Saturday, June 30, 2007

Weird Face Recognition thingy do



Ok... so I've always wondered which celebs I look like because I think people often just look to the hair (like anyone with big, curly hair looks like me... everyone from Darryl Hannah to Bette Midler). While Howard Dean is apparently my dad, I find it especially funny that there is a Korean in the mix. And now, if anyone asks, I can confidently say that I identify most with Charlotte!

Friday, June 29, 2007

My little bro...

Brian's agreed to apartment sit (and cat sit) while I'm in Martha's Vineyard. I'm glad he'll help me out! We had a fine conversation the other day. For those of you who know me and know what all I've been through with my brother, you'll know how much it means to me that we are talking without pissing each other off royally.

The cable company must have turned the channel limiter on in my apartment because now I can only get the local channels (like I'd been paying for). I had some initial shock of withdrawal, but I guess I've adapted nicely to the lack of TiVo and figure, this too shall pass. Or at least be replaced by a YouTube addiction.

I woke up this morning very icky-feeling. Maybe allergies? I haven't been taking my allergy meds recently... so maybe I should work on that. Or it could just be because I was up late last night!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Korean Embassy Adventure

So, I was "reminded" today about why I only use public transportation when travelling downtown in DC.

I need to go to the Korean embassy to have certified/notarized copies of my diploma made in order to apply for my E-2 visa. The idea of sending the original off to Korea via FedEx makes me a bit nervous, but you can't just make copies--they need to be witnessed as official. And apparently, notaries at Korean consulates are the only ones that Korean immigration recognizes. So I think, "No problem! I'll just hop on down to embassy row one day in June to get all this stuff done. Easy peasy." Earlier this week I looked online about where the embassy is located and what documents I'd need and all that. My plan was to go today before meeting Janet and Michelle for Janet's birthday lunch.

Well... ok. So I got a bit of a later start than I anticipated. "Ok," I once again brilliantly reason, "I'll just drive downtown so that I can make it out to Anne Arundel county in time for lunch. The embassy website says it has parking for the embassy and google maps says it will only take 30 minutes--much less than the 40 min subway ride plus 15 min walk and 10 min drive to G-belt station!"

Many of you are probably wondering how such a generally competent and intelligent individual as myself could make such a ridiculous mistake. Especially since I have lived in the DC area most of my life. I should know better. I should have known better...

Ah yes. Hindsight.

So, after waging an epic battle with route 50 and New York Avenue through to Dupont Circle and arriving at the embassy part of town (which took well over the advertised 30 minutes, Google liars--more like 45), I start looking around desperately for the South Korean flag while dodging j-walking tourist groups on Mass Ave. I get a bit nervous as I notice NONE of the embassy buildings have parking lots and (this being a weekday in the downtown area) street parking was less than nonexistent (as in, even the illegal spaces were taken by standing vehicles). It wasn't near the cross street I thought it would be. The time is nearing the noon deadline when the consulate services will shut down for lunch. Anxiety is increasing logarithmically... but then I happily discover a lively building with the R.O.K. banner and some Korean film crew outside that has (GASP!) a little parking lot filled with Hyundais! Yay! Maybe I wasn't psychotic after all...

Except the lot is full. No, full implies something other than what I experienced. The cars were parked in three rows thick with only a single lane and nowhere to turn around. In a space roughly the size of my living room, were no fewer than 15 cars, in which my own was now mired. No helping that now. With 10 minutes left to noon, I decided to deal with it when I finished and hope for the best.

I run into the building, which seems to be having some sort of event because everyone is Korean and dressed up in nice business suits. In my jeans and pigtails with my backpack full of official documents, I felt something akin to what a homeless person who enters a hotel to use the restroom must feel. I smile in a way that I hope exudes relaxed confidence and pleasantly stupid sheepishness, as a young Korean man asks if he can help me.

