labelleizzy: (Default)
I'm supposed to have a list of goals for the therapeutic process. I did write some of them down, and I'll add them either here or in my bullet journal once I have my head in order.

I was thinking earlier today about jobs I've held, and my favorite job. And why it was my favorite job, and I wanted to break it down a little, in hopes of reproducing the conditions someday. In part or in whole.

this is the job I held for eight years and a bit.
it's the reason why every smartphone I've ever owned had "librarianing" added to the spellchecker.

I used to be a junior high school librarian.
I just wanna list the things that I loved about that job, because there's a lot of things I loved about it.
  • It had a regular daily schedule with rhythmic breaks in it.
  • ...but I got to choose my daily tasks, and when to do them.
  • High responsibility, low supervision, I got to determine when something was done.
  • some built in regular deadlines occurred weekly (overdue notices compiled and sent out)
  • some deadlines quarterly (grades for Library TA's), or at other calendar dates (budget deadlines, book ordering, etc)
  • Lots of time with people, specific agenda of helping people (students and staff both)
  • lots of time alone to do one on one tasks (repair, budget work, tidying)
  • Teaching. computers, dewey decimal, how to process books for circulation, some basic book repair, how to circulate books, how to pull records for books that were overdue, how to research, how to use the card catalog, how to find books you wanted... so many teaching opportunities, all in small groups, and NO GRADING.
  • I could take pee breaks as needed. That's a fucking luxurious situation to consider after teaching full time in a public school. I swear to god you can't get five minutes to pee, because it takes you 3-5 minutes to just walk to the other end of the school where the faculty bathroom is, and god help you if you're on your period or have to poop. it's *exhale* inhumane. actually.
  • Professional development funding.
  • Networking with the other librarians in the school district on a monthly basis.
  • Training to be a union site rep and shop steward, learning the history of unions in the USA
  • generally speaking, high interest high novelty work, high number of positive social contacts with students and staff. Decent respect from peers and students. Increasing responsibility the longer I was in the position.

  • There's more of course. Some damn wonderful people really made the difference for me in that job. They got me through the first six months after my dad died, with challenging, interesting work, taking care of tweenagers, teaching and helping and finding and fixing, sorting and throwing out and organizing and tidying. Always something that needed doing. Always something that MATTERED that needed doing.

    It's still MY library. In my heart it's still mine.
    I miss it. Actually.

    so I mean I want another job with some more of what that job had, without the soul deadening paperwork and jumping through hoops that teaching in the public school required.

    And really I want more of that in my life. I've been trying to find that, build that myself, but it's just been so crazy challenging on my own. I miss the community, the sense of rightness and purpose, the ability to HELP SO MUCH AND SO OFTEN SO MANY PEOPLE. I was proud of my work there. It was crazy and sometimes boring and wonderful and the kids were always so amazing and my co workers were always weird, wonderful, dedicated, amazing.


    I have more on this but this is a good starting place.
    I'll go make myself some dinner and dig into my homework reading pretty hard once I've eaten, take some notes to be ready for tomorrow.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
it didn't feel like being crabs in a bucket
too lonely an experience for a plural metaphor.

though definitely there was a dragging down experience:
  • anything exceptional
  • anything experimental
  • anything that broke the status quo

I expected we'd be raising each other up
not pulling someone back to toe the line
I expected us all to reach for the stars
not speak only when spoken to

I didn't realize my teaching internship
landed me in a diploma-mill
churning out inferior product
with very few value-add options

Should I have known better?
I didn't.
I have always been too trusting.

I was sent into the trenches
to build bridges with cardboard
and I was guilty when the bridges failed.

when I asked for lumber they said
"There's no budget for that
You'll have to find that yourself."
And some of them smirked.

I was a hero
but I couldn't see it
all I could see was
muddy trenches and disrespect
for miles in every direction

and when I was discharged
grateful and ashamed
I took my papers and went away
glad and sorrowful
that I was too soft for these wars.

I tend my garden on this faraway hillside
watch the struggle from a distance
climb the cliffs seeking perspective -
and maybe some new way to stop the war.

(this is my entry for this week's [ profile] therealljidol.)
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
I've been thinking for the last few years, that attention is the rent we pay for being in relationship, for being in community.

It was never such a privilege to pay attention as it was, many years ago, when I was teaching high school reading and drama classes, and became the advisor for the Improv Comedy Club. Thinking back, I marvel at the quick wit and facility with ideas, language and expression that these teenagers had. How fluent and adaptable they were to performance situations where anything could change (and did) with the drop of a word or addition of a new gesture!

