Monthly Archives: January 2013

1/30’s Discussion Topic

Hi Everyone,

If you’ve read my post about the ridiculous debate on teaching not being a career, you know how passionate I am about this topic.  With that being said, I’m wondering if any of you (educators or not) have encountered or heard ridiculous comments or assumptions about teachers.  What did you say?  Or were you like me- silent and now wishing that you could jump back to that point in time and really say what you meant?  If so, what would you say (with professionalism and respect of course)?  And for the educators, is this something that you deal with all the time?  Tell me what you think!

I Want to Hear From You!

Dear Readers,

I thought about making today’s post about education versus experience, but I decided that there is something else I want to talk about first.  I want to discuss with you on why I am writing this blog.  I have already explained it briefly in my first post, but I would like to add a little more to it.  A lot of my posts are and will be about education and some aspects of life that need to be changed or people seem to ignore.  What I hope to do is to spark conversation and ignite inspiration and awareness in you.

With that being, I want to hear from you!  I am seriously not writing for myself (although it feels good to get it out), and there is no point in me continuing my writing if I get no response.  Sure, I get the occasional “like”, but I want to interact with my readers!  I want to hear your thoughts, your experiences, your frustrations.  I want you to ask me questions and give me suggestions on new topics.  I want you to share these writings with  educators and those whom you feel could relate or have a lot to say about a post.  Just like I want to give you inspiration, I want you to give me inspiration as well.  With that being said, I invite you to take a look at my previous posts and speak.  You have a voice.  Please let me hear it.

Peace and Love

In Honor Of

Dear Readers,

I sometimes get the feeling that we as a society are afraid feel and let others see our emotion and compassion.  And sometimes we can just be flat out cold.  I’m sure some of you have seen the show “What Would You Do?,” well this is a story from a first hand experience.  I used to live in New York City (NYC), and as most know, NYC has thousands of homeless on the streets and in the subway trains.  Sometimes that person is not homeless, but a severely disabled or scarred member of society that needs some change for surgery or what not.  More often than not, these people are asking for money and food.  As a child, you learn to adapt to your surroundings and you observe and blend into what is “normal.”  Therefore as a child, I thought it was completely normal to ignore a person in need and pretend that they are not literally standing in front of you asking for help.

I moved away from the city when I was ten, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I rode the subways and walked the streets of NYC again (I was visiting family).  I cannot describe the immense pain and heartache I felt.  The majority of that emotion was not only because the person was disabled or homeless.  It was because 1) That person was being ignored by a train full of people or by hundreds of passerby and 2) I could not imagine how that person themselves felt to hear complete silence or no movement of help towards them when they ask for it (not say that there weren’t some noble souls).  Whenever I could, I gave to those on the subway some money and offered a prayer of blessing to those on the street and to those I did not have cash for.  Like most, I sometimes wonder if they would actually use that money for good, and you know what I think to myself?  I say “it’s on them.”  It’s on their soul if they decide to take advantage of person when he/she is doing something that they see right.  I say to myself “don’t worry what others think, or what that person may do with the money.  You’re doing what you think and feel is right.”  I sometimes feel like we use the “they’ll use it for alcohol” excuse because we are afraid to show compassion for fear of being looked at as weak or foolish.  If something is the right thing to do and it feels good, why not do it?

What is ironic about this topic is that emotion is treated completely differently when it comes to the media.  Although it is their job to tell the news (and stretch the truth), the media tends to focus much too much on drama, and it is at times ridiculous and even offense.  I will never forget when Steve Irwin died and the media asked his beautiful daughter, Bindi what she thought Steve would be saying to her at that time.  Are you kidding?  Can you get any more invasive that?  And with a child?  Bindi smartly responded (and I’m sure her mother wisely prepared her for this intrusion) that the answer to that question was private.  When the media was interviewing survivors after the 2011 tsunami in Japan some of the first words that they used to describe a man was “he looked like he’s been crying for days.”  Then there was the infamous question of “I know it’s hard on you, but can you describe how you’re feeling right now?”  In tragedies of the past and tragedies of today this stupid question has never failed to be asked.  We as viewers see the damage, destruction and the same horrific and saddened faces of people who have suffered because the media shows them over and over.  We do not need to know how they feel because we can see it.

