Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Afternoon Leaf Study

Recently I have been decidedly not-hard at work. I haven't subbed for a week now, mostly because teachers are hesitant to take time off this early in the year, and ISTEP testing is going on this week, meaning that teachers are needed to administer the tests. This gives me a ton of free time (too much, some of my housemates might say...), which I have been using to read books, scrapbook, and putter about.

One way that I have really enjoyed using my free time is spending time at the public library. Public libraries are incredible, amazing places. I could probably just people watch there for hours, snooping on people's magazine choices and watching the variety of people that come through the door: punk high school kids with baggy pants, post workers, grandmotherly types, gum-chewers with loud cell phone rings, mothers with small children, etc. But I also love being surrounded by the quiet coolness of shelves of books, discovering new gems in the stacks. I love being around other people who enjoy reading and learning. I love that libraries can be havens for the kids who have nowhere to go after school and for people who need to slow down and read a newspaper or find a new book.

I recently discovered the joy of the Goshen library's CD collection: unlimited access to the beautiful Putumayo World Music CDs that I love to listen to, but do not have the money to own. I am currently enjoying one called Latinas: Women of Latin America, which has a song by a Dominican woman which caught my eye. I also brought home Music from the Tea Lands, which will keep me company while I'm whipping up dinner using garden tomatoes and zucchini in a few hours.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

...I just heard a "Clocks" remix with salsa music in the background. Good work, The Globe. I think I'm in love.

I've always aspired to be a good mixologist, of music, that is. I love making mix CDs, and making sure that the songs flow well into each other. It's definitely a good time. I also love new music. Kimberly recently made a The Spain rule that in order to be a dinner guest in our house, you must introduce us to or tell us about one new band or artist. I like it. And I'm pretty sure Kate just won herself unlimited dinners at our house (that she will of course accept from England) for the crazy amount of beautiful new music she sent me from England. I am listening to the Wailin' Jennys right now and loving it.

I've spent the past two days teaching 6th grade social studies at the middle school. 6th graders are squirrelly little animals that simultaneously want to please you to no end and completely torture you for not being their regular teacher. But they are studying early hunter-gatherer culture, and the arrival of the peoples who settled basically all of the Americas, the Clovis people. Their book even mentioned that recent anthropological research has found evidence of people even earlier than the Clovis, during the Ice Age. Interesting, I thought. This morning I was reading my library book, The Sixth Extinction, by Terry Glavin, who elaborated on this theory. It felt so cool to have information transfer from my working life to my pleasure reading. Sweet action.

And finally, a few realizations that have come over the past few days:
1) my baby cousins are all grown up. I got to watch them play each other in soccer at the GHS v. Bethany HS soccer game last night.
2) red and turquoise is possibly one of my favorite color combinations.
3) fall is here!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Why you too should support local business

Nate [co-op shopper/housemate]: "Excuse me, could you tell me what aisle love is found in?"

Me [co-op employee]: *points to self* "This aisle!" *give him big hug

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mi casa es su casa

...The phrase seems a bit trite, but it really is how I feel about my living space: Mi casa es su casa. So, if you're ever in town, drop in for a bit at The Spain. You are always welcome. I've enjoyed the number of Goshen folk who have already found our humble abode and drop in when they feel so led. So here it is in all it's glory:

Welcome to The Spain!
The kitchen
Kirsten lunching in the dining nook
My lunch is served
The Spain's precious counter/cabinet space
The bathroom (curtains by Alana)
Kimberly and Kirsten's bedroom
Alana and Emily's bedroom
Classy room decor
Cozy bookshelf in our bedroom
La Bandera
Lovely bank of windows in our bedroom
Living room (decorated by Kirsten)
Alana's desk area, cloaked in sunshine (a replacement for Goshen's lack thereof)
Other half of living room
Final living room shot

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This I Believe (about the natural world)

Today's environmental science field trip got me thinking about how little the average teenager considers the natural world outside their door. I was encouraged that students found time between texting their friends to examine the ecosystem at Merry Lea today. But I realized that I grew up in a different world, where I was told to play outside after school (and actually had a yard), taught to enjoy working in a garden (and eating the produce), and went camping every summer.

I believe that every child has the right to:

1. Get truly, honestly dirty with real dirt, soil, and grime. And relish it.
2. Experience a truly fresh garden tomato, straight off the vine.
3. Have nothing better to do but stare at the night sky in awe.
4. Watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly.
5. Be able to explain where their food comes from.
6. Plant something, tend it, watch it grow, and reap the benefits (flowers, food, etc)
7. Understand their connection to the ecosystems of the world.
8. Play outside until a parent calls them in for a bath.
9. Roast marshmallows around a campfire after a day of hiking in the woods.
10. Climb a tree.
11. Learn how to swim.
12. Above all, to relish the "great outdoors" rather than cower in fear, screaming shrilly at any insect or worm that crosses their path.

This type of ecological education seems much more important to me than reciting "answers" from a textbook. I hope to incorporate all of these into my classroom, if/when I get one. After all, how is one expected to care about the world and its resources if s/he has never experienced it?

Cleaning up my act

Perhaps this blog should give a glimpse into my every day world these days:
I sub for Goshen Community Schools. I don't hate it. I don't dread going to work each morning, which is a pretty big feat for a sub, knowing that I'm about to walk into a room of squirrely children who think they'll get to goof off all period. I've only been subbing at the high school, so I feel like I know the building and at least the science dept. a fair amount. I really like spending time with high school students. There is always a laugh and a smile, even if it is at my expense sometimes (someone asked if I was pregnant yesterday. I'm not, for the record).

This week as certainly been a surprise. I am not a yeller when it comes to discipline, and believe in more civilized methods. However, yesterday when all civilized methods failed, I yelled. Louder than I've ever yelled before. I let my subconscious take over, and was a bit surprised at how loud I could be. The good news is, my unruly charges became totally ruly for the last 60 mins. of class. Today I did a very different kind of subbing: accompanying my fellow science teacher Zeb on a field trip to Merry Lea with his environmental science students. I loved it! I think everyone should have the opportunity to get filthy-dirty in the name of science or anything, really. I love getting mucky. Today I was helping the students study aquatic macroinvertebrates (read: bugs) in Cub Lake. This involves asking students to get into huge rubber waders and use nets to scoop up the muckiness of the lake bottom and dig through it with their hands. I was surprised at the number of students who did so with relish, much like myself. Others were squeamish, even shriek-y. I have little patience with these students. I have always loved getting dirty (except for that unfortunate middle school stage when I wanted showers and make up every day, even on camping trips), and I want others to love it, too. So I encouraged them to at least get in and walk around, and everyone did.

I'm living with three women my age, all of whom are taking various courseloads at GC. I am not a student. It is often assumed that I am because of my age and location. But it's ok. All my friends are students, so I don't mind. And I refuse to move over to the recent graduate section at men's soccer games. I'm not ready to sit down and clap instead of cheering loudly and crazily quite yet.

Otherwise I keep busy spending time with friends, reading voraciously, and working at the Maple City Market. Life is good.

Squeamish high school student (SHSS): "How can you tell if your waders are leaking?"
Me: "Because there will be a puddle of water in your boot."