Archive for the Soapboxes Category

Tired

Posted in Life & All That Jazz, Politics & Ulcers, Soapboxes on May 22, 2010 by Magistra

I’m tired of the drama
Of the haters
Of the press

I’m tired of being told what to wear
What to think
How to dress

I’m tired of being subjected to anger
Pure jealousy
And unveiled cruelty

I’m tired of hearing her screams every night as they fight
His fists hitting I’m not sure what
Her stifled sobs

I’m tired of being attacked for standing up for what is right
Being targeted for speaking truth
For holding fast

I’m tired of meanness from strangers
From friends
From colleagues

I’m tired of double speaking
Gossip
And lies

I’m tired of seeing people sit on their ass all day and do nothing
I’m tired of working my ass off to pay for them to do so
I’m tired of learned helplessness and sloth

I’m tired of bitchy women and hateful men
Of the people who think they have a license to be asinine
To judge

I’m tired of doing the right thing to see others drop the ball
Fall for an excuse
Or make one

I’m tired of being constantly bombarded by negativity and hate
Of being the voice of reason
Preaching to an empty choir loft

I’m just so fucking tired of it all

© Dulcinea 2010. All rights reserved.

To Be A Teacher

Posted in Soapboxes on May 8, 2010 by Magistra
This is a beautiful poem written by a colleague and friend.  She is a passionate and extremely talented teacher.  This is shared with permission.


A TEACHER KNOWS

Our talents are the essence of our natural self…of who we are.

Our talents are innate; they cannot be instilled, learned, or removed.

We have an innate talent for teaching, it is natural and individual.

It doesn’t take very long for a teacher to “read” a child…

A TEACHER KNOWS

We are passionate people; no one has the right to tell us how to teach…

A Teacher Knows

WE are powerful influences in a child’s life;

We are the one constant that many of these children have.

A doctor has to look at each patient’s file before he/she can make a decision; a teacher needs no file …

A TEACHER KNOWS.

© Andrea Heitzman 2010. All rights reserved.

Teachers Should Talk Good?

Posted in Politics & Ulcers, Shop Talk (or something like it), Soapboxes on May 2, 2010 by Magistra

So in following the goings on in the Arizona law debate, I came across this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal: Arizona Grades Teachers on Fluency (Miriam Jordan, Wall Street Journal).  It tells about a new push to ensure students who are English language learners (ELL) have teachers who have a command over English not only in terms of grammar but also in terms of accent and teachers who speak English as a second language (ESL) themselves.  Fascinating!  It seems that there are many qualified and experienced teachers who are ESL that were hired in an attempt to diversify the teacher workforce.  However the concern is that ELL students may not be given the greatest advantage in learning alongside native speakers if their teacher doesn’t speak English well either.

Here are my thoughts:

English is the language of our city, state, and national governments, of the laws of our land, and of commerce.  Countries worldwide teach their students English.

Regardless how long a teacher has been teaching or why he or she was hired, it is their responsibility to have a command of the curriculum, including English.  Teachers are required to participate in ongoing education, keep themselves up to date on relevant research and technology, and maintain a standard of excellence in the eduction they provide.  Frankly, I don’t care what the motivation was behind hiring teachers without a command of the language or that English is not officially the national language.  The ultimate question here is not about what is best for the teachers but what is best for the students.

I care about the level of understanding a child can have over English when the teacher doesn’t have a command over the language.  I’m not simply looking at ELL students either.  English is the language used in math, science, social studies, and health books.  It is the language of the standardized tests students are subjected to yearly and on which schools are judged.  In a time when student achievement is a focal point of politics and the media, I find it fascinating that anyone would object to having teachers who speak English well.  Without a command over the language, no students can be expected to perform as well in school or later in life as their potential had they the ability to comprehend and communicate well the written and spoken language.

As a teacher, I know what it is to be concerned about the politics behind education today and the lack of concern over students as individuals.  I know what it is to be concerned that my job may be in jeopardy because my students may not be able to make the progress the government says they should make because teachers do not exist and teach in a vacuum; my students are affected by society, pop culture, their parents and the nurturing they received prior to stepping foot in my classroom.  I also know what it is to struggle to see students make progress learning how to write, read, or follow simple spoken directions because their spoken and written language in 3 or 4 years of school has been allowed to exclude the all important verb or a basic understanding of word order.  I have seen and work with teachers who use incorrect grammar daily in their lessons, conversations, and notes home.

Make no mistake about it: It is a disservice to students that they should receive an inadequate education, whether it is because a teacher is under-qualified, a danger to children, unwilling to grow as a teacher, or unable to teach using the language used in the texts, the tests, and higher levels of education.

