Friday, September 17, 2010

What defines me

Sometimes I think about the things people use to describe me.  And I think of how many different groups of friends (online and off) that only know little bits about me.  And some things that hardly anybody knows.  So what are some things that I believe define me?  Here are some of the things that go into the whole crazy package you see as me:

  • I am curious.  About everything.  There are lots of things I want to know the answer to, and will go forth and research (thank you, internet!).  And as much as I love to learn, I love to teach others.  But complex issues confuse and mystify me.  Which is why politics anymore complex than general knowledge will remain a complete and utter mystery to me.
  • I am lazy.  There are so many times, and so many situations, when I simply just cannot be bothered.  I also love sleep.
  • I am shy.  Lots of people don't know this.  I'm more shy over the phone than face-to-face, and more shy IRL than online.  I stay away from lots of parties and clubs where I won't know anyone, or only know very few.  It's just far too intimidating for me.  At work, in a professional light, I'm much more confident, but I still hate calling people I don't know.
  • I am a furry.  That's right.  I love to roleplay anthropomorphic characters, and I often wish I was an anthro jaguar (hence my twitter name, cammyjag).  I love other roleplays as well, but anthro is my first love.
  • I am obsessed with other cultures.  Asian, Irish, Native American and historical American are my favourite cultures to explore.
  • Food.  I love food and will try almost anything once.
  • I am passionate about equality and social respect.  I despise things that cause people to have superior attitudes towards other people.  This involves fashion, gossip, willful ignorance, and Disney Princesses.
  • The thought of Barbie and Disney Princesses makes me gag involuntarily.  I never liked any of these as a child, and seeing my students completely obsessed with them turns me off even more.
  • I want to live somewhere else.  Nowhere exotic.  Just somewhere else.  Like the UK.  Or Philly.
  • I would rather work for nothing than to work somewhere that I hate.
  • I could never give up meat.  Never ever. *gnaws on steak*
  • I love to laugh and make others laugh.  Whether it's teasing, harmless pranks, or just sharing a funny story, I love when people are happy.
  • I love pretty much any music genre from the 1920s to the 1980s.  Except for modern jazz.  Swing Jazz and Blues Jazz are fine, though.  Modern jazz makes my ears bleed.
  • I love to dance.  Not all dance, though.  Liturgical dance.  I'm in my church's dance ministry and I absolutely love it.
  • I am socially awkward.  I don't know if this is part of my shyness, or exactly how they affect each other, but I've always been on the edge of a group, even if I'm fully involved with it, I've never felt completely emotionally accepted.  I hated high school.  This also frustrates me in that I'm a very generous person and love to help others, but often receive very little in reciprocation.  It's to the point that this is normal for me.  I don't give expecting something back, but sometimes it's nice to feel that I'm not ignored or taken advantage of.  Lots of times I really don't feel the love and support I give, especially when I need it most.  But I'm too shy to say anything really about it.
  • I love casual gaming.  I suck at video games.  Always have, always will.  But give me a hidden object game or a puzzle game, a solitaire game or a social game, and you have my attention for several hours.
  • I am FORGETFUL.  OMG, I'm forgetful.  I have a sanguine temperament (HIGHLY sanguine!) and one of the features of the temperament is forgetfulness, or being 'scatter-brained'.  That is so me!  I even forget to write things down, as often as I've tried, or if I do actually remember to write things down, I forget to go back and read what I've written.

That being said, I can't think of anything else, even though there's probably more.  Hope you enjoyed this look into me.  Ask me questions!  I love to answer them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The high point of every working day...

Ok, so my last two serious blog posts have been pretty rant-filled, and after laughing my head off reading Baby Rabies' blog, I remember some of the fun I wanted to have actually writing this blog, even if most people don't read it.  So, I will now recount to you what I pretty much live for every day I go to work.

Besides the children.  That's just a given.  This is bonus.

I love to mess with my boss.  She is absolutely hilarious to tease.  She's a middle-aged lady, even though she calls herself old, and has such a wonderful sense of humour.  Being the owner/head teacher/assistant in a preschool is really stressful, so I help by spending little moments of my day making her laugh.  

