September 26, 2010

San Fernando Sky

Afternoon sky in San Fernando neighborhood.
Taken from my balcony around 5 pm tonight.

Calle del Arte

Last weekend was one of my favorite cultural events that takes place in Cali. I wasn't going to blog about it because I forgot my camera, and you really need to see it to understand it, but thanks to some stolen pictures from friends - here you have it!

Calle del Arte (Street of Art) is held one Saturday every September in San Antonio, a neighborhood close to ours and one of the oldest in Cali. They literally shut down the entire main street for the day and all sorts of vendors come out to sell things on the street.
Looking down Calle 10 at the street of art!
One particular hat salesman takes a little afternoon nap in the shade :)
This year we started things off at a co-workers house who happens to live on the main street of Calle del Arte. She and her husband had opened up their home for the day to a sort of make-shift restaurant where they were selling delicious quiche! Starved after a full morning of curriculum meetings at school, about ten teachers crowded into their kitchen for some much needed nourishment.

After replenishing we headed out to the street to explore. From jewelry and artwork to purses and handicrafts, there is something for everyone at this unique street fair. While I didn't end up buying anything this year, mostly because I don't want to deal with shipping large things back to the Unites States, I loved strolling the streets and looking at all the options! Calle del Arte is definitely a unique crowd of people too, so the people-watching is also excellent. Despite the hot sun, strolling the streets this year once again reminded me of how awesomely talented people are and how much I love Colombia - and Cali in particular.
Kelsi and I at Calle del Arte with Amanda, a teacher visiting for the conference from another school in Armenia, Colombia.

September 25, 2010

Ingrid Betancourt on Oprah

Last spring I read Ingrid Betancourt's book 'Til Death Do Us Part and discussed it on this blog. (Remember she was the French Colombian woman who wanted to run for president in 2002 but she was captured by guerillas before she got a chance to do so...) I have yet to read her second book, Every Silence Has An End, the one she wrote after being kidnapped by the guerilla for six years, but I still am very interested in her.

I think she is as much of a conversation topic for Colombia today as she was eight years ago before she was kidnapped. She remains a controversial and political figure in this country, who I happen to find fascinating.

Last week she talked on Oprah about some of her experiences in captivity and since. Check it out by clicking on the picture here:
"I have never heard a more incredible story of survival,
of strength, of courage in my life," Oprah says.

For more from this appearance on Oprah check out all the video of Ingrid here.

What President Juan Manuel Santos Wants For Colombia

Last June, Colombians elected Juan Manuel Santos as the next president of Colombia. Since Santos took office I really haven't heard too much about him - probably because a transition takes awhile to really take effect. However, after hearing about Obama and his first 100 days non-stop in 2008, this is quite a change.

For those interested in what Santos plans to do in Colombia, specifically in reference to the FARC, security in Colombia, the ongoing issues between Colombia and Venezuela, as well as the relationship between the United States and Colombia, check out this article from the Washington Post.


Thursday afternoon yoga was hard. Each pose seemed especially difficult. I thought my two week absence was getting the better of me (and it probably was). My breathing was all off, I couldn't make any sequences flow together and any transition felt haphazard and frustrating.

Friday at school was difficult. My students' most recent test on properties of real numbers, the Distributive Property and combining like terms did not go well. In fact, in one class the average was 60.53%. The best average was a bit more normal, about 74%, but still - had they learned nothing in the last three weeks? We spent all day on Friday going over their exams and re-learning/re-teaching. I had two prep periods and I don't even know what I did during them because I felt like I needed to be doing 100 things at once.

This is probably about the time that the 20-year-old Kristin self-induced mono and had to take a major break from the hectic lifestyle she was living. The 23-year-old me isn't about to let that happen again, so instead I just shut down.

The last two weeks have been pretty intense - filled with a curriculum workshop at our school (that included working on a Saturday), activities after school, grading exams, socializing with friends, birthdays, cultural events in Cali, etc. while the whole time there is a little voice in my head reminding me that I still have no idea what I am doing next year.

I just need a break. Our October getaway to a quiet eco-lodge in the Andes Mountains near Quito, Ecuador is not arriving quite soon enough, so for now lots of tea, Jack Johnson music, and a few good books are on the radar for me.

What do you do when you just need a break from it all?

