Sunday, December 4, 2011

Is Anyone Up? I sure hope not...

I recently learned about a blood-boiling blog. The blog developer, Hunter Moore, scours Facebook for revealing pictures and then posts them on his blog with commentary. He also accepts pictures that are sent to him. He has made it easy for pedophiles or stalkers to find people via Facebook. I heard an interview with Moore on NPR today. Moore declared that he finds his job to be fun and that will continue to do it. He makes money off of displaying other people's private lives. His site's website traffic estimates about $162,463! It also ranks third on Google's page-rank.When asked by the interviewer, Moore said he wouldn't display pictures of his mom or sister, because that would be gross. Yet, it's okay to put up pictures of other people's mothers or sisters? The interviewer was so disgusted that he had to stop the interview with a cold, "We are done." I hope that this guy's blog gets shut down soon! Check out the following sites where this and more information can be found:

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I always tell my students that cheating does nothing to help them succeed. I understand the temptation to take the easy road, but how has the easy road ever led to a self-satisfying and successful position? I suppose there are exceptions, but how does a cheater ever feel confident about themselves? I remember cheating once on a math test in 2nd grade because I was scared I wouldn't do well, but I always felt so guilty and ashamed about it. I felt as though I was a pretender, a fake, and a liar. Cheating on that test pointed out my lack of confidence, my inability to ask for help, my fear of failure, and would mean admitting that I didn't understand. In trying to save myself, I doomed myself. In cheating, the only one I cheated was myself.
I now understand that making mistakes and getting answers wrong is the best way to learn and move forward in understanding. Mistakes and imperfections are human and help arouse humility. I once heard the quote, "Nobody is perfect, and who wants to be nobody?" Test scores, mistakes, and faults don't present a photograph of who we truly are, but rather it is the effort, the humility, and the character that creates us. We must be willing to accept our faults and our weaknesses in order to grow from them and become strong.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thoughts on Tired Teachers

Today I came back to school after being sick yesterday and checked for the notes from the substitute teacher. Upon arriving to my classroom this morning, I was puzzled to find desks rearranged and facing away from the whiteboard. Students I had deliberately moved away from each other had merged their desks together. Furthermore, all the teacher edition books were moved to a remote place of the classroom, and there was a chair in the front of the class (which I later discovered he had posted most of the day). I finally found his notes scribbled on my lesson plan saying that my class was "interesting and fun." End note. Really? Certainly they are an interesting group who likes to have fun, but they need definite structure and routine or they become wild. Throughout the day, I had to catch up everything from yesterday since apparently nothing had been done; the test was not given, the homework was not assigned, the classwork was not finished. Yet, I had a lot of drawings presented to me today. What on Earth did this guy do all day? To top that off, I had to deal with a group of unruly children who had grown quite accustomed to drawing all day and earning candy bars from the substitute, who had brought full-sized Butterfingers and other candy to give them. By the end of the day, I was worn out and exhausted. I started to feel despairing, but then remembered the importance of people who care enough to truly teach and parent.

Later, I went to find out who this guy was, and discovered that he had been teaching in the district for quite some time prior to his retirement, and that he now substitutes for teachers. I was horrified. If a teacher is tired and jaded, then they should not be teaching anymore. I think few people understand all that teachers must do. We are not babysitters. We teach the curriculum, deal with different personalities/disorders/attitudes/parents/etc., we constantly assess and report our assessments to the students, school, parents, school district, and state.  We have to be psychologists, therapists, social behaviorists, parents, teachers, friends, providers, and anything else that children need. We hear our names so often that we get tired of them. We hear so many complaints that we have created generic remarks to them. We rarely get to sit or have a decent amount of silence. We are so completely drained of energy at the end of the day that it is hard to live our own lives, let alone guide the lives of others.

Don't get me wrong. I love teaching and I know all my coworkers do as well. It is the most amazing and centering job that a person can have. I just worry about those people who have the wrong idea and who have become so worn down or jaded that they don't care anymore. The point is that we have to care! We have to spend the time, give of ourselves, and work hard to ensure the future generations are allowed to grow into the people that will carry the world forward. If you want an easy job, then don't teach. Education is what our world needs more than ever, and babysitters are great for keeping kids busy when parents or teachers are not around to further their development. The teachers and the parents are the ones who truly hold the torch to a better future as long as they are aware of the importance of their roles. Children need good role models, knowledge and understanding, and skills that will serve them throughout their lives. They don't need to be bribed for their acceptance. They don't need inconsistent or low expectations. They need structure, values, wisdom, and work ethic. Here is a shout out to all the teachers, parents, and any other people who understand the importance of raising responsible, respectful, and safe children. You are under-appreciated, under-paid, and exhausted, but you are the guardians of mankind's future. You are rare gems; a priceless gift to the world. Thank you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Remembering The Shores