One of my favourite ways is to stand outside her office window (which is directly across from the door of my classroom) and make faces at her until she looks.  The other is to stand directly behind her when she's talking to another teacher.  Once she was talking to the teacher for over a minute, even hit me in the boob, and still didn't realise I was there until the teacher she was talking to couldn't keep from laughing.

I don't know what it is that makes me want to tease her like that.  Maybe it's because I know she'll laugh, and maybe because it's just so dang easy!  She reminds me of my mom, the way I can take what she says or does and use it to tease her, and all she can do is laugh and try to hit me.  I have good reflexes :D.  And because I know she'd never really hit me.  Hard, anyway.

This is key, because I love to take advantage of the backup camera she has in her new Kia Sportage and dance or do something crazy when she starts backing up.  She always cracks up laughing!

I work with some awesome ladies, I tell you.  It's not just the children I go to work for.  If it wasn't for an equally wonderful staff of teachers that I work with, there's no way that I could enjoy my job so very much!  I would never work somewhere to make more money if it meant working in a hostile, gossiping, spiteful atmosphere.  Having fun with my coworkers and especially my boss is definitely the highlight to every working day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why parents infuriate me...

It's not all of my parents that frustrate me and get me angry.  It's not all of them that I want to shake.  It's the few.  The few that make you forget all the rest of the wonderful parents who are a pleasure to work with.  Since everyone seems a little list-happy recently, I have compiled my own list.  This is from my own experience, but you may see similarities to other lists, because these people are everywhere!

10.  You have 1 child here.  Sometimes 2.  We have 8-12.  Every day.

9.  We cannot remember everything you say, and we can't stand around and talk to you all day.  You are not the only person we have to deal with today, and not even the most important.  We are here for the children.  If you really need to talk to us, call us at the proper time (ie, when you know they're resting!) or email us.  Or even write a note!  It's not hard!  Don't be selfish with our attention to you.

8.  Don't dress your child in white and look at us funny when they come home brown.  They are children, they will play.  Please dress your child appropriately.  They can't tie their shoelaces, and you know they take their shoes off when they come inside.  Why are you going to do that to us?  And on the other end of the spectrum, don't send them in flip-flops either.  They're not proper support for the running/jumping they do all day.

7.  PLEASE check your child's communication box/folder daily!  There's important information there, and we aren't always there/available to talk to you when you pick your child.

6.  Please please PLEASE be on time!  This counts for drop-off as well as pick-up.  You distrupt the class when you waltz in late and go through your unnecessarily long, drawn-out separation process as if nobody is there.  And we don't get paid overtime to sit around and wait for you to come and pick up your child at the end of the day.  The child also begins to worry and become distressed.  If you have to pick up your child by 5:30, don't LEAVE at 5:30!  And don't complain when we charge you the late fee, either!

5.  LABEL EVERYTHING.  Again, we have multiple children we are taking care of.  Many items look similar to us, and most children cannot identify their own belongings.  If it looks nice to them, they will claim it whether it belongs to them or not.  If it's not labelled, don't blame us if it goes missing.  We don't have the time to play the elimination game to guess whose it is.  Anything that can detach from them physically should be labelled.  This includes socks and underwear!  Don't assume that your child will always keep these on.  They don't even do it at home, why would they do it at school?

4.  We are not a party venue!  We are a school.  If you would like to have an elaborate birthday party for your child, do it on the weekend.  Keep the birthday celebrations at school simple and quick, and work with our schedule, not yours.

3.  DISNEY IS THE ENEMY!!  Not literally, but it really doesn't belong at a school.  We do not promote images and some of the messages they give to children.  They often distract from learning when children are more focused on what they're wearing or what they have on their lunchbox/bottle/hat, etc.  Keep such images at school at a minimum, and downplay their importance as much as possible.  There are more important things to focus on.

2.  Let the children be children.  Let them develop on their own.  They grow up too fast anyway, so why speed up the process by flooding them with images and messages that are not age appropriate?  Little girls should not be obsessed with make-up, fashion and gossip.  Boys should not be obsessed with guns, fighting and monsters.  They can be aware of it, but when they're fed a steady diet of it so that's what is most important to them and that's all they focus on, something is very wrong.

