Tuesday, April 28, 2009

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...

I was presented with an opportunity today I had to turn down. I didn't get offered anything, I turned it down before that. Wow, that sounds very important of me. Lets try this again.

Today, I was notified of a teaching opportunity which if had been offered, I would turn down. A colleague of mine stopped by my classroom to tell me he turned it down but wanted to tell me about it in case I am looking for a new place next year. The setting is PERFECT, the students--HIGHLY MOTIVATED, teaching assignment--EASY ENOUGH, and the school-- CHRISTIAN. What more can one ask for? In my colleague's case, more money, in mine--less time away from home as this position is full time. This opening is for an ESL teacher at a private Christian school here in Portland. One would be teaching a group of exchange students from Asia whose parents paid 20k for them to come and study English here. Motivation? Natural. Classroom management would be a breeze too. The teacher will teach for two classes and advise and tutor for the other two. Easy prep? Sure is. Another cool thing is that this school only has about 200 students and the curriculum is Bible based.

If there would be such a thing as a teacher heaven, this place would be it. Except for one teeny tiny detail. The pay is miserly. My colleague was offered $24k for a yearly salary. He has two master degrees and five years of teaching experience.

In case you missed it, I'll repeat. TWO MASTER degree person got offered $24k a year, no retirement plan, and weak health benefits. Such are private school rates. Who in their right mind would want to teach for $11/hour? Christian teachermoms of school aged children do. This is because their kids get free tuition which is typically $10k per year.

So, I am holding myself back to send the HR staff my resume and a letter that will read:

Dear people who hire teachers,
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE hire me four years from today.

Teachermom of three.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If Only To Encourage You

Last week was the National TV Turn Off week but I am proud to say that at our house, it was an ordinary week.

I grew up with television in the house and watched it regularly. Our bed routine included special programming from one of the two communist controlled channels that attempted to 'soothe' kids to bed. However, my childhood memories are of long days of playing outside during all four Siberian seasons not of television. This is because when the children's programming from the limited channels exhausted, there was nothing else to do but to go play outside. These were the days when children as young as 4 years old were let from the centrally planned subsidized apartment buildings without much supervision with moms only occasionally checking on them from the balconies. Child molestation and abduction were virtually unheard of.

Sadly, those safe days are over for Russia. Here in America, kids are almost always supervised even in their own back yard. The paranoia of child abduction overwhelms that of the kid accident. It is ironic that we find ourselves in this state when children are conveniently equipped with 'everything' they need to occupy themselves without leaving the house. There is the cell phone, the iphone, the ipod, the video games, and the good ol' television. Who needs fresh air? And we laughably apply the term NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder) to our own children. Sad.

So, three years ago when it dawned on us that we are wasting our life watching crap, we disconnected our basic cable. We own only but a handful of DVDs and find ourselves sometimes watching home videos or an occasional movie. On average, we watch about one hour or less of something a week. We are NOT a statistic. I refuse to become one just so I can have uninterrupted time to scrub my toilets. The truth is there is no such thing as innocent children programing or cartoons. ALL TV is passive, brainless and non-experimental at its best. The price I could pay for the effect television has on child's brain is simply not worth a sparkly clean house or a fancy gormet meal. Hope you agree with me after reading these frighting statistics I found on a credible website:

~Percentage of U.S. homes with three or more TV sets: 66
~Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes
~Number of hours of TV watched annually by Americans: 250 billion
~Value of that time assuming an average wage of S5/hour: S1.25 trillion
~Number of videos rented daily in the U.S.: 6 million
~Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million
~Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49

~Approximate number of studies examining TV's effects on children: 4,000
~Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5
~Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680

~Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
~Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children's TV watching: 73
~Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54
~Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
~Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500

~Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000
~Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
~Percentage of Americans who believe TV violence helps precipitate real life mayhem: 79

~Number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
~Number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million
Rank of food products/fast-food restaurants among TV advertisements to kids: 1

The feeling I experience everyday without television is that of liberation. I do not miss a bit the shallow sitcoms or the dumb reality shows or the nightmare news. I no longer compare my complexion to those of the airbrushed models and am in complete peace with the way I look. No more do I go to bed scared thinking about what I just heard on the news and whether the same maniac currently on the run is going to show up in my house. With every TV related statistic and brain based research read, I look at my own children and have no doubt that besides growing up pop-culture illiterate, they will turn out to be alright.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Humor

I am currently working hard to finish my final project. In my research, I found this random cartoon. God knew I needed some humor today.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Great Recipe!

