Monday, April 26, 2010

M is for Mindless Monday...

Something about this song I find so funny. Maybe it's Jack White's jovial attitude through out the song? When it comes to the White Stripes I could listen to them on a loop. Lets be honest right now there are two things that I could probably do for two weeks straight and not get tired of it, first, eat chinese food for dinner and second, listen to the White Stripes. It was between three songs this song (Rag and Bones) the Hardest Button to Button, or Jolene (the live version)... so good..., I was having a hard time deciding which to post today. I finally decided because I figured I could save the other two for later.

Finally, I don't know why but I find this cartoon humorous...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Will it Stay or Will it GO.....

Can I quickly talk about the fact that I have no idea what to pack for a tiny trip that I will be taking in 2 weeks? I mean yeah, I know I should be taking some of the following:
• Shirts- logically how many should I even bring?
• Pants
• Underwear
• Computer
• IPod
• Camera
• Shoes & socks

But what about other things like …
Stuff for the kids
• Markers/ highlighters
• pens
• Stickers
• Games for the kids – are we including board games in this?

General stuff
• Pillow?
• Jacket/coat? – When it comes to jackets/coats I don't wear them here in the States. Even when I was in Pittsburgh for college I didn’t wear a coat when it was snowing. So am I going to be fine, right? Or should I go out and buy a coat for Bulgaria?
• Cookware/ kitchen stuff. It says to bring kitchen stuff with you but you probably wouldn't need it for almost 4 months...just buy it there. Right?
• Blanket/ Sleeping bag? Do I really have to go get one or should I buy it there?
• Towel(s)?
• Water bottle w/ filter?
• Converter- buy it in the states or over there?

The longer the list gets the more I’m thinking the TSA agents are going to be cursing me!
Gifts for my home stay- what do I give? When do I give it? Lost on this one! I’ve heard things ranging from magnets to hats and photos of MY Family.

Seems like I have more questions coming up then answers.
I'll write an update of what I actually took probably... probably.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The BIG Talk and Breaking the Cardinal Rule

So, I let my boss know on Friday that I was leaving. Specifically, I let my boss know that I was leaving in two weeks for the Peace Corps. Ideally, I would have liked to have had some down time between this job and my next, but I couldn't do it. I just kept going to work and looking at my kids and thinking if I tell my boss that means that someone else will be sent in here to replace me. This is going to probably come off so selfish, so wrong, so badly said but I'll try to explain it...

I just sat there day after day with my kids, helping them with homework, listening to them tell me whatever problems they were having, or discuss their day. During that time I kept thinking I can't have someone else here, these are MY KIDS. A touch of denial has me, yeah, I'll admit to this.

Anyways, I didn't want to ruin the routine that we had going.
• Come in start homework
The kids come up and I help multiple ones with their homework at once
• In between checking those that didn't need help and correcting if anything
Needed correcting.
• Towards the end of homework get snack out. Pick my snack helpers while
• Discussing the day with my site mate. Who I also told yesterday.(It's funny how friendships are formed at the work place, I feel like I'm going to miss DK)
• Then when the kids have all started breaking off into groups, having done their
homework and my brain starts to fizzle from reading or calculating 4+4=7 no wait...8-7=... and you start to think that maybe the kids are right and the years of math you have done that say 4+4=8 and 8-7= 1 is incorrect. Just like if you see a word spelled incorrectly time after time you start to doubt yourself. I get 2 minutes of checking homework usually with one of my favorite kids. (I'll just call him T for his first initial).

I adore my kids for their own unique reasons, whether it is because they go out of their way to help the younger students. Maybe it's because they just try so hard on their homework everyday and keep working when they don't quite get it but they still "show up." Sometimes I adore them because they are just so darn funny day, after day and the giggle at their own jokes, you can't HELP but to laugh with them. Other times I'm amazed at how mature they are at their age. I find myself thinking about the kid I knew in August when we started how different they are now! I see how smart, or how good they are at sports, and in being their own particular brand of kid they give small acts of kindness to others(sometimes). Anyways...I digress.