"Consulate services?"
"Oh, no, you want down there." He motions towards nothing in particular. Could he mean the stairs?
"Downstairs?"
"No, no, down the street. Other building. In the circle."
Oh shit.
"Oh!" Same smile, slightly less confident and more sheepish. "Ok, thank you!" I duck my head and run out to the enchanted Hyundai forest to decide what to do about the car.

If I ran, I might make it to the consulate building in time to have the gate slammed in my face, but my fear of having my car permanently walled into the Hyundai mass grave by some other person parking me in (yes, I realize I was already parking like 20 people in...) and missing Janet's birthday lunch won out. I figured maybe I could drop the stuff off and come back for it later. Or maybe some kind person would help me anyways. Plus, I still had my doubts that the building even existed, since I had definitely missed it the first time around.

I hopped in my car and promptly got lost down a side street (this happens a lot in DC), and then found myself on the cross street with Mass where the consulate building was supposed to be anyhow with a free parking space right in front of me! Miraculous! Maybe my luck was changing!

Except, crap, the parking meter is broken and I don't know which direction Mass is (I got turned around a few times when I got lost). Certain I'll be doomed with a ticket, I glance at my DC map, get my bearings and head for the consulate. Only to arrive at 12:10pm. The building unlocked made the final up to my up and down, very anti-climactic battle that must be repeated tomorrow. The guy at the window said to come back at 1:30--the time I was supposed to be at Friendly's on Crain. *sigh* At least I didn't get a ticket.

On top of all this, I had forgotten about the universal law of DC driving--you can make it in alive, but you cannot exit the city to the east from NW. Not a chance.

So I just gave up and drove North, retreating to the familiar normalcy of Montgomery County. I'm exhausted (even after a lovely lunch with Janet), and I have to do it all over again tomorrow. The moral of the story is, of course, the one I already knew:

Use the freaking metro!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gotta get my study on!

So, I took Princess for a trip out to "D-mass" (as Sarah calls it) to see how she'd fare in a new environment on a slightly longer trip. It went pretty well, even if she disappeared for a few hours behind some boxes and without her bell collar, couldn't be found! When I got her home, though, she adjusted right back to being here no problem and seemed to tolerate the travel alright. However, I think I've decided that I'll keep my apartment through August because the double-move prospect is really unpleasant to both of us right now.

More importantly, I have not done a darn thing on my work for grad school because I've been so stressed out about trying to pack up the apartment that I haven't been able to focus! I really need to finish the degree before I run off to Korea so I don't have to worry about it anymore. I am excited about going to the Vineyard, but if I really want to spend some time on the beach and biking around the island, I have to get my work done in advance.

Something is really inspiring me right now. I don't know if it's that I'm watching ridiculous awesomeness on So You Think You Can Dance? or that I'm digging a new crush I have or that my life is just really changing dramatically and every day brings new surprises, but it does make for a very intense internal process. Like I can't help but figure out new stuff every few hours. Crazy. Hopefully I'll get time to process it later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Photographic evidence of universal truths

My father (who found this blog and seems to enjoy it) is insane:


My sister (who is now 17) is beautiful:


My cat, Princess, is dreadfully cute:


I, not quite as insane, beautiful, or cute, have new glasses:


They're Ver-saaaaaaahhhhhhhh-ce, baby! Probably my first and only name brand anything that I've bought for myself to wear.

Monday, June 25, 2007

R.I.P. Guinness


A fine animal has passed this week. Guinness was a good dog and a fine companion of two very dear friends. In his life, I had the opportunity to work with him as an actor and get chased to the bathroom with the best of 'em. Love and condolences to Jim and Sweetie. (pictures courtesy A Midsummer Night's Dream DVD screenshots).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Storysinger... the origins

Happy birthday, little sister!

Janet had some odd "tagging" thing on her livejournal:
Rules: Post the explanation of where your username came from. Then tag TEN users whose explanations you'd like to hear. If you are tagged post the explanation to your page.

