As I sit here on what I thought was Thursday in what I thought was April, I realize I may be losing track of time.
DePaul and it’s 10 week quarter system always sneak up on me, but this Spring has been particularly confusing. The elevated pollen count, and the intense sinus infection it has inflicted upon me, no doubt have contributed to this haze I am in.
One would think that an extreme time confusion would lead me to arrive at places on Mondays when I should be there Thursdays, or some variation of this error. However, I somehow make it to field work/class/work on the appropriate days at the appropriate times. But, while at these places I never know what day it is.
Tuesday is the day I am at Newberry for my fieldwork, but while I’m there I can spend half my day looking forward to the weekend because I think it’s Friday.
Thursday I nanny, and there’s a story time at 4:30 I like to take the boys to. Sometimes we make it to story time, other times we go for a walk at 5 and I see a parade of children leaving the story time and I remember what day it is.
Friday I spend trying to figure out whether or not the next day is Saturday or Wednesday. I try to remedy this by walking around mumbling, “TGIF, TGIF, TGIF..” to myself.
Saturday and Sunday night are spent reflecting on whether I will wake up in the early morning or the early afternoon. Luckily I have a dog who can’t sleep past 7am. The silver lining on this is that only half of Sunday is spent all “Ugh, not ready to start the week.” because the other half of the day I have no idea what day it is.
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I tried to think of a witty title for this post, but my brain has melted so I’m unable to.
On Monday I did my second round of observation hours in a special education classroom. My first day, last Monday, went smoothly and I was looking forward to seeing the kids again and learning more about best practices in educating kids with special needs.
I walked into the classroom this week and was greeted by a child who had been absent on my first day. He was very friendly and welcoming. This was until about an hour later when during free time he threw a giant puzzle piece at my face and screamed “EAT YOUR FOOD!” It was out of nowhere and, more importantly, completely out of context.
Not to be out done, one of the other children in the classroom tried to push my down the stairs, two times, as we walked to lunch. The teacher then informed me that that particular child “Never pushes teachers!”
Really felt the love all around me Monday morning.
Then yesterday I got to the second grade classroom I am doing my field work at. I was late because apparently when it rains in Chicago everyone forgets how to drive. As I set my stuff down, a little girl told me I had something on my butt. I couldn’t feel or see anything there so I figured it wasn’t a big deal and just moved along with my morning.
Also, trying to tell me anything before 9am is essentially like talking to a brick wall.
Later in the day, we are about to walk down the hall and the head teacher also informs me that there’s something on my butt. I go to check it out int he bathroom and realize I’ve made the glorious mistake of sitting in peanut butter, and since I’d ignored it it has now molded itself into a very persistent stain on my backside. Luckily, I’ve been awake since 6am and so I care nothing about my appearance.
An hour before dismissal, another child in the classroom comes up to me to let me know that the peanut butter on my tush is still going strong. ”I KNOW, AND I DON’T CARE!” immediately pops into my head as a response. But being that she is a child and therefore shouldn’t be traumatized by an angry outburst over peanut butter butt I say, “Oh yes, I know. Thank you.”
Teaching 101: How to not yell.
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Since putting myself in the running for the “Worlds Busiest Life” award, I’ve left little time to prepare any food for myself. The nights I’m home, I eat fried noodles. The nights/days I’m not home, I eat salad bar. When I’m hungry, no salad bar is safe, and unfortunately neither is my wallet.
My second day at Newberry Academy, I spent my lunch break following my salad senses around Lincoln Park. For my Chicagoans, just think about how dangerous using your salad senses to get around Lincoln Park can be. As you’d think, I was led right into the mecca of healthy salad people, which also happened to be the mecca of draining your bank account. I got a salad, and two beverages that should have been from the fountain of youth for how much they cost. But, sadly, they were just lowly Kombucha and a plant protein drink. Why I thought I needed a protein drink in the middle of a Tuesday when I hadn’t worked out in 6 months, I don’t know.
After my health binge, I get out of my day at Newberry and have time to kill before my night class. I do some reading on campus, but then my salad senses start tingling and I have to get to a salad bar ASAP. A Whole Foods just opened that’s on my way to class, so I go in and load up on green garbanzo salad with a side of orzo pasta/feta goodness. Eighteen dollars and half an hour later, and I am feeling full and satisfied.
