Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Years Resolutions

It's true, it is the next to last day of January and I am just joining the band wagon of posting my New Years Resolutions to the ol' blog. Why wait? Well, let's be honest, I had to make sure that I would actually achieve them for 1/12 of the year first ;) Ok--just kidding (kind of). Here they are in no specific order:

1. Have one meaningful conversation with a student daily.
2. Write Sheldon weekly (when he leaves in March) (January and February. Check.)
3. Pay off my Student Loan (only $550 left!) and Charlie the Civic ($3500, goo.)
4. Vocal evening prayer
5. Leave the country (just for a week or so...). I got my passport, finally :)
6. 100% Visiting Teaching
7. Let myself fall for someone (hmmmm...)
8. Attend the temple monthly

There are a few more :) But we'll work on these first.
(And the picture is how I'll look when I accomplish all of these things. Very doable.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Suspension. Duh, duh, dah...

Suspend student for writing nasty things about me in permanent marker on my desk. Check.
I would post a picture, but I'm thinking I'll not tarnish you...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quotes: A Day in the Life of a Ninth Grade Teacher

Setting: 6th period, 39 students, PowerPoint notes on Latin America (BORING), and my dear, dear student that I talk about all the time. Keep in mind it is the 2nd day of a new semester. The classes are about 1/2 returning and 1/2 traded from my other classes. Now--at this point in the class, this dear boy has been talking constantly--not to anyone in particular, just to the air, and to me...A LOT. Lot's of random facts. LOTS of them. About a very large mixture of items. Territories, countries, duckies, the cute boys that sit next to him, his friend that is absent, the new seat.

As I lap the class as they are writing, I notice that a spoon keeps being launched to the center of the room, removed, and launched again. I ignore it twice because I know it is this child. The third time, I say, "____, get rid of it now. Hand it here." I stick out my hand (stifling my laughter) but as he approaches I get nervous. I notice that this "launched spoon" has been chewed--a LOT. I quickly dodge it as he is coming to place it in my hand and pick up a trash can. (the class is really trying to hold back giggles, though he kind of likes when people laugh at his attention getters--or get's really mad, depending on the day). He keeps talking about how he needs his chew toy and he cannot continue without it. I tell him that he can't have it. These angel children around him start asking around for gum to give him, but he doesn't want it. I give him a mint. Others start asking for them too, but I only had 2 left. They seem to understand why it was OK for me to give it to ____ and not the rest of the class.

10 minutes pass

The same voice grabs my attention (and the other 38 15-year-olds). "Miss Anderson, the other day I was eating Fritos and my feces turned orange..." "____, not now. That is not information you share with others." (I quickly proceed to cover my face with paper and walk to the corner to cover up my giggles...didn't work). Oh how I love my 6th period. The new kids transfering from other classes think 6th period is better than watching a video. Welcome to the life of a 9th grade teacher...
Setting: 7th period. This class went from my absolute worst to one I kind of (a little bit...) look forward to. Two of my favorite male students are in this class. I love them. They are sweathearts. Well one boy I talked about before (Hollister shirt with a girl in a bikini, tea, kissing a girl at a dance, just started attending released time seminary...and has lost the other three:)). Well I was talking with another male student about what classes to register for. I asked the earlier student what he was taking. He showed me seminary on his card. I told a student that he should take seminary. He shrugged his shoulders. I asked if he was Mormon and he kind of shrugged again. He doesn't ever go but apparently his dad is (was?). Well, I explained the logistical pro's and con's of taking or not taking released time seminary. The other kid (who we'll call Tyler) explained how it's really fun and how he loves it. The student was worried that it would be hard. Tyler told him how it's super easy, you play scripture games, and the only thing outside of school is reading your scriptures at night. We talked a bit more and I told him to ask his parents. He brought me his card today. Bubbled in:
x Released time seminary Semester 1
x Released times seminary Semester 2

And they say church and state are separated. Bah. :) I have a great job.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"What God Hath Joined Together," by President Hinckley

While riding a plane some time ago, I picked up a copy of the New York Magazine. As I thumbed through it, I came to a section titled “Strictly Personals.” I counted 159 advertisements placed by lonely men and women seeking partners. It was evident that those who had placed the ads had labored to cast themselves in the best light possible. I wish I had time to read some of them to you. You would enjoy them. There was nothing of an unseemly nature. It was easy to sense that behind these witty and clever descriptions was much of sadness and loneliness, a great desire to find an amiable companion with whom to walk the road of life...

Of course, all in marriage is not bliss. Years ago I clipped these words from a column written by Jenkins Lloyd Jones:

“There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and ravishing wife. When the hollyhocks wither and boredom and bills appear the divorce courts are jammed. …

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed.” (Deseret News, 12 June 1973, p. A4.)

