless hours you have to suffer through reading the book.

The point is, Life of Pi is coming out this week and I am completely stressing out about watching it. Life of Pi is definitely in my top five favorite books, and any other English major knows what that means; picking your favorite books is like picking your favorite child. This is serious. I’ve read the book three times (I usually don’t reserve precious reading time for rereading) and I love it more and more every time I read it! I am so in love with this book that I plan on naming the first cat I get Richard Parker (I mean, how cute right?) So there’s a lot of pressure on this film. It has a lot of expectations to live up to. Obviously the directors can’t possible fit every awesome page into two hours, but I know I will be devastated when they do. I have plans to see it the day at comes out, so I will cross my fingers!

I hope you all get to go see the movie, but take my mom’s advice and read the book first!
~Marie

Thoughts from Class Yesterday

I think this blog might end up being a little ranty…

After leaving class yesterday, I was feeling a little upset. And after reading through some of my classmates’ blogs, I think there was a mutual feeling of uneasiness about some aspect or another discussed in class yesterday. Overall, I would consider the class discussions yesterday successful because I think they really got everyone thinking about their role in education. We focus so strongly in all our classes on our future roles as educators, but I think sometimes we forget that we are all still students too. I think that it is important not to forget what it’s like to be students when we become educators. Our class yesterday really made me focus on the fact that, yes, I am getting extremely close to having a teacher role (only one more year!), but right now I am still a student. And really, I guess that’s what I should be focusing on.

Thinking about whether it’s more important to focus on moving up the pillar (getting good grades, being successful, ect.) or to actually live your life is a difficult thing. Everyone likes to tell you that the most important thing in life is to be happy, but how do you achieve that? They say…oh have fun! And…don’t let life pass you by! Do everything you can when you’re young and able to! Only we’re not able to. Yes Garcia, it is a huge blessing that we have the opportunity to get an education. But honestly, being in school right now makes doing anything outside of school work pretty damn impossible. When you spend nearly every minute outside of class doing homework, save eating and sleeping, there isn’t really a lot of time to “have fun” or “not let life pass you by”. To me, there doesn’t seem to be the option of being successful and enjoying life. Sorry it seems a little bleak, but chose one or the other.

I might be being a little over dramatic, but this is how it feels right now. This is absolutely the worst time of the semester because there are a million and one things left to do and only a few weeks left to do them in. I’m a little upset that instead of having fun with my family and friends over fall break I will be stuck doing projects and writing papers. I think that’s enough to make anyone bitter. And really that’s a great example of the “chose one”. I can either enjoy life, spending time with my family and flunk out of school or I can get good grades and sacrifice my break. Looks like I’m going to have to chose the latter.
I’m not sure what the point of little rant about despising school right now has to do with anything. I feel completely horrible and hypocritical about hating school and wanting to be a teacher too. I guess I hope that I can just remember what it was like to be a student when I’m a teacher and try to give my students some time to live life rather than whittle away their life doing pointless school projects.
~Marie

Confessions of a Grammar Snob

As I’m sure many of you know, being an English major somehow always make you the go-to person when it comes to grammar. My friends seem to think of me sort of like a walking, talking dictionary. Every time there is any sort of discrepancy grammatically, I become the deciding factor. I get asked to proofread essays and help my friends texts grammatically correct sentences to boys their interested in. Being the grammar guru honestly gets a little tiring. I have better things to do than keep my sorority sisters grammatically respectable! I get annoyed when I get asked to proof read things all the time, but on the other hand, I get really irritated when I see things like this…

This sign has been taped to the door of the bathroom stall ALL YEAR. Every time I go to the bathroom I am forced to look at this pathetic attempt at writing. EVERY TIME I can’t help but get a little frustrated at the amount of grammar mistakes on one sheet of paper. I mean, ever heard of punctuation? I know that it is only me that this really bothers in the house. It’s not that other people couldn’t pick out these mistakes, I’m just so much more aware of them. I am an English major, and it is my job to be aware of grammar. It’s all around you!

I try to explain it by convening myself that whoever wrote it was probably just in a hurry and wrote it quickly without giving it a once over for mistakes. That has to be it. And I don’t know who wrote it, but from the writing I tend to believe that it has to be someone who isn’t that smart. This is a terrible generalization to make, but unfortunately, this is a generalization that society tends to make. You make a grammar mistake on a job application? You’re probably not going to get the job. That’s life, and it’s blunt. Grammar can really make or break it for someone. And unfortunately, it has been my experience with my sorority sisters that grammar isn’t a skill that most people excel at.

So is it my job to constantly correct them? How much is that really helping them? Did they just forget everything they learned about grammar in school, or were they just not taught it sufficiently? Grammar is a skill that has to be taught. As future teachers, it is a job to make sure that grammar is taught effectively so that students will be able to retain and correctly use grammar rules even after they graduate high school. After looking at this paper EVERY DAY FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS, I know that it will be forever engraved in my mind. And I know that when I’m a teacher I will be committed to making sure none of my students will ever produce this torture for other English majors.
~Marie