September 20, 2010

Emails, Ellipticals and ESPN Baseball Today I was at the gym, running, listening to today's edition of ESPN Baseball Today. Nothing out of the normal, since this is pretty much the definition of my standard Monday night. I have been listening to this podcast almost everyday of the baseball season since I moved to Colombia. There really isn't a better way to keep up on baseball news from around Major League Baseball short of reading every article on
Therefore, I listen to this podcast, hosted by ESPN New York's Seth Everett and Senior Writer Eric Karabell. I pretty much listen to them banter back and forth about umpire accountability and the league leaders, and - up until recently - waiting with baited breath for any small mention of the underdogs from Minnesota. Sometimes they get in heated debates and every now and then I write into the show with comments, thoughts or questions.

Then this week on Twitter, the stats guy who guest stars on Wednesdays on the show, Mark Simon noticed I was a follower of the show and commented how I am probably the only one in Colombia. He told me to send in my email and he would get it on the show. So...I figured maybe if I was lucky they might read a snip-it of my email on Wednesday.

This is the part where I am at the gym tonight running and I get to minute 22 of today's show
and they say "Next up from Kristin in Cali, Colombia" and I almost fall off the elliptical in my jump for joy. YESSSSSSSS. It was all I could do to contain myself from running over to Kelsi as she was mid-spin class and explaining how awesome this was. (I did however make her listen to it within 30 seconds of walking in the door)

My email was about the Twins postseason - should we be resting players now or aiming for the best record in baseball (i.e. home field advantage). They read the whole thing and made comments! Eric even said I made good points. And Seth commented on how I am friends with him on Twitter. :) My email definitely included some BS-ing....cause you have to be nice if you want your stuff to get read aloud....but overall I am pretty excited about the whole situation!!

If this whole teaching gig doesn't work out in the long run maybe I have a future in sports blogging. (I did win the NFL pool at work last week too!) Who knows?

Until then...I will just be loving the Twins' chances in the postseason and hoping Joe Mauer listens to ESPN and decides he must meet this well-informed fan from Minnesota.

What a fabulous Monday!!

September 19, 2010

Love & Friendship: Dia de Amor y Amistad

Saturday, September 18 is El Dia de Amor y Amistad, or the Day of Love and Friendship here in Colombia. Basically the equivalent of Valentine's Day, this is a day to celebrate the love and friendship you have with friends or significant others.

We celebrated by going out to dinner and dancing for my friend Hana's birthday, which happens to fall on the same day! We started the night at Carambolo, an Italian and Latin restaurant in the Granada neighborhood of Cali. I had a fabulous chicken stuffed with asparagus in a mustard vodka sauce and of course we shared a pitcher of sangria. Despite taking a really long time to get our food, the place was a great choice for a birthday celebration.
The whole crew at dinner!
Sangria = delicious :)
After that we headed out to Kukaramakara (tongue twister, I know) for some dancing. While the place ended up being more live music and crowded tables than dancing, it was still a fabulous day with friends.
Kelsi, Catie and I
The Birthday Girl (Hana) and me!
To all of my fabulous friends wherever you may be - Feliz Dia de Amor y Amistad!!!

Book Club

Last Thursday Kelsi and I started off this year in Book Club by hosting at our place. Per usual, we invited all the English speaking female teachers we work with, made some delicious food and got out the wine opener. Our spread included Kelsi's pretty-much-famous Sangria, zucchini hummus, roasted red pepper hummus, guacamole, pitas, pasta salad, fresh veggies and no-bake chocolate/oatmeal/peanut butter cookies. Mmmm - just thinking about it all again makes me hungry!

I wish I had some pictures to share, but unfortunately we were so busy getting ready and then enjoying the night that any documentation completely slipped my mind! The whole night was so fun and we had a great turn out for the first month. There is just something about getting together with a bunch of fabulous women that is so fun and inspiring!!

Here are the books I shared:
I actually had an interesting conversation about this book with my students last week because they asked why I would read this. Since most Colombians do not like Pablo Escobar in the slightest, they thought reading something like this was a waste of time. The answer I gave them went something like this...

For me, Pablo Escobar is something like the tagline of Colombia. Whenever I tell someone I live here, they inevitably think of Escobar. For so many U.S. citizens he is the face associated with this country. This book helped me understand why. I wanted to know the story behind the man who held an entire country hostage in fear of what he would do next. I wanted to know the story behind the man who got his government to allow him to be "imprisoned" within his own mansion on a hill. I wanted to know the story of the man who kept the United States government searching and searching for years on end. I wanted to know the story behind the man Bowden calls, "Public enemy number one in the world."