I don't like online tagging games, but I've been using this online identity since 2001 or 2002 and it probably seems obscure to some folk who may now have an interest in my blog (lord, help 'em). As I previously revealed, I am a big dork. I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in tenth grade when Peter and Andrew convinced a bunch of people who had not tried it yet to play in a LARP (Live Action Role Play) based loosely on D&D 2nd edition rules. Peter, Evan, Ramon, Andrew, Hugh and a couple others had been playing since middle school (I believe). We were theater geeks and liked rennfest and all such things, so really, prancing about in a forest pretending to hurl magic missiles back at your friend shooting his cloth covered arrows at you in the woods didn't seem like that much of a stretch at the time.

It turned out to be a LOT of fun. The following school year, I joined Evan's campaign to play my first character, Verruca--a mage who had a dark past from her abusive mother who placed a curse on her; whenever Verruca got angry, she would turn into a black cat as punishment for killing her mother's familiar in a fit of rage. There were 16 of us who played in that game, if I recall correctly. That is CRAZY! I don't know how Evan managed us, but he did. I realized how much fun it was to role play, because it combined the skills of acting and writing in a very unusual way and inspired a lot of creativity. I've been hooked ever since. I played several other characters in high school, including my original online identity: AzytRahat, an orphaned gypsy mage girl (the character concept was pretty awesome, but would have worked better in 3rd edition... she got one of Peter's favorite NPCs killed and although I haven't asked, I wouldn't be surprised if he still hadn't completely forgiven me for that...)

In college, I started playing in Nik's game and switched over to PHB 3rd edition--which is a MUCH better system. I played a child prodigy sorceress and developed a crush on the DM, and those of you who know me from that time, know how that all turned out! But I did get more of my friends from college into D&D and we had some really great games.

I had this D&D character, a halfling bard named Garrett Storysinger, who was the awesomest character that ever there was, until the campaign turned from high-art storytelling to dungeon raiding hack'n'slash... It was so sad to see the rapid descent. I don't remember who I blamed it on at the time--Bran? Adam? Johanna? I don't know.

Garrett was retired before playing even three times. If I find the sketch I made of him, I'll post it up here later.

He gave over to my most memorable character (for other players at least) that I've played (besides Gundeegoot Erkhenwold--the insane gnome cleric--who was so beloved that the DM usurped him and turned him into a god in just a few sessions), Klara, the ditzy blond paladin (like... ohmigod!), who worked perfectly with Ede's monk dude. Man that was a cool campaign.

Anyhow, shortly after that, I took the name storysinger (usually with my birth year 81 because it is more universally available in various domains).

The idea of the storysinger is the kind of writer I'd like to be--one whose words are so exceptional that they are like song. It was a silly way of saying "poet," but it is still in some profound way connected with my aspirations, and thus it is appropriate to be my online handle, even if maybe three people get it.

And that is the story of myself as storysinger81, less well put than the name might seem to imply.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Energy!

Wow! So after finally having a few days in a row of regular sleep patterns, daily exercise, and healthy eating, I feel like I can actually accomplish stuff again! Wow, my job was so ridiculously stressful that I didn't even have the time to take basic care of myself--that is so very very sad.

Hopefully now I can catch up on those grad school papers and move out by July 10 (I'm thinking that the big deal moving day will be the morning of July 7--like get the truck the day before and pack all my stuff in it and then drive it up to Damascus that morning, then return the truck before heading to the hotline in the afternoon and having the next few days to settle in before heading up to MV on the 11th or 12th). I love my parents, but neither they nor I enjoy me staying there for very long now that I'm a big girl! This way it will only be like 3 weeks when I get back from grad school. And it should be immensely more tolerable now that they have fiber optic internet (which reminds me--I got to be geeky last night and explain about my summer working as a researcher for Chuck Adler and the two papers we published--so awesome!).

Gosh I have a lot of services to cancel--and timing is always everything. I need to set the dates down in stone. This will be substantially easier to do when I work with my folks next week to organize the basement.

I have to head down to the Korean embassy on Wed or Thurs of next week to get official copies of my diploma made so I can send everything off for the E-2 visa app. That should be exciting in and of itself.

