roommates in vancouver
it’s raining and I lost my umbrella
you make me a hat out of newspapers.
the same newspapers that drove her to tears
the headlines read: “vancouver succumbing to tornado”
and that tornado is actually a metaphor for A.B returning from up north
what will be in our fridge?
i only buy organic
you buy regular
but you end up drinking most of mine
our toothpastes sometimes get mixed up.
we’re not sharing a bathroom
I borrowed your razor once and never told you.
the whole while I was shaving my legs I was thinking how guilty I’d feel if I gave you AIDS that way.
pizza menus are stacked on our table
in case either of us is too lethargic to cook.
I get mad at you for forgetting to send the boxes down the trash chute.
you pretend not to hear me with your headphones covering your ears as you play NHL 2013
I ask you if it’s alright if I bring up a small christmas tree
you, forgetting you were pretending not to hear me, reply: “Yes.”
Scene: A dull study room lit by a florescent tubular fixture. Biblical passages, translated into Korean are on the wall. Alex, a young teacher, brunette, is working one-on-one with an eight-year-old Korean boy. The English lesson is coming to an end, and the teacher is hurriedly writing something down. The boy’s chubby countenance is bossy, and reminiscent of a leader of organized crime, this due largely to his implacable frown which the teacher cannot help but find both humorous and charming.
Student: “Axel, do I have homework?”
Teacher, very solemnly: “Yes. The whole book.”
Student is not deceived nor is he amused. He asks again. Same question.
Teacher: “Ten pages. But, you can choose which pages.”
Student (distressed): “Axel, nooo.”
Teacher: “Ten pages.”
Student, beginning to negotiate: “One page?”
Teacher: “Mm. Eight pages.”
Teacher, humorously, after short pause, followed by a dramatic fake sigh: “Fiiiine. Eleven pages, but no more.”
With Halloween not far away,
And “Nature Club” on this Wednesday,
Mme B wanted to learn and she wanted to play.
Learning about insects is lots of fun
And making snacks for everyone.
Mme B pondered and thought for quite a long time.
Should we learn about pumpkins? Should we learn about slime?
But if we like bugs and if we like food
Then combining the two sounds rather good.
After we play, and after we sing, and after we dance,
We can all snack together on dead flies and ants.
Mme B wondered, if she bit into a spider,
Would the arachnid then wiggle and jiggle inside her?
She had to admit, the idea wasn’t appealing—
To munch on the cobwebs she scraped off of her ceiling.
No, thought Mme B,
The children at nature club will not be keen
To eat any bugs.
(They’re not really that clean).
So Mme B prepared some activities so that we all can relax and
Learn about insects while enjoying sweet snacks.
1. This is a timeline of your career journey. Reflect on your journey and plot the milestones and events you encountered along the way. Include important challenges, disappointments, transformations and so forth.
2006 - Began university at SFU as an undergraduate majoring in Administration Public et Services Communautaires, also presented as the “French Cohort” program. I was not interested in the subject materials and so,
2008 - became a year of discovery for me, as my aversion to public administration crystallized, and with a doctor’s note explaining that I was overstressed and wanting to drop courses, I changed my direction to a double major in English literature and in French, where I happily chose courses relating to literature, film theory, philosophy, etc. The rest of my studies were blissful and I have ideal memories of university. It also became evident to me that I truly give my best effort in courses where I am interested. Only in such courses did I really try hard. I think it is important to reflect on this, because it is not the greatest work ethic attribute of mine, but it’s a work ethic that definitely reveals itself through my students who also admit at times to not trying hard in areas of little interest or perhaps, absence of meaning. 2010 - After a couple years of volunteering in classrooms, tutoring ESL, and helping at after-school daycares, I was accepted into the French module of PDP at SFU. This was a gargantuan moment for me. I can’t even put to words the stress and anxiety I felt waiting for that acceptance.
2010-2011 - This year marked the awkward/awesome/tiring/taxing transition from student to student-teacher to teacher. I am proud of my career.
2011 - My career timeline is laughably short, but this year signifies my first year out of university, in the “real world”, employed under my first contract. I took the first job offered to me, which happened to be in 100 Mile House, with grade 8’s (French and English). I initially thought I was applying for Williams Lake, but then the paperwork said I was to go to 100 Mile House. I guess for me it was neither here nor there.