Killing Pablo helped me understand the terror he imposed on Colombia and also helped me understand the back story to much of the U.S. involvement in the Colombian drug trade. This book opened my eyes to the infinitely many tiny little strings that bind these two countries together.
While this book was not exactly what I expected, it was still a great story about Catholic and Jewish girls growing up in New York City in the 1950s. They form a club dedicated to working together and maintaining strong community bonds. Well written and true to life, I felt like the author truly captured the spirit of growing up with girlfriends who become more like sisters. It was a cute book and a quick read!
I picked up this book during a family stop in Lincoln, Nebraska to register my little brother for college this summer. I think it was one of about five books in the Latin American section of the used bookstore. Piri Thomas is a dark-skinned Puerto Rican who grew up in Spanish Harlem during the 1930s and 1940s. Infused with Latin rhythms, Spanish words and occasional slang, Thomas paints a spell-binding picture of growing up on "these mean streets". While the memoir reminded me a bit of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the story was still magnificent and well-told. I was especially intrigued by the introduction to this 30th anniversary edition, written by Thomas, which reminds readers that these mean streets are even meaner today.
After lots of sharing of books, wine and food, our September Book Club ended a success (even if there aren't any pictures to show it!).

September 14, 2010

Season premiere time is easily the best time of year.

Oh hi, I'm that girl firmly grounded in reality (most days), however still hopelessly addicted to some delightful television shows. It has been a long summer, but fall has arrived and with it the season premieres of all my favorite shows filled with characters I wish I knew in real life. Eeeek! I cannot wait to see what the writers have in store for this season. After teaching 8th graders all day long there is no better relaxing escape than a good dose of sitcom television.

Here's what I will be watching:
  • Brothers & Sisters
  • One Tree Hill
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Gossip Girl
  • Glee
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Private Practice
  • The Office
  • Entourage (which technically just ended, but I did watch it this summer!)
After a fabulously exciting spring, full of cliff-hangers, I am so excited to get back into these shows. What happens to Chuck Bass? How will the staff at Seattle Grace recover from a bone-chilling finale that rocked the TV world? Please, please, please tell me we get to see Addison and Sam more in this season of Private Practice. Cause the final scene of the finale??? Amazing, but not enough. I want them on dates - adorable dates and totally in love. And an open note to the creators/writers/actors of HIMYM - its season six, can we meet the mother already?!?! AND AND Britney Spears guest stars on Glee? All Britney thoughts aside, that will be fantasticly amazing. AND AND AND is Clay alive on One Tree Hill? Cause I kind of love him and really hope his crazy stalker didn't kill him off at the end of last season. And The Office - last season with Steve Carell? You know that is going to be memorable (at least more memorable than last season...let's hope!).
In summary, get watching and then send me messages on Twitter about how great the episodes were. Just remember to wait one day so I can view them here in Colombia. Spoiler alerts UN-welcome. What are you watching this season?? Any suggestions??

September 12, 2010

Hummus Obsession: Part Two

When Kelsi sent me this GMail chat during the day on Friday I knew that 1) This had been a long week of teaching third graders and 2) She was beginning to take pride her in well-honed hummus making abilities. I had no choice but to have her guest blog about the food that has become its own category in the food pyramid of our apartment.

Her message to me:
"I know you wanted to, but were too nervous to just come out and ask... but if you want me to be a guest blogger on your blog about how to make zucchini hummus you just have to ask.... I will provide photos and everything. And make it hilarious - just like me."

Without further ado my self-proclaimed (although she actually is) hilarious roommate:

Due to high demand for my hummus recipe (two people is a lot right?) and after Kristin just about begged me to write a post on how to make it (well, that is not exactly how it happened), I decided to share my hummus recipe with you all.

Here is what you need:

1 can garbanzo beans

1 zucchini

3 tbsp lime juice

3 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

To make:

Heat the garbanzo beans on the stove in the water from the can, so that they blend easier.

Then, throw them into the blender along with the diced zucchini, minced garlic, tahini, olive oil, and lime juice.

Time to blend...

...and that's it. If your blender just can’t seem to blend, just add more liquid. Then, it comes down to taste. I usually end up adding more salt and garlic. If you like, throw in some cumin.