Nick was a wiry, nervous Italian looking kid, earnest and new to the Improv team, often half-a-beat late with his responses, or just this side of awkward, in its own kind of funny. Mariel was a comic genius, with a rounded buxom figure, huge brown eyes and an impressive range of physical expression, and she could also get really LOUD in all the good ways. Tawd was clever, almost effortlessly funny both onstage and off, and a deceptively mellow, slow voice. He's the reason I acquired a nickname among the drama classes, and I remember him fondly for that. Aliza was slim, sly, sarcastic, with a drawling kind of vocal delivery that could quicksilver turn to something manic and panicked if the character called for it. Lucas was tall, with what his friends teased him was "emo kid hair", at that gangly teenage stage where his every gesture seemed floppy, but he sure knew how to use that puppety-ness to his advantage, like a Tim Burton character. Brandon was short and compact. He had a deep voice that belied his small frame, and an onstage poise and speed on the uptake that was nothing short of marvellous. Adam was blond, almost with ringlets, and our tech guy when he wasn't onstage. He was ridiculously silly and ridiculously smart, and I still remember one skit where he was spontaneously, slowly, somersaulting around the stage for no apparent reason.

They were all, every one of them, hilarious, but Parker felt like the ringleader. That kid... well. Damn, that kid was a force to be reckoned with. Sandy sort of dishwater brown hair (and I'm not just saying that because he had a positive TALENT for pissing me off), a nondescript sort of everyman face, and sleepy-looking hooded eyes, he was an absolute fucking chameleon onstage, with a rubber face and a skill at vocal characterization that reminded me of the young Jimmy Stewart. He's the one who I remember (with Mariel and Tawd) as starting the club and teaching the other kids all the improv games. He had a very strong personality, and he pushed hard to get the team members to practice all the different kinds of games and to get them in shape for competitive Improv Comedy events with other schools.

Parker was so funny and occasionally so bizarre... I remember how impressed I was with how much he knew about comedy and improvisation. I was brand new to the drama gig, and I don't mind at all saying that I learned virtually everything I know about improv and theater games from these kids. From Highway Patrol to New Choice, tongue-twisters and physical warmups, their speed and sarcasm and joy and silliness just delighted me. I would watch from the audience space and sometimes grade papers as they worked and played and tried new things, always new things, even with the old games they all knew well.

Building characters and scenes with zero stage props or maybe only hats or scarves or a couple of chairs from the audience is what made me think of them when I saw this week's prompt. These kids? I could imagine them EASILY getting a "confession from the chair." You'd be laughing at the one-sided conversation, imagining the chair's responses, and then cheering as the chair is dragged offstage. Of course, there'd be implications that a well-deserved beat-down will happen once the chair is in lockup.

It was a privilege to pay the rent there, to be on the sidelines watching the worldbuilding these kids could do in the blink of an eye. I got no call to be proud of them, I didn't teach them anything. They did it all themselves, but I'm proud of them nevertheless. It was a pleasure to know them.

I hope they are all still finding joy in words and connection and their own quick minds, making creative and subversive things in the world, and messing with people's heads.

This has been my entry for [ profile] therealljidol . This week's prompt was, as I mentioned, "Confession from the Chair."

Here is a link to one place you can find short descriptions of improv comedy games, you can also google "theater games" or improv games if you would be interested in learning more. Also I recommend comedysportz san jose as an example of improv comedy as a hell of a lot of fun for an evening's entertainment. (hmmm, I need to get out and see that again sometime soon!)
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
You've got to be careful with wishes.

I heard of one witch who said, I wish my husband would shut up... And then there were silent, violent, dark days afterwards...

It's why we're in such demand, witches... Wishes have real power.

You've got to be careful with words as well.

It's through words, after all, that we convince the world to be other than it is.
From sickness we can coax health, from discord, harmony.

But it's easy enough to make the world change in the other direction as well, if we're that-away inclined. Like the silent-husband case I've already mentioned, careless words in the world, in this line of work, can have horrific consequences.

The final element is will. Will-forces are the hardest thing to train up in the apprentices! And will-forces are terrifically important!
You can't expect even the most poetically-worded wish to deliver results if you don't have enough OOMPH to back up your desire and make it happen for real.

"With Wishes, Words, and Will, witches work in the world."

*grin* We've got that engraved in a nice signboard and hung up at the entrance of the School. As of this year's enrollment, we've got witch-children from most every religious tradition, and teachers from almost every tradition as well. Our School has a very strong commitment to cross-training and to understanding the philosophical underpinnings of the World-Soul, That Which Moves Us All.

