La Nostalgia

A couple years ago, on this day, I would have been in El Paso. It was a tradition to go all out for Halloween. When I still lived in El Paso, my brother and I would rush home on this day to finish the last minutes touches on the house. If I had a scanner, I’d share some pics with you all.

Halloween was when my brother and I bonded. He was the creative genius and I bought stuff and helped out with the building. When the actual day of Halloween rolled around, clad in black and eerie masks, we’d take our battle stations on the front lawn and scare every kid that dared to walk past the white wrought iron fence.

All this ended about a year ago when my brother became involved with the church and sold most of the Halloween stuff at a garage sale. It’s no longer a necessity for me to fly down to El Chuco and now all I have are the memories of Harrier St. Halloweens.



The Media is Stereotyping Texas

That was the topic of conversation in the teacher’s lounge after the first World Series game played in Houston. Actually, it was all over the radio too. It was mildly amused by the whole thing. The people who were complaining, at least around here, were the anglo-sangrones. Anyway, I was mildly amused because it was interesting seeing them on the other side of the table. I mostly listened to their conversations since I tend to be on the opposite of the issue on many things with my co-workers.

Second Walk-through

I never really went in to talk to my appraising AP about the first walk through. We mostly have very impromptu informal conversation which works for me. I hate the idea of having to go sit in someone’s office with a line of kids outside. Anyway, on Tuesday, she came to my first/second period block. I told some of the kids that we’d be having a visitor and they were perfect. I’m so glad I have them at that time during the day because they prepare me for the day. Although, I love all the kids the same, this particular bunch of kids is amazing. It’s awesome to actually be able to get through a lesson and do the activity I plan. And to top it off, they actually have fun doing it.

A Toaster, Diamond, and Ms. Baeza

Last Friday, I had the kids write a journal entry about those three things. They came up with some great things. Most of them were getting me engaged or having me find a diamond encrusted toaster or dropping the diamond into the toaster. There were two that used it as an opportunity to share some of their thoughts on me and the class. It was cool reading their entries. I’d share some, but I’m afraid of running into issues with the district.

TeXes Exam

I think I may have mentioned that back at the beginning of October, I was taking the test that lets the Bush(whacker) know that I know my stuff. Well yesterday, in between classes and reading “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” I went to the SBEC website to see if my results had been posted. When the window popped up, I read the results and sat there for a while not knowing what to do. Here is what it read:

Generalist 4-8

I couldn’t believe it. I talked to my mom last night and she said, “I already knew that. Last night you came to visit me, you had a paper with you and you kept saying, ‘Look Mom! Look! I passed!’”


I’m off today. We worked enough before school started so that most schools are having in-service days doing trainings and stuff. We’re not, thank God. I’m heading over to the SCMLA conference later. And tomorrow, well tomorrow is the big bash for my ex-supervisor’s big three-o. I have lesson plans to do, but I think I’m going to shower and explore a Friday outside of school.


Classroom Management

Am I the only one that thinks that Jet kinda sounds like Oasis?

It seems like we’re going to have another Astros Friday at school. I actually watched an entire game on television today. Mind you, I did begin to fall asleep during the 5th and 6th inning.

Friday afternoon at work was kinda shitty. My appraising AP did a walk through and my kids were behaving like shit. Usually, on Friday’s, they are to work on a journal entry for their “quickstart.” Well, I couldn’t get them to stop talking and work. It was horrible. She left me a note in my box to go talk to her this upcoming week. It wasn’t all bad, I mean, there were some positive things like how I ask higher thinking questions and how I went around commenting on everyone’s writing, but she was “very concerned” about all the talking.

I went down to see my friend Melinda before I left and told her all about it. She said, “Oh please! We’re all going to have all those problems. What do they expect, we’re new teachers.”

My classroom management is shit; I’ll be the first to admit it. My kids tell me I’m the nicest teacher they have. People say it comes with practice, and I’m sure it does, but it’s quite frustrating. I mean, there’s so many “experts” on the topic. Where exactly do you draw the line? And if the kids do this stuff already, they say there is no way in heck I can tighten up the reins now.