© Dulcinea 2010. All rights reserved.

I Am A Teacher, Too

Posted in Politics & Ulcers, Shop Talk (or something like it), Soapboxes on May 1, 2010 by Magistra

I read a great article recently in NEA Today about how teachers feel about the lack of respect they receive despite their service.  It seems that in America today, teachers have become the whipping boy for lack of progress overall.  Complaints pour in from every corner.  Teachers aren’t teaching children respect.  They aren’t doing all they can to help students succeed; just look at their test scores.  Teachers are paid too much for what they do.  Being a teacher has turned into a never-ending battle to do what we are passionate about: reaching children.  One teacher in Florida found her voice and the voice of teachers across America as she wrote about what it is to be a teacher.  For those readers who share the aforementioned adverse opinions about teachers, I ask only that you will click the link below, read the article, and read the full text of Jamee Miller’s essay, “I Am a Teacher”.

A Cry for Respect for Educators

© Dulcinea 2010.  All rights reserved.

Great Expectations

Posted in Life & All That Jazz, Love or Hate (depending), Soapboxes on July 25, 2009 by Magistra

Somewhere deep within our beings there lies a desire to be accepted and that desire motivates so much of what we do in and with our lives.  When we were children we tried hard to please our parents and our teachers.  We occasionally made colossally poor decisions to fit in with the cool kids: drinking, drugs, spandex, huge hair and rooster bangs, clothing with neon paint splatters.  At times we have given ourselves in relationships we weren’t ready for in order to feel what was thought to be acceptance and love.  We go to school or to a job everyday, we go through the motions of relationships, we get married and make babies, we buy a house and start planning for retirement, we take the kids to soccer, we go to recitals, we watch our children graduate and go through the same steps we took, we get older, we move to retirement communities, we sit on the rocking chair on the front porch talking about things in “our day”, and we carry hard candies in our pockets.  These things are not bad in and of themselves; they are what is expected.  But at what cost?

Why should we be expected to do everything on this list?  Why should we be expected to accomplish them within a certain timeframe?  And why should we feel pressured into doing things we’re not comfortable doing, not ready to commit to, or not interested in at this moment in our lives because it is “expected”?

“You can waste a whole lifetime
trying to be what you think is expected of you…
but you’ll never be free.” ~Chris Rea

If I followed the expectations of those around me, I would be a very different and very unhappy person.  I would be dissatisfied with the quality of my product at work because instead of doing my best everyday I would be doing just enough to get by and get a paycheck (disgusting).  I would be married to that guy who I thought I loved once but who turned out to be a schmuck; we’d probably have several beautiful children in a house that he’d expect me to keep immaculate but I would be with a man who wouldn’t be there emotionally to help me raise them, so I’d be essentially a single mother.  Great plan, right?  Or if I wasn’t married, perhaps still single or divorced, I’d be in a relationship with someone because single people must always be in a relationship with someone (especially at my age) or else be perpetually considered an old maid.  In those relationships, I would be far too intimate far too soon, emotionally and physically.  Meanwhile, during those times my status remained “single”, I would be engaging in quite casual sex.  An article in a recent Maxim magazine (a friend read to me) discussed the libido of women during the kind of economic times we’re experiencing now and the need for women to have sex with strangers in increasingly public places, including but not limited to under the desk at work, in a port-a-potty, in the back of a cab, on the subway, and in stock rooms. (Apparently the writer was she who was doing just that… rather all of that.)

At some point it becomes necessary to break free from the expectations of those around you.  Either that or give up your will, your hopes, your desires, your chutzpah and be something other than that which you were meant to be.  For some it takes a lifetime to reach that point; for some that point never comes.  For me it came when I was about 8 years old and almost every day since.

“This is your life. Are you who you wanna be?” ~Switchfoot

Decide.  Decide which expectations are worth following and which need to be ignored.  Follow your conscience.  Follow your heart.  And…

“This above all: to thine own self be true!” ~Polonius, Hamlet, Shakespeare

© Dulcinea, 2009. All rights reserved.

Silence… Golden?

Posted in Life & All That Jazz, Love or Hate (depending), Shop Talk (or something like it), Soapboxes on July 23, 2009 by Magistra

I realize Lau Tzu is considered to have been a great thinker and philosopher.  He was the one who said that think about teaching someone to fish instead of giving him a fish.  Ooo… wow… deep.  We smile, nod, agree, and consider the social programs in our modern day America.  But he wasn’t so smart or enlightened that he could convince me to be a Taoist.  I came across a quote of his that’s been bothering me since I read it.