Would you believe, that even now, some of our students come to us thinking that the way they have been taught is the Only True Way, and that all other Paths are invalid? No?

It's the truth. We do have quite the challenge to explain and demonstrate otherwise, but when the children all have to rub elbows with one another in all their classes, it tends to take the rough edges off any sharp belief systems pretty quickly. Added to the impressive experience of our teaching staff, and our Silent Recess policy, the children build tolerance and cooperation faster than in any school system I've experienced before.

I'm sorry, what?

Oh no. The Silent Recess policy is intended to prevent any apprentice-level mistakes out on the playground. Children feel things so intensely, they certainly do not lack for force of will! And a strong force of will is QUITE enough to enact some serious levels of mischief upon one's playmates. All the teachers concur, having all experienced, well, pretty appalling things out on the playgrounds themselves, before the Principles of Magic were studied and understood thoroughly. The voluntary Yard Duty roster is always well staffed, and the children are always well-supervised.

Yes, I know. Our children are lucky. Now that we understand the Principles, we can teach Ethical Magical Behaviors at all levels of school. We can train the children up into the adults we all know they have the capacity to be. They can all be strong, ethical, committed, principled young people that we can be proud to unleash upon the world.

*cough* Oh, unleash? My mistake. I meant, um, well, I meant...

May I offer you some more tea? ah, here we go. *pours*

Yes, well, our graduates find regular and lucrative employment in all walks of life, as a matter of fact one of our recent graduates is now Head Pastry Chef in our kitchen. Oh, yes, the petit-fours are her specialty! Here, DO allow me. And one of the small eclairs? Splendid.

*lengthy pause*

That said, shall I draw up the enrollment documents now? I think you will find the terms most competitive with the other Schools in town.

*sly smile*

Yes, I thought you might.

This has been my entry for [ profile] therealljidol. This week's was an Open Prompt week.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
As kids, we all knew about the pothole down the road that you had to avoid on your bicycle, or which neighbor's yard you'd never trespass in, for fear of a dog perhaps, or some grown-up's anger.

These are workarounds. This is knowing your environment, and keeping yourself from harm.

As kids, some of us knew grown-ups in our lives who had to be managed. Or avoided. Or placated. Or hidden from.

* I remember my fourth grade teacher, who used to hug all the pretty girls. I was maybe nine, and I envied Charlene (*not her real name), tiny and blonde, shy as a mouse, with Mr. M's arm around her. At the time, I didn't understand why she looked quietly miserable, when his hug looked so warm and affectionate.

* I remember my tenth grade English teacher (the third one we'd had that year) who struggled ineffectually to "manage" our class of high spirited and mischievous honors students.
His face is clear in my memory, though his name has faded. I had asked him to please control the class because I, at least, wanted to learn. He shrugged his shoulders and said helplessly, "But, Liz, what can I DO?"

* And I remember my dad. He started working from home when I was around 13, firmly planted in his comfy chair with his cigarettes, newspaper, and yellow legal pads. I remember him commanding me to fetch him yet another beer from the fridge's endless supply.

I was shocked and pleased in equal amounts to discover, some time last year, that someone had coined a phrase for these kinds of dysfunction. "The missing stair". Because some ideas are nearly impossible to understand until you have a name for them.

To deal with a Missing Stair in your life or environment means that some necessary thing is broken and everyone has just gotten used to, adapted around the brokenness. Used to it, enough that nobody talks about it anymore, and the collective assumption is "well, that's just how it always has been, we all just deal with it." Or maybe you've heard it phrased as "It's just part of the culture here," or as "boys will be boys."

*explosive sigh*

I call bullshit on that nonsense.

* My tenth grade teacher needed a mentor, or at minimum, direct instruction in how to manage teenagers in a classroom.
That skill is something that actually can be taught, something that can be learned and practiced. He should have been taught those skills, and he should have been provided with good examples to follow. His teacher training, and our school administration, should have seen to that, and failed to. (I am particularly incensed about this because it was something my own teacher training lacked as well, twenty years later: one of many things that convinces me this brokenness is systemic.)

* My fourth grade teacher, it turns out, was (eventually) reported to authorities and removed from teaching at my elementary school. I did not understand at the time, when the kids were gossiping on the playground, what it meant that Mr. M was no longer teaching at our school. Or why when I asked my parents about it, they made faces and changed the subject.
The silence around this subject is a kind of brokenness that could perhaps have mended by using the story, the true story, as an age-appropriate teachable moment on how to trust your gut instinct, how to be safer around adults, on appropriate or inappropriate touching, or on how to stand up for other people.