Stormy weather occasionally hits every household. Connected inevitably with the whole process is much of pain—physical, mental, and emotional. There is much of stress and struggle, of fear and worry. For most, there is the ever-haunting battle of economics. There seems never to be enough money to cover the needs of a family. Sickness strikes periodically. Accidents happen. The hand of death may reach in with dread stealth to take a precious one.

Through the history of the generations of man, the actions of rebellious children have been ladened with sorrow and heartbreak, but even when there has been rebellion, the strong cords of family life have reached out to encircle the rebellious one.

I know of no more beautiful story in all of literature than that told by the Master as recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Luke. It is the story of a heady and greedy son who demanded his inheritance, which he wasted until none was left. Penitent, he returned to his father, and his father, seeing him afar off, ran to him and embraced him and fell upon his neck and kissed him.

Some of you within the sound of my voice could recount family sorrows in your own experience. But among the greatest of tragedies, and I think the most common, is divorce. It has become as a great scourge. The most recent issue of the World Almanac says that in the United States during the twelve months ending with March 1990, an estimated 2,423,000 couples married. During this same period, an estimated 1,177,000 couples divorced. (See The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1991, New York: World Almanac, 1990, p. 834.)

This means that in the United States almost one divorce occurred for every two marriages.

Those are only figures written on the pages of a book. But behind them lies more of betrayal, more of sorrow, more of neglect and poverty and struggle than the human mind can imagine. Millions of those divorced in this nation are lonely, frustrated, insecure, and unhappy. Millions of single parents are struggling to rear families, carrying burdens beyond their capacity to handle. Millions of children are growing up in single family homes from which the parent, usually the mother, out of necessity, is absent much of the time. These “latch-key children” return from school each day to empty houses, where, in many cases, there is inadequate food and only the refuge of the television set. Not only are the children suffering, but all of society is paying a frightful price for their circumstances. As they grow older, the incidence of drugs increases among them. Vast numbers turn to criminal behavior. Inadequately trained, many are unemployed. Some aimlessly squander their lives. Millions have become the “flotsam and jetsam” of society, washed upon the shore by oceans of neglect, abuse, and frustration, helpless to correct their circumstances. Time magazine, discussing the problems of New York City, stated that the most serious is the breakdown of the family. Sixty percent of those in New York City public schools, totalling some 600,000, come from one-parent homes. Comparable studies would doubtless bring forth similar statistics for other large cities in America and most of the large cities of the world.

We are building and maintaining more prisons than we can afford. The costs are enormous, almost beyond comprehension.

In an alarming percentage of the cases of those who are warehoused in these facilities, there will be found in their background a broken home where a father abandoned his family and a mother struggled in vain to handle the overpowering odds against her.

Why all of these broken homes? What happens to marriages that begin with sincere love and a desire to be loyal and faithful and true one to another?

There is no simple answer. I acknowledge that. But it appears to me that there are some obvious reasons that account for a very high percentage of these problems. I say this out of experience in dealing with such tragedies. I find selfishness to be the root cause of most of it.

I am satisfied that a happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.

Selfishness so often is the basis of money problems, which are a very serious and real factor affecting the stability of family life. Selfishness is at the root of adultery, the breaking of solemn and sacred covenants to satisfy selfish lust. Selfishness is the antithesis of love. It is a cankering expression of greed. It destroys self-discipline. It obliterates loyalty. It tears up sacred covenants. It afflicts both men and women.

Too many who come to marriage have been coddled and spoiled and somehow led to feel that everything must be precisely right at all times, that life is a series of entertainments, that appetites are to be satisfied without regard to principle. How tragic the consequences of such hollow and unreasonable thinking!

Bitter consequences are seen in the lives of children who need but do not have a father who loves them, teaches them, protects them, and leads them along the path of life by example and precept....

There is a remedy for all of this. It is not found in divorce. It is found in the gospel of the Son of God. He it was who said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matt. 19:6.) The remedy for most marriage stress is not in divorce. It is in repentance. It is not in separation. It is in simple integrity that leads a man to square up his shoulders and meet his obligations. It is found in the Golden Rule.

Marriage is beautiful when beauty is looked for and cultivated. It can be ugly and uncomfortable when one is looking for faults and is blinded to virtue. As Edgar A. Guest once remarked, “It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.” (“Home,” in Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest, Chicago: Reilly and Lee Co., 1934, p. 12.) That is true. I can show you throughout this church hundreds of thousands of families who make it work with love and peace, discipline and honesty, concern and unselfishness.

There must be recognition on the part of both husband and wife of the solemnity and sanctity of marriage and of the God-given design behind it.

There must be a willingness to overlook small faults, to forgive, and then to forget.

There must be a holding of one’s tongue. Temper is a vicious and corrosive thing that destroys affection and casts out love.

There must be self-discipline that constrains against abuse of wife and children and self. There must be the Spirit of God, invited and worked for, nurtured and strengthened. There must be recognition of the fact that each is a child of God—father, mother, son, and daughter, each with a divine birthright—and also recognition of the fact that when we offend one of these, we offend our Father in Heaven.