If using dried garbanzo beans, soak two cups in water overnight. Be careful though, they expand. A lot. Also, if you don’t like zucchini, try roasting a red pepper on the stove, scrapping off the burnt skin before tossing it in the blender. What I love the most about hummus is that it’s hard to mess up. I pretty much make it different every time and it is always muy delicioso!

Enjoy as a dip, in a salad, or my personal favorite – in a cucumber boat topped with raisins and pepitas. Yes, it is delicious and yes, Kristin thinks I am weird.

Lazy Sundays at Juan Valdez & Football Controversy

Kelsi and I have been established regulars at the Juan Valdez in Unicentro Mall since last year. A lone entity in a country where almost all good coffee is exported overseas, Juan Valdez brews a delicious cup of coffee in the perfect environment for Sunday schoolwork. With four school weeks complete and four Sunday trips to Juan Valdez recorded, this is quickly becoming a tradition in our lives.

In keeping with my desire to blog more about the everyday things here in Cali, enjoy some images from this weeks Juan Valdez experience.
Vani-Canela (Vanilla Cinnamon) Latte Mediano.
Upstairs lounge area at JValdez.
Ready to work...
Kelsi planning out the next awesome thing she will teach third grade children.
Kelsi's guilty-pleasure (self-proclaimed) music choices.
My music choice. :)
I finished the day with some football viewing (weird, I know, but I am trying to expand my horizons and I figure I ought to give something else besides baseball a shot). Also, the Twins are in Cleveland (boring) so it is not being televised here. Anyway, I am in a football pool with colleagues for the second year in a row and although my first year showing was not terrible, I figure if I pay a bit more attention this year I can improve my record a bit :) That being said, picks/suggestions are always welcome. This week's viewing included the Bears - Lions game and I was quite impressed with the controversy surrounding the potential Detroit touchdown at the end of the game! I love me a good sports controversy and if every football game can provide such entertainment perhaps this is a sport worth investing in...

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and relaxing Sunday!

September 10, 2010

Teachable Moments - Teachers Are People Too

Wednesday, September 9, 2010 I had a four period day, which means that I teach four out of the five periods of the day. On a regular day I teach three out of five, so four period days always make me a bit more strained and I am exhausted at the end of them. This semester my schedule includes two four period days in the eight day rotation, and this week they happened on Monday and Wednesday. I arrived at school yesterday ready for four periods of teaching about multiplication and division with negative numbers, but also looking forward to my one prep period - during third hour.

So I arrive at school with the idea that I have third hour prep and I never really bothered to look at my schedule to confirm this. I have been teaching at this school for a year, so I have the schedule down.


Third hour I am running around our very large campus talking to various colleagues and taking care of business at the copier, etc. Twenty minutes into third hour I run into my principal walking through a high school block.

"Kristin - did you know you have class right now?"
"Whaaaaaaat? This my prep hour."
"Well, there are 20 kids in your classroom right now who have class."

[Insert image of me running down the hill toward my classroom, red-faced, embarrassed and feeling like a complete fool. Unfortunately no one captured this image live, but you can only imagine how I looked.]

I run into my classroom to the sounds of section 8B laughing hysterically at my mistake. It took me about five minutes of incoherent rambling and apologizing to get my bearings and calm down enough to actually teach anything about math. My students were of course more than understanding and said it was "the best class ever" (probably because they missed half of it!) and "everyone makes mistakes". At the end of the hour I finished the discussion of multiplication and division, and then ended by saying "So today we learned about operations with negative numbers and that teachers are people too."

I still feel incredibly embarrassed about the whole situation, because I consider myself a pretty professional person in the work place and this basically shoots my credibility in the foot. However, my principal and everyone else he had to recruit to help look for me were all more than understanding and forgiving. If nothing else, I guess this experience is a good reminder that everyone messes up sometimes and we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously.

And no, I will not be lecturing 8B about responsibility any time soon. Thanks.

September 5, 2010

Oh - it rains here?!?

My first two months in Colombia, September and October 2009, I recall seeing rain maybe once. Cali was full of sunshine and heat and I felt like I was constantly sweating to death. When the rainy season began last March many of us were in shock with how much it rained (almost everyday) and how breezy/chilly the weather felt afterward. This was not the Cali we had grown accustomed to!