Friday, June 22, 2007

American Culture - Vote for Sexy Russians, Darn You!!!

Maybe I'm indulging over-much in American culture the past few weeks (since I'm on my way out and all that), but I was shocked by the ridiculousness of the voting on So You Think You Can Dance? last night.

You see, I have a thing for sexy Russian men who can dance like birds:



I was so inspired by the coolness of this piece that I *almost* voted. I never vote for (usually never even watch) the stupid reality show smorgasbord "pick your next XXX," that has turned art completely commercial (I suppose we are just moments from pick your next novelist via FOX... scary... maybe it would give Oprah some competition?). Well, I will never make the mistake of *almost* voting for sexy Russians ever again! He was in the bottom three! So dumb. Judges were shocked, my mom was shocked, etc.

America, you suck. This is why I don't watch these things ever since Frenchie got cut from Am. Idol in season 2 or 3 or something.



Just too darn talented for Fox Reality Shows.

Also, in other shocking news (though probably only slightly less shocking), not just my last ex, but my LAST TWO exes now are married to the girls they started seeing after me... I'm turning into marriage trainer girl and am NOT happy about it (well, I'm happy for the Bran--he's an awesome dude who deserves all the best in life, even if he is a law student). Jeebus, I'm glad I'm going abroad instead of getting into another relationship. I'm pretty sure that if I weren't going abroad I would be involved with someone else not quite right for me right now and, quite frankly, I deserve better. So I will revel and bask in my quirky single girl behavior until there is some reason to stop.

As I sadly informed Dav a few weekends ago, he now qualifies as my most normal ex. This makes me want to cry a little.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I've become a statistic.

One that is costing our school district millions of taxpayer dollars:

Teacher Turnover Costs Systems Millions, Study Projects

Of course I've known about teacher turnover since I started paying attention. In the U.S., most public school faculties are comprised of mostly under-30s and over-50s teachers (the latter group comprised of both people who have been in the profession forever and a new crop of "career changers" who, having gone through years of a "real" job, now are fulfilling the teaching bug--often their worldly experience translates to inspirational awesomeness in the classroom; sometimes it is a less fortunate transition). Most teachers will leave the profession within the first five years. In tough areas, the rate is higher. In districts like PG (where I work/ed), the call of nearby districts (cough, cough, Montgomery, cough, cough) with higher pay and better conditions make the teacher exodus more pronounced.

I've thought about this a lot. Especially because I'm pretty good at teaching, I love it, and I see what a huge need there is to retain teachers like me for the long haul. I know I would be much better at this if I stayed continuously at it for a long time. However, I'm leaving, like most of my peers.

It's weird, because I'm not really leaving the profession... yet. I'm going to be teaching in Korea, but it's not the same as teaching in the states (I guess that's a big part of the point). I've known since before I started teaching that I would not stay teaching forever--at least not at the same place, not straight through. I want to see the world a bit. I want to write more. I still might want to try my hand at grad school to become a college prof. Then again, I might want to come back to teaching here after spending some time traveling about--I love working at the hotline and doing community theater, and maybe now that my master's is (almost) done, I'll have enough time to do that without it taking away from my ability to do my job well and such. We'll have to see...

I'm not dreadfully comfortable being a statistic. Are there things that would have induced me to stay? Sure... smaller/fewer classes, more supported time for collaboration and non-teaching duties (including grading), less abuse/harassment from parents, a profession that I don't have to be made to feel like a second-class citizen (HOW many men have, in the process of hitting on me, made some comment along the lines of "it must be nice to have summers off..." or "I bet you're the teacher all the boys want to sleep with..." or some other ridiculously inane comment that suggests an ignorance of and sexualization of one of the most demanding, important jobs for our children outside of parenting??? Not every female teacher is just waiting around until she meets the right man to start having kids and becoming a homemaker... sheesh).

