28 April 2009
"The ICF have launched a new online competition. They are asking people to vote for THEIR choice for ICF’s Intelligent Community of the Year. Although this vote will not directly count when they choose the Intelligent Community of the Year, it will gauge the community’s engagement in this process. Our goal is to blow every other community out of the water and I know Monctonians will deliver! I am asking for your help in spreading the word and getting people to Vote, Vote, Vote! Right now, a nameless competitor is leading the tally by a margin but we are close behind!"
The link to the voting site is: http://www.intelligentcommunity.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=Top7_2009&category=Events
THANK YOU ALL FOR VOTING FOR MONCTON!
24 April 2009
I ... am a teacher. That's not a suit I put on in the morning and take off at 5 pm. Wherever I go, whatever I do, that's who I am. Teaching is more than a job - it's a lifestyle; an attitude and a personality trait. I am a teacher ALL the time and I can't take it off any easier than I can remove my sardonic sense of humour or my love of chocolate.
But it's more than that, too. It's an awareness that I am, at all times, a role model not only to my students, but to the community in which I live and teach. When I leave my home to go grocery shopping or run errands, I am conscious of the fact that I may see a student or a parent in my travels. If I enter a bar or restaurant, a former student may be there to witness my behaviour. On one memorable occasion, I went into an "adult specialty shop" and there, sitting behind the cash register, was one of my students. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed. (She had a hard time meeting my eyes the following week at school until I took her aside and told her that I understood that it was a job and she had no reason for concern.) I've had former students ask me out on dates - that just felt WRONG and creeped me out SEVERELY!
I don't understand how teachers can betray that implicit trust in their roles by acting in an inappropriate manner towards their students. Although a fairly rare occurrence, it happens and it's a shock and scandal each and every time. However, on the flip side of the same coin, I don't understand how a student can UNJUSTLY accuse a teacher of an inappropriate act and be protected from his or her actions by benefit of age while the teacher's name is dragged through the mud by the media, regardless of the fact that the accusations are unfounded and blatantly false.
In all the media hype and public outrage, we seem to forget that the majority of teachers are respectable, conscientious and self-disciplined enough to resist temptation. They have chosen their career path for the RIGHT reasons. For certain, teaching isn't a job that will lead a person to great riches, fame or glory. So why do most teachers teach? Not because it's an easy job - in fact, it's SECOND in the top five most stressful jobs - along with law enforcement, firefighters, medical workers and social workers - while being the lowest paid and least protected. So why on earth would anyone in their right mind become a teacher? Because it makes a difference. It may be the MOST important job (outside the home) in the world and, if executed with competence and compassion, along with adequate and responsible parenting, it certainly has an infinite amount of influence.
Two weeks ago, a colleague of mine was accused of uttering racial slurs against one of her students. Knowing what I do about this woman, it is inconceivable that anyone could even entertain the concept that she could be in the least bigoted. She is married to a wonderful man from the Dominican Republic. Five years ago, they adopted three Inuit siblings with FAS/FAE. Her sister is a paraplegic with spina bifida. The idea that she would use the "n" term when referring to one of her black students is beyond absurd. However, the parents of this student contacted the RCMP and the media before the school was given the opportunity to investigate the accusation and her name was smeared all over the local media before it was established that the student was "paying her back" for failing him in her course.
Supposedly, the "story" is to be allowed to die a silent death, but the damage to my colleague's name is done. People will not remember that the accusations were false - they will only remember that she was accused. She has already encountered the lack of respect or the wariness that enters people's expressions when she is present. The newspaper printed a retraction in a 5-line article on the 7th page of the third section of Wednesday's paper. Yet the original article was a full column on the front page of the Local News section.
The student who made the false accusation has not apologized for his actions, nor have his parents. Because he is a minor, his name cannot, by law, be mentioned in the media. My colleague has been advised that she can and should pursue legal action against the parents, but the student cannot be targeted in any way because he is only 13 and "not legally responsible for his actions". Worse, we teach at a small school. It is entirely feasible that she could be faced with teaching this student in one of her courses again in the future. My colleague has confessed to me that she is seriously considering leaving the profession which would be a great loss, as she is a talented and caring pedagogue.