Silence is a source of great strength.” -Lau Tzu

Hmm… and?!  “Keep your big mouth shut!”  “It’s better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it.”  “He was really cute till he opened his mouth to speak.”  Right?  I like all these statements.  I’ve used them all.  But this one from Tzu I hate.

I think this is a really arrogant statement.  If this is meant in the sense that one could gain strength in silence and solitude, it is true for some.  But this Duck loves to drive down the road with the radio blaring singing along, talking to herself, contemplating the best course of action, and somehow the songs that have the message that I need to hear come on and I feel strengthened in that.  Silence, not so much, but strengthened nonetheless.  If this statement is meant in the sense that you should speak less and listen more, I can only agree marginally.  Points in case:

~A person tries to cut in front of most of the rest of a long line in a store, and right in front of you.  Do you tell them where the end of the line is and point out that others have been waiting a long time to check out?

~You suspect a casual friend whom you also work is the source of unsavory and untrue rumors you’ve heard about yourself.  Do you confront this person or just cut them out of your personal affairs?

~A person you’re friends with is about to make a stupid decision, a decision just like all the other stupid decisions they’ve made in the past.  Do you point out their past failures and the likelihood that this is another stupid decision?

~Someone you like hurts you by falling through on some plans you had to do something.  Do you tell them how you feel or do you wait for her or him to make it better?

~Your best pal is casually seeing someone who you think is a tool.  Do you tell them or do you wait until they discover it for themselves?

~You are out someplace when you run into your ex; your relationship was very serious and he or she ended it very abruptly.  They approach and attempt to start awkward conversation.  Do you respond to their questions and converse?

~You suspect your significant other is cheating on you but you have no proof.  Do you ask?

~Somebody near you in a restaurant is being very rude to their server and complains to the management about him or her.  You’ve been the witness to the bad behavior all evening.  Do you also speak to the management sharing what your perception of the events was?

Silence is a source of great strength.” -Lau Tzu

Sometimes it is better to bite your tongue, to be silent, and that can be a difficult thing.  But sometimes the source of strength is to say something.  Some things are worth speaking up about.  It’s not always easy.  But it’s right.

© Dulcinea 2009. All rights reserved.

Let the Butterflies live!

Posted in Love or Hate (depending), Soapboxes on July 21, 2009 by Magistra

“He who talks more is sooner exhausted.” -Lao Tzu

I was looking for a quote when I came across this one by the founder of Taoism.  I haven’t the faintest idea why he said this, what he was thinking about, but it brought to my mind a recent event I witnessed: the death of a few butterflies.

“Some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.” -Sex and the City

In dating (not the hooking up kind), is great conversation a must?  Yes.  But you don’t want all the great conversation to happen all at once or to all be one sided!  I can’t think of any relationships in my experience that turned out to be more boring, shorter lived, or more disappointing than those with men who shared everything about themselves immediately or who didn’t know the power of asking questions and listening to the answers.  I don’t want to be the audience to a one sided conversation.  I want to feel like what I have to say is as important to you as what you have to say.  I want to feel like my mind is as attractive to you as my body.  I want to know what you’re passionate about but I want you to want to know what I’m passionate about too.  Knowing all this is as good as knowing that you are passionate about me.

“You can not simply have me. You must pursue me.” -John Edlridge

Furthermore, I don’t understand why so many people are so willing to “put it all out there” without any assurance of true safety or commitment, especially women.  I know how quickly a woman’s mind can go from zero to “Mrs. Dulcinea Zofland is catchy!”  (Sorry guys!  No matter what the women in your world say, they really do go down the Mrs. path mentally really frighteningly quickly.  If she says she doesn’t or hasn’t, she’s lying.  We’re anthropologically predisposed to sorting and considering possible mates; you’re predisposed to being aroused by boobs, butts, legs, smiles, and long, wavy hair you may have the opportunity to mate with.  It’s science.)  When it come’s to intimacy, why would I want to share the deepest hurts and fears I have, my passions, my favorite stories, my hopes and dreams, my disappointments, my neurotendencies with someone who is going to be gone in a flash?  So I can feel really close to them really quickly and really broken when they leave?  If I’m going to share those deep parts of my heart and soul with someone, I want to know he’s going to be there and I want to know he wants to know those deep parts.  He’s got to prove to me that he’s interested in that intimacy and pursue it.

Divulging intimate stories, tidbits, quirks, loves and hates, and beliefs can make you feel very close to someone very fast and that initial closeness is a definite source of a few butterflies.  But true intimacy, true love, come with time and do not diminish.  And when it’s truly safe, and truly secure, and one is truly assured of safety and sincere desire, the butterflies don’t go away; they multiply.

© Dulcinea 2009. All rights reserved.