I knew my “niceness” would catch up with me somehow. It’s not even that I want to be friends with these kids, but I think I take way too much interest in them. I have kids coming for tutorials just because they want to hang out in my class. That’s pretty cool, but still, that’s not my goal. But you know, I can’t help but relate to them when the stuff that they write in their journals and papers is so touching. Their excitement and sadness is all there even if they use double negative, misspell words and theirs papers are full comma splices. Even my devil child has written about some very touching experiences.

The other day, the devil child got really angry with me because I wouldn’t let him sit on the back of the chair. He ended up walking out on me. When I was retelling my story to one of the veteran teachers, she was like, “You should have sent him to the office!” But there was so much hurt and pain in his little face. I thought he should have been going to the counselor not the AP. He obviously wasn’t okay. I mean, I know he’s very difficult, but I just feel so sorry for him. I know exactly where this path is going to take him. I know that he does things to get back at “the system” but the only thing that does is hurt him and push him even further down the wrong path.

Anyway, I guess I’ll see what happens. She did ask if I wanted to go observe other classes. I think I do need to do that. Maybe I’ll spend some conference periods next week observing some of the veterans.



Ah que la chingada!

El martes made two years since el jefito passed away. It’s crazy how fast time goes by. I had spent the day filling out progress reports and preparing my presentation for the evening that I completely forgot about my jefito until my sis called. The thing is that I think about him almost everyday. Sometimes I remember the good, others the bad, and sometimes I just remember he’s watching out for me all the time. It’s so weird how I have a totally different relationship with him now. Now, he’s the father figure I always wished he’d had been because now, I’m in control of how he’s remembered by the things I say & write.

Rocio Durcal

After reading Gustavo’s entry about Juan Ga, I was really hurting for some of his music. So I went to download some and I ran into the songs that Juanga and Rocio did together and well . . . it made me all nostalgic. See, my mom had this younger sister who was my madrina. Anyway, they were always together. They were like the best of friends. My mom would die her hair and later tell me how she had a cabeza de pollo. My madrina would encourage my mom to wear makeup, die her hair, and dress up while my mom was going through a tough time. My mom was my madrina’s confidant, she knew all about my madrina’s lovers and wild escapades, but one day it all ended. They got into some big fight over something stupid and quit talking. My madrina’s cherry-red Izuzu Trooper no longer picked us up for trips to the swap or to Charlie’s for the awesome comida corrida. A couple months later, her husband, wearing a shirt with foliage print and straw hat, walked up to my sister’s door and knocked. My sister didn’t want to see him, but she did. I stayed in my room. After his visit, my sister walked into my room and simply said, “La Bucha se mato.”

I felt like someone had punched me in the jelly belly. I didn’t know what to say or do. I just remember holding onto the dry green chest of drawers thinking, “this can’t be true.”

The next thing I remember is being with my mom and hearing her crying like those dramatic women on the novelas. In a lot of ways, my mom had been like her mother.

What does that have to do with Rocio Durcal and Juanga? Well, Rocio Durcal was my madrina’s favorite singer. Right around the time she passed away, el Juanga y la Rocio were once again doing their duos. Her favor song was “Amor eterno.” After she passed away, it was impossible for my mom to hear these songs without breaking down every time. She couldn’t live with the guilt of being angry with her sister. I think she’s over it now, but she’ll still let out an, “Aye, mi hermana,” once in a while.



I was feeling spontaneous Sunday, especially after I noticed that I’m booked the next two Saturdays which means it’ll be a month with one-day weekends. Preston, this guy that was at my Saturday training and is in Dr. Full of Herself’s class admitted, “ATCP will end your marriage.” I can totally see what he means. Substitute “marriage” with “life” and you pretty much have the topic of conversation amongst all the ATCPers.