The highlight of my day is often going over T’s spelling with him. He stands politely and waits, he has manners like no 6, now 7 year old, I have ever known. He says please, thanks you and excuse me. Even when I'm talking to someone he'll just tap me, if I still can't pull myself away he'll politely say "excuse me..." then tap and say excuse me. He puts so much effort into his homework making sure it's right and when we are done I give him a high five! If he misses he tries again. A ritual that has spawned high fives with the other kids. I'm going to miss that!

Then at the end of the day after we are done doing an homework, an activitiy and free play, plus, whatever else DK or I planned for the day... the kids that are left (usually the same four or five) we have a dance party. The kids provide the music and we commendeer the gym teachers cd player and blast some tunes. I allow the kids on the stage and one kid at a time runs across showing everyone their moves. They come out with the craziest stuff. DK and I snicker about kidds Bopp slaughtering songs and the fact that G and TP want to hear the same songs over and over again. But the kids keep going, they do some variation of the worm, W does some street spins with a FULL grin on his face. G always brushes off his shoulders and DK laughs hysterically, while I TRY not to watch. Little sisters that I see in the morning come to pick up big brothers and join in the dance party while their poor parent's, they probably hate us for delaying them with the dance party we have almost daily, attempt to rangle them into the cars. So that is why I procrastinated.

Then there is just the kids in general. How far G has come since the beginning of the year, how much better he plays group games, how compassionate he is to kids that are younger. It really makes me happy to see him helping out the kindergartners. I still see him get frustrated but he works through it. When I told the class I was leaving and I found him looking at me. His big brown eyes were teary and I just wanted to give him a big hug and tell him it was going to be fine. I didn't want to ruin his cool factor with his friends though. Or even LL and how she's become so much better and not breaking into tears when she doesn't get her way with other students. The kids that hugged me I didn't expect to hug me, except “LL” (she clutched at me through the whole talk I had with the kids and cried into my shirt).

A few of the younger kids came up and hugged me leaving LL to pull at me and mumble don't leave, don't leave. In all honesty, even though I wanted to go to Bulgaria the most, it was my top two, I had desperately wished for my kids to be done school when I left. I hoped that summer fun would distract them so that it was them leaving me, not me leaving them. Just a few weeks ago I was talking to TP's mom and discussing the high turnover rate in my position, the reasons I wouldn't talk about here. I've already discussed them with those who know me. When I started this job,I replaced a woman that was only there for a month. She had been hired to replace someone as well. So because of that I wish that they had left me, not the other way around.

Sometime during me telling the kids a question I dreaded answering came up, how will the kids see me? Will I come back? Can they talk to me? I didn't know how this would work? By the time I am gone there will be 5 weeks left in the school year. My kids are together because of an after school program so when they aren't with me they scatter to three different grade levels (kindergarten, first and second). The start of next year will see my second graders in a new program, a new school, with completely new program managers, not even my site mate can keep track of them. I'm perhaps closest to my second graders G, K, and LJ. All of them will be off to a new school and though I'm probably just a blip to them I still had no idea what to say when this question came up. Looking at their faces as B asked "When are you coming back?" "In two years B." Silence...

Followed by a bunch of questions at once… you're going to visit us though, right? (from someone else)
I thought of the long plane ride that would entail (that I can’t possibly afford) and the idea of busting in on their new class just to say hello to each of my 23 kids... I couldn't promise that. “I'll come back to the United States in 2 years guys.” Then someone asked something about talking to me or saying hello and it popped out of my mouth....

"I'll write you..."

"You can write me too."

Somewhere in there was a yell about when I came back I would be there 4th grade teacher. That’s when G finally spoke, finally moved. He sounded annoyed and angry like when he's frustrated. “She’s leaving! You’ll be out of 4th by the time she comes back.” The two boys, B and G, spun off a small fight about it that caused me to stop the general questioning for a second. I’m going to teach English G. B asked if I was going to be like one of his teachers from school. “Yeah.” Then you can come back and teach again but be my teacher all day long! (What do you say to that?) Never promise a kid, especially these kids’ things you can’t guarantee…that’s how I feel.

