Bonus Track

Well. It’s your lucky day.  Because today I like my kids at my placement AND I don’t have anything due immediately (before noon tomorrow) so I thought today would be a good day to write about my kids.

Basically, as mentioned before, I work with kids in grades K-6 on social skills.  Which in itself it interesting enough.  Because I find myself practicing skills like not yelling, taking turns, and making eye contact when I’m listening.

And almost every day I have a conversation with my supervisor in which we speculate as to whether my children have social deficits because they have a hard time learning them, because they were never taught the rules, or because they just choose not to follow them.  We never know.  But regardless.  They have the deficits.  So we work on them.

And basically it’s my job to 1. explicitly state the social rules. 2. give them opportunities to practice them.

So that’s the ‘work’ part of my placement.  I teach 2 speech groups in the classroom and pull kids out for individual sessions.  But when I’m not doing that I just hang out with the k-2 grade kids and talk to them.  Because really, that’s the best way to practice social skills.

And from these talkative adventures, some stories have resulted.

From my k-2 graders:

We had a professional drummer visit our music class today.  He started by introducing himself and saying, “I have the best job in the world!” To which one of my children responded, “That is an opinion.” But after he played a set for us the same child said, “You are really good!  But that’s my opinion.”

I have another kid who likes facts. (In addition to the child mentioned above.)  So. Yesterday when he was being crazy during indoor recess I said, “Hey.  Do you want to talk about sharks?”  It worked.

I had another kid who didn’t want to be in class.  I told him I needed him to go back to class because I needed to go to another class.  He said, “Okay.  If you give me $20.”  I said, “I don’t have $20.”  He was shocked. “$1?”  “Nope.  I don’t even have a dollar.”  “You don’t have any money?!?”  “No.  I’m a student.  I don’t have a job.”  To which he responded, “You’re a student? But how are you so good?!?”

I work with one girl. She’s the very unique, spunky kind I think.  And she licks her fingers a lot.  But.  She has long blond hair and wears cute stripped dresses and plays with sticker books and walks with me to the park and tells me stories about Twinkle the Star.  And.  She hugs me and says, “I love you.”

She also got in an argument today with a peer about the Freedom Tower during our conversation about skyscrapers.  All I heard was, “SKYSCRAPER!” “NO. Freedom TOWER!” “no. SKYSCRAPER.”  I quickly explained that it’s both.

Also. I have a child that asks me EVERY TIME I read something or show a video clip in class if there is any sickness or dying in the content.  To which I always respond, “No.” and think, “This is kindergarten.  What kind of person do you think I am?!?”

In contrast.  My 4-6 grade boys:

Change the content of all our reading material so that it ends in death.

And speak with beeps in place of swear words.  For example.  They may say, “What the beep are you doing?”  Well.  This isn’t allowed because we aren’t to pretend to cuss at school.  However.  It’s one of those sentences that is very funny to read without intonation and adds comedy to the whole situation.

Also in class, when my students said they were listening even though they weren’t I said, “Who can tell me what I said?” to which one boy responded with, “I think it was something about Ryan Gosling.” It’s almost like he knows about all the teacher memes out there. (Examples to follow.)

Teacher Bits and Bobs: Blogger Meetup and Easter Break!Thanks Ryan Gosling

Also of note.  I have been working on creating my ‘teacher personality.’  Which, so far, means speaking in a sterner voice and wearing more cardigans.

k. Here’s some perspective taking for the road.  (That’s an idiom.  We work on those too.)


Filling Up

7 year olds who use the word ‘startling.’ 2 year olds who cry into their mother’s neck. Public service announcements about missing children. Train commutes with unlimited passes (which means I ride the train more than 12x a week). Funny quotes from my kids.  Thinking about social skills and language and social skills some more.  Positive reinforcement with a firm voice. Cooking pasta. Wearing my shoes down to the side walk. Coloring fish. Reading articles with big words and trying to remember it all.  Meeting with groups for projects.  Climbing the 4 steps of my lofted latter to bed. A 3 hour bilingual test for my license.  Skype chats and facebook chats and snapchats.  Coats in the morning just to carry them home in the afternoon.  Fall leaves and trash pick up and laundry and adding orange or brown to all my outfits.  Recess in the park by the Freedom Tower.  Considering culture in every assessment.  Memorizing verses for my missions class in church.  And taking time to pray for children I’ve never met.  Life sure has a way of filling up.

Also. Here are some pictures of what I did this weekend. B/c I know you’re dying to know. Basically. Friday I went to the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) and Shake Shack.


The next 2 pictures basically sum up the difference between classic art and modern art. Notice. The person in the first picture is enjoying the beauty of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  The person in the second picture is tilting their head sideways – as if to say… “hmmm. Interesting. But I’m not sure what that’s about. ”

In a related note. My museum friend and I have decided that classic art was made for others to enjoy and was meant to depict beauty.  Meanwhile, modern artists – while they may feel like all good art has already been made?- often choose to depict their own world view and situation in life and is a form of expression- for their own enjoyment.


Here’s some cubism from Picasso. Image

It says, “This is not a pipe.”  Which is true. It is merely a picture of a pipe. Image



And so.  After my big test on Saturday.  I went out with my friend Malinda.  Our first choice restaurant had a 2 hour wait so we went to (Burger) Heaven instead.  So basically- I’m burgered out for a while.  But we also happened upon something that I didn’t know about but rather liked- the tram to Roosevelt Island.  It lends itself to quite the view I’d say. ImageImage



The End.

