Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The "Arab awakening"

Since I'm now officially booked to go to Morocco in a few weeks, I've been keeping a very close eye on all the happenings in the middle-east. First Egypt. Then Algeria. Now pretty much everyone.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for the people that are finally getting a decent Governement and all that - but really, you couldn't wait until say... April?

Apparantly Morocco has been having demonstrations for the last few days involving thousands of people, tear gas and rubber bullets. You know, all fun touristy things like that. I'm being sarcastic. Obviously.

My government's foreign affairs website has upped the travel advisory for Morocco to "Exercise high degree of caution" and tells visitors to avoid public gatherings. But yet does not issue any "Official Warning".

All of this essentially leaves me in limbo, with no idea what to do and just a little bit of a fear for my safety.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Teachable Moments [4] - Lesson Planning

Whereas last semester had me busy with essays and reflections on the basics of educational theory and child developement, this semster has me absolutely swamped with lesson and unit plans. I have to create 3 entire Unit Plans from scratch. This means all the assignment outlines, tests, assessments and each individual lesson that belongs in that Unit. All the while keeping in line with the Ministry of Education expectations and requirements. In other words, a crap load of work.

All the work I'm doing now will come in handy later when I can (hopefully) put these lessons and units to actual use, but for now all the work has me very tired.

I really never gave any thought to the amount of work that teachers had to go through. I suppose I always thought someone just gives them the lessons to teach and then they stand in front of a class for 75 minutes and deliver.

I could not have been more wrong.

Creating each individual lesson is very time consuming, and as a new-teacher, quite panic inducing. I implemented my first self-created lesson plan at my placement on tuesday. And I was terrified. Terrified that it would not work the way I planned and I'd be standing there in front of a class for over an hour with nothing worthwhile to do with them. Knowing that I had to do this lesson had me panicked for days before hand.

In the end it seems that my fears were unfounded because the kids actually loved my activity! It was actually a pretty amazing feeling to walk around the class and see them busily working on my activity in their table groups. The best part is that they seemed to actually enjoy it! 

This doesn't mean I'm any less panicked to create and teach my next lesson this coming tuesday. Oh, and because I did such a good job on my lesson, my placement teacher sent me an e-mail last night announcing that she is going to be away the following tuesday (March 1st) and asked me to teach all 3 of her classes that day.

Can you say panic. Good panic. But panic nonetheless.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The problem with cosmetic samples..

..is that they generally do what they're supposed to. They work. This of course is a very good thing for the company's profit margin, and a very bad thing for my bank account.

Below is a list of a few products that I now cannot live without (or so I think anyway) all thanks to a free sample or trial size tester. I was perfectly happy before all of these products came into my life, but now I don't believe my beauty routine would be the same without them. Go figure. It's now gotten to the point that I'm afraid to try samples in the fear that I'll find another expensive product I'm in love with.

Clinique 2 Clarifying Lotion, $25 and up - I've been using it twice a day for about 3 years now. Thank you sample size packet from Galeries Lafayette.

Diorshow Mascara in Blackest-Black, together for about a year now. Thank you "free sample" from Sephora - you've cost me over $50 this year.

Shiseido Foundation Compact. Going steady since summer 2006. This one is more my grandmother's fault and her insistance that I try a "name-brand" read: expensive compact. Problem is, after the initial compact that she purchased, the refills have since been up to me. Well done Shiseido, well done.

All this leads me to today's actual post-topic. While doing some light Sunday-cleaning, I stumbled across this little trinket..

Dior Hydrating Serum. But of course only in a one-time trial size. Actual price: no idea, do not want to know but probably more than I pay for gas in a month

So naturally I had to try it. Of course. And naturally my skin immediately looked amazing. Of course.

Do I intend to buy it? Noooooo. Not unless I win the lottery sometime soon.

What products can you not live without?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Teachable Moments [3] - The Supply Teacher

Since I'm back in full swing, it's high time for another segment of "Teachable Moments" in which I regail you with tales from Teacher's College and placement teaching.

I haven't talked about my new placement yet, and the reason for that is that to be honest - I hate it. Hate is probably a bit harsh, but it just isn't me. This semester I have two placements, one from January until March and the other from March until May. For the first placement I picked "Social Science" as my subject, and was promptly put into 2 "Food and Nutrition" and 1 "Fashion Industry" class. When I chose Social Science, I was envisioning Sociology, Religion or World Issues - not cooking and sewing. The classes themselves are also different - because social science courses are considered to be "life skills", they are open to anyone. In 2 of my classes there is a designated youth worker to handle specific special needs and behavioural issue students. It's definitely a different experience.

Yesterday I turned up at my placement expecting it to be a typical Tuesday. No Such Luck. It turns out that my associate teacher was sick and the office didn't have a supply teacher on hand. Guess who was temporarily put in charge of a Grade 11/12 split Fashion class for the first period? That's right.

Luckily for me, the Grade 11's had an assembly to go to, so the office told me to take the Grade 12's there as well and that the designated supply would find me there. No problem.


The supply teacher barely spoke English. Could not pronounce a single kid's name, did not know how to play a DVD and had no clue how to photocopy.

Enter Miss Ella.

I spent all 3 periods doing her job for her. I took attendance, put in a movie for the Grade 10's to watch and photocopied an assignment for the Grade 12's. It was an interesting day to say the least. It's also quite sad when the students looked at me as the authority figure instead of the supply teacher.

It was definitely a good experience for me, but it's just making me that much more freaked out to have to BE that supply teacher one day. But at least I speak English.

Have a good day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Murphy's Law - The Men edition

..also known as "the ones you'd like to hear from never message you, but the ones you're not sure about don't stop messaging you"

I've met 2 "new guys" in the last 2 weeks. This on its own is actually quite a feat seeing as since ShyBoy and I ended things back in October, it's been pretty quiet around here. Metaphorically speaking. They were both introduced to me by friends, one as a semi "blind-date" and the other completely coincidentally. Both seem like good guys, both have their negatives and both have their positives. I won't go into the back-stories at this time, if anything else develops then perhaps I'll divulge more information.

Nothing is set in stone with either one, they could both (or neither) end up being just friends - and that would be fine too.

My problem?

The one I'm more interested in getting to know is also the one who doesn't seem that eager to get to know me. go figure

Why is it that it always works out that way?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Groundhog and The Blizzard

..kind of sounds like a children's book doesn't it?

Today is Groundhog Day for those of us in North America. According to folklore, if it's cloudy when the groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will be over soon. If it's sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks.

We've been having pretty brutal weather here the last little while, and a major blizzard is swirling all around me as we speak. My friend posted this as her status on Facebook last night, I thought it was so appropriate that I had to share it with all of you:

"Listen you bastard groundhog - if you decide that there's 6 more weeks of this crap, I'm going to come up there and drag you out of your hole by your tail... We will practise NOT seeing your shadow until you get it right"

I think that pretty much sums up the general consensus on the weather these days. The bright side is that today is an official snow day for me! My area is being pelted by between 20-30cm's of snow starting last night and continuing throughout the day today. Converted, that is 8-11 inches of the white stuff. All the schools are closed, Universities included - which is quite rare. I'm quite happy to be spending the day at home, catching up on some homework and maybe watching a movie or two cuddled in bed.

For those of you living anywhere near this massive Blizzard (which they tell me is pretty much from Indiana to Massachusets to Ottawa to New Brunswick) and you do have to go out today - be safe driving!

** Just as an update, apparantly it's now been confirmed that the Groundhog did not see his shadow and that spring is on it's way!