Friday, October 24, 2014

Flashback Friday Song of the Day - Under Pressure - Queen w/David Bowie

This week's Flashback Friday song was easy to choose for me.  Pressure is what I'm feeling a lot of these days and I'm always looking for something, anything, to help me to ease that stress.  Sometimes a cool song like this one lightens the mood for a couple of minutes at least and makes you forget. That's one of the great things about music...  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Auto-Correcting Humanity? - Yeah!

Do you know that the average person spends 
around four years of his life looking down at his cell phone?

A friend of mine shared this video with me recently, telling me that she couldn't help but think of me when she watched it. You see, I instituted a new rule in my class this year concerning cell phones. As you can imagine, these devices have become a huge distraction in the process of teaching and learning and kids are not the only ones affected by it.

So many I's, so many selfies,
not enough us's and we's
You see, technology has made us 
more selfish and separate than ever! 

This year, my new rule aims to curb that huge distraction that comes with texting and Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, and all of the other things that have become the new, sad norm to how we socialize with each other. When a student is caught using their cell phone in my classroom without permission, all of the students in the class must hand theirs in for the period, not just the student in question.  The end result is the students' anger is towards the one person who committed the offense and not me, thereby curbing the use of the tiny handheld computers that are so, well, everywhere!  I've been sharing some of my biggest takes on Facebook...

Cell phones and iPads and such have become a problem not only for our children learning in school, but for all of us.  That once faraway notion of virtual reality has slowly but surely creeped up into the very backbone of our collective psyches and I think it's all for the worst...

We sit at home on our computers
measuring self-worth by numbers of 
friends, followers and likes.

Back to the video...I watched the entirety of the three minutes and twenty seven seconds of truth that day, not once, but several times, every word attesting to the sad truth that has become our society and our world today.  Although I've attempted to curb the problem in my classroom, it doesn't stop with children. We're all guilty of much of what is said in the video, including myself.

The attention span of the average adult today
is 1 second lower than that of a goldfish.    

I believe that, unfortunately.  I see firsthand everyday, and I know you all do, too, how people are consistently distracted by the little electronic device in their hand.  At parties, during bowling night, and even at times when I'm spending time with just one other person, attention is never 100% on the here and now.  There's always one eye and one ear out for a ring or a chime or a flash on a screen to tell us that somebody poked us or another want to be our "friend."  It's pretty sad, no?

Anyway, I have already begun to try to do my part in making it better before it's too late.  My Facebook visits, and posts have decidedly become less, and so has my activity on Twitter and Instagram.  If it weren't for sharing these posts in those places, I'd probably be daring enough to say that that would be it for awhile, even if for a week.

So anyway, take a look and a listen to what this dude has to say.  That is, if you could keep your attention on it for that long.  He makes a lot of sense!  Perhaps all of this is part of what I said that I was beginning to get onto something here the other day.  Maybe part of what keeps my mind so occupied and so stressed all the time has to do with my own affliction for social media.  I should post a picture of this great dinner, or I gotta answer that notification.  Ugh!  Maybe making a conscious effort to curb my online habits will leave me time for more important, and real, things to do with my time.  Can it hurt that much?  We shall see...  

Song of the Day - Ghost - Ella Henderson

I keep going to the river to pray
Cause I need something that can wash out the pain

Ella Henderson, a former sixth place finisher on the British version of X-Factor, contributes a really nice song as the first single from her debut album, Chapter One.  Ghost is definitely a song I can identify with and I love virtually everything about it, from the singer's rich vocals to the inspirational feel on the music and in the chorus.  If you haven't heard Ghost yet, then what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Song of the Day - Kind and Generous - Natalie Merchant

You've been so kind and generous, I don't know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I'm in debt to you
For your selflessness, my admiration
For everything you've done, you know I'm bound
I'm bound to thank you for it

I normally reserve the posting of this particular song for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I may very well do so again in a couple of weeks, but it is very appropriate for me to post today because I need to thank a very special person who will be leaving my side so to speak, for good.  You see, for the better part of the last year, I've had an assistant in my classroom who has done so much to make my life easier at work, and after today she'll be moving on to her own classroom in another school district.

I've always believed that ESL teachers are made from the same cloth.  We are the kindest, most selfless of people who care deeply for our students and dedicate much of our time and energy towards nurturing them and helping them learn and grow.  Brittany is surely one of those people, and for the last nine months or so I've been only too happy to share with her my students and my crazy world and she has responded with the greatest modicum of responsibility and caring that I believe is so lacking in today's world.  

So, to Brittany I say thank you, thank you, thank you!  I am so  proud of you and I know you will serve your own students with the same great care and attention that you have shown to mine.  They'll be lucky to have you, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck. I am surely going to miss you!

Oh I want to thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you
Thank you