1.  RESPECT.  Please respect the teachers and the classroom.  This is our workplace and our profession, so please treat it as such.  We take our jobs very seriously, and our first and most important goal is the safety and wellbeing of your child.  We are not your servants, we are not second-class workers.  We are professionals, just like you.  We work hard, and we work long.  We go home tired and drained at the end of the day, but we never stop thinking about your children.  They become like our own and we are devoted to them and to you.  When we say something, or suggest something, it's because we care.  Work with us, not against us.  At the end of the day, it's not the paycheck we're looking for, it's knowing that we're doing the best for a child.  Let us know that you appreciate us, you have no idea how it helps us when we're tired and stressed.

Teaching is not an easy profession.  Teachers don't get paid a lot of money, it's long hours and it's mentally and physically draining.  But we teach because it's our passion as well as our profession.  Just because we teach preschool, don't think we are less than a grade school or high school teacher.  Let's bring back the respect that the teaching profession deserves.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What's your favorite season of the year?

late spring

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

What one thing are you exceptionally bad at?

drawing. omg the horror!

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

If you won a $1,000 shopping spree for any store, which store would you pick?

Apple, or Old Navy.

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

School is in session!

I started writing this post about 2 days ago during rest period, when the power decided to go out.  Fun fun.  We ended up calling parents and sending the kids home early (those who stay for the after school care), because it was raining off/on so we couldn't stay outside, and it was too hot/dark inside.  Of course, the poor head teacher was stuck calling parents on her cell b/c we couldn't use the phones. :P

But, other than that (and 4 new parents in one class deciding not to send their children to the school after all, and the toilets not working yesterday due to the power outage on Thurs), it has been an amazing first week of school.  All the classrooms had a big makeover in terms of layout, we have brand new carpets and new paint, and we seriously purged all our storage sheds, getting back to a nice, minimalist feel, as a Montessori school should feel.  It's so strange, the way things have changed so much between the end of the old school year and the start of the new one.  It feels really, really good.

Things are still a bit hectic in the office, getting files re-organized, and both the head teacher and I have to squeeze in office time outside of teaching to get everything rolling.  Thanks to the head-teacher's mother-in-law who works part-time for us in the office, there's a lot of stress gone out of it, though, since we can rely on her to do a lot of the organizing.

So, school is now back in session, I'm getting my students in shape and in order, and it's looking to be a good year.  The real work starts on Monday.

Funny story about my class:  my students told their old teacher they wanted to go back to her class, because they have too many 'chores' in my class. XD

It's true, I do have them do chores after lunch.  They eat off of plates and drink out of cups to learn good table manners, so after lunch there are dishes to be washed, tables and floors to be wiped, and sweeping to be done.  Once they really start working on the shelves, there will also be dusting and organizing of shelves as well.  I do this for two main reasons: to give them a sense of pride & responsibility, and to fill the time during their shortened rest time.  They'll be heading to primary school next year, which means no more rest time, no more naps.  We prepare them for this by shortening their rest time down to one hour of quiet rest during the school year, then quiet activity during summer camp.  Chores after lunch and before rest time help to fill that gap.  Also, when their work time in the morning gets longer.  Also, I told my class that it's their space, and they are responsible for keeping it clean.  I have already seen the smiles on their faces after sweeping up the floor, or washing the dishes.  They're more than eager to do a good job.  They almost fight over whose turn it is, which makes me thankful for my job chart.  They can see their names on the chart, and know whose turn it is to work.

Hopefully this week I'll remember to charge my camera and take pics of my classroom.  Maybe I'll start my own Wordless Wednesday posts!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Are you more of a talker or more of a listener?

Talker, though a listener if it's serious.

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

What's one thing you own that you should probably throw away, but never will?

my stuffed toys.

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

What was the happiest moment in your life?

College graduation. :)

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

Who's the most famous person you've met?

Jada Pinkett. In a nail salon. She was really nice. :)

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

mannish water. I won't gross you out with the details. It's a soup. With goat.

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

Where are you from?

Bermuda-born and raised. :)

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

What do you think was the greatest invention in your lifetime?

Apple computers. :D

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

What's the secret to happiness?

Give. Give of yourself, give of your means, give of your time. It doesn't matter what you give, but as long as you give for the right reasons, you will never fail to find happiness.

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

If you had to give up one favorite food, what would the most difficult?

beef. In any form. and most likely cheese.

