Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Portrait


Halloween 
Fright, candy, tricks and treats
Brother of the Day of the Dead
Lover of the paranormal
Who feels joy when trick-or-treating, fear when walking in a haunted house, 
and connected when decorating
Who needs children's belief, adult's fun, and store's candy
Who gives fear, candy and joy
Who fears science, religion, and disbelief
Who would like to see goblins, ghosts, and gremlins
Resident of the dark corners of children's hearts
All Hallow's Eve


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fahrenheit 451, Part II

Here I am, continuing to find quotes in Fahrenheit 451. 
"Why should I read? What for?" ~ page 73
This sums up the opinion of the majority of the populace in today's society on the subject as well.
"Someone somewhere will give me back my old face and the old hands the way they were." ~ page 78
Sorry. Once you've changed you cannot go back. You cannot unring the bell and unlearn what you know now. I wish it were otherwise sometimes, but I'd far rather continue to grow.
"Nobody listens any more .... I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it'll make sense." ~ page 82 
 That is a great position for me and this blog. Possibly for most people and most of their social networking accounts if they would just admit it.
"We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren't happy. Something's missing." ~ page 82
Personally, I think that the "something that is missing," is the choice to be happy. The deliberate and conscious choice to be happy.
"The magic is only in what the books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us." ~ page 83
It doesn't matter what medium the information is actually in. It is in how they communicate and create the the universe; how they blend the world together and make use see connections between two vastly different things.
"Go home and think how it all happened and what did you ever do to stop it?" ~ page 101 
If you do not participate in the discussion. If you don't speak up against the bad guys, and the bad things, then you need to mourn the person that you should have been. You should figure out a way to solve the problems that your inaction created.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Loss

This week Robert's team went up against "the team to beat" according to the other football parents.

The final score was 6 to 14. It went against Robert's team.

The game was close, and for a freshmen football game it was very dramatic. There were several occasions on both teams when a fumble turned the ball over. There were interceptions on both sides.

Each team had their strengths and their weaknesses, and I'm getting better at telling how good the teams are.


Robert's team had an excellent running-guy. However, they gave the ball to him way too much. The other team figured out that number six was a good runner. Robert's teams's weakness is that they have no defense this week.*


The blue and white team had an excellent quarter back who could throw the ball really well. However, the quarter back sometimes threw right to the maroon (our) team, which would be their weakness.

For the last minute and a half, the blue and white team had the ball. They already had two touchdowns, were in the lead, and were in a position to make a third. However, they were good winners. They displayed excellent sportsmanship when they downed the ball repeatedly during that minute, despite our teams attempts to get to them before they could.

*UIL does an academic check, and if you are note maintaining a 70% in every class at the end of the first quarter then you are removed from the team. The 9th grade white team is the lowest of the teams. When the UIL checks knock students out of the ranks, then students are promoted from one team to another. This leaves the 9th grade white team even weaker than usual.

This also means that Robert has been practicing for other positions, even though he wasn't put in for them. Robert asked the coach, politely, why. The coach said that it's because Robert is afraid to get hit. That's a healthy attitude outside of contact sports. So now we are working with Robert to get him used to tackling.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Current Affairs: Ebola

For those who do not pay the least attention to reality, Ebola has come to our shores. It came in a man, not a U.S. citizen, who checked into a Dallas hospital. He didn't make it.

The sad story does not end there. While being cared for in isolation, patient zero infected two of his nurses. The first nurse was wise enough to not visit with many people while she was caring for him. The other got on a plane.

On her return flight, she was feverish. A family on that flight attend nearby Belton ISD. Health officials are monitoring the family and "going overboard" in reaction to people getting sick.

They are reactive, not proactive. Never a good idea. All of the health professionals needs to change their thinking patters. America, as a whole, is like a teenager, "Well that can't happen to me! It happens to other people!"

Unfortunately, it has happened to us before. Smallpox, Yellow Fever, Cholera, and the Spanish Flu hall killed significant numbers of Americans (or proto-Americans, as colonists). Polio and AIDS could be added to the list. However, polio did not kill off Americans en mass, and AIDS kills through complications not of itself. Asian Flu killed 70,000 in 1957, but that gets lost in the 172 million Americans. The last one that hit with such great force was Spanish Flu in 1918. 675,000 Americans died. That's just over half of a percent of the American population of 103.21 million.

We aren't ready for an epidemic like ebola.

However, yes it is close to me, but it is not terrifying yet. I haven't been in contact with anyone who has it. I will keep you updated on the local situation.

Works Used to Create this Post
"Worst Disease Outbreaks in History"
"United States Population Tables"

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Few Odd Posts

WriteTribe has a seven post series about "Rediscovering your Blogging Groove." I decided to utilize these for filling in the gaps for the next few days when I need something to fill in my empty days.

The list goes like this:

  1. Write a List
  2. Answer a Question
  3. Write a Review 
  4. Link Post
  5. Write a Tip Post
  6. Ask a Question
  7. Tell a Story
These will not be the next seven posts in a row. I'll still blog about Robert's football, some poetry that I'm working on, and other family events that happen. 

A note on football: This week Robert's team's opponents forfeited because they did not have enough students keeping their grades up to maintain the team. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I AM Myself

An I AM Poem is a type of poem that I have taught in a couple of different classes at the instruction of the substitutes. After teaching them a couple of times, and with a couple of different themes, I decided to write a few of my own. With a quick Google Search, I was unable to find the origin of the "I AM" Poem, but here is mine. 


I am smart and silly.
I wonder what life will be like when I'm gone.
I hear the future approaching.
I see days bathed in golden warmth.
I want to visit that place.
I am smart and silly.

I pretend that I am a mother.
I feel a child's arms around my neck.
I touch their soft and silky hair.
I worry that they will not see their path.
I cry for they are not real.
I am smart and silly.

I understand that everything changes.
I say that we should change what we want.
I dream about the changes I will make.
I try to make those changes everyday.
I hope those changes take root and grow.
I am smart and silly.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Teaching Lessons Helps Me Learn

"Village Teacher" by Klein
The idea that students learn the most and cement it the best by teaching it to their fellow students is not new to me. I utilize it whenever possible in my classrooms. I never thought that I would be the one learning a lesson by teaching, and doing so outside of school.

Teen years are a time of struggling to find oneself and figuring out how to be an adult. Robert is one of the best teenagers in terms of responsibility, behavior, and intelligence. He is always learning, and continually improving. However, he has to learn how to be a respectful, responsible adult, just like any other teenager.

When Robert gets frustrated and angry that we are holding him to his word, I sometimes feel guilty and want to fix it. I want to tell him "It's ok, you can do this tomorrow, or I will pick it up tomorrow." However, this is not helpful to Robert at his current stage of maturity.

On this particular night, as dinner finished, Robert said, "I will do the dishes at 8:30." He said this without prompting or questioning, and indeed, he was scheduled to do the dishes that night.

When 8:47 came, and he had not emerged to start the dishes, but he had finished his homework, Will prompted him.

"I'll do it tomorrow," he replied.

Except that all of the lunch packing dishes were dirty, and we need to make three meals in the morning. We could not let him put off the dishes.

Hand Wash Dishes by Quadell
As Robert washed the dishes, he radiated anger and general teenage sulkiness. I wanted to take over and send him away, but I restrained myself. He agreed to the schedule at the beginning of the week; he set the time that evening, he is responsible for them.

He filled the dishwasher; then he stopped. Filling the dishwasher was good. He did a full load of dishes, and though angry and sulky, did not complain. However, he left the very dishes that were either needed or would be worse to wash the next day. These were the rubber maid lunch blox and the baking dish.

Last week, Robert ended up washing dishes nearly the whole week because he didn't finish washing the dishes, and left the worst or most needed dishes for the next person. After several discussions that this was entirely unfair to the next person washing dishes, we made him see just how it made the dishes snowball. He ended up doing the dishes until he demonstrated that he had washed all the dishes.

Apparently, he had not learned the lesson. As I said, he had left the lunch dishes and the baking dish.

So we put him back to work washing dishes. Now his negative radiation of emotion left me feeling more guilty, than when he was first washing dishes.

Then it got worse.

Eva na de Zondeval by Rodin,
Image by Michele Ahin
He said he had a test the following day, and had wanted to get to sleep early. My guilt exploded. Last year I would have sent him to bed with a warning about communicating needs and plans, as well as a reminder to utilize (or ask for help with) proper time management techniques.

After a year and a half of that, I knew he wasn't listening to words. In addition, he is a great kid who does help out around the house. Also,  because he is a freshman, now is the time to push the lesson, even if it makes me feel rotten on occasion. He helps out and does what he needs to do. Now he needs to learn it in a timely manner. High school begins the growth of greater independence, in which he will be under the guidance of a multitude of people, but none of whom will be able to keep track of everything, except Robert. If he doesn't learn the lessons now, while he can still recover before graduation, then he will ruin the future that he wants for himself.

The lessons he is learning with exercises like these are:

  1. Do what you say you will do.
  2. Communicate and discuss needs and desires in a timely manner, not after you dig a hole.
  3. Use (or ask for help with) good time management skills.
That last is because if we try to govern his time management he gets angry. He's a teenager, so I can't force him to adhere to a time management schedule, but I can let the consequences of his choices happen, and hope he learns from them.

However, I am learning lessons from Robert as well.
  1. I have to let him dig and then climb out of his holes. I won't be there to haul him out all the time.
  2. I have to learn to compartmentalize. Letting his negativity ruin my evening, when he dug his hole, is stupid and creates a downward spiral.
  3. When I see him struggling to climb out of his hole, but my hand of help was bitten off, then I need to let him fall on his face.
By teaching Robert lessons about growing up, I am learning lessons to continue my growth. These are lessons that will be infinitely valuable in the future. It doesn't matter what the subject matter is, or who the teacher is, if the teacher does self-reflection then they will find that they learned something as well.