Monday, May 6, 2013

I'm the worst, but they're keeping us so busy!

Sorry for my last, somewhat depressing, blog. I swear I really am having a great time here. It was just one bad day.

Sooo it's catch up time...
I have only blogged about my very first day here so I will do my best to fill you in on the last two weeks.

My first day at the school (Tuesday 4/16) was very interesting. We got a complete tour of the campus, and let me tell you this campus is probably the most beautiful school I have ever seen. They told us that it is actually in a bad area, but when you are at the school you feel completely secluded from the outside world. ASF has grades ranging all the way from pre-school to seniors in the high school. There are separate "schools" for each set of grades: ECC, Early Childhood Center, which is across the street from the main campus, Lower School first-fifth grade I believe, Middle School, sixth through eighth grade, and the Upper School (where I teach), ninth through twelfth grade. In my opinion, the middle school is probably the nicest of all, but I was honestly blown away by the campus as a whole.

I met my co-op and figured out that I would be teaching 10th grade English (she also has an AP class, but she's still teaching that because they are so close to the exam).  She let me know that I would be starting the very next day since I had already taught before.

Holy cow.

There's no way I'm ready for that. I've only taught seventh and eight grade. I barely have experience teaching 10th grade. The last time I read Of Mice and Men was in HIGH SCHOOL. I don't have all of my usually resources available. Is there even internet at our house?
Let's just say I was positively terrified.

I only met one class that day and gave them my little spiel about me, but learned that my classes switched every other day and they were on an 80 minute block schedule. I have never taught an 80 minute period before, and to be honest, my biggest weakness was making sure we did not run out of time as I instructed my lessons in the states (those were only 45 minute lessons).

Anyway, we went home and our host mom took us to the grocery store so we knew where it was if we needed to get anything for ourselves. Somehow we end up losing our host mom and freaked out a little bit because we had no way of contacting her. Kaelin wanted to have her paged, but we decided to look around a little bit at first. After a short time we did find her and everything was alright.

We have since learned that this is a common theme to our day. Nothing, and I truly mean nothing, goes right for us the first time. At least it makes for some interesting stories...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


So I was supposed to catch everyone up on the last week here in Mexico City, but honestly today was a pretty rough day for me, so I would rather get out a little venting first and then I can catch up.

I'm not usually one to be in a bad mood, but I just couldn't help it today. Up until this point in my student teaching I haven't really had a horrible day. Don't get me wrong, I've had my challenges, but today was different for some reason. I just felt like what I taught today wasn't up to my best potential and, to be honest, the students could tell too. I'm having some issues because I am teaching grammar right now to 10th graders and today it just felt like I was beating my head into a wall. I know I'm an English teacher, but grammar just isn't my strongest teaching subject. I think it is really hard to get the students to stay engaged and get them excited about grammar. I'm sure there are ways to do it, I just need to think of them! Luckily Tim is also here and teaching English in the high school, so he tries to help me out when he can. For some reason he actually likes grammar lol jk.

I don't like the feeling of not being prepared and knowledgable about what I am teaching and that's somewhat how I felt today. Ultimately, it is my fault because I should take the time to make sure I feel prepared and ready for the day, but sometimes it is difficult because all I want to do here is travel and witness the culture of Mexico City.

Like I said, I am usually an extremely happy person, always seeing the silver lining in a situation but I just couldn't get there today. In an attempt to cheer myself up I went to a yoga class held every Tuesday and Thursday by one of the teachers at the school. Even in the worst moods, yoga can usually make me feel more relaxed and I am able to see that things aren't quite as drastic as I may have originally thought. At the end of the class, the instructor gave us each our own little quote on a piece of paper.

My quote

It really did cheer me up a little bit to read this and apply it to my feelings throughout the day. When I got home I checked my email and realized that a couple of my old students from New Castle had posted on the blog we kept in class and I promised them I would keep while I am down here. It was just strange that they would decide to blog today when they hadn't done anything in about a week. I don't know what made a bunch of them get on today and blog or comment to me, but it was appreciated and needed more then they know. It was the only actual thing that pulled me out of my little funk and made me realize that one bad day does not reflect upon my teaching as a whole.

So now I'm sitting here blogging to all of you and just getting some things off of my chest. Most of the other student teachers are at a Mexican wrestling match tonight and I was supposed to be with them. I am a little sad that I am missing out on something because I want to make sure I take advantage of every opportunity, but I just needed some "me" time to clear my head and get myself together.

Sorry for the somewhat depressing blog, tomorrow will be better.


"Persevere: to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Even in Mexico, I'm still a procrastinator...

Hola amigos,

So we were highly encouraged to keep a journal/blog during our stay in Mexico, and I made a promise to myself that I would actually do this and keep up with it. Not only for the study that is being done while we are here, but for myself to look back on and be able to reflect upon my time spent in Mexico City. As you can see, I clearly haven't even started yet and have a whole week to catch up on. I'll do better, I swear!

I will most likely split this up into multiple posts because there has been quite a bit going on this week.

Here's how my journey to Mexico City started:
It's 2:00 am on Monday morning the DAY we are supposed to get on our flight to Mexico. For some reason, my suitcase is still completely empty and waiting to be filled by the surrounding piles of clothes and various items that I have finally decided are important enough to make the trip. Now, our plane is scheduled to leave at 7:00 am and our professor wanted us to be there by 4:30 to make sure we all made it on time, which basically means I have about two and a half hours to pack, shower, and drive the hour to the airport. Somehow I pull it together (while wondering why I torture myself like this) and speed to Pittsburgh with about a minute to spare before being considered late.