Where did we go wrong? What teaches a child that it's okay to lie and hurt someone just to get personal satisfaction? Why didn't this child just do his work for class and pass the subject on his own merit? Why did the parents go to the media and the RCMP without asking questions of the school first? And most importantly, WHY DOES THIS SORT OF THING KEEP HAPPENING? It seems as though there's a whole hierarchy of irresponsible behaviour that has to be addressed in this particular situation, and made accountable. What do you think?
23 April 2009
22 April 2009
20 April 2009
The name of the game is to list the 10 best opening lines of song lyrics. This took me a while because there are so many truly inspired lyrics that it was difficult to narrow the field to only 10.
In the spirit of fun, I've listed the opening lines and then further down the page, I named the song and the artist responsible. How many can you get without peeking?
Here we go - 10 of the best opening lines of song lyrics, in no particular order, according to the gospel of Coco:
10. "Hey Mr. President, all you congressmen, too: you got me frustrated and I don't know what to do cuz I'm trying to make a living and I can't save a cent, it takes all of my money just to eat and pay my rent."
9. "How can you stand the silence that pervades when we all cry; how can you watch the violence that erupts before your eyes?"
8. "Heaven can wait and a band of angels wrapped up in my heart will take me through the lonely night, through the cold of the day."
7. "Really don't mind if you sit this one out, my words but a whisper - your deafness a SHOUT."
6. "We skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels 'cross the floor."
5. "And the men who hold high places must be the ones who start to mold a new reality closer to the heart."
4. "Old pirates, yes, they rob I, sold I to the merchant ships minutes after they took I from the bottomless pit."
3. "Is it getting better or do you feel the same, will it make it easier on you now you've got someone to blame?"
2. "If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do is to save every day till eternity passes away just to spend them with you." (for my dear One - miss you always)
1. "There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed."
And here are the song titles and artists:
10. "Inflation Blues" - Louis Jordan
9. "Wonderful Remark" - Van Morrison (you KNEW I'd include at least one, right?)
8. "Heaven Can Wait" - Meat Loaf
7. "Thick As A Brick" - Jethro Tull
6. " Whiter Shade of Pale" - Procol Harum
5. "Closer To The Heart" - Rush
4. "Redemption Song" - Bob Marley and the Wailers
3. "One" - U2
2. "Time In A Bottle" - Jim Croce
1. "In My Life" - The Beatles
Dang, I could have gone on for hours. These are not just great first lines, but incredibly POWERFUL songs, overall. This was a lot of fun - thank you for the idea, Vinny.
Now, I can't resist sharing one of these amazing songs ...
19 April 2009
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?" He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."
To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest... What do you make?"
Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make?"
(She paused for a second, then began...)
"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like a Medal of Honour.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
You want to know what I make?"
(She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.)
''I make kids wonder...
I make them question...
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write... Keyboarding isn't everything.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math.
They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand and sing O Canada every morning, because we live in this great country called Canada.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life."
(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.) "Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant.............
You want to know what I make?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make Mr. CEO?"
His jaw dropped, he went silent.
18 April 2009
easily offended by sexual labels, sick humour, foul language or lewdness
rabidly feminist (or a reactionary of ANY kind, really)
a drunken male (or otherwise intellectually challenged)
pre-menstrual (or otherwise hormonally-imbalanced)
Okay, here's the video (ducks and runs for cover):
13 April 2009
~ Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
~ A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
~ Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
~ Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
~ Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
~ Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
~ It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
~ You cannot unsay a cruel word.
~ Every path has a few puddles.
~ When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
~ The best sermons are lived, not preached.
~ Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
~ Don't judge folks by their relatives.
~ Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
~ Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
~ Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
~ If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
~ Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
~ The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
~ Always drink upstream from the herd.
~ Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
~ Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
~ If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
(This song has embedding disabled for copyright reasons, but it fits the post and I wanted it here for you. Note of interest: check out the famous actors accompanying the singer in the video. Interesting ...)
Make it a great week, everyone! Blessings upon you.
12 April 2009
10 April 2009
09 April 2009
3. The romance of the lighthouse does not escape us here, even though they are a common sight. There are five functioning lighthouses within a few miles of one another along the Bay of Fundy. This is my favorite, at Cape Enrage, about 30 minutes from my home. This one is particularly interesting, as it was the last manned lighthouse in Canada and is still in full use today. I can remember my grandparents bringing me here to visit the keeper when I was perhaps 4 or 5 years old.
