Monday, February 7, 2011

Time and... money


As I was making my second “Mind Map” where I detail out a chapter in a unique outline form with pictures to make the main parts clear to read and easy to study, I was noticing how my second one was not nearly as interesting as the first. “Why so many definitions? Why such a shift from cultural perspective to reaching kids on an intellectual level?” Once I had finished I closed the book. The cover… wait… this was the wrong book. 1 ½ hours of work… beautiful mind map. At least it wasn’t a total waste. It is a neat way to really dive deeper into the chapter and have a quick way to study. Now, I am quicker at making them too and my REAL one shouldn’t take as long. Plus, I’m looking forward to it because the content really is more interesting. I am starting to think that what I would like to do is maybe teach ESL for a while in the public school to have some experience and then possibly become a professor. I would like to have the opportunity to travel and be really free… sort of run my own ship. And, I might want to do research too and pursue a doctorate. Yes, seriously. I am so interested in the assimilation of cultures and the ‘melting pot’ of the United States. Why do you think my favorite places downtown are the culturally themed areas like Little Italy, Greek-town and ESPECIALLY little Italy? I love the theme, but even more, I love the idea of SEEING people who are from those countries and seeing into their culture, their life that is so different from mine. Oh, and downtown New York, my favorite place by FAR was China-Town. And not only because of the shopping, but I am such a sucker for flea market jewelry, it’s ridiculous!
One thing I have found interesting lately too is I can get really down on myself about money. I’m sure it’s a common theme that people beat themselves up over. I mean, who doesn’t feel like they are working more than the compensation they receive? Or, they just NEED more and so then it makes sense that they should be getting paid more… for the same work, yes, but hey… I need it! Well, every time I search my brain for any idea of how to make more money and I start adding up numbers plus time minus necessities plus free time minus vacation fund plus weekends off minus tithe to church… I find that I actually have just enough. I have what I need. I definitely don’t have excess and yes, I feel like I am working more than the compensation I receive and that I NEED more. But in reality, I am not underwater and I am not unhappy with my job. So, why again am I complaining?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Well here's a controversial question...

How Democratic is it of me to be getting an endorsement in ESL (English as a Second Language) so that I can teach the students whose families have either just immigrated or cannot help their students with English at home?


I am doing it because I have a GENUINE interest in students from other cultures and i see the increased need in schools so it is great job security. I have to admit, my reason for getting this endorsement is... well... kind of republican.  I want to have a job to be a responsible citizen and I would like that job to be in something that I am genuinely interested in so that I enjoy it, am productive daily, and don't become a lazy member of society. But, it seems that a lot of my colleagues are getting the endorsement because they truly think that it is America's responsibility to cater to all of the 'melting pot' people coming from other areas, largely unauthorized.


The start to these thoughts came from when i was at a babysitting family's house and the dad (who is a VERY strong and vocal Republican) gave me a strange look when I told him what I was getting endorsed in. He said something about 'All of the kids that came from Mexico or who are not originally from America."


Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of America being the 'melting pot.' I had intense culture shock when I myself went to Mexico and saw no white people! Or, people of ANY other ethnicity than Mexican. Same with India. EVERYONE was Indian! America is a special place for that reason. But... what about unauthorized immigration? What about it? Are we to foster the people who sneak in? Are we to "rescue" them from their own dangerous and poverty stricken culture? Are we to wean out all of our tax earnings and increase income tax to achieve this? Am I supposed to add to it?


Like I said, I am doing the endorsement because I like the Mexican kids. And I like the Indian and Chinese and Polish kids, and all of the other cultures that have poured into my district for different reasons. I like their accents, I like their stories, I like their innocence and simplicity. I like showing them our culture and learning about theirs. I like seeing such vast transitions from nothing to something in language and understanding. I like the job and I like the people.


And I don't usually call my choices Republican and I definitely don't call them Democrat. I just do things that I think will generally help and be good. I pretty much just live.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Drawing and Photoshop

I remember sometime during my junior year in college, I had recently decided to switch to Art Education rather than English Education as my major and I started thinking about life as an artist. I remember how students would compare each other and Professors too, saying that Art Ed majors were not expected to have as high quality artwork as Art Pre-Master's majors. I remember thinking that was so silly and I was a little offended, but of course I just stayed quiet and made sure my artwork stood out and was as high quality as I could make it. Of course, I did feel a little bit like I wasn't a real artist because of what others were saying. Was it true? Were Art Ed majors more educators than artists? Were the Art Pre-Masters majors training more to be artists and so then they really are more of artists? Or, was it just a stuck up artist idea (there are a lot of those).

Well, the main reason I chose to be an Art Ed major is because I didn't want to be alone in a studio all day hoping that someone liked my artwork enough to give me money for it. I knew that I am an artist. But, I am an artist who prefers to be public speaking and inpiring, daily. I like to dress up and speak in front of people. I also like to be around kids, middle to high school mostly because of how alive they are. One stuggle I have had since college is that, even though I am very self motivated and a hard worker, I tend to be my own worst enemy too. When I get down about something, I can convince myself to stay down all day, sometimes all week. Sometimes it only breaks when I am around others that show me that life is not that bad, or that hard. Students are my outlet to see that the world is fun, problems don't have to be big, and a smile can cure other people's bad days too. I find myself smiling more at work than anywhere else in my life pretty much. And, I find myself being silly and animated and fun. Most of the time, if I am sad in the morning over something or have a headache and feeling sick, the adrenaline and happiness of my classroom is the perfect cure. It works almost EVERY time. Literally. It is so effective, I would almost recommend someone that is sick to come to my class and hang out for half an hour and I would be SHOCKED if they didn't feel better.

Well, all this to say... I actually am selling some artwork. I'm not really interested in becoming famous for my artwork, though I guess if it happened I wouldn't complain much. It just seems like you have to work really hard to be famous and you really have to want it. Sort of like becoming a famous singer or model. Really I would just like to find projects I am interested in and do them for fun and supplement my income.

I started working on this willow tree when a friend requested it for her wedding website. I quickly realized that though I love making the art, the business of art is harder than I would have thought. It is hard for me to work by myself at home. It is also hard to get criticism and scrap something you took more than 3 hours to work on. It is hard to think that nobody might want the artwork and at that point I would keep it. But, what if I didn't want to keep it? And, I needed the money? I am glad I already have a good income doing something I love and I can do this on the side. I wonder if the Art Pre-Masters students are doing okay now that they are doing art for a living. Or, maybe not doing art for a living for the same reason I am not.

Here is an example of one of the drawings I did. It didn't get accepted as the final drawing, I will be making another one. But, I have a strong feeling that this will be my favorite of all of the versions. I hope you enjoy it too.