Ultimately, though, these things would have made it harder to leave, but I might still have gone. Because leaving teaching, for me, is not running away from all the bad shit we have to put up with (oh and yes, that is a considerable amount of smelly doody). I am going to start my own adventures. And in the end, if I come back here and come back to teaching, I will know it's because I want to be here, and I will have no regrets about what might have been.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Napping

Lately I've been taking really long naps in the afternoon--like 4 or 5 hour long naps. It's felt really great! I have my own schedule now that summer's here and just have to remember to show up to the places I planned with other people, but other than that I can be crazy with the sleep schedule and do what I please. So I don't even know what you'd count as my "days" anymore. It's like I go 8 hours awake, then sleep for 4, then wake up again, then sleep, etc. I wonder if there have been any studies about that kind of schedule and whether or not it is healthy...

All I know is that I'm awake for the beautiful mornings and sleeping during the hottest part of the day when there is little of interest to do. Maybe I'll try to force myself back into a more normal schedule, especially now that I've gotten back on my workout routine (mostly walking and swimming at this point), but maybe not until next week when I'm working full time at the hotline. I do need to finish checking out at school--it's really rather sad that I haven't finished.

I would like to start doing some more regular hiking around the area and hit Old Rag the last week before I leave for Korea. Anyone up for hiking it with me?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Leaving a bit earlier

Well, Anne will be disappointed because I won't get to see her and I'll miss the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year, but it looks like I'm heading to Korea a bit earlier than anticipated (well, one week earlier, but that's enough!). I'm pretty excited about everything. I know I posted last night about my anxieties, but as I even said there, they come in waves. Good moments and bad.

I have been so very tired since school ended--like drained or something. I hope to snap out of it tomorrow. No more lazy Diana... well maybe just LESS lazy Diana.

anxiety waves

I feel like I'm surfing the crazy ebbs and flows of pre-Korea anxiety. I don't know if this is normal, but the weirdest little things about my daily life are having really exaggerated significance, and I'm finding it really hard to complete tasks lately.

Like cleaning out my classroom. It's a nightmare. But I can't bring myself to face how entrenched I've made myself at my job in just three years. I really threw myself in it and worked too darned hard and for what? Would my students have learned as much if I'd spent less time obsessing over silly little things?

And I have so much STUFF everywhere. When and how did I manage to accumulate all of it? It does feel good in a way to throw some out, give some away, and pack the rest up in boxes, but it is weird not knowing when I might see it again or if I will regret giving things away when I might return in a year or two to the same life I know now.

I've been fantasizing about purchasing a home in the Maryland area upon returning from Korea and just teaching at Roosevelt, working at the hotline, and doing community theater--but I don't even know if that's what I really want (hence the travelling/working abroad thing that I've always wanted to do and been too afraid to pursue). And I've been getting weird random crushes--like maybe part of me is looking for an excuse to return or something? So silly.

But mostly, I think it's just worry about the unknown. I'm a planner. I need to know where I'm going, what my next move is, and when it all will happen. But the problem right now is that I finally realized that I never bothered to ask myself what it is that I want. What is the point of planning when I don't know what I'm planning for??? I think I'm finally understanding that my need for security comes from chaotic stuff in childhood and that I'm almost always happiest when I am pursuing new, exciting adventures in life.

Even as the excitement for my new experiences grows with the anticipation of my travels, I need to learn to surf a bit more... I think the problem is trying to plan for what I'll do when I get back when part of the whole point of this journey is to figure out what I want to do! Ha ha!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Grading is like having no life

I have been grading. And when I say grading, I mean:

This is just the tip of the iceberg. So if you've been curious about why there are no blog updates at the moment, that is the reason.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Temperature

My lord it was disgusting out today. It may have hit 100 or more at some point. Ugh. I'm sweating just thinking about it! I just checked weather.com for Greenbelt and it said that it's 95 at 5 p.m.--and that the humidity, etc. makes it feel like 103!!! Sheesh! No wonder I just want to sit around and do nothing at all.