6. Of course, outdoor activities might not always be an option. If you're in the mood for a little culture, you could always attend a performance of the local ballet troupe, opera company, or perhaps one of the local theatre groups here at the Capitol Theatre. This place is a real little gem. Some time ago, it had been converted to a movie theatre (I remember going to movies there), but in 1991, it was purchased by the City of Moncton with the intention of recreating it as a live theatre venue. Restoration began in February 1992. An Ontario firm, led by David and Patti Hannivan, was hired to guide the renovations, but on their first visit to the theatre, they probed beneath four coats of paint and discovered evidence of extensive stenciling, gold leafing, and elaborate murals. Indications were that the Capitol had originally been decorated in the style of the Pantages and other Vaudeville theatres. This find influenced the decision to restore the Capitol to its original look of 1922, making it one of only eight such theatres in Canada.
7. Almost 35% of New Brunswick's population is French-speaking, of Acadian (Cajun) descent. Evidence of the culture is everywhere, such as here, in Le Pays de la Sagouine, just outside Moncton. It's a fascinating look into another world. I attended the Grand Opening in 1992, and was treated to a performance of "La Sagouine" - a character play written by premier Acadian authoress Antonine Maillet and performed by the incomparable Viola Leger (front row, 2nd from the left).
8. Festivals are a way of life here. There's at least one every month. From the Lobster Festival in June, to the Wine and Cheese Festival in November, we prove that we know how to make the most of our assets. This concert at the Moncton City Market is part of a summer festival series, which is presented every weekend throughout the summer months.
9. Being a small city hasn't cramped our style at all, since we are also the geographic center of the Atlantic Provinces. Here, the Rolling Stones perform to the largest crowd (85,000) on their 2006 World Tour, at Moncton's open-air concert venue. This is a natural amphitheatre and there are no bad seats. I'm praying that U2 will recognize the charms of coming here to perform ... soon! (note: Last year, the Eagles performed here and this year, we will be privileged to host AC/DC.)
10. Then there are the sports ... name it, we have it. Hockey, baseball, golf ... the list is endless and the opportunities are enormous. This week, we are hosting the World Curling Championships, with teams from all over the world in attendance. One of my former students was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens two years ago. Our local teams are consistently ranked in the top three in Canada. The facilities are second to none, and they just keep getting better.
11. The award-winning Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton is Atlantic Canada's largest zoo. It was twice the recipient of the Tom Baines Award - the highest achievement in the Canadian Zoo industry. The Magnetic Hill Zoo was in the running for this award with the Biodome of Montreal and the Canadian Wilds exhibit of the Calgary Zoo. There are over 400 exotic and indigenous animals, and 90 different species.
12. Fort Beausejour is a star-shaped fort on the outskirts of Moncton, similar in construction and from the same era as the Citadel at Halifax, but not as completely excavated. It was one of the first strongholds taken by the English prior to "Le Grand Derangement" in June 1755. The fort was renamed Fort Cumberland. A generation later, in 1776 during the early stages of the American Revolution, dozens of disgruntled English-speaking inhabitants of the Chignecto region and beyond, along with smaller numbers of Acadians, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Mi'kmaq, joined a group of American patriots to attack Fort Cumberland. The British soldiers successfully defended the fort, dispersing the rebels and capturing many of them. Reinforced for the War of 1812, it was abandoned in 1835 and declared a national historic site in 1926.
13. The Confederation Bridge, located about 60 kms from my doorstep, joins the eastern Canadian provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The curved, 12.9 kilometre (8 mile) long bridge is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water, and a decade after its construction, it endures as one of Canada’s top engineering achievements of the 20th century. Because of its phenomenal length, the bridge uses a multi-span concrete box girder structure. Engineers designed the bridge with graceful curves to ensure drivers remain attentive, and to reduce the potential for accidents that experts believe happen more often on straight highways or bridges. The highest curve at the Navigation Span reaches 60 metres above water, allowing large sea vessels, including some cruise ships, to navigate under the bridge between its piers, which stand 250 metres apart.
06 April 2009
1. Do you like blue cheese?
no thanks - I already had mold for breakfast, on my bread.
2. Have you ever smoked?
uh ... yes ...?
3. Do you own a gun?
No, I'm a Canadian (lol)
4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite?
My mom used to buy red and orange or blue and purple and mix them because she never thought the flavour was strong enough with just one package so, as a result, Koolaid has never been a beverage that I could stomach. Same with Jello ...
