It's over!

I was so relieved to hear the 3:45 PM bell today. After spending days locked up in a room getting only 45 minutes to myself, I was ready to be back on our regular schedule. I was giddy with excitement thinking that I won’t have to tell kids to read, stop talking, turn around, or what time it is. Next week, we’re exploring poetry in the form of corridos, haiku, and limericks to name a few.

In my quest to be a medium brown girl, I joined a gym last week. I’ve been working out almost every day. Well, except for Easter because it was closed and the day my heel was killing me. Anyway, as an employee of the school district, I get a huge discount on membership, as do some of my colleagues. I usually run into two of them. Today, we planned to attend the Salsa class. It was actually quite fun, and I managed to look like I was kinda dancing. Have a mentioned before that I’m a horrible dancer? That could be another reason people think I’m a gringa.

It’s not all fun and games though. On Wednesday night, I received some horrifying news. My nephew, Richard, a sixth grader at a school in El Paso, got beat up by seven kids on Tuesday afternoon. He was trying to be chivalrous because some kid was pinching his girlfriend’s breasts. So he confronted the kid and they ended up meeting after school. Well, the kid took his friends and they all joined in on the fun. Richard passed out and didn’t wake up for a while. He’s got some bruising of the brain and yesterday he told me his face looks funny and his head hurts a lot.

I tear up thinking about the whole thing. I work so hard to keep my kiddos safe. If I know that they’re talking about fighting someone, I’m on them. I tell the counselor or another teacher. I watch them as the go from class to class because they don’t have all the skills to deal with problems rationally. I’m not saying his teachers had to do this. His mom could have helped out by getting off her lazy ass to take him to and from school. But I digress.

I hope you all are having a good week.



A couple months ago, during one of my post-observation meetings, my faciliatator, said to me, "I think you're a great teacher and you have so much to offer to your students, but I'm afriad the harsh reality of the classroom is going to push you away."
At that moment, I thought, "Hah, you're crazy!"
But her words resonated in my ears this morning when the principal came on the intercom this morning and said, "We want SJ to be recognized! Do your best today!"
It took me back to my Wal-Mart days. It gave me a sick feeling in my stomach. Yeah, our kiddos have to produce, but not in this way. It further upset me that at 3:15 kids were sent to their 5th period class and we're expected to teach. What the heck are they thinking? You force a kid to sit for six hours and test, then read, and you don't allow them to go outside, stand up, or breathe and then you want them to go to a class at the end of the day to learn?
I took my class outside and we played Red Rover. All anyone talks about is TAKS, it's over now, so of course the kids think school is out. I think I'm up for a couple of challenging weeks. However, I think they might actually be fun. Goodbye TAKS prep packets hello Literature and Writing.
In other news, my heel is killing me. I decided to do something good for me and join the gym and either the walking around all day or the working out has irked something in my heel. It hurts like a mother to walk and at times, I get these excrutiatingly painful throbs.
I hope everyone had a happy Easter and/or Passover. I'm off to look for poetry lessons for the last couple of weeks.


Immigration & Little League

You all know about wearing white on Monday, not purchasing anything, and being encouraged not to show up to work or school, right? I'm showing up to work because I'm a square like that, but I am wearing white and not purchasing anything (I must say, the purchasing thing will be difficult because I usually eat dinner w/ my co-worker & classmate because we have class on Monday night.)
Anyway, my sis and I were talking about this the other night because she was asking if I was going to any of the protests. It gets a little hairy because my commitment is to the kids not the education system. On our trip to "teacher happy camp," I had a conversation with one of the other fellow Latina teachers. She wasn't aware that there were only about four Latino teachers on staff and fewer African Americans. I think it really opened her eyes.
So when I think about it, I feel like I'm doing more by actually going to work. I submitted this week's headlining article with my lesson plans. I didn't get them back yet. We're still reading it on Monday, regardless.
On Monday, when I asked them to write about their weekend in their journal, A.T. told me all about opening day and getting the game ball. I asked about his team and what position he played. Friday a few minutes before the bell for the end of homeroom rang, he said, "Ms. will you go to my game later?"
At the end of the day, all I wanted was to come home and sleep. Since getting over my cold, I haven't had the sleeping effects of medicine and so I don't get to fall asleep until very late. Pair that up with feeling dizzy and weak b/c of the nasty salad the night before and you'll get one tired me who didn't want to go to this game.
However, Rachel Ray was making ballpark food, and I knew this kid would be waiting for me to show up, besides what's two hours. So come six o'clock, I headed toward the general direction of where he said his game would be. After weaving through some neighborhoods, I found the park.
I was a little shy about showing up. It's mostly parents that go to these things. How would I look showing up there. I don't even know this kid's parents. After watching the little girls eat ice cream as the jump on a trampoline in the backyard of the houses that lined one side of the park, I gained enough courage. The only thing I kept thinking was that I'd made a commitment to this kid.
After a couple plays, he saw me and alerted A.S., the pitcher and another one of my students, that I was in the stands. They both looked at me and smiled. Later, another one of my students came to the bleachers and looked as if he'd seen the most amazing thing in the world. "Ms. Baeza! What are you doing here?"
After I told him, I inquired about his game. He was playing after the game we were currently watching. I told him I'd stay to watch him too. As more of his teammates showed up, more kids asked his same question. They would go run around and come back to sit with me while I watched the game. When shocked kid's mom showed up, he whispered to her that I was there and that I would be staying to watch his game, too.
It was so nice to see them outside of school, doing the things they love. I felt like I do when I read their journals, honored, that they would share this part of their life with me.