Less than one week of classes remain. Students have taken their final exams in my class. My stint as a high school teacher at Eleanor Roosevelt is nearly finished... yet, I still plan to come back and make sure the transfer of all the yearbook stuff goes well and that all of my stuff is in order. Sad, yes?

I work too darned hard.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Walking the lake...

It's been very inspiring to walk around the Greenbelt lake. There are some great things about it--like that when you walk around the lake you see all different kinds of people, and they are all so friendly! I like the meditative time to think while working out that hiking provides, even if I am listening to music while doing it. I even began a new story after I got home based on some ideas I got while watching a blue heron and while looking at the water. I did, however, find it highly ironic that one of the songs that came on my iPod while walking was "Material Girl," when I was so close to nature. I think reading Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods (which I will review when I finish) is really getting to me in a good way.

I've been thinking about my future a lot--especially what I might want to do after Korea. I will probably apply to grad schools (Ph.D.) in writing or in rhetoric/composition and go to one that will fund me bunches and is pretty cheap to live in starting in Fall 2009. I think I've actually figured out which schools I'll be applying to, which is pretty cool. This means I need to do the following in Korea: study Korean pretty intensively (for foreign language req't), write a whole lot and make a concerted effort to publish, especially my first year, and enjoy myself thoroughly. I think I'm gonna bring my skis and boots with me... they take up some weight, but I'll just have to make it worth having brought them by hitting all the resorts on winter weekends. I wonder if I can find a ski buddy or two. That would be awesome.

I'd like to hike part (or all, if I could really manage it--thru hiking sounds crazy, but Anne's interested, so who knows?) of the AT at some point. It would be a relatively expensive undertaking... But I guess no different than other long vacations.

Life is good, except for all that grading :-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Correlation does not imply Causation

Back in high school (ah, good old Montgomery Blair!), I took AP Psych with Mr. Apple-something-or-other. I spent most of my time I should have been in class dining on grilled cheese and french fries at the old Wayne Avenue Tastee Diner in Silver Spring (before it moved to Cameron and became a family restaurant), but that is irrelevant to the issue at hand. Even between my extended periods of truancy, I picked up on a basic precept of soft-science research--as the title of my post should indicate. (I believe not adhering to it is also a logical fallacy, but I have not the fancy Latin terms at my disposal--maybe it's the "slippery slope" one or something. But I digress...)

When it comes to the NCLB devil (that's Bush's single piece of domestic policy widely considered "successful" by people who don't know what they are talking about), articles like this one really get my goat (whatever is the origin of that lovely expression?). For those of you too lazy to click over to MSNBC, let me draw your attention to the part that irritates me.

The article is about a new study that found gains in test scores and no widening of the achievement gap in many states since 2003. The blindingly optimistic title of the article, "Scores rise since 'No Child Left Behind' signed," overshadows the disturbing implication that we should attribute a piece of legislation that has been poorly implemented at best to this increase in achievement over the last four years. The subtitle of the article, easily ignored by politicians, reads "Study's authors unsure whether to credit law for gains."

Yes. That's right. The AUTHORS of the study (who were likely funded by the government to prove how great NCLB is) were unwilling to credit the law that the journalists and politicians immediately held up as the single cause for rejoicing. Questions about the ability to even call these "gains" cited by the study an achievement aside, Amit Paley does point out the irony (albeit unwittingly):
"The study's authors warned that it is difficult to say whether or how much the No Child Left Behind law is driving the achievement gains. But Republican and Democratic supporters of the law said the findings indicate that it has been a success."

Um... ok politicians. Because you are clearly more qualified than the authors of the study to interpret its results, right?

I also began teaching since 2003, but I don't think anyone in Congress would appreciate it if I claimed single-handed credit for the rise in test scores around the nation since that time (yes, I'm THAT good!), even if the authors are not able to conclusively credit me for the gain. Or let's credit the failure to end the Iraq war, or increased awareness about global warming since An Inconvenient Truth (jeez... is there ANYTHING Al Gore can't legitimately claim credit for this way?), or the increased Harry Potter phenomenon? All of that's happened since 2003...