“On particularly rough days whem I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%.  And that’s pretty good.”

A Whiff of Hope

As of late my brain has been in the continual process of thinking.  I mean, I know that’s what it’s supposed to do.  But sometimes I’d like a break.  Especially because when I think too much my thoughts stop stringing together cohesively and begin instead to scatter like puzzle pieces.  Which means that all the blog related thoughts in my head are really related to nothing at all.  Let’s just say, this is going to be as much of an adventure for you to read as it will be for me to write.

Insert random photo to get the party started:

(look! It’s the sun setting in Queens.)


For one. I think it’s odd that vests are in style this year.   Not the dressy vests I mean.  But the puffy ones- like this:

Ok. This is a slight exaggeration. (I found the picture by googling “men wearing puffy vests.”)  But I’m just saying. This is a weird man trend.  Especially in the city.  Where everyone is dressed up all the time. Except the men in The North Face vests.  They are just going to a campfire? I don’t know.

My second observation.  The ‘lobby’ (aka. the tiny space between the exterior and interior door) of my apartment building always seems to have a Chinese menu just hanging out with the rug there.  Logically I have observed that businesses advertise their food by sticking their menus on our mail boxes or under our doors.  But the fact that the Wo Hop Kitchen menu has been facing me for days has not escaped me.

Thirdly.  Two members of our household passed this week.  One was a fish.  The other a mouse.  One had simple life constrained to the limits of his plastic, water-filled tank.  He lived a good life but it ended in a slow painful suffer.  For his sake, we were glad to see him go.  The other roamed free.  Eating cheese off of traps.  Running under ovens and fridges.  Climbing in pans and trashcans.  He was a ghetto mouse.   His life was full of risk and danger.  For our sakes, we were glad to see him go.

In other news (to keep it light) I got a new sweater.  And it wears nicely with my new shirt and my ‘new’ watch (which I bought on clearance this summer and then delayed wearing until orange was deemed a seasonally appropriate color.)


And finally.  I have a group project due on Wednesday in which I have personally invested about .. 25 hours.  as has my partner.  Needless to say.  It turns out grad school is actually a lot of work.  Especially since this is not my only project at the moment.   How do I say this?  Basically.  When in doubt- I’m doing homework.  Although I do take time for sanity along the way. (Don’t worry.)  But the interesting thing about being so busy is that I’m getting better at it.  I mean.  Sure.  I have some pretty in-cohesive blog posts.  And sometimes an eye twitch.  (external factors really)  But really. I check my planner and ride the train and do my homework and realize that I am only a few short (hectic) months from graduation.  And life moves on.  And the moments in between.  When I get a chance to live life.  When I don’t wake up thinking about my placement.  Or I have a conversation about something other than school.  When I go out to eat.  Or knit a hat.  Or chat with a friend.  These moments give me a whiff of hope.  Not only that this will all end.  But that I will even enjoy the trip along the way.

So Much DrAma- So Little Time

Last week I got some ‘firsts’ squeezed into my otherwise busy schedule.  Because I hosted my 1. first pregnant woman (yay! first Miller great-grand baby!) 2. first puppy 3. first time during the school week.

So.  My cousin Crystal was here from Wednesday morning through Saturday morning.  She was here with a puppy to be on a TV show/commercial thing with the animal shelter she works for.  Which is great for them.  And it turned out to be great for me too since it really has been much too long since we’ve hung out.  Plus.  We went exploring.  To places I’ve mostly been before and didn’t need a map for.  Which doesn’t count as ‘real’ exploring.  But it was still fun.  Places worth seeing once are usually worth seeing twice.

Just a view of the city at night.


We went to the 9/11 memorial.  Image

I always take pictures with my guests in this building.  It’s just too efficient not to. Image

And we took the Staten Island Ferry.  It’s great for views like this. Image

And this.


And crazy hair like this.


And here’s the puppy.  CeCe. You can tell she’s a puppy because it was impossible for me to get a picture of her with her head in one spot.  Mostly because she was busy licking all the corners of our house.  Image

Sidenote:  Props to my cousin Crystal for being my bravest/savviest country guest yet.  Driving herself from Manhattan to Brooklyn at 7 am with a puppy in her car.  Taking her first NYC subway ride. alone. to meet me.  Figuring out which way was North.  (A lost skill in our world.)  Texting me the time she was leaving because she figured out that I can’t receive texts on the train and knew they wouldn’t be time stamped.  Making her own pancakes for breakfast because I abandoned her and went to school.  Taking her dog to the bathroom in all the late and early hours of the day.  Walking herself to our ghetto park.  For a girl who spent most of her life growing up on a gravel road- this girl has got some great adaptation skills.  So great I thought everyone should know about it. 🙂

But now I’m back to the insanity that is my life. Which today included a child saying to me during an assessment, “stop boring me,” and another child crying for 30 minutes during our session and basically drinking her snot as it poured down her toddler face.  Here’s to hoping that some day I get better at this.  Or at least get more sleep before then.

life goes on...

Life goes on.  And I’m learning to give lessons the time it takes to learn them.