There may be now and again a legitimate cause for divorce. I am not one to say that it is never justified. But I say without hesitation that this plague among us, which seems to be growing everywhere, is not of God, but rather is the work of the adversary of righteousness and peace and truth.

(Due to time constraints, the remainder of this talk was not given over the pulpit. President Hinckley has asked that it be included in this text.)

You need not be his victims. You can rise above his wiles and entreaties. Get rid of the titillating entertainment, the pornography that leads to evil desires and reprehensible activity. Wives, look upon your husbands as your precious companions and live worthy of that association. Husbands, see in your wives your most valued asset in time or eternity, each a daughter of God, a partner with whom you can walk hand in hand, through sunshine and storm, through all the perils and triumphs of life. Parents, see in your children sons and daughters of your Father in Heaven, who will hold you accountable for them. Stand together as their guardians, their protectors, their guides, their anchors.

The strength of the nations lies in the homes of the people. God is the designer of the family. He intended that the greatest of happiness, the most satisfying aspects of life, the deepest joys should come in our associations together and our concerns one for another as fathers and mothers and children.

God bless the homes of our people. May He bless those homes that there may be loyal and true fathers, and good and wonderful mothers, and obedient and ambitious children reared in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Enos 1:1), I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quotes: In the Life of a Ninth Grade Teacher

It's hard to believe that all of these can come from one student in one day. I've spoke about him before--the one who has some behavioral disabilities and the guys in the class are so so good to him.

Quote 1: Anyways, they are working in a corner right now and I hear a high pitched voice, "I did not do that!" "I did not do that!" I looked over quickly because yesterday this student dropped and cracked a MAC laptop. I look over and see him surrounded with 3 guys with their noses tucked in their shirts. hahahahaha...

Quote 2:
___--"Miss Anderson--I will never die."
Me--"Oh really? I thought we all had to die."
___--"Well normal human beings do. I'm a demigod. Demigods don't die. That means you are half mortal and half human. My father is the ancient Greek god _______, therefore, I won't die. I mean I can, but it's just a lot harder for me than it is for most people."
Me--"Oh really. Well I'm glad you aren't going anywhere."

Quote 3:
Well this isn't really a quote but he's currently staring at me and screaming, barking, and "ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, EW, EWWWWW, EWWWWWWW!!!" Then, as I continue to stare at him, he proceeds to zip his zipper. Oh the joys...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Long Walk to Freedom

I am in a book club. I know what you're thinking--old, Relief Society women sitting around enjoying treats and talking about their feelings. BUT--this is a little different. I'm in a Social Sciences book club in my school district for relicensure points and lane change credits. AKA--for an eventual raise. :) We read one book a month. Last month's book was Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. I prefer to call him Ol' Nelly now that I've spent approximately 625 pages with him (and, yes, I read every single one). Now, after seeing Invictus, I was so excited for the Rugby part to come. I waited, and waited, and waited. It never came. I would recommend this book. It was really great and very enlightening. I can't believe that he really, truly spent almost 3 decades of his life in prison. Can you imagine? Wow. Nelson Mandela is an incredible person. These are a few of my favorite thoughts (or most thought provoking) of ol' Nelly.

"Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another. (p. 166)

"A philosopher once noted taht something is odd if a person is not liberal when he is young and conservative when he is old. I am not a conservative, but one matures and regards some of the views of one's youth as undeveloped and callow." (haha. p. 228)

"Poverty and the breakdown of family life have secondary effects. Children wanter about the streets of the townships because they have no schools to go to, or no money to enable them to go to school, or no parents at home to see that they go to school, because both parents (if there be two) have to work to keep the family alive. This leads to a breakdown in moral standards, to an alarming rise in illegitimacy and to growing violence which erupts, not only politically, but everywhere..." (p. 368)

I've never really thought about the purpose of prison before. Apparently Mandela had a little more time to. Interesting thoughts: "Prison is desigend to break one's spirit and destroy one's resolve. To do this, the authorities attempt to exploit every weakness, demolish every initiative, n egate all signs of individuality--all with the idea of stamping out that spark that makes each of us human and each of us who we are." (p. 390)
"I am fundamentally an optimist. Whethere that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. THere were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lay defeat and death." (p. 391)

Speaking after his son's death while in prison, "What can one say about such a tragedy? I was already overwrought about my wife, I was still grieving for my mother, and then to hear such news...I do not have the words to express the sorrow, or the loss I felt. It left a whole in my heart that can never be filled." (p. 447) This just reminded me that the great Freedom Fighter was a human.

One of my favorites: "I never lost hope that this great transformation would occur. Not only because of the great heroes I have already cited, but because of the courage of the ordinary men and women of my country. I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. " (p. 622)

My recommendation: Read it. Or at least read this version.
We can overcome rascism. I know it.