* And of course, there was my dad. The lessons I could learn from his life are manifold. But whatever it was that he needed, well. I don't know.
What I've learned from his example, I've had to unravel, unlearn, and relearn over years of ACoA meetings, journal writing, talk therapy; and my own year of total abstinence from alcohol.

Shame and silence NEVER solve these kinds of broken. The Missing Stair effect occurs in large communities and inside our own heads.

Problems like these fester and persist in the darkness and the silence.

Acknowledge the broken stairs. Point them out.
Talk about them. Research. Offer assistance, if you have it to give.

Because if one of us has a hammer, and another has nails, and someone else has some solid boards, and someone else actually knows how to fix a stair?

We will never know that the stair could actually be fixed, until someone says, "Hey, I have this thing that might help fix that missing stair..."

and I am so fucking tired of jumping over the broken places.

Hey y'all? I have this thing that might help fix that missing stair.
(listens for responses)

This has been my Week Two entry for [ profile] therealljidol, and the prompt was "The Missing Stair".

Beta-readings done by [ profile] chippychatty, [ profile] wrenb, and [ profile] violaconspiracy! Thanks, guys, you definitely made this better.

Please go read and enjoy my colleagues' entries here. To vote for my entry, find me at the bottom of the second poll, link is *here*.

Thank you for reading!
labelleizzy: (just do it)
I take teaching jobs in San Jose because it's a fairly reliable source of work, just from the three schools I get called to work at.

It is a bit depressing though, driving through the gang and other graffiti, the constant construction on Capitol Expressway, the emotionally needy and demanding kids. =/
The schools have mandatory school uniforms. Which oscillates between being depressing and reassuring, for me...

The neighborhoods are frequently full of litter, as are the school grounds. Stuff just feels dirty.


I was driving back home after an early release day (the teacher I worked for has a last period prep, and the front office had proposed I was needed for coverage of someone else's classroom that period, but it didn't turn out like that).

It occurred to me as I was (gratefully!) starting on my way home, to my beautiful and somewhat well groomed home in Mountain View, a beautiful and well-groomed town, how lucky I was to be ABLE to leave that part of San Jose. To have someplace ELSE that I call home, someplace nicer, wealthier, more polite, cleaner, where the graffiti is cleaned off almost before us regular joes even see it.

Those kids don't have the option to leave.
They have to stay there, live with that, every day.
They probably don't even have much experience with the kind of beauty and calm I have been blessed to be able to start taking for granted.

This realization makes me want to DO SOMETHING only I don't know what that something IS.
labelleizzy: (tell me a story)
Once upon a time there was a teacher.

She struggled to do right by her students, but her training had been incomplete and spotty, and sometimes she failed them. However, she kept learning and trying new ways to teach because her love for her subject and for the students themselves was pure. (Well, pure for the most part. Sometimes she had trouble connecting the subject to the students' lives in a relevant fashion, and sometimes the students drove her to distraction with their questions, demands, "bad days" and even celebratory moments. Such is life.)

This teacher worked for years with a majority of students who came from poor and disadvantaged families, students who'd been abused or neglected, and students with learning difficulties of all kinds. It took a long time (and a second, more comprehensive teacher training) to be able to recognize that none of the students were "bad kids." She realized that NO kids are inherently "bad", but that some students travel through life encountering so many obstacles, roadblocks, and people telling them, "You can't" that they were perpetually in a state of frustration. And of course, people in a state of constant frustration generally cannot learn well. Nor do such people tend to have a positive and hopeful attitude, or kind and polite manners.

Then this teacher moved to a different part of the state, where many things were different. In this new town, schools had adequate funding to maintain necessary scholastic resources and facilities, and moreover to attract talented and dedicated teachers - and keep them. In this town, the parents have the financial resources to keep their children healthy, fit, protected, and encouraged their children toward high achievements, big dreams, goals and plans for the future.

The children in the schools our teacher now found herself in, seem (compared to her previous students) incredibly polite, discreet, and well mannered. They are also (almost unbelievably, compared to her previous students) self-confident and secure in themselves and in their own potential to make a difference in the world and to succeed in their own lives.


Sometime around a year ago I believe I wrote a post about this comparison. I resented the privilege these students lived in, grew up in, were supported by, to the precise degree that I loved and ached for my Children of struggle. Children of privilege, (I felt) had so much to take for granted. For awhile I believed they were arrogant and self-centered and uncaring about the world (though I had little evidence to support the first and third assumption. As for the second, to exist is to be self-centered; it must be so).

