Saturday, February 27, 2010

French Toast

I said when I started this blog that I would not post recipes. I lied. Tonight with the help of my faithful sister, I made French Toast. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures to show you (Ashley), despite suggestions made by Kaci to reenact the event.

I used a great recipe website. The first piece I did wasn't so great. I didn't mix the egg well enough, so there was actual egg bubbling up. The second piece I did was too soggy. It was gross. Then it started getting better. For the third piece, I did not add grease to my pan. I just let whatever was in there almost fry the pan. Being a southerner, I did not realize just what the recipe meant when it said "lightly grease the pan." When they say lightly, they mean just barely. The pan was not even shinning. I cooked the last four and they were fantastic! I put powdered sugar on them. Since I don't have real pictures, I found fake ones. PTL for google images.

Also highlights from being on the committee for the black history program:
  • "My two friends! Can you write the script for the MCs?"
------ Mr. Coleman didn't know our names for the longest time. He referred to me and Erika as his two friends. OH, and we had to write the script for the MCs. Neither of us are very funny. It turned out great though!
  • "I have blonde hair!"
------- An African-American girl yelled this out during practice one day. Then she looked at me and turned her head really quickly. It made me laugh really hard, especially since her hair was red.
---------This is what Erika and I did for the majority of the practices. Especially in the last week or so. It's our pledge job.
  • "Sorry I'm a Diva."
-------- A seventeen year old boy said this to me. It made me laugh.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Excert from Survival in Auschwitz

Last month on of the crematoriums at Birkenau had been blown up. None of us know (and perhaps no one will ever know) exactly how the exploit was carried out: there was talk of the Sonderkommando, the Special Kommando attached to the gas chambers and the ovens, which is itself periodically exterminated, and which is kept scrupulously segregated from the rest of the camp. The fact remains that a few hundred men at Birkenau, helpless and exhausted slaves like ourselves, had found in themselves the strenth to act, to mature the fruits of their hatred.

The man who is to die in front of us today in some way took part in the revolt. They said he had contacts with the rebels of Birkenau, that he carried arms into our camp, that he was plotting a simultaneous mutiny among us. He is to die today before our very eyes: and perhaps the Germans do not understand that this solitary death, this man's death which has been reserved for him, will bring him glory, not infamy.

At the end of the German's speech, which nobody understood, the raucous voice of before again rose up: 'Habt ihr verstanden?' Have you understood?

Who answered 'Jowohl'? Everybody and nobody: it was as if our cursed resignation took body by itself, as if it turned into a collective voice about our heads. But everybody heard the cry of the doomed man, it pierced through the thick barriers of inertia and submissiveness, it struck the living core of man in each of us:

'Kamaraden, ich bin der Letz!'
(Comrades, I am the last one!)

I wish I could say that from the midst of us, an abject flock, a voice rose, a murmur, a sign of assent. But nothing happened. We remained standing, bent and grey, our heads dropped, and we did not uncover our heads until the Germans ordered us to do so. The trapdoor opened, the body wriggled horribly; the band began playing again and we were once more lined up and filed past the quivering body of the dying man.

At the foot of the gallows, the SS watch us pass with indifferent eyes: their work is finished, and well finished. The Russians can come now: there are no longer any strong men among us, the last one is hanging about our heads, and as for the others, a few halters had been enough. The Russians can come now: they will only find us, the slaves, the worn-out, worthy of the unarmed death which awaits us.

To destroy a man is difficult, almost as difficult as to create one: it has not be easy, nor quick, but you Germans have succeeded. Here we are, docile under your gaze; from our side you have nothing more to fear; no acts of violence, no words of defiance, not even a look of judgment.

Alberto and I went back to the hut, and we could not look each other in the face. That man must have been tough, he must have been made of another metal than us if this condition of ours, which has broken us, could not bend him.

Because we also are broken, conquered: even if we know how to adapt ourselves, even if we have finally learnt how to find our food and to resist the fatigue and cold, even if we return home.

We lifted the menaschka on the bunk and divided it, we satisfied the daily ragings of hunger, and we now are oppressed by shame.


My classroom smells like weed. It does almost 3 times a week now. At the beginning of the year, I would run downstairs or call the campus police. At one point I went to talk to the teachers that are downstairs to plead with them to watch the stairwell. Today, I sat in class. The students don't complain anymore. It doesn't give me a headache as quickly as it used to. It has become a part of the routine.

This morning I was talking about the Black History program with my mentor, Mrs. Smith. She was saying we needed to get the paperchase (a dance started by this upstanding citizen named EP) out of the program and replace the ending with something more historical than people dancing. The question at the end is how can you help Blacks achieve greatness? What is your role? And before the students would dance and one side would look thug and the other side would be lawyers/doctors that are flashing money.