This salad spending spree was last week, so you’d think this week I would decide to 1) Bring my own food or 2) Look the other way and walk past the salad/health food mecca I had previously gone bankrupt at. But, sadly, I obeyed the salad sense that was now pulsating through my entire body, and walked right back into the raw/vegan health store. I got a very small juice and a raw/vegan broccoli soup. I vowed not to admit this meal to anyone, but for the sake of journalism, I’ll reveal these details to you all.
Next week, I’ll just have them juice whatever remains of my bank account.
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Yesterday was the second day of my internship in second grade. It offered a whole new set of experiences.
Their school day went pretty much according to the schedule I saw last week. T he lessons got a little more difficult, and it turns out I am working at below a second grade math level because I had to ask the other student teacher for help with the help I was supposed to be providing. She then got a second grader to explain it to both of us.
My inability to write the expanded form of “749″ turned out to be the smallest blow to my ego that day.
I started the day with a kid coming up to me and asking, “Are you a girl?” and when I said, “Yessssss,” she looks at her friends and goes, “Told you!”
For the next hour, the threats to my gender identity settled down. Then as I’m walking around as they clean up lunch, a kid physically stops me to ask if I have a boyfriend.
“No, I don’t.”
“So, you have a girlfriend?”
“No, I don’t.”
Then the child looked at me like an older relative at Thanksgiving who got married at 22, and you’ve showed up alone for the 30th year in a row.
The class and I get along nicely for the rest of the day, had some fun with “reader theater”. We’re in the home stretch, science, the last class of the day. I sit next to the kid who asked me about my dating life, I want him to realize that even though I’m single I’m a great catch.
Halfway through the lesson, he looks at me and says, “What’s that?” pointing to my shoulder. I look and see that my bra strap is showing. “Oh, that’s my undershirt.” Not wanting to get into a discussion about underwear, specifically mine, today. He then lowers his voice and asks, “Are you wearing a bra?”
YES I’M WEARING A BRA, BECAUSE I’M A GIRL!
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This quarter I am doing an internship in a primary setting. “Primary Setting” means Kindergarten-3rd grade. I requested to be in a CPS class for this round and got assigned to a second grade classroom at Newberry Academy. Newberry happens to be the grade school alma mater of two my roomies, Anika and Ryan, so +100 cool points.
Yesterday was my first day at said internship, and I spent the weeks between finding out I’d be teaching second grade and the start of internship freaking out about working in a second grade classroom. Other than being an awkward eight year old at some point in my life, I had pretty much no experience with the age group.
I made myself a lunch the night before and laid out my “teacher ready” outfit. As well as the outfit I’d be changing into the moment I left Newberry.
Becoming a real person requires baby steps.
The school day starts at 7:30, so getting myself out of bed and to school on time was probably my biggest challenge of the day.
Once I had gotten myself together and was in the car on my way to school, I realized the lunch I had so nicely prepared for myself was still sitting in the refrigerator. Being unsure what lunch time would hold for me at Newberry, I decided it was probably in my best interest to turn around and go get it.
This process send me so many reminders on why I am not a morning person.
I finally arrive 10 minutes late, and the kids are eating breakfast. The teacher and her highly talkative for before 8am student teacher are both nice and welcoming. Once the kids finish eating, I am asked to introduce myself. I tell the kids about how I went to CPS, how two of my roommates went to Newberry, and that I’m a nanny. The kids then introduce themselves and tell me one thing they like. By the third child who says they love dogs, I am fully regretting that I didn’t mention that I not only also love dogs, but I even own one.
Things to aspire to, kids.
I spend the rest of the day learning that second graders could possibly be my favorite age. To teach, that is. I am forever grateful that my phase of life as a second grader isn’t something I’ll ever have to relive.
These kids are starting to really learn, and for the first time I can concretely put the skills I’ve been learning into action in order to enhance the way these kids intake the information.
Don’t get my wrong, I am all about play doh, abstract painting, and working on early language and literacy with the preschool ages, but the second graders are at a turning point in their thinking that I found extremely fascinating. I am seeing clearly how this whole early childhood business is setting these kids up for the rest of their lives.
**Teacher nerd alert**
An interesting side note was that apparently I got a lunch break, where I could’ve gone out and bought something if my sandwich debacle hadn’t been resolved. Since I had in fact brought my sandwich, I ended up walking around Lincoln Park shoveling a sandwich into my mouth, and then finding a nice park bench in what may have been a senior living facility and eating carrots out of my coat pocket.
