Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Think Before You Speak

I've been working as a tutor/substitute forty hours a week. It's really nice to be back with kids. I really do love them! On Friday, I substituted for a fourth grade class at my old school. It was field trip day to the Science Museum. I enjoy field trip days as long as they don't include incessant questioning. Fortunately in this case, I was being honest when I told the kids I didn't know anything.

The field trip was a bit too short to see much of the museum. We started by going to the planetarium and watching a movie about space. It made me bitter about how NASA is essentially being shut down. Then they divided my students up into small groups, each with a guide, and showed them around the dinosaur exhibit. The tour guides were a bit strange and I think they are volunteers. I didn't really know what I was supposed to do, so I just walked from group to group, making my presence known. One of the tour guides seemed like a conspiracy theorist. He kept talking about 2012 and how people were going to try to make money off it and the kids should be careful. I think they were just confused.

After the dinosaur time, we went into this classroom where a lady taught a lesson on animals. It was actually very well done The best part was when she gave each table of kids a real animal skull and then pictures of animals that they had to try to match to the skull. It was a cool hands-on activity. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of animal skull access so it would be hard to replicate this one. The teacher asked the kids different questions about animals throughout the class. At one point she said, "Name a carnivore that lives in the ocean." One of my students yelled, "Cougar!" I laughed in her face, and kind of loudly. I am sorry but that's just a stupid answer. Sometimes kids need to know when they've said something dumb.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Traumatic Timeso

One of my classes this semester is called "Intervention Strategies for Psychological Trauma.As you can probably guess, this class is pretty intense. I didn't really know what I was getting into because the course catalog only listed it as Intervention Strategies. It is a hard class emotionally but I would love to help traumatized people.

Last week we watched a fictional movie about child molestation. The movie waas intense and I wouldn't recommend watching it. It follows two boys who were sexually abused by their baseball coach. One boy grows up to be a male prostitute and the other boy concocts a story of being abducted by aliens to explain why he has periods of time he doesn't remember.

I was a bit traumatized by the film, especially the sex scenes. I didn't feel like I was going to cry until after the movie was over. I began to think of all the people I know and love who were molested as children. Unfortunately that list is too long. I wrote down the names of all the people I know who were violated as children and I came up with 25 names. And these are just the people who've told me. I am sure I know other people who haven't told me.the whole thing makes me so sad and mad at the same time. I know how negatively this affects people and it makes me so sick that people hurt kids like this.

When I got home, I prayed for each of those people I know by name. I prayed that God would restore what was selfishly stolen from them. I prayed for a healthy view of sex and for healthy sex lives for all these people. And I prayed for the people who victimized them. I prayed that they would get help and never do this to another child. I don't see how people can honestly say that they think people are good when children are used and abused by those who are supposed to protect them. "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." Deitrich Bonhoeffer
Looks like our society has a long way to go!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

My Third Career Day

I've been working at my old school three days a week. It's actually been great! I don't have all the pressures of being a teacher as I tutor and substitute and I get to be with my friends there.

On Friday, we had Career Day. This is one of my favorite elementary school days. My school growing up didn't have Career Day but they were prominently displayed on my favorite TV shows like Full House. I think Career Day is a great idea to help kids see what types of jobs they can have when they grow up.

The event is set-up so that each class gets at least 9 presenters. This is great but the sheer number of participants means that some presenters will be duds. Some people's jobs are too complicated or too uninteresting for children. Some people are too complicated or uninteresting for children. This time I was subbing for a fourth grade class that got really engaging speakers.

We started with a lawyer, who did a decent job of explaining his profession to the kids. Then we had a woman from the city's gang prevention task force. She knew how to talk to children and had a nice powerpoint. My favorite part of her presentation was when she showed a picture of a woman with short blonde hair. (The presenter was a Hispanic woman with dark hair.) She asked who the picture was of and one of the kids said it was her. In fact, it was our mayor. Our kids really don't know much about our city government or apparently the difference between grown women of different ethnicities. The third speaker of that group was a judge, who looked to be about 25 but I am sure that was not the case.

The next group was probably the most interesting. The funny part of the presentations is that the other two presenters just stand there while one person is talking. It is interesting to try to guess what the other presenters do for a living before they speak. The cop was in uniform and he went first. Just before he came in, one of the kids had said he wanted to be a police officer so it was great timing. The cop was quite a character and I am pretty sure he would have talked the whole time if he'd been allowed. The kids started asking him if he'd fired pretty much every weapon that ever existed. I don't know if it's a good thing that they are so familiar with various weapons of mass destruction. While the cop was talking, I tried to figure out what the other people did for a living. There was an old guy who looked like a professor and a youngish guy who frankly, looked like a drug dealer. He wasn't dressed up at all and he had two facial piercings. I figured they wouldn't let a drug dealer in for Career Day so I guessed that he owned an auto body shop. Then when he began presenting, it was clear. He was Dave Morales, a DJ for local radio station, 96.5. He definitely had a great radio voice. He had the kids name their favorite singers and then told stories about how he'd met almost all of them. I think a girl almost fainted when he said he'd met Justin Beiber. It was hilarious! The old guy turned out to be an electrical designer, which simply can't follow after a cop and someone who's actually met the Beiber. Poor guy. It's like the year my dad, the lawyer had to follow the animal cop. He tried his best, though.

One of our last presenters was a retired educator whose son is our school's namesake. He was a state representative who died in a car crash. Then we had the most successful African American ballerina in Houston and a guy that worked at the Children's Museum. Overall it was a fun day and I think all the kids want to be cops or Djs now.
badass...Minute Maid Park....l love the Stros!!!!!!!!!!!!
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