Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the hardest part about teaching

I love teaching, love it dearly. It takes me about 20 minutes into the semester to realize that my students are the best students. I'm always right, too.

There is one part about teaching that has never been easy for me. This morning I got an email from a student saying that her grandma had passed away yesterday. She actually apologized for missing class. A couple of weeks into the semester her grandpa passed away, too. After that happened she told me that it was bringing back lots of feelings and memories of a few years ago when her dad died of cancer. I almost cried with her.

This morning in a different class I saw one of my students with kind of red eyes. Allergies are hitting and she'd had a cold recently, no biggie. Until she came up to the front after class with tears in her eyes, trying to talk. I told her to follow me into the room across the hall. She told me that her best friend had been having terrible headaches and she finally went to the emergency room last night and the doctors found a bad infection that had spread to her brain. They were going to try to perform surgery, but there was no way to save her. She died this morning and my student's mom called right before class to tell her.

I don't know how she made it thru class. She had a test right after our class, so she decided to stay. All I could do was hug her and we talked for a while longer.

This is the hardest part of teaching: seeing my students suffer thru really hard things and feel that they need to apologize for missing class. I told my student this morning that I loved her, but didn't really want to see her for the rest of the week.

I love teaching Portuguese. I love seeing students think that the language is great, because I remember feeling that way when I first started learning in 101. But what I love to see more than anything is the growth in students, that they've learned that I know that they can do whatever they want to do, that their potential is higher than they ever imagined.

But sometimes the most important thing that I want them to know is that I love them.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Not Firsts During Spring Break

Going to the Lincoln Memorial

Going to the Jefferson Memorial

Going to the FDR Memorial

Chilling with Eleanor

Touching the ground where an ancestor would have been
Listening to Harry Potter audiobooks while driving on an interstate
Calling my grandma all excited because of some family history something that I found
Seeing the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution
Going to the National Gallery

El Greco
Falling in love with 14th century Italian art

Feeling transported by art

Seeing a da Vinci

Seeing a Rafael

Adoring Salvador Dalí's Last Supper
Feeling grateful for the brave people that have gone before me
Soldier at the Vietnam Memorial
Getting a sunburn/tan on my left arm from driving with the window down
Returning to get another look at a triptych

Hanging out with Chris

Laughing myself sick with my cousin Katie
Reminding myself that my cousins are the best cousins
Being reminded of why I love Jefferson's words

Feeling overwhelmed at a battlefield
Union cemetery at Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg
Statue erected by New Jersey vets at the Bloody Angle

Bloody Angle from a Union viewpoint
Closing my eyes just to listen and feel at a spot where an ancestor had been
Beaver Dam Lutheran Cemetery in NC, next to the plot of land where a church once stood where my ancestors worshiped
Williams Township, PA
East Angle, Spotsylvania Battlefield, VA
Prying myself away from someplace because I know that I have to leave
Correcting a random stranger about a fact of our country's history
Staring in awe at Lincoln, thinking of all he did

Reading the Gettysburg Address
Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg
Rereading the Gettysburg Address
Lincoln Memorial, DC
Taking pictures of wacko license plates
Hand Cart? Votes on whether or not the driver is Mormon?
Seeing someone touch a name at the Vietnam Memorial
Feeling my heart hurt at the Vietnam Memorial

Tearing up at a spot where one of my ancestors stood
Singing along loudly with my music in various languages
Eating pie (cheesecake) on π day

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Firsts from Spring Break

Off the top of my head these are the firsts from my spring break:

Was in/drove in West Virginia and Delaware.
Ate pheasant.
Ate goober pea soup.
Ate pickled watermelon rind.
Went to Gettysburg, and pretty much everything I did there was a first since I'd never been there. It was powerful.

Little Round Top
Pickett's Charge, which effectively ended the Battle of Gettysburg and paved the way for the eventual Confederate loss.
The only monument to peace at Gettysburg
Went on a ghost tour (in Gettysburg).
Weeping Angel (not really, but I saw it on the ghost tour.)
Drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Went to a cemetery where an ancestor was buried (that isn't Spanish Fork Cemetery).
Beaver Dam Lutheran Cemetery
Christian Mauney, born 1741
Drove in Pennsylvania (I was on a train going thru once in 1997).
Went to a Pennsylvania township (where an ancestor lived). Grabbed some earth.
Willaims Township right across the river from New Jersey. The majority of this township is still quiet farmland. **love**
Ate Burmese food.
Ate Ethiopian food.
Saw the White House in real life.
Obama was even there. {SQUEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLL}
Went to the Martin Luther King, Jr. exhibit.
Saw the WWII Memorial.
Went to the Hirshhorn. Fell in love with Barbara Kruger.
Saw some Ai Weiwei.
Ate a pretzel in DC.

Ate a second pretzel in DC.
Walked to the Capitol Building and Supreme Court.
Went to the University of Maryland.
Drank Gettysburg sarsaparilla.
Went to Fredericksburg and walked thru the Union cemetery at the Marye's Heights.

Went to Spotsylvania battlefield, specifically the Bloody Angle or Mule Shoe.

Stood on the spot where an ancestor was taken prisoner of war.
The rolls in the dirt are the original earthworks that the South (and probably my 3X great grandpa) built to protect themselves at the battle.
Got some earth from the spot where he was taken prisoner of war.
Taken about 200 yards looking back at the spot where he was taken prisoner of war at the East Angle. If he had been at the Bloody Angle, he most likely would've died.
Ate crawfish.
Went to Petersburg.
Reconstruction from the Petersburg driving tour.
Saw the crater.
The collapsed earth where the Pennsylvania coal miners explosion went off.
The entrance to the tunnel that the Pennsylvania regiment full of coal miners built. They lit the fuse underground and created the crater about 150 yards away. It's crazy how close the armies were on the battlefields for days, weeks and months at a time.
Stood at the spot of the last major southern charge of the Civil War. 
Union Fort Stedman that was attacked by Lee's soldiers about a week before the final surrender. It was the last major attack by Lee's troops.

The spot where the Confederates fought back a Maine regiment that set off from Fort Stedman in the distance. The southerners also set off from this point when they took the fort.

Walked along a picket line where the South had built a wooden fence. (It was probably against the rules.)
I walked right in the middle of the picket line markers. The white sea shells mark the path.
Built a leprechaun trap.
Honey was poured into the jar and put on the lid. The leprechaun would jump on the clothespin releasing the thread, which would drop the lid. The honey would make it stick. Thus the honey-loving leprechaun would be trapped. I heard, though, that the leprechaun was too smart for it and it didn't work.

Visited a cousin at their university. (I was surprised that this was a first.)
Katie's going to be in Bulgaria by fall!

Went to the Cheerwine factory, which wasn't fascinating or anything, but was a pilgrimage, nonetheless.

I know there are more, so I'll keep adding when I remember.