Good deeds of course happen everyday, and sometimes the media does capture it.  I’m sure that most have heard the story about a cop buying and giving boots to a homeless man.  Although it is great to hear good news often, I sometimes wonder why this has to be news in general.  Then I remember my past experiences and realize that it is quite rare to see something like this happen.  This is a good thing, and yet it is a reminder of something sad.  With that being said, good deeds should be done in the shadows (when it can be helped of course).  And whether we feel brave enough to do it in the open or do it when no one is looking, we can sometimes feel helpless, which can make us not help at all.  We can feel helpless because we may feel like we are not able to effectively reach those in need whether they are near or far away (so we can therefore feel like our help has no impact), or because we simply don’t carry cash to give to those in need (I rarely carry cash).  To that I say “in honor of.”  What I mean is, if you feel like you cannot help someone for whatever reason, do something in honor of them.  For example, you can donate clothes in honor of those in natural disasters who lost everything.  You can donate blood in honor of those who lost their lives.  “In honor of” can also simply be giving someone a thought or prayer of hope and well-being.  Even if you have the money in your pocket to give to those in need, just giving them a simple blessing from the heart is doing something.  Do Something.  I promise it will make you feel good and perhaps make you a little happier.

I hope today’s post has reached you.  Let it light a flame inside of you.

Peace and Love

To Be “Educated” in Society

Dear Readers,                                  

What do you think it means to be “educated”? How would you visualize an “educated” individual? Over the years I have pondered these questions, and although I have my own answer for them, I want to first talk about how I think the majority of society feels about it. Let’s begin with common sense. Now even though this phrase has the word “common” init, it is unfortunately not very common in today’s society to have it. The first and only time that I went to a gun range my uncle told me a story about a doctor that had visited the range and was having issues shooting his pistol. For some reason the pistol would not fire, and what does this highly educated person do to fix the issue? He kneels down and starts banging the gun as hard as he could on the cement ground. Yes, the gun fired off. No, no one was hurt. I don’t believe that there is any need for me to analyze this situation, yes?

Another story that I want to share goes way back when I worked at a retail pharmacy. I was talking to my manager while another associate was ringing out the customers. Like most retail stores, associates are to call for backup if there are more than three customers in line. So as I’m talking to my manager, I’m keeping an eye on my co-worker’s line. So, as I’m talking to her I head a man mumble “get the f- off the phone” and then I head “what did you say?.” I turned and in my co-worker’s line were two men. One man in a business suit was on his phone, and another in dirty jeans, a t-shirt and old work boots (let’s call him the construction worker). It was after five in the afternoon, so I obviously assumed that both just off of work. “Get off the phone when you’re at the register” said the construction worker to the business man. Now of course the business man got hostile because 1) he was being called out in public (therefore, his manhood was being challenged) 2) This is just me, but I felt like he was also embarrassed because he knew that he was in the wrong and 3) He was being called out by someone that most of society deems “lower” than him (not to mention that the construction worker was also much shorter). So then the business man physically threatened the construction worker and so the construction worker invited him to step outside. As this is going on the store is of course quiet as everyone watches the spectacle. As for me, I felt a mix of emotions. I felt pride and respect for the construction worker. I also felt some fear because looking at my manager, my co-worker and at myself, if these men were to fight right in front of us, I would have been the one to break it up. So I was seriously standing there trying to get pumped up, and was thinking of something to calm them down like ” C’mon gentlemen. You’re talking about respect, and you’re about fight in front of a bunch of women?” But I thought that saying that would give them a definite reason to take it to the parking lot. What’s interesting about this scenario is that with all this going on, the business man was still trying to hold his conversation on the phone.