For a long time I have been a supporter of W.E.B. DuBois' theory (not the man) about how African Americans can advance. He basically says that they need to have higher education and the Top Ten percent (elite) of the AA community needs to reach down and pull their brothers and sisters up. However, education does not always mean money. This is a hard thing to swallow. Realizing just because I have a masters, I may not ever make 6 figures. Watching this dance mentioned before it broke my heart. There is a huge disconnect between those who have and those who do not. The gap is widening. It was the first time I thought maybe Booker T. Washington's (BTW) theory was more practical than DuBois.

I hope you enjoyed some of the black history in the last week of February. It's good stuff.

Happy Birthday DuBois.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Here is the time for some confessions:

My name is Christian ______ (this is still the internet) and I am a(n)....

1. Clove addict: I haven't smoked a clove cigarette since Poppy's birthday in November. Dr. Rosenburgh was talking to us in Seminar Friday and asked where we were when Obama was elected president.

Where was I? Klancey's apartment smoking a clove cigarette with Amy drinking coke and rum.

Sitting in class I thought "I wonder where they sell cloves in Memphis." No worries. I will never actually smoke one again, because I realize even after it being a year I still crave it.

*Side note: They make my mouth numb. I'm even allergic to them and still want them.

2. Restless: I never realized just how restless I am until I have been stuck for an entire year in the same city. It's hard for me. The other night I had a break down after talking with my Colorado friends. Sometimes Memphis is too hard on me. The tensions in the city and the closeness to the family is exhausting. But it's my city. I am called to Memphis, and that is why I will probably never leave.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Today Mrs. Smith went over 4 slides. It took most of the period. I sat at a desk and read.

The book is Survival in Aushwitz by Primo Levi. He was in Aushwitz (the most famous and brutal concentration camp). Because he was a chemist, they had him conduct some of the experiments. When he was captured he yelled out "Please don't kill me I am an Italian Jew," thinking that the new Facist regime was mainly interested in killing communists (he was one of those too). He actually was at Aushwitz when the Allies came and rescued them. He has written several books about his experiences. It's a hard read, but overall very good. I highly recommend it. It's at a higher reading level than other holocaust books I have read.

Other news... The Afghans have taken up Soviet war practices.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The clock ticks

From Mrs. Smith's desk I can hear the clock tick the minutes away. I want to be asleep (aka watching Lost).

The school has blocked most of the websites that can be vital to Lesson Planning. Oh well...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What a week...

Monday: Snow Day

Tuesday: School with no mentor. Ellie's Birthday!

Wednesday: Flu (sleep all day)

Thursday: Flu worsens (sleep most of day)

Friday: Flu gets better (sleep all day)

Saturday: No energy... watch half of season 1 of Lost

Sunday: Got dressed (it was a chore) and thought about church. Parents called and asked if they could take me to lunch and get the truck. Went to lunch with the parents instead of church (it's the most I've ate since Tuesday). Watching the second half of season 1 of Lost.

Hopefully better tidings next week. Until then I'll be watching...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


MTR did a blog for an event that is happening over Spring Break

check it out!

New Orleans

We went to New Orleans for a retreat. We learned more "best practices" for the classroom and got to visit two charter schools. Here are some highlights from the trip:

New Orleans College Prep (Middle School):
-- 150 students reading quietly while eating breakfast in the morning.
-- "Sweat the Small Stuff"
-- 100% and if not, do it again.

Akili (K-2):
-- "Not complicated, but hard"
-- "When doing gap closing education every second counts."
-- "Effective Teachers have to have a complete and total belief that all kids can learn"

One of the bulletin boards at Akili was a worksheet the kids did. It said I have a dream. My dreams is.... I can help my dream come true by..... Here are some of the responses:
--- I have a dream. My dream is "I want everybody to share" I can help my dream come true by "talking to them."
--- I have a dream. My dream is "My dream in my family never lose their job." I can help my dream come true by "being the best student."
--- I have a dream. My dream is "to be mayor." I can help my dream come true by "get an educason"
--- I have a dream. My dream is "in my dream I want no betty shooting." I can help my dream come true by "taking the guns away from mens."

The last one got me. It inspired me to share these with you. Both of these schools are providing their kids with the best education. They firmly believe that every kid goes to college. It's up to the kids and their mamas to decide if they are going to go, but they will have the opportunity by golly.

It was at Akili I saw 2nd grades doing collaborative work. They were fully engaged in the writing process and were having their stories peer reviewed. I have a 12th grader that can hardly read. Memphis needs people like those at Akili.