Mexico City from the plane
There is a group of twenty-seven of us traveling together in the airport (twenty-four student teachers, two Slippery Rock professors, and a Pitt doctoral student, Heather, who is completing a study on our group). To make sure we are all together, we each have a number that we have to yell out loud until we get to twenty-four. Pretty embarrassing when you realize that everyone is staring at you wondering what on earth we are all doing. It got easier as the week progressed.

The flight was pretty smooth. I sat next to Jessie and I'm really glad I did because she had never really flown before and was a little nervous. By this point in my life, flying doesn't phase me in the slightest and it was pretty eye-opening to see that I have taken these experiences for granted. Experiencing it through someone else made me feel extremely grateful for the opportunities I have been able to have so far in my life. We had one layover in Dallas Fort-Worth, which usually frustrates me as it is the biggest airport in the entire world and I am somehow always miles away from where I have landed, but everything turned out well and we were on our second flight before I knew it.

(pause for dinner por favor)

Isabella and Martina

Okkk lo siento.

We arrived in Mexico City and took a caravan of taxis to the American School Foundation (the school we are all teaching). They had a nice lunch set up for us and we got to meet our host families for the first time. I am living with three other girls and a house full of people. Sam, who I am already good friends with, Marissa, and Kaelin. The four of us get along really well and we've discovered we're pretty lucky to be living together because I don't think anyone else could handle our weird crazes (pictures will be posted later). In our house we have Estere, her husband, her daughter Carolina, her granddaughter Isabella, her daughter (I forget her name but she was only visiting until Sunday), and her grandson Alejandro. Oy vey, it's even a lot to type, but it seems to be working out well so far. The first night we learned where the metro was and mainly just got our stuff put away and got to know each other a little bit. Our host mom only speaks Spanish so I don't understand a lot but it's coming slowly. I forgot about the animals! We have a dog named Martina, and a turtle, or tortuga, named Matilda.

That's enough typing for me and I only got through the first day so I will try to update about the rest of the week either tonight or tomorrow :)


Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Conference

So despite my last minute complaining to myself the night before wondering "Why do I get myself into these things...I shouldn't have signed up" and all of my friends asking again and again "Wait WHY are you doing this, for class? For a grade?" I am so happy that I did decide to present this weekend. As always, I tend to get a little nervous before I get up in front of people and give a presentation, but I even surprised myself this weekend with how much more comfortable I felt getting up there and talking to those who came to watch and hear what we had to say. I think presenting at a conference is an awesome experience and one I hope to do again! It not only personally helps me to feel more comfortable in front of a group of people, but it also gives you an amazing chance to meet new people who already have a job in your field. Hearing some of the things they had to say at lunch just in conversation and the feedback they give after a presentation was wonderful! The only difficult part of the whole day was the fact that I had to work that evening and could not stay to see any other presentations.

I also wanted to say that everyone else from our class did such a great job with their own presentations and I couldn't be more proud to have been among them on Saturday!! =)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The teachers that give us all a bad name.

I came across this article and video on facebook tonight, and it just made me really disappointed and disgusted that there are even people in the world like this, let alone the people that you entrust with the safety and well being of young children. It's sad that people like this are out there and even more sad that after this incident, they are allowed to still be teaching young children. As a teacher and role model to children, it makes me sick that someone would take advantage of that and not try to live up to these high expectations, not only to any child in the classroom but especially in a classroom full of children who have disabilities. Becoming a teacher, to me, gives me the chance to make a difference in someone else's life, for the better not worse. It's about helping children reach their full potential, not causing them pain or humiliation, especially when they are not in the place to get help from anyone. Overall this whole thing made me so sad for this little boy. Luckily he has a father who loves him and pays attention to what is going on, but it just makes me wonder what happens to the kids who don't?

The website to the article:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Walk a day in my shoes...

"If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had forty people in his office at one time, all of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job."
-Donald Quinn

Dr. Hicks gave us this quote in class the other day and it just made me start thinking about how much people and society in general do not appreciate teachers and the work that they do. There are some out there who even believe that teachers should be paid LESS for what they do. I've never understood this train of thought because in all reality, where would these doctors, lawyers, and dentists be without the teachers they had when they were younger. While I cannot wait until the day that I actually become a teacher and finally get a class of my own (and I wouldn't trade this career path for any other), I still can't help but be somewhat discouraged by the lack of appreciation that is shown by all those who are not in the educational field. Why is it that the very people we entrust with our children and the youth of this country are so often looked down upon? What is it about these other professions that elevate them to this higher status? To all of these people that feel they are somehow above the role or profession of a teacher, I dare you to "walk a day in my shoes..."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Website for New Books

As I had just asked last week, I've been looking for something new to read. Just today one of my friends on facebook posted about a book she just read and was recommending it to others. When I asked what it was about she told me just to read it, but also told me about a website she is subscribed to called where you can rate books you've already read and the website recommends new books for you to read. It is also a little involved in social media because you can "friend" people to see their own ratings of various books. I don't know if any of you have already heard about it but I just though I would let you know. It's easy enough to sign up and navigate through and has all kinds of subjects including fantasy, suspense, classics, young adult lit, and many others. I just signed up this morning but I am excited about seeing what they recommend!

Here's the website! Enjoy.