She stands barefoot in the sand, quiet and still, her back to the world, wind in her hair. The sun sinks in the distance, the thirsty sea drinks in its light, the land bathes in its warmth. The gulls cry out, dance through the air, swoop in delight. Ginger streaks color the sky, fading to purple and finally deep blue, as sun-kissed clouds blush with fervor, fighting the closure, the approach of the night. The water incandescent, stained by such change, radiate sublime color, give life to the sea. The waves of endless motion roll and crash, somersault and glide, mere whispers of power, of force beyond might. The white foam etches the shore, a timid approach, quick spreading webs concealing the dark glassy surface, but luminous depths. The moon breaks its eerie smile across the now emerald sky, the sea and the sky joined into one. The warmth on the sand withdraws far beneath, leaving the earth damp and chill. Footprints that once failed to imprint now leave their mark, paths through the dark, only to be erased by thin sheets of sea stretching to shore. Now deserted, quiet and calm, the ocean sings, the heartbeat of the earth heard ever clear in its steady rushing and sucking, the life of the deep brushing the land.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuxie Tales

Add caption
Meet Tuxie, the land shark. Dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun go his paws as he patters around you determining the best way to surprise you. The black and white blur looks just like a shark circling its prey. Suddenly, BITE! SCRATCH! The Tux-Shark has struck again.

Nearly one year ago, Joe and I rescued Tuxie from the Sacramento Animal Shelter. We were thinking about a bunny or a small dog, but upon walking between the bunnies and the dogs, we inevitably passed through the cat zone. Tuxie was in a room by himself, just outside of the bunny room. He followed us as we walked by, and finally we were lured in. We should have known better; why would a cat be in a room by itself while all the other cats were in rooms with many other cats? However, he was the sweetest thing. He jumped into our laps, walked circles around us, and purred up a storm. We knew right away that he was the one for us. He was loving and full of life. Then we brought him home. 

We now have a tuxedo cat who bites like a vampire, stalks like a tiger, hides like Houdini, and destroys like a tornado, but who also loves with the same passion that he creates disaster. Joe and I love him so much despite the innumerable bites, scratches, unsettling noises, and things done missing. I have yet to find my favorite paintbrushes and Chapstick, but I did find some batteries beneath the toaster. He's a whirlwind of energy: He eats our plants, destroys puzzles, lays on our work, short-circuits the TV and internet, turns off my alarm clock, opens doors, swats at the spring doorstopper (dooiiiing, dooiiiing, dooiiiing), spreads soil all over the carpet after knocking plants over, attacks our hands and feet (or at best, struts a nonstop figure 8 in front of our feet which makes it very difficult to move forward), wakes us when he is bored, eats anything and everything, feels the need to display his rear in our faces, spills water all over the place, drags trash out of the trashcan, leaves fur all over the place (he clogged our vacuum), and has scarred my hands to resemble something like dinosaur claws. Yet, he is the epitome of a creature living life to the fullest, seeking fulfillment beyond the given, and expressing as much love as he does trouble. He has taught me to let go, accept things as they are, and not take life so seriously. Most often, love is accompanied by pain; greater experiences of pain provide a foundation for much richer experiences of happiness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To be a Kid

Do you ever wish you could return to the simplicity of childhood? Kids know how to feel and how to express their feelings. If they are hurt or scared, they cry. If they are happy, they squeal and jump for joy. If they don't like you, they say so. If they love you, they say so. They are able to laugh at themselves and to fully experience every drop of life. The key to happiness is to be more child-like. Not childish, but child-like. Life is better lived through the eyes of a child, for the future of children, and without the bitterness and disappointments many experience. Start fresh; accept the wisdom you have gathered from making mistakes and stumbling, but resist the urge to be greater than those mistakes. I fear that with people's jaded perceptions on life, children's dreams and purity are squelched, bringing them too soon into an adult world. Let there be rainbows, let there be bright colors and noise, let there be messes and crazy questions. Let there be a childhood.

Monday, November 28, 2011


It's amazing how much insight kids have. Adults under-estimate the minds of a child. They adjust, they adapt, they forgive, and they are true to their feelings. Adults can only wish for such abilities. Rather, pride gets in the way, self righteousness blocks us from the truth, and logic blocks us from feeling. My students adjust to the children around them who are autistic or ADHD; they recognize when something is different, and work to make everything fit into their environment. The can be so angry, but after recognizing the feeling, forgive and see the bright side again. They can be so sad, and then see something funny and smile. As a teacher, I feel that adults can learn so much from the innocence of children and their pure emotion. So many people avoid emotion or unpleasant feelings, and turn to what's reasonable or logical and safe. Why don't we make ourselves as vulnerable as children and offer our true selves while accepting the true selves of others? Why don't we give way to the purest form of humanity, cling to our roots, and apply our wisdom to humanity?