Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A History Lesson

I have spent the last two weeks getting ready for next semester. I have been making lesson plans, my syllabus, figuring out what to teach, etc., and am ready to just jump in and teach on Monday. I'm starting to feel restless. There's only so much planning that can be done.

Other teachers in my building have been warning me about certain students or overall classes I am getting. That's OK, but I am looking forward to a clean slate, both for these students and for me.

Today I was working on a lesson that I will be teaching in a few weeks about the US Bill of Rights. I was reading through the South African Bill of Rights and the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have been very surprised at some of the issues covered in both of these documents, which the US Bill of Rights doesn't come close to covering.

Reading through the UN document, which was written Post-WWII, made me think of all the ways these rights have NOT been upheld in our world (especially in the US), and the implications these have on current events.

For example:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (Does this include for military or terrorist activities?)

Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. (What about Mexicans coming to the US?)

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

And from the South African Bill of Rights:

Everyone has the right to life.
Everyone has the right ­
  1. to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
  2. to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that ­
    1. prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
    2. promote conservation; and
    3. secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
Every child has the right (to name a few...)­
  1. to a name and a nationality from birth;
  2. to family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment;
  3. to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services;
  4. to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation;
  5. to be protected from exploitative labour practices;
  6. not to be used directly in armed conflict, and to be protected in times of armed conflict. (What about the children soldiers in Sudan?)
I am very appreciative of the United States Bill of Rights, but I also know we have a long way to go; however, just because they are written in a Constitution doesn't mean they are upheld.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Another quote

We mourn the victims of the World Trade Center attack. Their pictures cover subway walls. We mourn the firefighters, as well we should. But we are blind to those whom we and our allies in the Middle East have crushed or whose rights have been ignored for decades. They seem not to count.

-Another quote from the same book


Once we sign on for war's crusade, once we see ourselves on the side of the angels, once we embrace a theological or ideological belief system that defines itself as the embodiment of goodness and light, it is only a matter of how we will carry out murder.

-From a book I just started reading, called War is a Force that Gives us Meaning by Chris Hedges.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

No School!

Today was supposed to be my first day back at my high school placement. Instead, it was a two-hour-delay-turned-into-no-school-day.

One of the great things about Michael and I both working in the school district is that when school is cancelled, we both get to stay home. We both came home and slept for three hours on the couch (we got home very late last night from his soccer game and had only gotten five hours of sleep). It was wonderful!!

I'm working on planning lessons for my upcoming teaching debut. I start teaching full-time in two weeks. I am nervous but excited. It's going to be a lot of work for the next few months.

Somehow Michael and I have to balance school, work, stress, finances, and try to fit in time for our marriage (date night!)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Car!

Michael and I have been looking for a second car for the past few weeks. School starts today, and once I begin my full-time student teaching we will both need our own cars.

We kept getting a lot of frustrating emails and calls that said, "sorry, it's already sold." At one point we were on the way to Portland, and were only a few minutes away, when the guy called us back to tell us the car had been sold. But, last night we found a car that we were determined to check out, and we did.

And we drove it home!

It's a 1997 white Jetta. I am so excited. It will be my car, and Michael will drive the Subaru that we own. The funny thing is that Michael's dream car has always been a Subaru, and I've always wanted a Jetta, and it just worked out that we having matching white cars.

God definitely answered our prayers as we were hoping to get a car before this weekend.

The other answer to prayer was that we had a strict budget for buying a car, and all our research paid off, because this car was less than the maximum amount we were willing to pay!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


I haven't posted anything new in a while because we've been insanely busy. Here are some highlights:

-My birthday was the first week of December. We celebrated by having a Bunko party with friends.
-Michael and I celebrated our two year anniversary in Rockaway Beach. We stayed at Harbor Villa on the coast.

-We had Christmas with my dad's family, and then spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day with Michael's parents at our house here in Salem. This picture is Michael after he ran into his dad's room to wake him up on Christmas morning. And his sister Amy is on the phone.
-The day after Christmas we drove to Idaho and spent time with Michael's family: cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. We had a white elephant exchange, each person bringing something with the letter "S" (the last letter in Christmas). Michael got a Snow Scraper and I got a Starbucks package with a thermos and coffee. Michael also won the Ankeny Ping Pong Tournament.
-We all got sick while we were in Idaho, so this is a picture of us all sitting around with the flu. It was so bizarre, everyone but Nick, Amy and Devonne and Kenny were sick. It was the pits!-For New Year's Eve our friends Katelyn and Brett came up to visit from California. This is our second New Year's Eve with them.

Michael started back to work on January 2nd, and I go back to school on the 11th. I'm getting pretty nervous about starting my semester at the end of the month, but I'm excited too.
My New Year's resolution is to (of course) lose weight by working out and eating right. I started my training for the Hood to Coast in August. I'm also reading through the Daily Bible, which puts the Bible in chronological order in 365 segments, to finish in the year.