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

Chocolate or Vanilla?

vanilla! too much chocolate makes me sick, esp. American-made chocolate.

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

What TV show makes you laugh the loudest?

"Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest..." if I watch nothing else all week, I HAVE TO watch this show! Kills me every time!

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!


Yes, I now have an account.  I'll post answers here as a way to keep this blog active.  And whenever I'm bored.  Which is often.  :D

What's the best gift you've ever given?

Surprised my best friend with a set of golf clubs for her birthday. Got all her friends & family to contribute. She almost passed out from the surprise!

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

What's your favorite genre of music?

Oldies, Big Band & Swing Jazz. Anything from the 20s to the 80s, really.

Ask me anything! I accept all challengers!

Who was the best teacher you've ever had?

my HS english teacher. Had her for 5 years, then for 6th form. She's still an awesome lady.

Ask me anything

Would you rather be rich or famous?

Rich. Screw famous. Too much trouble.

Ask me anything

What's the most unselfish thing you've ever done?

bought my unemployed friend a computer screen which she desperately needed, and a real bullwhip which she desperately wanted. I'm a really giving person. :)

Ask me anything

Back on track...

Ok, let's get this thing restarted.  The main reason is because I really started getting more involved in Twitter, following Montessori teachers & moms and I really want to share my ideas better.  I've been thinking about a lot of stuff to the point that it's starting to bug me, not really having anywhere to share it.  So this'll be probably more school & child focused than roleplay, but that'll most likely creep back in there sometimes.
SO!  Busy busy busy.  Been getting my classroom ready for school to start this Wednesday.  I know American schools started last week, but we start the first Wednesday after Labour Day.  So there :P
New batch of preschoolers!  Woo!  I'll miss my children from last year (my 'minions' as I jokingly referred to them near the end of the school year.  Mostly to make my boss laugh.) but they're off to bigger and better things and I wish them all the best!  Now I have a new challenge to contend with: the 'girly-girls'.  There are 2 (maybe 3) girls who act more like teenagers than 4 year olds.  It's all about fashion, tv, music, and clothes.  This grates me for several reasons:
  1. They tend to clique together and alienate the other children.
  2. These are the same type of children that created hell for me growing up.
  3. It makes you wonder what their moms are actually thinking, and if they realise what they're setting themselves up for later on.
  4. It also makes you wonder what types of messages they're being fed through all the media they're exposed to, and it worries me.
  5. One of them has already decided that one of the boys in the class is her 'boyfriend' because their last names are similar.  This worries me.
  6. They are far too aware of things that, in their context, are far too mature for them.  Mostly, they're aware of their bodies and parts, but in all the wrong ways.
The last one is the most worrisome of all.  Mostly, I worry that they're learning these things before they're learning to have healthy proper relationships, and that this will skew their perspective on relationships, putting them at high risk for teenage pregnancy.  They're being taught to be 'women' and not 'children'.
I was on youtube the other day, watching clips from the tv special 'Free to and me', where two babies were trying to figure out what they were (boy/girl).  It was interesting in that it dealt with the stereotypes we place on children on what it means to be a 'boy' or a 'girl'.

This is something I deal with all the time.  Children telling each other they can't do something or they can't like something because it's 'for girls' or it's 'for boys'.  Who says?  This is something I've had to deal with my whole life.  I grew up a very staunch tomboy.  I hated having to wear dresses and skirts.  I constantly had my mother getting on me as I got older, to wear my uniform skirts more as opposed to my shorts and pants, because I was a 'girl child' (my mother's Jamaican, if you're wondering about the phrase).  I've been asked if I was a lesbian because of being such a tomboy.  People always trying to get me to wear makeup so I'd look more like a 'lady'.
Now that I'm in my late 20s, I still prefer pants to skirts and dresses, although I will wear them when I want.  Also, I've invested in some quality makeup that I've started to wear more frequently because I want to.  See, the difference is that I do it because I want to, not because other people have told me that I should.  This is what I want to instill in my students.  I want them to be able to be who they are, and know who they are, not to be what the media tells them to be.  Now, if I can only get the parents on board.
I can already see my first day of school being about respect and courtesy, as well as new material.  It's going to be a tough battle.