The institution of public education in this country is too complex a being to credit any single piece of legislature, person, or event with substantive changes; like all such pervasive institutions, change happens over time and history looks on the multifaceted contributors to change as "movements," of which these individual items are a part. The NCLB legislation is one piece of a standards-based educational reform movement that began in the late 70s as people like Jonathan Kozol drew attention to the statistical data we now label the Achievement Gap. It is fueled by an increased (and disproportionally skewed) value in quantitative data and analysis over qualitative and case study research that has permeated many academic fields (including medicine and law) over the last 50 years. Perhaps this is related in some ways to a more global consumer-driven market, but who really knows? As I said, no single cause can really pin it down.

But politicians love their sound bytes. The U.S. society in general shies away from complexity and qualified statements with alarming rapidity; we fear most what cannot be explained by a man as simple as the one we've elected president. Just remember (for those of you who have actually followed me this far into the quagmire): the headache that you have now may correlate to your having read this post, but I abdicate responsibility regarding causation!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What I might not miss about my job...

...nine straight hours of grading--and barely making a dent in the pile(s)
...petty arguments with small-minded administrators hopped up on their own self-importance who insult my professionalism and reading comprehension (which, if I do say so myself, are impeccable!)
...fretting about the fact that a certain young man has someone at home writing his essays for him and still can't read, but knowing I can't help him because he won't be honest with me about his problems
...reading news articles about members of my school district's BOE acting inappropriately
...disappointing my students because there are too many of them and not enough of me to give them the kind of assistance I would like to offer
...realizing (after grading papers) how many of them just gave up this year (it looks like five or six... three of whom are theoretically "honors" students)
...feeling guilty every second I'm not grading papers
...working twice as many hours as contracted, completely uncompensated
...getting crap about every single little mistake in the yearbook
...not having enough time to properly look after my health (working out, eating right, etc.)

I will miss my students, my colleagues, my department chair, and my successes (with yearbook and teaching English--the kids never even know how much better they are at writing now than they were 9 months ago). I love teaching high school English, but the public school system makes it all but impossible for you to do it effectively without sacrificing some piece of yourself. We make movies about selfless, giving teachers whose marriages suffer or who lead lives of lonely desperation entirely centered around a bunch of hard-assed teens who grow to love them, but the truth about teaching is that you cannot base your ego and your identity in the hands of teenagers. It is not a healthy way to live.

I love Roosevelt. I love the people who teach there and the students who attend. I love Old Greenbelt--the last holdout of hippie-esque communist thinking in an increasingly commercial world. I love AP Lang. I love working on the yearbook. But I hate how much of myself I keep giving away to do this job that I love so much.

I suppose I'm hoping that teaching in Korea will help me to finally filter out what thoughts/ambitions/activities come from within and which come from the community in which I am so thoroughly entrenched at the moment. I want to know if I really want to pursue graduate studies or a romantic relationship or writing. I want to get to know the me that is and is not defined by my culture and my work and my relationships... It is important to know what questions to ask.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Falling in place.

Things seem to be coming together nicely for my Korea trip. Now I need to really focus on finishing out this school year strongly.

I had an eye doctor appointment on Friday and bought some snazzy new glasses. I think I will be wearing them more frequently for a bit. Apparently, my health insurance runs out at the end of this month or next month once I submit my resignation letter, so I need to enjoy these last few weeks of being fully covered for cheap. I'll have to get a rider to cover through September when I'll be picked up by Korean insurance. I've gotta see if COBRA makes it too expensive or what. I hope it's not too awful.

I guess that makes me officially unemployed at the end of this term. Well, there's the hotline job, but that doesn't really pay that much.

Scary.

BUT AWESOME.

I'm feeling very liberated at the moment. No more dependence on "the man"--which is really just a state of mind.

(Ok, I swear I'll actually feel more happy and less anxious about this change one day... probably after I've been in Korea for a week or two. In the mean time I'm a bit restless, as I always am in transition...)

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