I don't believe this anymore.
They are children. Children nearly-grown and planning toward their futures, but children. Insecure about their place in the world some of the time, putting a brave face on things some of the time. And flamboyantly confident some of the time, in the bulletproof way the young can be across the face of the planet.

Yes they are privileged. No, they don't yet realize their privilege, or the extent to which their security and unhampered opportunities for growth have given them a leg-up on the rest of the world, and sometimes they are going to seem obnoxious or oblivious to peers who have had to strive and fight their way into their potential and their future. But, but... these are as open and hungry for knowledge and meaning and SIGNIFICANCE in their own lives as any students I have ever met. I had a moment today, talking about Poetry and Poets with a class of AP Senior English, and they all, *all*, felt like they were utterly open hearted and deeply interested, ready to learn and stretch and grow.

These Children are no more "bad kids" than the previous Children I taught. These Children are just lucky enough to have less in the way of their achieving their destiny, their potential, of making their future in the shape they choose.

I'm embarrassed to admit how I tarred them with the brush of my own misguided opinions, but I'm hoping I can do better in future now I can see The Actual Students more clearly.
labelleizzy: (treeDance)
I think I've figured out a great big part of my problem as I work thru the phases of the Waldorf teacher training.

I've had this problem my WHOLE LIFE, and it manifests out in a variety of different ways.
I want to belong SO BAD that I ... push. I push outward, striving to find and create intimacy on an artificial timeline. I want to put down roots. I want to be HOME.

My discomfort of the last two days is related to feeling like "this could be home" or judging "this SHOULD be home" and then my roots start pushing outward, looking for the rich soil of connection and community.

Problem: I DON'T belong. I might belong someday, but I don't belong THERE, now. And I have to accept that, and work around it.

So I'm imagining myself, my life, as a potted plant, some kind of lively tree in a pot that is simply too small.

Naturally I'm going to try to poke my roots out, it's what trees DO. But I don't HAVE to take primary sustenance from what's outside my pot (my personal life), my pot has nutrients enough. And I can imagine my pot being carried to this place, carried to that place, doing the work that this tree needs to do =), and sampling the earth wherever I go.

I am enough, and I have enough. I am not starving anymore, I can rein in that behavior.

I can bring what I am able to bring to the school and the students, and go home and get fed with family, kittehs, and friends. And I can bring what I am able to bring to the Waldorf teacher training, and get fed there somewhat, help feed others somewhat, work my ass off, and come home to rest and recharge.

I am enough, and I have enough.

As far as the rest goes, I'll keep on keeping on, let myself recognize what I'm feeling, and keep learning from it.
labelleizzy: (take the action)
+ I got a job interview...
+ a Waldorf school
+ and liked Njeri and the co-teacher who will take the second grade in the fall, very much indeed
+ and they were favorably impressed with me (liked my art! eee!)
+ and wanted to find a way to make this job work for me, including suggesting that we could try to have teaching experience at that school count as my third year practicum.
+ they want me to tell them if I am willing to teach a demo lesson. To the first grade, before school starts, even. Um. With the parents in the room observing, also. Double um. Amazing to get that offer, seriously, even if the idea intimidates me a little, really amazing to have that offered to me. It's making me think deeply about what I want to teach to the first grade, how, with what methods and techniques

However, to follow the example of a wise friend of mine, I think I want to make different mistakes in my life, so I should hopefully have the opportunity to learn something new...

I have already taken teaching jobs against my better judgment, where I didn't feel I was properly qualified for the subject and well-grounded in my teaching practice (or my personal life, for that matter!)...

Teaching drama was one hell of an adventure, I learned a lot, but I don't EVER want to teach-by-the-seat-of-my-pants again. I want to really know what I'm doing and why, well enough to explain it to anyone with questions about what I'm doing, and why. I am nowhere near that when it comes to First Grade curriculum *or* classroom management at that age.

It will be a different mistake, saying no, but I feel it is the honorable choice both for my growth and development as a professional, and for the children who will be in that classroom.

Instead I am choosing to boost signal about this job opening for others who might be drawn to the opportunity, and hope Njeri finds the proper teacher for her incoming first grade. Have sent email to Lisa Anderson at my teacher training program, and have linked to Njeri's website on Twitter, where I have several Waldorf schools I follow and who follow me.

Perhaps I can be the bridge between a need and filling that need. The idea is very satisfying, though I may never find out if I *did* help. I'm okay with that.