2012 - Moved back home, to Walnut Grove, employed by Langley School District. I return to my old school, Walnut Grove, as a teacher (quite poetic!)_.
2. Of my most significant career milestones, I believe that the initiative I took to ensure I got accepted into PDP has affected me the most. It took a certain amount of courage to put myself out there and volunteer in classrooms and connect with strangers to volunteer at their schools, and then to meekly request for recommendation letters. I have this debilitating awkwardness when it comes to asking people for recommendation letters. Why should I feel shy if I did a good job? That whole procedure of my PDP applications and completion of PDP was exhausting, but I felt good and proud of myself for the acceptance and completion, and for the evidence that my hard work had actuated my career goal.
3. My top three personal or professional successes:
Firstly, any time I have that “moment” where I’m receiving some kind of validation for being a good teacher is an overwhelmingly emotionally-uplifting experience. For example, when a parent tells me their son hated French but now likes it and enjoys my class — that kind of “moment” puts me in a state of being simultaneously energized and content. Other moments have included a book that students presented to me at the end of my teaching practicum with memories of my classes. One of my 100 Mile House girls ordered pencils with intellectual quotes on them as a Christmas gift, and I cried because they were an amazing class who willfully read through Nathaniel Hawthorne and Plato, and they were my first class ever, and they are unforgettable, and deservedly so. In these experiences, I play the role of a new teacher, often fumbling due to lack of experience, but also professional, enthusiastic about learning, and as kind and open-minded as I can be.
Other successes: On my view, my academic achievements in university are also personal successes. A’s and such received in courses. Compliments from professors on certain essays. With teaching and with essay-writing I see an overlap where I play the role of an inexperienced person attempting to be creative, take risks, and learn from mistakes.
4. What were the major personal or professional challenges you faced? Why were they particularly challenging and what specifically did you do to respond or overcome them?
I found it a challenge to juggle PDP with social life, my weekend ESL teaching job, relying on public transport to get around and the utter lack of time that soon became evident. I responded to this by taking small steps in changing how I organized time and materials. I feel I still have a long way to go before I have a perfected system for staying organized, but I make constant progress every year in that area. Things I have done to help with that are: minimizing paper and maintaining an organized computer calendar and file system; allotting time for housekeeping and (sometimes) batch-cooking; marking immediately before getting backlogged; reserving folders and binders for important artifacts.
Other challenges: My experience with classroom management hasn’t always been ideal. I have had great classes, but I’ve also encountered confrontational students who have been disrespectful, and I also had a bad experience teaching in a room adjacent to a room that demanded soft voices from my side of the classroom because the walls were thin. With my grade 8 language class, that was not easy to accomplish — particularly with one class that had 24 boys and 6 girls. It was, indeed, an embarrassingly noisy class. One day, a person commented that the boys in my class were “mocking” me and “competing for my attention” and this made me feel very hurt. I talked to my department head about the comment, and she observed me teaching, and gave me positive feedback and constructive suggestions which improved my morale. I think that being sensitive is a good quality for teaching, for having compassion — but sometimes it can be a liability, as I am sometimes prone to take criticism to heart. Developing confidence in my teaching and using the tools that come from receiving mentoring, experience, etc, is what I hope will help me respond to future criticism, as it is inevitable. I also hope to gain tools in areas of classroom management. All classes have different dynamics. I don’t want to feel like a failure because I didn’t have the best control mechanisms for one loud class.
5. How different are you today than you were five years ago?
Organization is a skill I have to continuously force myself to keep working at; I don’t feel ‘good’ about being disorganized, so that’s sort of my ‘cross to bear’. I’ve made huge progress in the past 5 years, however. “5 years ago” means when I was 20, living in a dorm, going to bed at 4am because I was (and still somewhat am) a nocturnal creature living in a cruelly diurnal society. My priorities have changed in 5 years, though some of my values have stayed the same. I still value kindness and empathy and good morals. I still hold a love for learning, books, and being in environments where people are learning and enjoying learning. But I embrace the face that I’ve changed. To be evolving, absorbing new experiences, striving towards new goals — that constant motion is so much more important to me than being static and flat.
6. