Archive for February, 2007

Who’s Responsible, Me?

So, I’m sitting here watching/listening to Dave Chapelle’s Block Party and loving it – love the music, the positivity, and the idea of community (come on – how could you not love Wyclef’s rant about education!!!??!!!). I experienced the sense of community and positivity in my class today at Laney. I had a great time interacting with my students. I HOPE they got something out the listening activity and the feedback discussion; I know I did. I’m so lucky – not only do I get to teach, but I get to learn from my students, too; they all have so much to offer – if only they’d all believe in themselves. I really just want to hug them all and tell them they have so much to offer the world – it’s just discovering it and nurturing it – okay, that’s a different blog.

In the classroom is where I believe I belong; to me, it’s the most positive place. Sure, there are individuals who try to bring others down with their negativity, or detract from the class, but that’s okay. It’s my challenge to open the door for those students and hopefully, hopefully by the end of the semester, they are opening more doors for themselves.

Then, there are those students who surprise you with their knowledge, intuition, and involvement – not only in the class, but in the curriculum itself. Sappy as it sounds, I love ’em all. Even when I have to repeat over and over and over again – almost to the point where I’m sick of hearing myself say it – “Take responsibility for your education”.

If I thought it would help, I would hold the hand of each and every student through the entire semester and coddle and cut slack for them, but really, that’s not teaching. If I can give them the skills – or at least set the standard that I expect big things from them (in a fair way) – then I’m doing my job – the hand holding is not teaching.

Sure, I could explain the assignment 10 minutes before it’s due, but what good would that do; it’s already late at that point. Once I give an assignment, I want my students to review it and try processing it. If it doesn’t click for them, then I want them to come ask me – heck they all have my email, phone number, and know they can find me in the classroom at least 15 minutes before the start of class or hanging around afterwards. I’ve even met students for coffee in the cafeteria to help them – I’m willing – that’s what teaching is – giving them a skill set they can use at a university or in the workplace and teaching them about communication, which they can use ANYwhere!

Okay, I digress… if I coddle and hand hold, what good is that?? Your employer isn’t going to do that. Nope. Not at all. They’ll probably cut you loose at the end of your probation and find someone who shows up on time, asks for clarification on tasks if they don’t understand so they can finish them on time, and is respectful when working in groups.

The coddling and hand-holding isn’t going to help if a student transfers to a four year university, either. Sure, there will be some professors who will take that extra time with you, but you have to assert yourself – you have to take RESPONSIBILITY for your own education!!!

Okay, I think I’m getting even more tired than I was when I first started and now, Block Party is over and so is this blog.

Day Four – January 6, 2007

Day four was probably one of the most relaxed days we had in NYC. We actually slept in and went to the hotel gym in the morning, then just layed around – in no rush to get anywhere.

When we were good and ready, we made our way to the Museum of Natural History; it was a great spot to be on a cold day, as was evidenced by everyone else that was there, too. It could have had something to do with the fact that Ben Stiller’s newest comedy – Night at the Museum, which filmed at the MONH in NYC had just opened up a week or two earlier.

We spent some time there walking among the dinosaurs, tigers , and butterflies – oh my!

After the museum, we hung out with our friends Jen Wharton and Wilson up in Washington Heights. And here’s where I become saddened. Wilson and Jen took us to this great Puerto Rican restaurant (can’t remember the name) where we had the best food ever – El Mofongo! Mashed plantains with pork baked inside and a delicious sauce over this concoction. Now, I’m happy to have discovered El Mofongo, but saddened because we cannot find a comparable item here in the Bay Area. We’ve searched high and low and visited the only 2 Puerto Rican restaurants we could find (SF and Oak-town) and they were such a disappointment – one of them didn’t even carry Mofongo – even though they said that everyone comes in asking for it – duh, what are you waiting for to add it to your menu?!?!

Okay, one day… maybe I’ll just have to learn how to make it or just move to Washington Heights! LOL