*** now, back to finish my homework!
labelleizzy: (crow in flight)
Two quick notes from this week.

Children don't love their teachers weaknesses or deficiencies. They see enough clay feet as it is.
Let them love your STRENGTH instead. Make sure that is what you bring to them, your best, your strong places.

The TEACHER can be, should be the textbook. (maybe this was obvious. but in Waldorf this is the norm, as it is not for public schools.) Not in best case scenario, SHOULD be the textbook. I brought a half-assed story to the kids today; Santa Cruz kids know more about whales than I do on my best day, and I should have realized this. What I did succeed in, was bringing the Imagination of what it would look like, feel like, to be in the water with a whale. I haven't done that, I brought it out of disparate experiences like seeing the blue whale model in the Museum of Natural History in NYC - that thing's chilling to me... and honestly? guided meditations I've done.

But I couldn't keep the story in my mind/heart/spirit and manage the classroom behavior. Scott was the heavy, bless him for that. I was all enmeshed in the story I wanted to tell, he had to speak strongly to them about keeping attentive and not interrupting/disrupting a teacher, and he sent one child out of the room. He groks them, I don't.

I'd almost be sorry I'm so attached to them... but I only have two days left, and I intend to do as well as I can with them. Give my best, bring what I have, love my time there. They're good kids, they're just... TEN.

You know?
labelleizzy: (Default)
... and all I gotta say, is it was a lot easier kvetching about Scott's not-management skills than it was to manage things myself.


Okay. I get four (or three, depending on a doctor's appointment) more shots at this. I planned in great detail for tomorrow, with timeline minute-by-minute, and sent it to him tonight. We'll see how that goes over, I think I included most everything he and I talked about. And we're killing the Sacred Cow, or at the least putting her on a serious reduction diet (I mean the tradition of Morning Circle - With Scott's approval and encouragement I'm shaving it to 20 minutes.)

Also, I'm getting better at remembering things I hear.

Oh, and Gods bless the Waldorf teacher training. I'm doing things this week that would have been HELLA scary without the last 18 months of training and self examination and overhaul. This week, even today on 5 hours sleep? Just challenging and logistically complicated. Not scary.


labelleizzy: (balance)
Friday went reasonably well. The kids were very patient with me, though I got the hairy eyeball for messing up the words to the song and for ringing the wrong bell to call them back to recess. Because I don't know any better. =) I'm okay with that, observing for three days, out sick for one day, then taking the classroom for a day as the full teacher (the first substitute, I am told, that Scott has had during the three years he's had this class! Amazing!)

I had fun, I learned a whole lot, I have been reflecting on my mistakes and where I can fix them or do better next time.

Friday night and Saturday morning classes have been good from the perspective of preparing for the upcoming two weeks, and getting feedback from my classmates both on art and on lesson plans. Willow and Melinda both have said that they are envious of my energy and confidence in front of a classroom and that they think I'll be a wonderful Grades teacher. *beam*

A whole week of not-enough-sleep means I spent four hours comatose this afternoon instead of socializing with my hubby... =( But I had dinner and then have been reading and talking with him, telling him about my week, we have a fire going downstairs, and a really, RILLY nice bottle of Ridge Carignane (sp?) that we're drinking between us.


he's playing some kind of swing music downstairs, I'm going to investigate.
labelleizzy: (green path)
I'm about to embark on a three week intensive journey deep into the landscape of Waldorf.

I may or may not see and talk to y'all for the duration, I probably won't have time & energy to read LJ.

Here's the schedule: Oh, and did I mention my car needs a new radiator as of yesterday? BAH...

  • This upcoming weekend: Still have classes in San Rafael, with its particular soul-quality and load of homework requirements
  • Daily during the first week: Drive from Mountain View to Santa Cruz, and back.
  • Spend most of the day intensely observing, and breathing in/living the culture of the 4th grade classroom and the whole school.
  • First weekend: Still have classes in San Rafael, with its particular soul-quality and load of homework requirements
  • Second week: Daily drive to Santa Cruz etc, except I should be actually assisting in the class
  • Second weekend: I get the weekend off from my Waldorf classes to prep for my actually teaching a Waldorf class during the week. *inhale* *exhale* I can do this.
  • Second weekend: Am currently planning a visit to the Nova Albion Steampunk event in Emeryville. Not sure I can pull this off; let's see how heavy the workload and prep time are.
  • Third Week: Daily Drive to Santa Cruz etcetera, AND I'll be teaching the main lesson, on a totally new subject from what I've been observing. Whoa. AND it's something I only just learned myself, in my last Waldorf weekend class, AND I'll have to present it in a way that's appropriate for fourth grade Waldorf students, which I am not yet sure how I will do this.