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Little did I know when I was Ace Ventura for Halloween some two years ago that I would become West Town’s Pet Detective. As an extreme dog mom, looking out for the well being of the animals in my neighborhood seems like an appropriate hobby.
A month or so ago I’m walking Belle and a dog I was watching, Flanders. Out of nowhere two raggedy looking dogs come running up to us. Flanders and Belle, as you’d expect, went bazerk. Barking, jumping, the whole routine. Needless to say, the raggedy dogs ran away from us. I was all, “Guys! We could’ve helped them!” and then quickly walked back home to give them a further lecture in private.
Once I’d fed them, I grabbed some dog treats and went looking for the raggedy dogs.
*Queue crazy dog lady sequence*
I found them a few blocks away eating what was definitely garbage in front of what looked like a haunted house. I slowly approached, dog treats extended, hoping to meet on some common ground. Once I got what they deemed too close, they slipped into the gate of this house and ran towards the backyard. I then noticed there were more dogs in the backyard of the haunted house.
This was definitely a case for No Blaise: West Town Pet Detective.
I did was any good detective would do: Called 311 and told them what was going down. They said they’d send animal control as soon as they could. As all good over zealous neighborhood members do, I left my name and number in case they had any updates.
Still waiting on that.
Yesterday, my pet detective skills were called into action again.
I had a break between work and class, so I went home to walk Belle.
As soon as we get outside two dogs about her size come running towards us. This was either going to go really well or really badly. Luckily, Belle remained calm and greeted the dogs nicely. Then I remembered the horrible dog flu going around and Belle’s susceptibility to catch any sickness in a five mile radius, I walked her away from the dogs. “Sorry guys, not today.”
Being who I am, I wondered where the F did these dogs come from? They had collars but not tags, and some weird fabric around their necks that looked like it was meant to be a bandanna. The further we walked up the street, the more I realized that there was no one else on the street who these dogs could belong to.
I asked a man sitting on his porch, who I often see walking his cat, if the dogs were his. They were not.
What’s a Pet Detective to do?
We get to the end of the block, cross the street, and start heading towards home when these two little doggies come running up again. Belle again is all, “Hey, what’s up, nice to see you again, kind of freaked out but mostly ok with this..” and I then decide to try and lure the dogs to follow us so I can put them in my side yard and then call 311 and tell them what’s going on.
In my mind, this act turns into my creating the worlds most loving and humane dog shelter.
Unfortunately, the dogs do not follow me and my dreams are crushed.
The next step in the case of the two little doggies is my calling 311 again. I tell the woman what’s going on, and leave my information again. This time she says she signed me up for text updates. I considered this my promotion to Sergeant.
Until next time, stray dogs of West Town….
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Yesterday was my first day of school after my adult Spring Break. I had an early morning seminar and then class again at 5:30 so I just took the day off of work. In between this seminar and my night class, I decided to make a pit stop at Target. I had to get paper clips for class, but no other necessities besides that. I somehow convinced myself that this made Target a necessary errand rather than say, Walgreens, which was a much safer choice because it didn’t have clothes that were on sale or gold binder clips or an expansive water bottle selection.
As I found myself in the Home/Kitchen picking out a coffee maker, I came up with the concept of a “Spending Chaperon”. This is either a good friend, or a willing stranger, who you take with you while shopping to stop you from buying things you don’t need. These things you don’t need include:
-Extra large gold paper clips
-Patterned chiffon pants
-A soy candle when you literally just bought one
This person(s) would remind you, “Do you really need to buy the boys you nanny an extensive set of paints?” or “Do you really need to buy a shirt that is size 3x just because it’s $4 and probably really comfy?”
Sorry, those were trick scenarios because the answer to both of those questions is obviously yes.
My main use for this chaperon would be to say, “Nora, get out of the dog section.” or in severe cases, “Nora, get out of the dog store and put down all those toys.”
This whole chaperon concept has me thinking about an app I could create called simply, “Chaperon”. It’ll be like uber, but instead people will sign up to chaperon you throughout the night.
Initially we won’t have enough money to do through background checks, so “Chaperon” at your own risk.
Want someone to stop you from going to the 24 hour McDonalds at 3 am?
Need someone to remind you that you have a Brita at home and don’t need to buy large bottles of water every time you’re in the grocery store that is five minutes from your house?
Someone who’ll remind you why drunk texting isn’t the best idea in the whole wide world even when you’re 100% sure it is?
Copyright No Blaise Inc.
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