Saturday, May 29, 2010

Traipsing the countryside

So part of the joy of teaching overseas is the fact that you get to take off and see things that not everyone gets to see. As my time in the US comes to a close, I realized that I hadn't seen half of what I wanted to see... so I took a couple of days of work on Memorial Day weekend and decided to do the seeing!

I visited Arlington Nation Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. A student at a school I taught at is buried here under special permission. My going there was a way to honour him.

The White House.
The National Treasury.

The War Memorial in DC. I didn't make it to the wall... maybe another time.

Me and Lincoln... you know how it is... the former president asks you to take a shot with him and you gotta oblige! hahaha. I think Lincoln was WAY ahead of his times and I admire him greatly. I really wanted to see this memorial.

The Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool... just gorgeous, even with the clouds.

The Lincoln Memorial from the outside.

This is a picture of James Madison's house (Montpelier). He was also a former president of the US. It's just outside Orange, VA. The grounds are gorgeous and worth the visit but I'd skip the house tour for a couple of years. They are busy restoring it so there just isn't much in it.

The house of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello). Well worth the visit. The grounds are AMAZING, the house is super interesting and the tour guide was great. It is just outside of Charlottesville, VA.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Drinking boxes... of WINE!!

One of my favourite things (besides time spent with a great friend) about England was the availability of wine in drinking boxes. So convenient for a picnic (or metro ride), so inexpensive, and just fun. I've often lamented that they don't have it here in the US or in Canada... but lo and behold, they do now! I found this little gem in the Target today. Love it!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Teacher Recognition Banquet

So this past week I was invited to the county teacher recognition banquet, which was really lovely. The county pays money for a number of awards etc for teachers each year and pays for a really great dinner for all the teachers involved and the principals of all the schools. It was lovely, and it was lovely to be invited. However, my favourite part was that they tried their best to recognize me as a visiting international teacher... from... KOREA!! hahahaha It was hilarious because they made me stand up. I know that all those other people in there were wondering when did the white girl with the very white name come from Korea?! hahahaha I loved it. It was nice to be invited, but when I think about cost of everything and the lack of supplies etc in the schools and the lack of raises and the loss of jobs these days... well... I can't help but think this money might best be spent other ways until the economy recovers. I don't know.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I don't want people to think that I got into teaching for the financial rewards (obviously not, since you can't make a lot of money at this) or for gifts from students or parents. I do this job because I love it and I believe I was gifted with the ability to do it well. But at the same time, it does feel nice to be recognized and appreciated for the job that we do. Teaching is a lot harder than the general public thinks. I know they believe that it's an 8-3 job with tons of vacation time. But I am at school at 7:15 in the morning and my students arrive at 8:15 and I only get about 20 minutes for lunch (how many of you get hour long lunches?!) and I have 30 minutes for planning (to make stuff for my lessons, plan my lessons, prepare things for the students, do their folders, write notes home, call parents if I need to, email other teachers and professionals about things at school, mark papers, enter grades etc). When that is all done, I usually stick around an extra 30 minutes getting ready for the next day. And there are plenty of days that I take home work because I am just plain old out of time. During the day it is said that teachers make approximately 1,000 decisions that affect the lives of their students and that is STRESSFUL. Never mind the fact that there is constant pressure to keep up with the newest research and methodologies. And then take into account that it's not just one or two children but around 20 at a time... and some of them are sick, some come from home lives that leave a lot to be desired, some are hungry, some are tired, some a needy for attention, some have special needs, some aren't ready for what they need to learn yet, some aren't interested in school, some are beyond what is being shown to you so they are bored and/or acting out and the list goes on. So at the end of the day it is a hard job and if I did it for the money, it just wouldn't be worth it to me. But I find so many rewards in the eyes of my students... and yet, it would be nice to be recognized by the parents and the community at large. This past Thursday was National Teacher's Day. Only two of my students saw fit to give me a card or a gift. I don't need the gifts, but a thank you from the parents would be great. A discount at stores on that day would be AWESOME (did I mention that I spend upwards of $500 for my students and classroom each year?)!! Okay, my rant is over... :)