In one of my rushes through Aldi, the stored famed for its prices (and not even on the map when it comes to quality) I picked up a can of chicken noodle soup. Not paying attention all that much to the various brands, I got the one that looked the largest and made a dash for the check out.
To my horror, it turned out to be condensed chicken noodle (a qualifier that never bodes for food). Rather than throwing out a meal I thought I’d spice it up a bit. The can itself had plenty of noodles, a good amount of broth, and only a dash of chicken.
What I added:
1 Baked Potato
1 Handful Chopped Carrots
1/2 of a Polska Kielbasa
Dash of Basil Herbs
A few dashes of Chili Powder
What I ended up with was anything but bland or condensed. My meal turned out excellently, leaving me ready to face the afternoon without the fear of becoming drowsy.
It’s week two of the creative writing camp. A new wave of students rushes in with the excitement and activity of a bunch of hummingbirds. The college student mentors have still barely recovered from the last week. Not that it’s a hassle dealing with them. All I’m saying is that I’m a human being, and I can’t take a new group of students who continue poking me like I’m some exhibit on a side show circus!
Dramatics aside, this has been an interesting and enlightening experience. I remember sitting in my chair quietly throughout middle school, absorbing lots and day-dreaming some. At the time I saw teachers as recorders. Someone would hit the play button and then I would pay attention as I pleased. As far as I was concerned, the teacher would continue on with the lesson regardless of my state of mind.
From in front of the blackboard, I now realize that there is nothing more that a teacher wants than to know how engaged the students are. Is the material engaging? Am I teaching them material that they find worthwhile? Above all it’s brought me into a greater understanding of our schooling system. These kids are so accustomed to plopping their bottoms on a seat for hours on end, stifling complaints or comments. I appreciate this camp so much just because of the desire to break out of that cycle. When it comes to writing, we only want the kids to write what they want. But if they’ve only learned how to do what the teacher wants them to do, we arrive at an impasse. Progress is made every day though. Kids often come to us with question on an assignment. Our mantra is “Whatever you want.”
As I sit in one of Butler’s many soft spaces around campus, contemplating how wonderful it is to have super-duper fast internet that doesn’t randomly cut out (as it does in my house), I notice how at 8:21 PM, the sun is still far from setting. Then I remember. It’s the summer solstice. The longest day of the year.
And what a day it has been! I spent the day with my kids from the Creative Writing Summer Camp where I’ve been working for that past week. This is another great example of how connections made in the university lead to extracurricular means of practicing what you love and even testing the waters outside your comfort zone (in this case, I find that working with 5th and 6th graders is a frickin’ blast! Especially when the day is spent delving into imagination and instilling youth with the desire to create stellar stories).
But that isn’t the only great thing about this day. It is also the birthday of my brother. Seeing as how he isn’t in the country, I figure that the most efficient way to bid him a happy birthday comes through a blog post broadcasted on the internet. If you would all kindly join me in bidding my brother a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! TANTI AUGURI! FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS! 生日快乐!!!
Brotherly Love: 2011 Edition