I was saved by DK who was asked by LJ and K if I would be there when they got back from vacation. The conversation moved on, no promises were made about me being their elementary school teacher in two years. But I had already I promised more then I could rightly promise a cardinal sin!I would right them, they would right me...
I'm not sure how much their parents will be up for their kids writing to their after school care "teacher" in Bulgaria, but I would write them. I would if it was only up to me. I know I would write to each of these kids if they wrote to me. I've started to wonder if I should write all of them a good-bye note, I could hand it to them the day I leave, maybe?

DK and I have decided that she'll do an activity where the kids write to me when I leave. The only problem is the mail, how long with the letters take to get to me? What if some or all are lost? Worse yet, how long will it take to get the letters back to the kids?

When I told my mother about the kids and their reactions, LJ's & K's worries that they wouldn't be back before I left, then K asking me repeatedly not to go. She asked what I had expected to happen? What did I expect the kids to do when I told them that I was leaving? Plus, I still have to tell the older kids like I, and JB that I see during morning opens. I guess I never really thought about it. The boys seem resign to it, the girls as the day went on would whisper to me "Please don't go...I don't want you to leave."

When DK and I started telling parents they were supportive, LL's dad thanked me for the time I've been with LL shook my hand, wished me luck. TH's mom was fantastic; she was really excited for me. At the end of the day though the kids seemed to be zapped of all their energy and not as bouncy as usual. As the last of the parents came to pick up their kids and the site manager came from the older kid’s site to sit and talk with me, I wondered how the kids would react in two weeks. That will be my absolute last day, when I worked my last job I really didn’t have this problem. There was such a steady stream of kids that you only saw for a day or two that you never really had a bond going with them.

Each job I'm at as I get ready to leave I think of all the information I've compiled over my time there. I think of how I will lose that information or if I don't lose it it will soon become irrelevant. I thought of this when I thought back on all the stuff I know about my kids right now.

It's ridiculous how much I know about my kids! I know their first, middle and last and darn straight if I don’t call them by it when they are in trouble or I’m kidding around. They all have nicknames, some of which I used as their abbreviations to refer to them by in this entry. I know favorite colors, pets names, I look after siblings (older and younger) when I go to other sites, I know their parents & their cars, I know their daily extracurricular schedules (soccer, gymnastics, envirothon, art, dad’s week, mom’s…swim lessons, and boy scouts). I know how much of a portion to give each individual during snack. It’s ridiculous what you learn about kids when you are around them so long but what do I do with all that information I stored in two weeks? I've only taken one sick day from the kids in the time since I have been here. I have to remind myself that they will go on. I still have to tell my older kids, the ones I have at morning open and my younger ones too, like S with her little "I go with you, miss Dnana"

It’s funny to think that I’m such a small part of my kid’s life and they have become such a big part of mine I have kids ranging on any given day from 3 years old to 6th grade (during morning opens) I work with. I'm replaceable though, right, lol. After all when I replaced the woman whose job I have now the kids never even asked where she went.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You can quote me err...or rather him

I think that I'm going to start a quote of the week post? Good idea? Bad idea? or lacking imagination? You tell me...

Character lives in a man reputation outside of him. -J.G. Holland

The best way to prepare for your life is to begin to use it. - Elbert Hubbard

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What the Halota is up with the name of your Blog?

So, why name my blog the Golden Ticket? Why not "Blogging My Way Across Bulgaria" or something that more represents the trip that I'm about to take? Well, first off that's just not me. Second, have you ever watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? The old version, the one with Gene Wilder, you know the good one? No offense Johnny Deep. Charlie gets this golden ticket and this whole new world opens up to him. That and it's and inside joke with a friend of mine. What's up Halota!

As for what you should and shouldn't expect from my blog? The best puncuation in the world? Negative. My usual ADD type of rambling, yeah, probably. Sorry! At this point though my people you should be use to me, right?

I'd write more but I have to go to work. -Deanna