February 20, 2003

Providentially, I did not get eaten up by any of my preschoolers today. God let me live another day. Heh heh Today was a good day. Literally did not have to use my AK.

This morning, paid a visit to the newest addition to my caseload … Lighthouse Charter School. The school is housed in an old NEWBERRY store (remember these??) among other stripped storefronts in downtown Oakland, nearby the historic Fox theatre. The door swung closed behind me and I felt like I was in a dream. A good one. The staff and directors were super-friendly and welcoming. Parents were hanging out in the hallway, seeing their kids off on a camping trip! Evidence of rich, well-rounded educational experience hung on the wall: photos from a visit to a photography studio alongside bottles from a science project at Lake Merritt detailing how to detect toxins in the water. The white glow of Apple computers in every corner. (Woo hoo)

I dropped by the kindergarten class to meet one of my future charges. So shy but so cute. His teacher suggests that he give me a tour of the school! So here I am, walking around with a kindergartner as my tour guide. Unreal. He’s showing me the bathrooms, the big kids’ room (ie. 6th grade class) … Love it! I think I’m going to like it here. Not that I don’t like my other school, but Webster stands in stark contrast with Lighthouse. Night and day. On Tuesday, there was a near-child abduction (thank God she escaped) and for the past few months, we’ve had break-ins just about every other week. On one of these unfortunate occasions, the Teacher’s Lounge was broken into and the copiers that printed broad black stripes on everything were rendered useless once and for all — their LCD screens were smashed to smithereens. And the list goes on … last week the toilet paper supply dwindled to nothing. However, today we had toilet paper and paper towels! Thank God.

The teachers at Webster are def. fighters, teaching kids who come from a real culture of poverty to respect themselves and others. I wonder about the environment that some of these kids live in … I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve heard cursing out their kids in the school office. A lot of the kids lack any sort of sound role model and aren’t motivated to do well. They lack the pre-academic skills coming into school, also. It’s a tough job, but I’m glad that there are those who are up for the task. I’ll say it once, twice and thrice … teaching is a noble profession.

Playing as I drove out of Webster’s parking lot this afternoon: Bebel Gilberto’s ethereal version of August Day Song


4 Responses to “”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams
    Michelle, God bless your soul.  The impact you are making in this rather “unique” school district is immeasurable.  Thankfully, we have people like you making all the difference.  =D  Keep it woman!  It sounds like you are doing a fine, fine job.  Those kids must be extra special to have a speech pathologist like you. Moreover, the school district’s even luckier to have a person as noble as you, working for them!
    God Bless!

  2. argonaut Says:

    Hey Sunmy! I was talking about people like you! I technically don’t teach! Okay, maybe I teach kids how to talk … but I don’t have the monumental task that you real teachers face … teaching a kid how to learn and then making sure he learns the material he’s supposed to in order to survive in this big, wide world. Loads of information! Not to mention those two magical words … behavioral management. I would be overwhelmed and could never … do what y’all do. You all are the selfless, noble ones. Teaching seems like such a consuming profession, taxing your time, resources, emotions. I don’t know how … you do it. Thanks for your effusions of encouragement! You must inspire your 6th graders to no end. I bet they love you! I would love to have had a teacher like you.I am reading an excerpt from Pas on Amazon’s site as we speak. Will get my hands on it asap! Can’t guarantee plowing through it too soon, however, since I have The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay lying at the foot of my bed. Can’t wait to crack Pas open, however, thanks to your endless praise for it!May we ever sit at His feet,Michelle

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Michelle, I am telling you..why didn’t we meet while I was living in So.Cal?  I bet we know all of the same people too. (if not just a few.)
    Golly, at least we crossed paths through cyberspace somehow.  It’s so amazing how much technology has advanced within the past 10 years.  Man, I remember using Prodigy back in the day for emailing.  In fact, email was a military invention used for military operations/purposes. Crazy how advanced technology has come along…and it’s still advancing. Wow.
    The question is this:  To what degree can technology become a detriment to society?  Hmm….(a book that comes to mind: Brave New World  by A. Huxley)
    TANGENT: have you ever read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis?  One of my fav. books of all time.  So to answer your question from way back when….these are some of the kinds of books that kids read in my class.  Currently, most students in my reading classes are studying and reading about the complex storylines, character sketches/studies, literary elements appearing in a  book called Holes by Louis Sachar.  Another one of my all time favorites! =D And the movie is coming out in theatres in April!  =D
    On a lighter note…teaching:  gotta give major acolades to people like Harry Wong from SF, Escalante from Garfield High School; Los Angeles and those amazing, humble teachers everywhere in the world–the unsung heroes who touch our souls, our lives, our hearts for eternity. It’s the greatest honor, the greatest joy and the greatest responsibility to guide, nurture, infuse knowledge into the “bright, shining stars” (aka: students) of tomorrow.  It’s a dream fulfilled for me to be in this position.  I’m just waiting to see what dreams might come true among the “shining stars of tomorrow.” I’m waiting in eager expectancy.  =D    

  4. argonaut Says:

    We prob. do have friends in common in SoCal! The Disneyland ride rings true: It’s a small world after all!Louis Sachar, the name rings familiar. I know I’ve read something of his, but I don’t remember Holes! Will have to skim through it the next time I find myself at Borders.Ahh, C.S. Lewis. One of the best writers out there! The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, I remember it fondly. I was always so intrigued with the whole Turkish delight thing. I searched it out for a good part of my life and finally came upon some of the sweet stuff in Barcelona. It was then when I discovered why anyone would be addicted to it to the extent Edmund was in the book. It is fantastically and sweetly satisfying! Chockful of sugar, of course. Have you ever tried it?Hurrah for his ‘adult’ books as well, huh? Have you read a little compelling piece called Mere Christianity? 🙂 Such depth and pith. His application of the Christian worldview to every aspect of life is so insightful and makes your reflect a whole lot on your own life. Now he was the sharpest of cats. Wasn’t it Lewis who always enjoyed a pint when reading the Good Book?Love that word, detriment. Hmmm … BNW. A good thought-provoker. From my vague rememberings of BNW, Huxley envisioned a society in which the value of human life was undermined as well uniqueness of the human experience and the dignity of free will. The society als held, as one of its values, hedonism and artificial happiness. However, part of what makes us human is our ability to experience pain and suffering. Humans were never intended to live a life free of pain, because then how could we identify pleasure or goodness? Also, when you take suffering away, there is no need for morality. It is explained away. But was technology the culprit of all this?Honestly, I think people are more detrimental to themselves than technology. Their ideas, their strayings from the original way God intended them to live their lives, this is the ultimate detriment. But to answer your question, I think that technology could be detrimental, but only in the sense of being an accomplice to the undermining of all these God-given human traits. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m talking about. I can’t pretend to understand the likes of a work like BNW. I don’t think I was fully able to process Huxley’s ideas and themes as a teenager but now I’m made curious about them again and think I’ll leaf through BNW sometime in the future. What I remember tho, is that it was kind of difficult to get through because it was so, dark.Any thoughts?

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