The common sense in this situation pertains to respect. When checking out in a retail store you’re interacting with someone, and the person is hopefully interacting with you. The job is not that great, but it’s a job nonetheless, and that person at least deserves your attention, a “hello” and a look in eye. If not for them, this is respect and honor for yourself. We are no better than those around us no matter what they do for a living.

Going back to doctors, I’m sure many of you have noticed drug commercials that talk about side effects that are almost longer than the pitch for the drug itself. Why? Why would someone take a drug that would probably give them more problems than what they started out with (which would then probably lead the patient to taking more drugs to fix those issues)? Is that drug worth it if your eyes or skin turned yellow? Really? All because a doctor tells you that you should take it? Since when is a doctor’s word absolute truth and the best judgment? Since when did we stop thinking for ourselves and stop using our God-given brains and common sense? We are smarter than we believe ourselves to be. Please note: I’m not saying that it’s foolish to take prescriptions, and i’m not bashing anyone that does. What I am saying: It’s okay to question. It’s okay to think.

I will talk about what it means to be educated frequently so this will not be my last post on it. But before I leave you for today, I have one more story to share. This story also took place in college. I was taking an English course on plays and stories from the Renaissance era, and one day the class was having a discussion about what the peasants of England thought of a certain play that we were reading at the time. The class was silent when the question was asked, then after a minute a young woman to my left said “well, I think that those who aren’t educated wouldn’t have anything important to say anyway.” Pause. Okay, you know when someone says something so stupid that you can’t even comprehend it? In your mind you’re questioning if you really heard what you think you heard. Now, for me I initially did not comprehend what she said because I foolishly thought that there was no way that a college-educated person such as herself would say something so stupid, so ignorant. The professor understood her comment perfectly and said “whoa, does anyone have something to say to that? That is a pretty bold statement.” I didn’t raise my hand because I was thinking “what? She didn’t say anything wrong. There’s no way she said what I thought she said.” If I had initially understood this girl’s statement there is nothing that would have stopped me from jumping at her throat (through my words of course). Now, no one responded to the professor’s request so she spoke herself, and it was only then that the stupidity of the girl’s statement was confirmed. In a nutshell the professor said that she knows many people who are not educated by society’s standards that are much smarter than most without a degree. Yes, I could not agree more. It is my friends and those closet to me that have shown me the most how meaningless a piece of paper can be, because they are the smartest, kindness and most honorable people I have ever known. And if that piece of paper was so important, why are graduates having a difficult time finding work (that discussion will be continued another time)?

I know that many of you out there can relate to today’s post. I write for you. For those of you that may not agree with me, I write for you as well, and I hope that I have shed light on a different perspective of life and education. Thanks for reading.

Peace and Love

Teaching Is Not a Career! What?!

  I can’t believe that this was actually a topic of conversation. Actually, it was the topic of a debate when I was either a freshman or sophomore in college. I was taking an introductory course to teaching and that day’s activity was to have a mock debate: “Is teaching a career or a job?.” Thank God I was on the pro-career side, because it made no sense to be on the other. I am not a teacher and actually did not have no intention of being one (I took the class for interest), but to say that it was not a career was insulting, even to a college student. I don’t really remember all of the debate points that were made, but I remember saying something pertaining to the fact that the all prestigious and powerful people in the world were taught by teachers. As a rebuttal, someone said “well, teachers get summers off and half days, snow days, etc.” Yes, they do, but that’s part of their job is it not? If people have a problem with it, then why don’t we send our kids to school with no summer break, no winter break or no spring break?

What I remember most about that debate was standing up and making a comparison to Japan in that the students refer to their teachers as “sensei” which can be translated as “master” and that they are treated with great honor and respect. I ended my point by saying that how can someone be treated and referred to as such if their position were not important. As a counterargument (by a girl that I had been battling back and forth) it was said that “this is America, not Japan” and that we do things our way, not based off of other people. I had no response. I really didn’t know what to say. It sounded right, but deep down I felt that it really wasn’t. She smirked in victory.