We have no lives because we have no time. I’m sure the little time we do get, we run wild . . . like I did Saturday night. I had originally made some plans but they were cancelled. So I was sitting at this here computer typing up an entry for you all when Dan the Man walked into the room and I said, “Hey, you wanna go to the mall?”

“Uh, yeah.”

So we headed out to the mall. It was more of a walking excursion. I don’t normally like malls because they’re crowded and mostly overpriced, but I like walking around and seeing all the crap that I used to be marveled with like the fluorescent lights that make signs for Claire’s and Journey’s. I like walking through Foley’s and Dillard’s knowing that I chose not to buy stuff from there and I love going into Lane Bryant to drool over the jeans that aren’t really made to fit all plus-sized women. Oh yeah, I can’t forget to mention the latest infatuation: baby clothes. I can’t wait until my brother’s baby is born to go on a spending spree for his kid.

Anyway, after the mall, we were heading home when I said, “You know, we should go to Galveston, we’re only like 30 minutes away.”

After some discussion, we decided to head out to Galveston. It was about 9 P.M., and the night was perfect. We walked around on the beach for about an hour and then settled on one of the piers for about fifteen minutes. Only reason we left was because I was freezing my butt off.

It was nice to do something so spontaneous. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to act out on whim like that. In actuality, I don’t think I’ve done anything like that since I lived in El Paso. Since I moved to Houston, my life has been so consumed with “things to do.” It seems like I need to dedicate time to “the future” or “my plan.” When I do get time to do my own thing, I end up vegging out because my brain wants to become this idle mass.

I’ve been feeling really homesick lately. It’s been about eight months since I’ve been to El Chuco. I’ve only seen my mom and one of my nieces since. The others, I only hear glimpses of them on the phone. I can only imagine what the nephews look like now. I could substitute Richard and Kendra’s face on any one of my students. I can’t even begin to imagine how big Little Lyn is and it hurts to think that I won’t get to see my brother’s baby as a newborn.

But I was expecting this. I knew things would change, especially once I got out of college. I also know that from now on, things will only get more complicated. This year won’t be the first that I may not get to see my family for Christmas. But at least I can pacify the craving with some of that El Chuco goodness that Alicia Gaspar de Alba exudes in her writing.


You're just being facetious!

I had my wonderful class with Dr. Full of Herself tonight. It doesn’t help either that we’ve got a lot of those full of themselves students who feel to need to constantly “share.” We got so off topic today, I thought I was going to stick my pencil through my eyeball. Then she starts telling us that we need to bend over backwards for every kid, and while I agree with that, sometimes there are extreme cases. While I hate to say that, this little turkey of mine, he’s seriously trouble and he needs a little more structure in his life, especially at home. Anyway, we went up to her after class because it so happens that Open House is on the very night that we have class and she begins apologizing for her bitchyness because by then, she had not only found out that we are first year teachers but that this kid is also involved in criminal activity.

I guess what really bugged me was that she called me facetious when I said, “I’m just happy when he actually makes it to my class.” She has no idea what the situation is like and you can’t apply this generic technique to everything. That’s just my opinion. But then again, I’m a first year teacher, what do I know?

My name has appeared in another book. On Saturday, my sis gave me a second edition of Lowriding on the Streets of Gold in which my name appears on the CIP data page. This is the one with all that Library of Congress stuff at the beginning of the book. I feel so proud. Also, my name may appear in another book with two of my stories depending on the publishing house and editor that picks up this Memoir Anthology project. We’ll see how it goes.

You know what that damn hurricane Rita was good for? Ruining my momentum. It stinks now. I have no idea what I’m doing again and the kids were running rampant the first couple of days. Things are better, but damn it, I got behind on my preparing for the future plans. I was making copies and there was no rushing to the copy room every morning. I guess I’ll have to start using the copy aid more often now.

Anyway, I’m about closing my eyes as I type this. I guess I should use whatever energy I have left to iron my “old lady” clothes. Catch ya’ll later.