Short answer: I'ma be busy, and none of it, unfortunately, brings a paycheck. I'll be hermiting hard, practicing self care, and getting as much sleep and water as possible.

Still, I Love you all, send me an email if you wanna talk to me, or give me a phone call.


Feb. 11th, 2010 04:21 pm
labelleizzy: (are you ok?)
Two days of work at the same school with the same classes, even if there ARE 150 kids, is enough time to start learning some names.

and to start losing my heart.


is it too "egotistical" or too arrogant, to think, "they need me"?
But I don't think I could teach full time in that school, not with what I know already... not with Waldorf workings in my spirit... my head, my art, my intention...

Jeff is bothered by public spaces that have too much "ping"... it's an auditory thing. These public schools have a literal AND a figurative ping... Sharp edges, no pride, hard surfaces, much of the nature around them broken down, splintered, or scattered with trash... kids learn anger because they learn it gets them attention. But that's another tangent entirely...

Okay, how's this. If a place of learning is to be an oasis for the mind and the spirit, it simply doesn't do, to have each person hand carry a bucket of water from a faraway place. Or to "start an oasis" with bulldozers...

There's no meaning behind what I was teaching. It's all been drills of some kind or another, mental calisthenics maybe. Not that that's a bad thing... But all calisthenics and no... what? using the muscles you've built for something useful? No learning how to play a new game, or ride a unicycle or swing from a trapeze or climb a rope?


just my quick note here.
*is tired and frustrated, and missing the kids already*
labelleizzy: (independent)
Just Three Things I'm taking away from this week of substitute teaching.

1) Speak professionally and spartanly with high school students, be precise in my language and in expressing my expectations & standards, and work to not over-share. (jessica's waldorf-kindergarten challenge to not speak until spoken to by students, would work surprisingly well in another independently-motivated high school classroom.)

2) Do The Right Thing, always, even if it's a day or two delayed.

3) At the end of the day, Doing More Good is actually a pretty simple balance to maintain. Respect, helpfulness, friendliness, and taking care of the students, are why I'm there. Substitute teachers are a necessary gap-filler, we serve an essential purpose. Good to remember.

that's all I got right now, the nap earlier this afternoon is still Sucking What Little Brain I have after a weekend of Waldorf lectures on "Man as Symphony of the Creative Word", but yay, butterflies. (yes that sounds like a random tangent; ask me later if you see me.)

labelleizzy: (laughing)
Today went very very smoothly. The teacher has a routine of the students practicing their work at the OH projector, then they do their own work in pairs or independently.

Bathroom rule is pretty standard: 5 minutes maximum out of class.

Fair enough. One kid, the last period I was working(fifth) decided to "go to the bathroom" but was gone for 15 minutes. The students were debating whether he'd gone to Starbucks or Panda Express. I was being quietly amused at how aware they were of this particular student's, um, proclivities.

Then one kid (I have to hand it to him for carpe-ing the diem) says, mischievously, "Hey, we should call him, put him on speaker phone, be really quiet, and ask him where he is." Eyes go slideways toward me.

I thought for a second, was even more amused, said, "Sure, let's see what he has to say for himself." The kids were delighted, the call proceeded, the kid outed himself in front of the whole class. He says how he went home for chocolate then realized he wanted his ipod for after school sports practice...

O.M.G. I was (silently) laughing so hard I took my glasses off and was wiping tears out of my eyes. Now, it wasn't mean-natured or anything, it was just, he did something goofus, now we've busted him and we're gonna laugh a little.

Kid moseys into class a few minutes later. Avoids eye contact. Slides, maybe slinks out the door when the period ends. Probably thought he got away with it, too.

He didn't. I let Ms. Woods, the sub-scheduling secretary, know what went down. She LOL'd as well, and then I happened to mention this kid had been seeming disconnected and avoidant and not-grounded, or floaty, "kind of like a stoner", I said, "though I'm not implying I believe he is one"... Ms. Woods says, "Well, if you even THINK he might be doing something like that, we want to know about it."

A good day. I got a whole Waldorf lecture read and annotated while the kids were working today, connected the dots for it by doing some artwork (boy, I'm glad I thought to bring my homework to do!!), and got a damn fine bellylaugh out of the deal as well.

I love that his peers totally punk'd him.


Jul. 27th, 2009 05:04 pm
labelleizzy: (Default)
[ profile] kineticphoenix gave me words.

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labelleizzy: (Default)
Tonight was a special festival performance for my Waldorf teacher program.