If it were ever possible for humans to jump back to a period in the past, this would be one of the moments that I would revisit and this is what I would say:

“Are you SERIOUS?! Your comment could not sound any more ignorant, and that is why other countries think Americans are stupid. No, this is not Japan. However, isn’t America always going on about how we’re such a diverse nation, how we’re a melting pot of different cultures? This isn’t Mexico, but don’t you eat tacos? Don’t we have countless numbers of hispanic restaurants? Don’t we teach Spanish in schools? This isn’t China, but don’t we have Chinese restaurants and teach Mandarin? Isn’t the very language we speak an infusion of different languages? Wasn’t it derived from other languages of different parts of the world? What in the hell are you talking about? No, this is not Japan, because if it were teachers would be so much more respected, and America’s placement standings in math and science would be much higher. Oh no, this is not Japan, so why don’t we do ourselves a favor and learn from them, shall we?” Whew! That felt good.

Teachers are not just teachers, they’re also babysitters. Whether they are teaching Kindergarten or seniors, they are constantly babysitting misbehaved kids-children whose parents don’t discipline them or aren’t in their life, kids who are completely different when they’re away from home, etc. Teachers are also social workers. They have to pay attention and report any signs of abuse, and a lot of the time teachers are who troubled kids turn to when they have no one else. I’m not saying that they’re perfect or that they should be. I am also not saying that every teacher out there is great, because trust me, I have had some bad ones. I’m saying that they deserve so much more respect (and pay) for what they do, especially the ones that love, I mean truly love their job. How can one say that a teacher who has retried after working for forty years in the industry did not have a career? This profession is truly one of great honor, and you know what? I love my teachers. Why? Because they worked to improve my life and make me a smarter person. Thank you to all the teachers and educators out there.

Peace and Love

An Author’s Blog…Well, Not Yet

Hello Everyone,

What can I say, but thank you for reading. This is my first time blogging, and actually it’s kind of my first time in the social world. You see, I don’t have a Facebook, never had a myspace and I hate twitter-I might talk about this some time down the road. My reason for doing this primarily started out as a desire to promote my books. I did some research, and it was said that besides being tuned in to several social networks, having a blog is the next best step to promoting one’s book. I have yet to release the books (I hope to do so this year), so I am not an author…technically. Yet, as I came up with more and more ideas for this blog, I decided that it would be based around the topics and general themes of my books. The more I brainstormed, the more I realized that there are also plenty of things that I want to say and talk about that will not be a part of my books. I’m currently writing a novel and a memoir, and although I want to reach out and inspire my audience with these books, I can do the same as well as establish a relationship and trust with my audience by doing this blog.

The blog’s title of “Hope, Honor and Happiness” are based on three fundamentals that are really important to me. If I ever wanted to get a tattoo, those words would be in Kanji down my back. These themes all stem from my firm belief in God. Without Him, hope and honor and happiness would not exist in my life, and I would have no way of achieving them without Him. Now, with that being said I am not here to preach to you, and I am not here to judge anyone who is not a Christian. That is not my place. I’m here to express myself through my writing and spark flames of inspiration and interest in my readers. Although I will mention God often, I do it to give credit where it is due.

“Hope, Honor and Happiness” will be a blog that discusses the things in life make us feel hopeless, vulnerable, frustrated, depressed and so much more. My primary focus will be on education, but I also want to talk about certain things about life that no one seems to pay attention to. My goal is to discuss these topics and how we can find the hope, honor and happiness within them. I am basing my discussions on my life and situations of those around me. So of course you may have a completely different outtake based on your own life and/or the people you know (I would love to read those stories). So please remember that these writings are my opinions and thoughts. I will also do my best to research certain things when necessary, yet I am pretty sure that I will be wrong here and here. Feel free to correct me.

I look forward to being an outlet for you to turn for inspiration, humor and just someone that you feel you can relate to and learn from. In this dark and confusing world I want this place to be a source for your hope, honor and happiness (I know, I just had to tie it back to title haha!).

Peace and Love

www.hypersmash.com

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