Friday, September 25, 2009

Joseph "No Pants" Pilates.

Lovely picture, eh? That's Joseph Pilates, the dude that started the whole "Pilates" exercise phenomenon. In this picture, he's doing what I like to call the "Flying V" or the 'Total Exposure." I'm not sure why he's doing it in a diaper and booties, but he was the one in charge so I guess no one questioned it.

Pilates has evolved into many forms over the past few decades, but all forms of it concentrate on Joseph's six core principles:
Control, Concentration, Precision, Centering, Breathing, and Flow of Movement.

I'd like to add one: TOLERANCE OF PAIN!

I finally got around to ordering some Pilates DVDs, and my god, I think my thighs were on fire for two days after one of the sessions. The people in the video look all happy and at peace, and I'm in my living room, dripping sweat, shaking, and probably worrying the neighbors with the animalistic moans that emanate when I have to hold my muscles in one place for that long. The video people say, "There you go! You can do it! Just a little bit longer!" and I am yelling at them, expecting them to understand that after years of sitting and eating, it isn't exactly EASY for me to hold my leg up in the air at a 45 degree angle while pulling in my core and balancing my breathing!

However, the man in the Depends must have known what he was talking about. I've only done the exercises a few times and I already feel a bit more toned, a bit taller, and a bit thinner. Yes, walking up and down the stairs hurts for a few days... but beauty is pain, is it not?

So I'm going to do my best to stick with it. I know I'll have relapses back into my lazy way of life, like I have had with my whole goal of "organic eating" and "experiencing simplicity." Yes, I do try to eat in stillness still, and I do try to buy mostly organic, but what about those times when I'm reaaaaally craving that squishy fake velveeta noodle mixture, and when I've found True Blood episodes free online?! How can I resist?! It's the devil, I tell you, the devil!

I have stuck with the vegetarian way of life, however. Technically I guess I'm more "pescetarian" because I still eat seafood occasionally, but I'm not even really tempted to eat that anymore either. I cooked some shrimp the other night, and afterward I just felt weird (that may just have something to do with my cooking skills, though). The one thing I would struggle giving up if I became full vegetarian is SUSHI. I love it. There is nothing like it, and nothing else can complete a craving for it. Spicy crab... mmm mmm.

To end this blog, I'll show you a simple 15-step video on the proper way to eat sushi. Only 15 steps!!! So easy! Billy Mays could do it! I also never knew Jesus loved sushi so much (he's in the video, I swear).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Learning to say no.

I need to learn to say no sometimes. It's only the first semester of the school year and I'm already up to my neck in responsibilities that I decided to put on myself... because I never said NO to any of them!

My responsibilities this year at school:
1. Teach an 8th grade Honors Language Arts class.
2. Schedule any students in the building that need tutors to the 100+ people we have available to tutor.
3. Facilitate GQE testing.
4. Assist a Graduation Coach in developing small sessions with her list of students she is trying to keep on track for graduation.
3. Run a drama club twice a week after school.
4. Run a poetry club twice a week after school.
5. Get an "Invisible Children" movement started at our school, including the overseeing of a November visit from the I.C. roadies.
6. Possibly set up regular visits to a former student now at School 46. He's having immense trouble and has massive family issues, but he came to my class the most last year (of the times that he actually went to class) so I may be able to help him.
7. Do my best to volunteer at school sports games when I have the chance, and attend them when I have the chance (kids need to see their teachers at games).
8. Participate in a curriculum project that supports small group work within the classroom (plan, implement, reflect).
9. Apply for computer donations to our school, in particular, to the Learning Center. Meet with the reps of the donation company and keep in contact throughout the process.
10. Try not to go crazy.

Really, the beginning of the school year wasn't too bad. Now that we are having orientations for the tutors, the work is starting to pile up. Why do I choose to take so much on?! Because I CAN'T SAY NO. Also, I think I get a messed up rush from having too much on my plate.

However, thanks to a better schedule and the benefit of happy-pills, I am in a much better mental state than I was last year. I know I can get all this done, but I'm so hard on myself about getting all done in TOP QUALITY fashion without making a mistake. Which is impossible.

So, I either need to learn to say NO, or learn to not be so hard on myself when things arent perfect. I'm going to work on both.

Wish me luck. AAAH!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Invisible children.

One of the reasons I became an inner-city teacher is that I wanted to expose disadvantaged students in the U.S. to global issues. It is likely that out of the many students I interact with every day, most of them have not left Indiana, and some have not even left the city of Indianapolis. How are they to know what is going on across the ocean when they haven't even been exposed to the issues in their own territory?

That is why I am hoping to set up a visit to my school from the roadies of Invisible Children. It's an amazing youth-created, youth-driven, and youth-focused grassroots movement to help the millions of displaced war-struck children of Uganda.

The movement started with three young guys, traveling to Africa with their cameras simply to experience an adventure. When they arrived, they discovered an African Holocaust taking place in Uganda. A rebel army leader was killing and mutilating the population, and kidnapping the children to create and strengthen his own rebel forces. The guys realized they had to do something.

They created a documentary, and spread the word. It came out in 2003, and since then, Invisible Children has turned into a non-profit that has made astounding social and political change for the people in Uganda--in particular, the children. When they first visited the country, thousands of children were walking barefoot for miles in order to seek refuge from the rebel army. Since the start of the movement, the commutes have practically stopped for good.

But there is still a lot of work to be done. The rebel army is still up and running, and the leader is still wreaking havoc on Uganda's people. Children who have been rescued from the rebel army are scarred from the abuse and the brainwashing, and the schools in Uganda need the funding to create proper education for the youth of the country.

While it is important that my students learn where to put their commas and their periods, it is also important for them to become beneficial citizens of the world. If they are able to become active participants in such a groundbreaking grassroots movement, hopefully they'll be motivated to start their own movements--small or large.

I'll let you know if the roadies are able to visit! If not, I still plan on showing the documentary to my students. Our theme this year is "Challenges" after all, particularly the "Challenge of Heroism," so what could be better?

Check out the video below, watch a recent documentary being shown by the roadies
here, or go to the website to find out more.