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ode to my first year of teaching

As much as I resent how Chicago has treated us this year, as much as I resent what working in that environment has done to my hope and idealism and mood in general, as happy as I am that it is FINALLY summer vacation, it still hurts me so much to think of not working there next year.  Say what you will about the school, we had a good thing going.  Teaching city kids, damaged by Katrina and chronic undereducation the depths of which I could not imagine until I had to confront it daily, is challenging work, but it's also what I signed up for when I chose to become a teacher in New Orleans public schools.  I love those kids.  As a team of teachers we had so much energy, so much dedication, so much support for each other.  I doubt I'll find that wherever I'm teaching next year.  What we had was special, and I hate, truly hate, that Chicago had to screw that up and then they still have the nerve to get up at 8th grade graduation and pat themselves on the back for helping these poor backwards Southerners, these poor Katrina victims who can't help themselves and must need Chicago to rescue them.  The level of paternalism, the level of condescension they showed all of us continues to anger and frustrate me.  They had no right to treat us like that.

New Orleans has enough problems of its own without Chicago importing its own.

It wasn't until the last few weeks, since my sister and neice came to visit, that New Orleans really became home for me.  I have a stake in her future.  I am no longer the wide-eyed idealist I was when I first moved here.  I've learned a few things about myself.  I've learned I'm stronger than I thought and that it's okay to ask for help.  I've learned that teachers often learn more from their students than they teach them.  I know that whatever doesn't kill you does make you stronger.  I have no idea how I survived this school year intact, but here I am and in 3 days I'm out of here 'til the end of July.  Maryland to New Brunswick to Maryland to Michigan then back to New Orleans.

I'm rambling now and Lakeview Brew actually closed 20 minutes ago.  Suffice it to say that I wouldn't give up this school year for anything but I wouldn't want to go through that again either.  We survived.  'Nuff said.

50bookchallenge: books 21-30 2009

(6/23)   My Father's Keeper-162 pages (21/5606 pages)
(6/28)   Autobiography of a Face-223 pages (22/5829 pages)
(7/9)     Prozac Nation-362 pages (23/6191 pages)
(7/12)   Awakenings-316 pages (24/6507 pages)
(7/13)   Here if You Need Me-211 pages (25/6718 pages)
(7/18)   Walking Out on the Boys-245 pages (26/6963 pages)
(7/20)   "Don't Worry":  Understanding Anxiety-145 pages (27/7108 pages)
(7/25)   The Frog Who Croaked Blue-139 pages (28/7247 pages)
(7/29)   Prozac Highway-266 pages (29/7513 pages)
(8/1)     TransLiberation-147 pages (30/7660 pages)

I am now a "real teacher"

My Louisiana State teaching license came in the mail today.  I am now officially certified to teach mild/moderate special education, grades 1-12.

I'm celebrating with pecan pie down at Lakeview Brew, enjoying free air conditioning.  Heat index of 103* right now.  Iced chai latte is delicious.
Issued by The National Weather Service
New Orleans/Baton Rouge, LA
11:20 am CDT, Sat., Jun. 20, 2009

... HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM CDT THIS EVENING...

DAYTIME HIGHS IN THE MID TO UPPER 90S... COMBINED WITH HIGH HUMIDITY READINGS WILL CAUSE HEAT INDICES IN THE EARLY TO MID AFTERNOON TO REACH BETWEEN 105 AND 110 DEGREES. THESE CONDITIONS CAN INCREASE THE RISK OF HEAT RELATED ILLNESS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HOT TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS... STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM... STAY OUT OF THE SUN... AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS. IF POSSIBLE... REFRAIN FROM DOING OUTSIDE WORK DURING THE HOTTEST PART OF THE DAY. IF YOU MUST BE OUTDOORS... WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT... LIGHT COLORED CLOTHING... DRINK PLENTY OF WATER... SLOW DOWN AND TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS. &&

More Information

... A HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA AND COASTAL MISSISSIPPI UNTIL 7 PM TODAY.

.HOT WEATHER WILL CONTINUE OVER THE REGION TODAY AS A STRONG HIGH PRESSURE IN THE UPPER LEVEL OF THE ATMOSPHERE REMAINS CENTERED OVER THE GULF SOUTH REGION.

May. 2nd, 2009

This post is just to show off my new New Orleans teacher icon.

50bookchallenge: books 11-20 2009

(4/22)  The Fortune Cookie Chronicles-293 pages (11/3128 pages)
(4/30)  A Hope in the Unseen-390 pages (12/3518 pages)
(5/4)    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat-233 pages (13/3752 pages)
(5/9)    An Unquiet Mind-219 pages (14/3971 pages)
(5/20)  Reading Lolita in Tehran-343 pages (15/4314 pages)
(5/24)  The Genius Factory-258 pages (16/4572 pages)
(5/28)  A Leg to Stand On-222 pages (17/4794 pages)
(5/30)  Girl, Interrupted-169 pages (18/4963 pages)
(6/6)    Saving Louisiana?-180 pages (19/5143 pages)
(6/21)  God is Red-292 pages (20/5434 pages)

goal is 50 books for 2009
8 of 10 Caribbean books read (10/21)
25 of 100 Modern Library's Best 100 books read (6/30)  
3 of 10 New Orleans books read (2/11)

yay, more visitors!

My sister will be here over her spring break, March 14th-16th.  Alas, this time she will not have the opportunity to catch a cabbage.

Start off with a drive up Esplanade to Carrollton to Canal and have lunch at Mandina's.  Then walk all the way around City Park on a crystal clear day that just doesn't happen too often in New Orleans, just warm enough and hardly any humidity.  The New Orleans Museum of Art is right there and it's free to Louisiana residents, so check that out for awhile.  Then hit Rouse's for file powder and head back down Carrollton to Basil Leaf for a delicious Thai dinner, during which you watch the streetcar rattle by and after which you walk the rest of the way up Carrollton to the Riverbend levee.  Walk along the levee for awhile, with the river on one side and the city on the other and stars shining bright overhead, only to get cut off from the rest of the city by the train.  Finally, end up at Creole Creamery for dessert of chocolate chicory ice cream in a waffle cone.  Waffle cones taste like fortune cookies.

Thanks[info]ekaterinn.  I needed that.  We both needed to not be teachers for a day.

to all my New Orleans friends

I have free parking for my car in the school parking lot, just blocks from Endymion.  I can fit 5 in my car including me.

Only in New Orleans...could you finance the 8th grade spring trip to DC by selling parking for Mardi Gras.  At our faculty meeting this afternoon when we were discussing logistics I could only think that they'd never be able to have this conversation in Chicago.  And that is yet another reason why I don't think I could ever leave.

I got a little mini-promotion today.  No extra money or anything, but I am in charge of the 504 students at my school.  In plain English, those are the students who qualify for testing accomodations like extra time or a small group setting but not for special education services.  I have to call their parents to find out if they want accomodations for LEAP (Louisiana's standardized testing) since most of the IAPs are way out of date, as much as 4 1/2 years old.  That's what evacuation all over the country will do for a kid.

They must be starting to trust me and give up some of their control.

We also had two new teachers start today, 2nd and 3rd grade.  We're now fully staffed.  Hopefully that lasts.

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rebirth
marathoner452
aka "Maryland," aka "Ms. Ice Cream"

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