Monday, October 31, 2011

My first ever Haiku


Too fast for comfort
are the autumn days this year
Faster they will be

**Thanks to @ChaiJen I learned the mechanics of a Haiku today.

Friday, October 28, 2011

the D it's finest

There was a time in my life that I wanted to be "White." Blond hair, blue eyes, tall and skinny. It started in 2nd grade. Up until then, I was a happy little Mexican girl who loved learning English and loved reading Dick and Jane books. I would constantly write - "I can run. Can you run?" Sure, I didn't speak the language well, but I tried my damnedest. I would speak Spanish words pretending they were English, just like Americans add "-so" to English words to make them sound like it's Spanish.

Well - I transitioned out of bilingual/ESL earlier than most of my classmates. They put me in a mainstream class and I'd say that is when my crisis began. The bilingual students thought of me as a traitor (it was made very clear on field day) and the white kids were probably wondering what I was doing there. I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere.

It got to the point that I told my mom I was no longer speaking Spanish because I was going to be white. She said it was fine with her as long as I understood that I would no longer be able to communicate with her, my father, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, and my favorite cousin in Mexico. So - I kept speaking Spanish.

It wasn't until I got older that I understood it wasn't just the Spanish language I almost gave up, but also my culture.

The culture where family is NUMBER ONE! Where what you feel - you feel it intesely! Where food is an invitation for friendship! Where having family in the same part of Mexico makes you have an instant connection with a complete stranger! Where music is more than JUST stuff you listen to! Where it's not JUST you...but those around you, and if you want to play the selfish game everyone around has no shame in letting you know how ridiculous you are! Where parents give up just about anything if it means their kids have a better opportunity! Where everyone works hard to make sure everyone has what they need and if anything is left over we'll make a party of it! Where gifts mean more than something you give, but you're actually giving a part of your heart!

My culture is BEAUTIFUL! I wouldn't give it up if you paid me a million dollars. I was young, naive, and felt completely out of place.

For the first time ever, this year, I get to see as a bilingual teacher what it was like for me as a bilingual student. The parent support is incredible. All the moms know each other and I'm sure have each other on speed dial. If I needed help tomorrow, I could count on them to come help me because I am their child's teacher. They know what's going on with each others kids and encourage the kids to keep each other accountable and to take care of each other.


But, I'm noticing my students are going through the same crisis I did and I want to make a big poster that says, "BE PROUD! YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO OFFER!!"

For me, today was especially rough. I don't know if my student's caught on but I sure did and I was ready to pounce! We were on a field trip and my class was split into two different groups. My group got to see the sparkly jewels and learned about geology. It was interesting, but not as great as it could've been if we had a more engaging and respectful tour guide.

He was too smart for his own good. My kids even used the word they learned earlier that morning to say: "Ms. Marquez, do you think he's a good example of 'brag'?" My answer was an honest: "Yes."

He began his little speech and began to ask questions in a way even I wasn't sure how to answer. He kept repeating his questions and pointing to different things and making hand gestures. He was looking specifically for the words: FLAT and SMOOTH! He pointed to a piece of wood, so the kids answered: WOOD! And then to a piece of padded velvet and they answered: FLUFFY! He was clearly not meeting them on their level.

His next question was the one that got my fire burning: Who of you were born in America?

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! Really - my students are really bright and know they words FLAT and SMOOTH!

When we got back I had a student tell me he didn't want to be Mexican. I'm not entirely sure what triggered that comment since he wasn't in my group...but he continued. That white people got the better jobs. How they look better so people treat them nicely. How others believe them before they would a Mexican.

So - I told them my story. I told them that the opportunities they have is up to how hard they study and how bad they want it. How being Mexican (or hispanic) isn't a drawback, but a more flavorful life. It means they get to have the BEST of BOTH worlds!

These kids want to be teachers and police officers. I have some who want to be doctors, lawyers, presidents of a banks, and even the President of the United States. Others want to be famous musicians to help fundraise for orphans!

My students have HUGE - I mean...LARGER THAN LIFE dreams! Please. I beg you. Don't have them tripping up on your discrimination.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Cool Feeling

The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur due to the Hispanic Heritage Program all bilingual teachers are highly encouraged to help with. It turned out really well. All the kids were happy and they did great.

What stood out for me was a small quick moment when everyone was rushing to get out.

One of my third grade boys rushes up to me and gives me a HUGE hug. I say, "Hello So & so! It's so great to see you here!" Without hesitation he says, "THAT'S NOT MY NAME!" To give myself time to think I say, "HAHAHA! I know - I'm testing you!..."


"See you're name is CORRECT NAME!"

OMG - THAT'S A COOL FEELING! I don't my student's names out of the classroom context! I'm gonna have to work on that!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Favorite Commercials

I haven't been able to find it...or more like haven't had a chance to look online to find it...BUT there is a commercial that I've quoted for YEARS since hearing it the first time. It's VW commercial advertising their full size spare tires.


It celebrates the fact that your car doesn't have to look gimpy because you had a flat. It is, for some people worried with appearances, a cause for celebration.

This phrase makes me happy!

For example...

I've had "great day in the mornin'" moments lately. Specifically with technology. You know those really amazing and convenient thumb drives and external hard drives? Well - One of them I thought had erased all the pictures I took in Guatemala. You all know those are near and dear to my heart. The other had me thinking I thought lost all my lesson plans! BUT THEN - I realized that they weren't lost... I'm not sure how the "almost lost" happens with these things...

It's not it's like life or death - but it's the thought of the TIME and MEMORIES! Losing both can suck. But DO NOT FEAR!! I have backed these items up TWICE OVER!


Monday, October 3, 2011


When a new year approaches (like in October), I purchase a calendar. I haven't done it yet...because it's usually in later October that I get it. But anyway the point is not that I get a new calendar, but moreso that when I look through it the October of the following year always seems so much further away than it actually is. I've been looking at this years October with so much excitement and yet with slight weariness.

October always seems to be packed in tight. This year will be no exception.

It's already started with a BANG! My friend Valerie married the man of her dreams October 1. I spent the beginning part of the weekend hanging with friends and celebrating Val & Josh. The latter part of the weekend was spent with my aunt and uncle. They are on my top 5 most hospitable people list! :O) It's a serious gifting my aunt has. That I would have a pinch of what she has would be like hitting the jackpot for me.

Anyway - I'm going to make it a point to update this blog with the exciting escapades of this month's weekends!