If you want to be a psychologist

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

City year can prepare you for that too. Today in after school I had to manage the step-up room. This is a space where students go when they bully, fight, get 3 warnings, or do something that needs correction. They have to sit out of the fun and reflect on their actions. Reflection isn't easy for middle schoolers and it requires proper coaching and prompting. Twelve year olds aren't very logical and they act out on impulses. The 6th grader I was dealing with was in the step up room for calling a white boy (the ONLY white kid in the school who was adopted by African-American parents) an f-- highlighter. He responded back by saying, "go to the back of the bus." From there hell broke loose and they yelled offensive terms back and forth.
I found it strange that they were so defensive when I had to take them away for their bad behavior. They were upset, but it seemed to me that they didn't understand that what they did was wrong. When they were confronted they automatically started yelling and blaming the other person for their actions. These kids have so much to learn....
The 3 students stayed with me for an hour. There were manipulative tears, threats, and not a lot of sitting still. Yet the 3 of them were able to apologize and I was able to mediate for them so they could work out their differences. Happy day! 
To conclude, all 3 students were suspended from after school for a few days and the dean was informed of their behavior. He was not happy. 

Note: this post was written on the subway on 10/30/13. 

My Monday

Monday, October 28, 2013

Students tend to lose it when a sub is around. The substitute teacher today was a nightmare. This man was old, raspy, and he teaches music (nothing against music here, but the ability to teach music doesn't do much good in a heavily saturated math and English public school). The class was out of control and there wasn't much I could do. I pulled out the wild ones and had them read with me. I pulled out groups to work through the PEMDAS math packet. The students like being pulled out and I liked working with them. During one of my preps a few of the students begged the sub to write a pass so they could come to Miss Abby. I did not turn them away even though we weren't technically allowed with me, and we read the Lightning Theif. These girls had a lot of choice words to say about this sub. If they stayed in the classroom without me I'm pretty sure a riot would start. At the same time I felt guilty for leaving this man alone. Normally when the usual teacher I work with is in, I stay in the classroom and function as a teacher's assistant and I go around to students who need help. I occasionally pull out, but it's typically more useful for me to stay in the classroom and tutor in there. Ms. F, the normal teacher is fully capable of managing the classroom.
Back to the chaos. 
Actual music class rolls around and the music teacher who is a 7th grade English teacher gives the students a music lesson. A music teacher has not been hired (the irony here kills me). The students find music class "mad boring." I do too. The students endure another class and then lunch. To make things worse, during 6th period the students go to the library for a lesson with the librarian. Guess who was also also absent today? The librarian. I checked in with the main office  and they said she should be in, but I knew better. The librarian never showed up and I was left with wild 6th graders for 45 minutes directly after lunch. I was starting to lose it. Now, I don't mind teaching and I like my class, but I had nothing planned and no resources. The teacher didn't leave materials or curriculum and my class didn't have much homework. Silent reading was our only option. I needed silence. They needed silence. Not all of the students made it through. If they started talking I sent them back to class. 
7th period: fire drill. We have had a fire drill every week since the start of the school. It's RIDICULOUS. I'm pretty sure they have them simply to give everyone a break from the madness. Fire drills last a whole period because after all 3 schools in the building exit the building, all the students need to get scanned back in the building (just like the airport). 8th period is the last class of the day and of course it was a mess. The sub was totally defeated and the kids seemed exhausted too. I worked with one student  who still wanted to learn while the other students played truth or dare. Sigh. 
I'm praying that Ms. F returns to school tomorrow. I sent her an email asking that very question. I have not received a response, but we will have a nice little chat tomorrow morning, assuming that she is present.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

City year is exhausting. I knew it would be a lot of work and it is. Would you like leaving for work at 6:30 am and coming home at 7 pm every day? I thought I would have no energy to spend time making food, but I do, and it's usually therapeutic. I say "make" because I probably wouldn't classify what I do as cooking. Mix might be a better word. I have accumulated a couple cookbooks that I like to look at for inspiration. From there I just mix away! Here are some photos of my concoctions :
This mixture made 7 breakfast burritos. Freezer! 
A salad with a lot of orange!
My salads usually look like this. Pom seeds <3
Eggplant dish. My boss encouraged me to cook with eggplant. 
Breakfast (weekend only)
Ramen noodles!!!!!
Pretty salad.
I also bought a blender with graduation money. Smoothies always hit the spot.

Things men say

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I stick out in Spanish Harlem. It's never boring living here. I have never felt unsafe or in danger, but there are odd and annoying things that happen in my neighborhood. I'm usually woken up by a car alarm at 3 in the morning. Someone in the area must be a crazy cat lady because I frequently see a herd of cats in the back yard area, and I am also startled by cat fights (literal cat fights). Nearly every time I walk from my apartment to the Subway someone will say something to me. That someone is usually a strange man. Most of the time I get a little chuckle out of the things they call out, but at the same time it's a bit creepy. Below are things they say and my internal response. 

Hey, can I do laundry with you? (walking faster...with my basket laundry)
Hey there Snow White (Me? snow white? oh dear. They should come to MN and see what true snow white is)
Hey, what's your name? Chistina? Agulara? (drunk?)
Hey Mami! or Hey Baby! (I get called Mami a lot.)
Can I get your number? (no) 
Would you like some candy? (running)
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