Sunday, March 11, 2007

what are you doing for the next 36 hours?...

"My passport's in my pocket and my bag is packed--where're we goin!?!?" I replied when my sister called with the title question. Sad to say, no where exotic, but any trip with Caron is always memorable, and if I can rearrange my schedule, we'll be at Mizzou tomorrow and dine with the jazz band at Murray's tomorrow night. Lunch at Shakespeare's sounds scrumptious, or a burger from Boochies. Yum! I can't wait to make the trip (it's all about the food, you know. :) It will be a great start to an expected great week.

It's spring break. A much needed and much deserved spring break I might add. This is the first break in a long time I haven't "gone" somewhere. My students were floored when I told them I'd be staying home. (It seems they all like to live vicariously through my travels.)

Nope, this spring break I'm going to relax and enjoy Missouri spring weather. I'm going to clean out my closets, mop my floors, wash my windows, grade papers, visit my dad, have dinner with friends, enjoy my coffee, play with my animals, listen to a band, watch a movie, do laundry, go for a run, sweep the garage, clean out my classroom, attend a wedding reception, write a letter, prepare for 4th quarter, take my granny shopping, write a blog or two, update my I-pod, visit my grandparents, go dancing, read a book, road trip to St. Louis, sleep late, and bask in some sunlight like a turtle on the North Fork. I hope I can get it all in.

I'll check back in next Sunday.

useless blog (now not so useless and titled "the face of an American teenager...")

I'm blogging because I need to write, but I have nothing to write about...or maybe, just nothing I want to say at the moment. I feel like my students who look at me with blank stares and glazed eyes.

I've perused through several other blogs already this afternoon, some to get ideas, some because they are my friends and I want to know about their lives.

Mark in London wrote about his near death, but hilarious, experience in The Ox and the Lamb Pub a few nights ago. Cool Cat Teacher quoted another blog about an ICT conference for kids, where kids teach the teachers what they have been doing in their classrooms with technology, and what lessons were important for them. Kids will be the keynote speakers and participants throughout the conference. Of course, this is in theory mode right now, but I think it's a novel idea.

Probably the most disturbing blog to me this morning was when I linked from Janet Morrison's Community Dialogue to Larry James' Urban Daily to read about Monica. This heart-wrenching story about an illegal immigrant teenager who, with no prior records, spent the weekend at an immigration center and then in jail because she did not have proper identification on her. About to graduate from high school, Monica is an honor student with good grades and no discipline record...and although her country (she's been here over a decade) will deny her any rights, her school teachers don't. To them, she's a typical American teenager about to graduate high school. She doesn't look out of place because she buys her clothes at the mall, or finds trendy bargains at local thrift markets. She uses local cell phone service and pays for things she needs from local stores. She carries her school work in a back pack or a fashionable bag. She has conversations about music and movies. She listens to an Mp3 and has a MySpace. She studies. She listens in class. She gets her homework done on time. She's thinking about her dreams of a family, her college applications, and her aspirations about a career. Inside, there's excitement about the new chapter in her life that's about to begin, and a little nauseous anxiety, even though, like most 18 year-old's, she would never admit it.

Now, her new chapter is scarred for a decision her parents made when she was five to bring her to a new country so she could get a better education, a better job, and a better life. She was offered a place to live, a loving family and neighborhood, and an education. She offers the 21st century American society money, work ethic, intelligence, and a voice to vote.

I don't know Monica personally, but I know her. She's a daughter and a best friend. She might be a sister and an aunt. She might even be a teacher's pet. The point is, she's someone. She's not an illegal immigrant. Monica is the face of an American teenager.