Several of the teachers performed: Glenda did 3 eurhythmy performances, Sybilla spoke several pieces, including an adaptation of a TS Eliot piece which I want a copy of, and Christof sang, I believe operatic pieces. All performances were infused with energy, that part's not the problem.

I realized after leaving the performance space, that, to put it in pagan terms, I don't feel Waldorf all the way down into my root chakra.

And I realized something else. While this training is giving me a firm grounding in certain intellectual, emotional, and spiritual balance, the approach is entirely to Apollonian for my freaky little self.

I miss the dirty jokes and innuendo, I miss goofy word play, I miss that kind of cuttin' loose that is fun as hell when you're with the right people, or even when you're by yourself. I miss the exalted feeling I get (got) from being out in storm winds at sunset, the feeling of nature being vibrantly, even violently alive (not calmly alive) all around me.

I miss the Dionysic stream.

I am still getting loads and loads of Good Stuff (tm) from this program, and what I might end up doing ultimately, is taking the new core of calm confidence this program has been helping me to build up, and take the rest of the fearless simplification and heart-warmed thinking philosophy of meticulous care and respect and preparation, and take it to teach in the public schools anyway, like I initially thought I would. Goddess knows I can handle the Dionysic style chaos the public school classrooms often wind up coping with... Especially to work with the kids who need remedial study which I can provide.

I think I can do a beautiful job to ground the classroom and kids and provide the Safe Space so many children need in order to heal, grow, develop, and soar. I might not choose to do it in pure Waldorf, but I love Fusion art and music and cuisine and... that's much more ME anyway.

Still thinking thinky thoughts...

labelleizzy: (just write)
I'm doing Artist's Pages, or trying to, in the mornings. The designer, Julia Cameron, insists that the benefit of doing them, consists largely in doing them handwritten. That is how you sweep the braindust out, she says, and has anecdotal stories to back her.

I'm growing more inclined to believe her, both from my own practice and from my extended experience of writing my Waldorf classroom-and-student observation paper, entirely by hand. And letting it lie fallow for days at a go, as I had always heard rumor was effective. (nemmind that necessity-invention's-mom had always insisted that I write all my college papers at the last minute, until now I have never been able to finish a paper early and then set it aside and leave it...)

This paper seems to have assembled itself in my subconscious. I refer to my notes, the second draft of fully written sentences drawn out from initial cryptic classroom notes...

And I can just feel how the words and sentences want to go together. Even if they were pages apart on my first draft. Just writing them, they assemble themselves. word leads to word, sentence to sentence, growing organically, building a progression like a jazz riff.

It's truly remarkable. I cannot recall ever before feeling this ease of assembly. I don't know if it's an effect of all the Waldorf classes I have been taking, if it's the newfound confidence and clarity from my recovery work, if it's the fact that I write so damn much HERE on LiveJournal that I just have become a better intuitive writer, or what.

But I can feel the organic nature of the process. I've never looked FORWARD to writing a paper for class like I have done this one tonight. I'm ready. It will be lovely. I have illustrated title pages for each section, drawn myself, and I'm handwriting it with my cartridge calligraphy pen, in purple. I never before had teachers who told me I could, I should make, my homework beautiful. And this time, they have, and I believed them that I was able to do so, and I think it will be beautiful. I can't wait to see it once it's done!

*happy dance!*

My 15 minute break is nearly over, I am hoping to be done by midnight so I can try to get a solid night's sleep before substitute teaching girls' PE tomorrow. Short commute, blessed be.
labelleizzy: (iamtheteacher)
Short story: I found myself resentful at the end of the day.
the kids were fine, well behaved, mostly on task, not disrespectful,
productive, creating WONDERFUL, tasteful art...

and I was angry at the end of the day that this was an arts program that didn't have to struggle and scrimp and go to GoodWill and ask for parents to pay fees; they had so much resource they had THOUSANDS of dollars of canvases and other supplies.

At least half the kids had iphones. None were noticeably unhealthy; one the whole day seemed to have a mobility problem (an issue for a campus with so many stairs...)

And my little half-trained Waldorf soul, while the student work in evidence was indeed precise and lovely, seems cold and ornamental. Not a "useful" project on display.

Well, so I'm feeling some feelings, I don't have time to examine them more in detail, got to head out to San Rafael. Anybody with time on their hands can toss some theories out if they want to.

(maybe I'm just cranky cos the tree pollen allergies are on the rise. Dunno.)

G'night, y'all, heading out to the land of no internets (aka my Waldorf classes.)


labelleizzy: (Default)

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