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Yeah, because for the past couple of years, there have been so many bad things happen, now I kind of expect the bad news.
6. What do you think of hot dogs?
They remind me of penises. (what kind of question was that, anyway?)
7. Favorite Christmas movie?
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the cartoon with Boris Karloff)
Meet Me In St. Louis (Judy Garland) but I only watch the song ...
8. Favorite thing to drink in the morning?
chocolate syrup with a dash of skim milk
9. Can you do push ups?
I own 3 push-ups - a lacy black one, a floral print and a red and black satin one.
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
Roran's frat ring (can't joke about that)
11 What is your favorite hobby?
blogging, of course :P
12. Do you have A.D.D.?
I was tested and ... wait, is that Beethoven's Fifth I hear? Oh look! A puppy! Awwww isn't that ... I'm hungry - do you think the cafeteria is ... I wonder where I put my glasses ... uh ... what?
13. What's one trait you hate about yourself?
overweight, indecisiveness and low self-esteem - oops, that's two, isn't it ... okay, math skills aren't what they should be
14. Middle name?
Vernon, but I tell everyone Rose, just to confuse them. Wait! ... switch that ...
15. Best Birthday?
sweet 16 - We had a co-ed pool party and I got my nose buttered and my bathing suit fell off. (If you have to ask why that made it a great birthday, you have no imagination ...)
16. Name 3 things you regularly drink:
water, skim milk and a pineapple juice-based beverage
17. Do you have any siblings?
I believe I'm an only child because, although my parents won't admit it, my brother's extra-terrestrial heritage is self-evident.
18. Current "hate it right now"?
Paperwork - that would be my answer at any given time, not just now.
19. Favorite place to be?
I would love to spend more quality time at home in bed. I've been considering investing in a bar fridge to use as a side table to save myself having to go to the kitchen.
20. How did you bring in the New Year last year?
I partied with my best big guy, the B-man, until 9 pm, then we went to bed. Like he says: "Good times ... good times!"
21.Where would you like to go?
Visit my friends from all over the world, just to give each of them a hug and a grope or fondle (depending on gender).
22. Name three people who might complete this:
I know Dana has already done it cos I got it from her, and then there's me (another sure thing) and ... um ...
23.Do you own slippers?
I have red ones that match my housecoat and I have bunny slippers from the Monty Python shop in London, England. They have fangs and mean vicious scowls on their little bunny faces and my dog is terrified of them.
24. What shirt are you wearing?
Dang, I KNEW I should've checked in the mirror this morning ...
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
No, I slip off the bed and hurt myself - extreme sleeping is not for me, thanks.
26. Can you whistle?
If the car is going fast enough and my head is at the right angle, absolutely.
27. Favorite color?
wine, honeydew and brie (anyone else feeling suddenly peckish?)
28. Would you be a pirate?
Not sure - do they have dental insurance?
29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
"Singing In The Rain" is my favorite shower song, complete with dance steps and umbrella.
30.Favorite girl names?
Wait ... Tabitha is old-fashioned, Dana???
I like the names Griselda, Bogdhana and Anaesthesia for a girl
31. Favorite boy names?
I've always been partial to Ichabod, Bartholomew and Cecil for boy's names.
32. What's in your pocket right now?
three pennies, an empty tube of Chapstick and a tissue with a slightly chewed stick of Juicy Fruit wrapped in it. (I wondered what that smell was ...)
33. Last thing to make you laugh?
I don't laugh anymore - it causes wrinkles and I'm aiming for wrinkle-free. I maintain this deadpan expression at all times now. :-
34. What vehicle do you drive?
2003 Toyota Matrix named Forrest (license plate has GMP in it - I made a leap of logic)
35. Worst injury you've ever had?
That's a tough one - broke my neck in a diving accident at age 16; broke my arm, leg, 6 ribs, two fingers and a bunch of teeth when I fell out of a window at age 21; bunch of other stuff, but I think those two may be the worst. (couldn't joke about this one)
36. Do you love where you live?
I like it fine when it's clean but I want to take the B-man's advice and move to a new house when it's not.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
We have a 13" one that gets two channels (CBC and CTV) and one that plays DVDs and videos in the basement on movie night. If you get the impression we don't watch a lot of tv, you'd be absolutely right.
