Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rachel K. Doing History

We've begun our social studies methods strand in my Master in Teaching Program at last! Our instructor is the head of the MIT program, and she is the inventor of Storypath, which is an amazing social studies curriculum. 

Right now we are "Doing History" in class. We've created personal timelines and yesterday we wrote about specific events in our lives in class. Then, for homework, we each had to talk to someone about our historical event (a primary source). I talked about the nine months of my life that I refer to fondly as "Lifeapocalypse," during which I had absolutely no idea how to become a teacher. I had just quit my job at Starbucks, and I was trying to figure out what direction to tumble in next.

Today we had to write a historical account of our event that comes from multiple perspectives, or primary sources. Here is my combined history as remembered by myself and Kevin:
Lifeapocalypse: A Brief History 
     Lifeapocalypse describes the months of March 2010 until around June of the same year, during which a 25-year old called Rachel K. Sreebny quit her job at Starbucks and began her journey in pedagogy. The events that led up to Sreebny's resignation from the coffee conglomerate are not clear, though it is documented that Starbucks introduced a line of lunch sandwiches during the same time. Reports also show that the weather in Seattle during this time was cold, and an unseasonable bummer.
     Upon leaving Starbucks, Sreebny was reported to have spent two straight days on her couch watching Jeopardy on her DVR; the Direct TV account was canceled a month later, though it is speculated that this was due to financial constraints more so than a proclivity for sloth. In fact, Sreebny was said to have been rather "industrious" by those who knew her well.
     In a personal account by Kevin Costello, Sreebny's boyfriend at the time, she was said to have spent only a short time on the couch during Lifeapocalypse. Not long after she had formally severed ties with her barista position did she begin, "plotting, scheming and color-coding..." in an alleged wall-sized calendar constructed by hand, and affixed to the dining room wall.
     Costello recalls fondly that Sreebny studied a lot of math, which he helped her with in his spare time outside of being a Microsoft employee. "(She) seemed like she felt she wasn't doing enough, but she was already on track for graduate school like a week after talking about it." Costello also remembers that Sreebny spoke often of graduate school notions, sometimes while donning a makeshift cape made out of a Snuggie.
     According to Sreebny's blog entry, dated March 8 2010 and entitled, "Rachel K. Restart," Sreebny claims, "I need to start focusing on what I need to do to find the path I know I want to take in life." This informal goal statement marked the beginning of Lifeapocalypse, which would unofficially come to an end the following March in 2011 when Sreebny began her Master in Teaching Program at Seattle University. As Costello summarized in his personal account of the event, "[She] went from job to no job, but it was the good kind of job to no job." 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rachel K. Headphones

I stayed over at my boyfriend's apartment last night as a peace offering. I never stay at his place anymore. Aside from the "dude smell," general theme of dishevelment and lack of a coffee maker, I find it increasingly difficult to be organized at his place in terms of the things I need for my masters program. Through the grace of google docs, I can generally do homework from his place, but I am at the point where that isn't enough anymore. My own workspace is surrounded by instructions, lesson calendars, and post-it notes with due dates or important reminders. More importantly, my apartment has a coffee maker.

In any case, I woke up at my boyfriend's this morning after 10 hours of glorious sleep (yes, I went to bed at 9:30pm) to find that my headphones had been chewed by a certain nameless kitten (I'm looking at you, Frank Lapidus). One of the squishy ear parts had been removed and no doubt chewed and hidden. I was rendered annoyed and angry at the ball of fur and feline nonchalance. Instead of dealing with this minor incident like a grownup, I dealt with it like a whiny grad student, made it my boyfriend's problem, and left his apartment in a state of despair.

I was grumpy all morning in class, and found it hard to feel engaged in the lessons we had. I realize that phonics are probably important to someone, but they were not important to me today. Yes yes, hat sounds like bat, but my HEADPHONES ARE RUINED SO WHAT DOES ANYTHING ELSE MATTER?

This afternoon I drew a picture that I decided would help me get over all future wrongdoings of my boyfriend's cats. We have decided to move in together, so I'll need to be vigilant about not hating the cats, who are admittedly totally adorable, and not often on my shit list. Here is my template:

History is bound to repeat itself; I must be ready with a template when it does.

I think that having a template is going to help me get through future annoyances that pets tend to incite. Lord knows, I am not without my own annoyances (I talk to them like they're babies, I don't share my dinner with them, and I don't floss after every meal), and the cats can't do anything about that.

Where does this fit into teaching????? It does, I promise! I know that this is a teaching blog!

I think that kids are undoubtedly going to annoy the crap out of me. It is in their nature, and just like I cannot fault a cat for being a cat, I cannot fault a 5th grader for being a 5th grader. 5th graders are going to be douches sometimes! I just need to find a way (ooh citing my own mantra) to remember all the things I love about them. I think it would be a good idea to create some kind of visual reference like a bulletin board or something easy to look at, and put up lovely things that each kid does. For instance, if Kid A cuts a fart in the middle of class and blames it on me, and I want to defenestrate him in front of everyone to show him that I'm boss, I can instead walk over to my bulletin board and remember that Kid A also told me I smelled good during the first week of school. Take that, Kid A - at some point you LIKED the way I smell. I don't know if this would be something I have at home or at my actual desk.... I suppose it will depend entirely on how much my students make me hate my life sometimes.

The moral of my story is that my boyfriend's cats and my students are going to make me hate my life sometimes; it's inevitable, and I can't fault them for it. It's important to highlight all the times your cats and students make you feel really doggone happy to be around them, and to call on those moments in times of unmitigated fury.