Tomorrow is the last day of school. As I perused the pages of my year book, I couldn’t help but notice how the kids have changed. Most of the have stretched and lost some of their “baby fat,” many of them have attitudes now, or are way more concerned about the opposite sex.

Last year, I was relieved when the final bell rang. I was glad to put the year behind me and one notch on my belt of experience. I don’t know how I’ll feel when the final bell rings tomorrow. Although I’m already looking forward to next year, making plans, talking to my team, and itching to work with our new librarian, I think I’m really going to miss these kids. They’ve showed me so much love. I know I’ve made a difference in some of their lives like the little girl who’d never passed the state test on the first try before, but did this year or the kid who couldn’t spell but has learned some tricks thanks to our morning tutoring session. I’ve often wondered how much of it was me or the mix of kids I got this year.


Good News All Around

It’s been a week of much excitement in my corner of the world. Yesterday, I received the long awaited phone call from my sis. After many meeting with University officials, she was finally recommended for tenure. I don’t know that I can really mention much about it. But I will say that Latinas still have a long, long, long way to go in regard to equality in the workforce. I’m sure that doesn’t come as a shock to many of you.

The other good news that I have came in an e-mail this afternoon. We received a yay, nay, or commended TAKS list. Even though I don’t believe this exam really tests my student’s knowledge and skills, I understand the importance of it for them. Anyway, out of 64, 62 passed, and get this, 37 were commended (that means that they scored in the 90th percentile or higher). I am so excited and I can’t wait to break the news to them. No word on when we’ll be able to do it though.

It was also confirmed today that my niece has finally passed the math TAKS and will be graduating from high school. Finally, my sister has a copy of the book. She says it’s very purple. I can’t wait to take it to school. The kids have been asking me about it everyday.



Years ago, when I didn’t know many things (not that I’m all knowing now, but still), I hated corridos. I thought they were such a waste of music. I scoffed at the guys who wore tight wrangles, funky colored vaquero shirts, and sometime icky colored botas de armadillo or vibora.

After some university hours, I realized that corridos were actually very important to my history. I became acquainted with El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez, El Lavaplatos, and El Corridos de Joaquin Murrieta. I even felt knowledgeable enough to write a paper about it in one of my American Literature courses.

I felt ashamed that it took me so long to understand something so important to my culture. Although I grew up in a place where the majority of the population was Latino, Mexican really, I never really learned about my culture. Sure my family had many traditions, but I thought that’s what all families did. Sure, our traditions weren’t like those on Growing Pains, Family Ties, Full House, and they sure weren’t like what they did on Rosa Salvaje, En Familia con Chavelo, or Chespirito; but they were what we did and what a lot of the people that I knew did. Our traditions were a hybrid of a lot of things. I didn’t learn their importance until much later.

Now that I have the power to manipulate young minds, I like to teach them about these traditions and their culture. It can be a lot of work writing up new lesson plans, finding age appropriate materials, and sometimes getting everyone else on board so that all 6th grade students get the same opportunity.

This is why as part of their poetry unit; my students are analyzing and writing corridos. At first, when they heard the songs, there was a lot of snickering and giggles, but when it came time to work, they got down to it. After listening to El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez, one of my more verbal students exclaimed, “It’s like a story!” I had explained that when we talked about the basic form, but it was good to know that he had seen it for himself and hopefully internalized it. Amazingly, the class who never turns in their work until I make them come in after school actually has 90% of their corridos turned in.