When I came back to Colombia at the end of July, I expected a similar situation so I prepared myself not to see rain for awhile. However, in the month since I have been back the rain has continued and I am LOVING it! Don't get me wrong, it is still hot almost everyday but not the stifling, I cannot think of moving right now because it's so hot outside heat. Instead, it rains almost every other day or so and everything feels so much cooler! There is a great breeze that comes through my neighborhood everyday around 5 pm and I have taken to wearing at least capri pants and a long sleeve shirt to bed at night (with windows open and fan on, however).

With this rain inevitably comes the storms, and they have been intense lately! The thunder feels so close to our house and the lightning flashes light up the entire sky. I hardly ever wake up during storms but last week I sat awake one early morning from about 3 to 4 am just waiting for the thunder to be quiet so I could sleep! I definitely don't like being woken up, but the storms do look cool. Check out some pictures from our balcony last night just as another storm was starting...I love how eery the sky looks!!

Disclaimer: I cannot decide if it actually is cooler in Cali these days or I have just grown less tolerant of the cold. Either way, the fact that I can sit here typing this blog in a long sleeve shirt when its sunny outside pretty much makes me think my first winter back in Minnesota will be a major shock to my system.

Hummus Obsession

Toward the end of last school year my roommate, Kelsi, got into reading food blogs and looking up fun recipes to make at home. Sometimes in Colombia the ingredients for certain things can be hard to come by, but Kelsi makes it up as she goes along and it always turns out tasting delicious. One of her newest creations this year is different types of hummus. After a small incident a few weeks back wherein she soaked a "few" garbanzo beans to make hummus that turned into "everything we eat includes garbanzo beans" (apparently garbanzo beans expand...a lot), we have been on a big hummus kick.
Particularly, we have been eating zucchini hummus and roasted red pepper hummus and they are delicious!! Last night we were enjoying some cucumbers and carrots with zucchini hummus and I snapped this picture. Kelsi was not exactly lovin' the fact that she spilled hummus, but overall the eating of it is an enjoyable process. :)

September 4, 2010

"Living might mean taking chances, but they're worth taking"

There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroad, afraid, confused, without a roadmap. The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days. Of course when faced with the unknown, most of us prefer to turn around and go back. But once in a while, people push on to something better, something found just beyond the pain of going it alone, and just beyond the bravery and courage it takes to let someone in, or give someone a second chance, something beyond the quiet persistence of a dream. because it's only when you're tested, that you discover who you are, that you discover who you can be. The person you can be does exist, beyond the hard work, faith, belief, and beyond the heartache, and fear of what lies ahead.
[One Tree Hill]

There is a place in Cali called "Siete Esquinas" or Seven Corners, because it is a spot where literally seven different streets come together abruptly and then rush off in different directions to different neighborhoods. Sounds like the perfect conglomeration of madness that could only exist in Latin America, right? However, in all the madness of seven streets converging together without a single stoplight, I have never seen an accident there and everything seems to ebb and flow together.

Lately my life feels a bit like Siete Esquinas and it has made for a challenging two weeks. With the return to school and the beginning of the second (and final) year of my contract, the big question on everyone's mind is "Are you staying next year?" Yes, I agree it seems way too early to be thinking about this, but realistically we have to tell the director by December at the latest if we are coming back next year, and probably decide sooner than that if we need to start looking at options for future jobs. So even though my time in Colombia is barely half over, here I am thinking about what I am going to do next.

And that is terrifying.

Two years ago I was sitting in my apartment on 9th Street in La Crosse, Wisconsin asking myself the very same question >>> "What next?" At the time I thought about everything - Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, teaching abroad, teaching in Minnesota, grad school, volunteering abroad, teaching in a big city like NYC or Boston or Chicago. Eventually, through lots of self-discovery and talking to friends and family, I settled on teaching abroad in Colombia.

Twenty four months later and I haven't developed any clearer vision of what's next for me, my career, or my life. The options abound, and that is exciting because I truly love having a location independent job that doesn't tie me down to a specific city, country or continent. However, this means that narrowing the options is quite the daunting task. For 22 years our lives have such specific guidelines around the idea that we will grow up, go to school, graduate, then go to college, but then what? Where is the handbook on how to be a real person with a real job who makes real life decisions?