A Great Recipe

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Talk to God about what is going on in your life. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'Mypurpose is to__________ today. I am thankful for______________'

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food thatis manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskansalmon, broccoli , almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years,will this matter?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals everything - but you have to ask Him.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for__________. Today I accomplished_________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You'll be smiling before you know it.

What kind of world would we have if this was part of each person't diet? Not the kind we live in now thats for sure.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Sign Of Hard Times

I was in a teacher meeting today and no one, not even me had a coffee shop bought coffee. If you guys haven't heard, travel mugs are in. Though I am yet to see one of these on school grounds.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Love You Forever

Love You Forever
with credits to Robert Munsch

A mother held her newborn baby and rocked him back and forth

Back and forth
And while she held him she sang
'I love you forever
I like you for always
As long as I am living
My baby you'll be.'

The baby grew.

He grew

and he grew

and he grew.

He grew until he was one year old.
You shared your birthday with Easter this year and therefore had a very unorthodox first b-day celebration. You didn't want to wear a hat and did not get to taste your first cake all by yourself sitting in your high chair. But hey, 60 of your closest relatives were there.
Happy 1st b-day, sweet boy!

To be continued...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Celebrations! Celebrations!

We've had several celebrations in this household before its members fell ill with the nasty stomach flu. I am thankful that it happened after we were done celebrating. One was my sister in-law's beautiful cherry blossom wedding and another was my b-day.

So, it was a "Happy 28th B-day to Me!" last week. And thanks to a Russian social networking site in addition to the friends and family who remembered, I got a gazillion Happy B-day wishes! The day fell on my day off (I work every other day) and I didn't do a squat around the house. It felt good turning 28 though. Most people I meet think I look young for having THREE (such a BIG number, moms of six, ha?) kids and are surprised to learn that I AM young. So I have to explain my "start young, end young" motto a lot. Twenty eight feels as it should. Young.

Anyway, in the evening, my mom (LOVE YA, Mom!) and my dear sister (You too, sis!) agreed to take upon the endeavor of spending the evening with my overstimulated kids while hubby and I go out. So, being the spontaneous us, we decided to go see Mall Cop in the theaters. Apparently, this movie has been out for a while. We didn't know that until we found ourselves here:

My husband and I are suckers for movies no one else wants to see. We don't go to the movie theater often, but when we do we are often the only ones there. So taking pictures of us goofing off during previews did not feel weird at all.

Neither was talking a business call
The movie was alright, kinda corny but got us a few laughs. After it was over, we went to the historic AmadeusManor, Portland's best kept secret. The food was amazing, the setting-mesmerizing and $20 off coupon--very needed. And...we were the only ones there again as it was close to closing when we got there. And again, it wasn't weird at all to take pictures of all of these details.

Every table always has fresh flowers on it. The place is full of history and old books on the shelf add to the authenticity of it.
There is a crystal chandelier hanging over each tableThis pear-something sherbet was served before the entree. Very refreshing! I loved their china as well. It was all from different collections. I ordered seafood on a pastry puff. To borrow one from Rachel Ray--Delish!
This picturesque window overlooks the Willamette river. The view is gorgeous during the day.
It turned out to be a very private celebration. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Monday, April 6, 2009


My students SHOCKED me today. All 27 less 2 (best attendance they ever had) of them showed up to class today.

On a sunny, gorgeous and warm day like today (it has been cold and rainy here in the NW pretty much ever since early Fall).
To a class they have after lunch.
With a teacher they didn't really like (more like hated) at first.
In a school where they have open campus.

All the nerds I know (myself included) would skip today.

I am defying the fact that they showed up because they've used up all of their skip days during the nasty winter we had and are currently on an attendance contract and am taking their act as a compliment.

I am sure they are mortified.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Two Wolves

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, 'My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.'

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: 'Which wolf wins?'

The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'

~My instructor shared this with us yesterday. I thought I'll pass it on to y'all. Feel free to copy and paste on your blog.