38. Who is your loudest friend?
Juanita - when she laughs, she makes the windows shake in terror ... and
Jenny - she's a co-worker and has this shrill nasally voice that sounds exactly like the fire alarm.
39. Do you have any pets?
A 90-lb malamute mixed-breed lapdog named Daisy who, although she's 13 years old, still firmly believes she's a puppy. Her favorite person to cuddle on top of is the 50-lb B-man.
40. Does someone have a crush on you?
Yes,and he's a sweetheart, but I'm not interested, sadly enough ...
41. Your favorite book(s)
"On the Road with Dutch Mason" - a series of anecdotes from road tours with the Prime Minister of the Blues. I was howling before I got through the first page. I've re-read it several times now.
42. Do you collect anything?
I collect a lot of things - shoes, miniature dolls in ethnic costumes, musical instruments, music books and miniature pianos, angels, Nutcrackers, Santas, bits of paper with phone numbers on them but no name so I have no idea whose number it is, expired rain checks from Canadian Tire, Canadian Tire money, twigs, perfectly round or oval Bay of Fundy rocks, bits of blue or green glass off the beach, photos of local lighthouses and abandoned weathered-grey, decomposing buildings ...
43. Favorite Sports Team?
GO HABS GO! 'nuff said?
44. What song do you want played at your funeral?
"I Did It My Way" (another wtf question ... for me, anyway ... like I'll care at that point??)
45. What are you listening to right now?
A student playing "Lean On Me" on the piano and singing to me, while another student plays some tuneless Godsmack tab on the electric in the backroom and yet another practices the theme from Bach's Fugue in G-minor on the flute. Oh, and my computer is playing a Jethro Tull piece - Teacher - which is one of my favorites ... wish I could hear it ...
So if you want to do it, take it - it's all yours. Let me know, though, so I can read your answers and make fun of you. Ta-ta for now.
04 April 2009
03 April 2009
02 April 2009
I'm a teacher. I love being a teacher and, after 18 years, I still don't want to be anything else. This is crunch time for us here ... Make-or-Break time for the students. Midterms are going well, despite the two day storm delay. My English midterm is tomorrow and the kids didn't seem to be taking it very seriously, but I think I straightened them out today in class. For the most part, they are highly responsive to my soft-spoken approach to teaching, but sometimes, I have to amp it up a little. LOL
I'm also a mommy. Nothing in my life has ever felt as right or as rewarding. Modesty aside, I think I am doing a pretty good job of bringing up my son. Sure, I'm as imperfect in this as I am in anything else, but he seems to be flourishing despite my mistakes ...
The B-man and I have increased his responsibilities at home - he has always had chores, but now that he's 6, we have discussed the possibility of him doing something extra that he hasn't been responsible for, in order to earn a small salary. Rules of this "game" are that he has to "bank" this money and keep an accounting of the sum. When he has enough, he will be permitted to withdraw the money from the bank and purchase a much-coveted item at the toy store. He needs $40 to buy the toy he wants.
He has chosen to walk the dog around the block daily before supper (it's a safe neighbourhood and the dog would put her life on the line to protect him, but I still have been watching them every step of the way - lol), as well as laundering towels and bedding, from gathering, sorting, washing, drying and folding them (I help with the bedding, of course). His "paycheque" is a crisp new $5.00 bill each week that these additional chores are completed. He also gets a daily bonus of $0.25 when he gets the dog walked on schedule.
I went to the Dollar Store and bought a sticker chart and stickers and a "can" bank that requires a can opener to retrieve the money, then to the bank teller to get a stack of brand new $5.00 bills and a roll of quarters. The first 5 days have been a rousing success. He loves registering his bonuses in the account book with the stickers and has colour coded them to be different from the fivers he will be getting. He has even figured out that it's going to take him 7 weeks to earn enough money to get his prize. I wouldn't have given him quite so much money a week, except I didn't want him getting discouraged when it takes so long. A week seems an eternity when you're 6 ...
With most kids, I might wonder if they'd stick it out but I know B-man will, and once he reaches his goal, he will set a more ambitious one. Isn't that a great learning tool? I'm so impressed with myself for thinking of it. :P I'll let you know how it turns out.
Other than that, I'm dating a little, I've joined a kinky crafts group (don't think I won't blog about THIS in the near future!! lol) and I'm back online here. Life is pretty good, if a bit tame. But right now, tame is good.