I thought the summer back in Minnesota would help me to figure it out. I went back to the place I call home, to the people who have known me for what feels like forever, and all I decided was I am not done exploring yet. I love Minnesota and everything about it. I just don't know if I am really to move back there right now and stay for a long time...I just haven't finished this journey I am on quite yet. In the mean time, that means I will probably do one of four things next year. In no particular order...
  • Grad School - Where? Who knows! Somewhere in a big city that I can explore and somewhere with a good program in education. Lately I have been craving professional development, learning and being a student so this would definitely be a welcome change for me.
  • Year 3 in Colombia - I love my job, my apt, and the country so staying would be simple, easy and there is still so much I want to do here and in South American in general. Upside - keep saving money, continue with a housing allowance that I get to save most of, get a round trip plane ticket to Minnesota paid for by my school, continue to develop as an international teacher. Downside - many friends are considering leaving and I don't know if I would like Cali as much without the people who have made this experience great so far.
  • Teach in the US - Where? Again...who knows! Also somewhere in a city that I can explore. I would love to teach in public schools in a big city because I feel like I might need a change from the privileged private school thing for a bit.
  • Another International Teaching Placement - Probably in Central or South America so that I can continue with the Spanish language thing and this culture I love so much. This would expand my diversity as an educator even more, challenge me to try new things and allow me to experience a whole new place. Downside - I feel like I just got settled with the whole Colombian visa, moving all my stuff here, learning the ropes, making new friends situation - am I really ready to try that again somewhere new?
In summary, those are the options I am most highly considering at this point in time. One of them needs to be chosen by December at the latest, and clearly I am not getting any closer to figuring it out, so weight in now please. All opinions welcome :)

September 1, 2010

Moving On Up: Open House 2010

Somewhere between directing taxi drivers, talking to people in stores and casual conversations in Cali my Spanish has drastically improved in the last year. I not only feel more confident about my pronunciation, but I also know a lot more colloquial vocabulary that helps me to understand and communicate in a culturally appropriate way. So by last week I felt confident in my decision to speak in Spanish for the opening part of my time with 8th grade parents at Open House.

Yesterday morning I told my principal I felt good about it and I felt surprised at my lack of nerves since the year before I was a nervous wreck.

Then it was 5 pm and the parents were showing up and I thought...maybe I should just speak in English and let the translator handle it. That would be easier, right?

At 5 pm all the teachers attended the general assembly for parents before they are sent out to visit all their student's teacher. Around 5:15 pm I witnessed the director of my school (who has been in Colombia for many, many years) freely admit to not being able to pronounce a certain word in Spanish. At about 5:20 pm I witnessed him butcher the same word again and all the parents just laughed casually. At this point I decided that if he could do stand up in front of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade parents, then I could probably do it in front of 8th grade parents, 20 at a time. What was I so scared of anyway?

Basically I get nervous that I sound grammatically like a five-year-old and that isn't really a positive first impression you want from your child's teacher. However, as my friend Angie pointed out, the parents here really appreciate any attempt to learn or speak Spanish, so why not give it a shot? Also, I do all my conferences in Spanish, so the parents are going to hear me speak in Spanish at some point anyway!

Three hours later and I was done with Open House, having done my personal introduction five separate times, all in Spanish. And, just as others predicted, the parents were very receptive and seemed appreciative that I gave it my best shot. Basically Open House round two went so much better than Open House round one, mostly because I just felt so much more comfortable living in Colombia and also as a teacher.

As a result of my own personal nerves in tact last night, I had the chance to pay more attention to what was happening around me, and here are some observations.
  • Parents are more lost than their children. Watching 200+ people run around from building to building and try to find classrooms was hysterical. Watching the confusion reminded me of how Open House happens in my family, where my mother calmly finds her way from room to room while my father wanders around aimlessly and never actually makes it to academic presentations but at the end of the night knows all the music teachers, janitors and cute Spanish teachers by name.
  • The parents of my students would not last ten seconds in a class with our cell phone policy. The middle school and high school policy is that if your phone is seen or heard in class, the principal keeps it until Friday at 2:30. On the second violation, the principal keeps the phone for 30 days and on the third? Until the end of the semester. I think about 50 parents would have had their phones confiscated in the first minute of the assembly last night, let alone those who were texting during my presentation. So awkward, but culturally they just really don't view this as rude because it is so prevalent! No wonder that when a student's phone rings in school, 95% of the time it is a parent.
  • As much as I love meeting my students' parents, yesterday was one of the longest days of the year and I am throughly glad it is over!

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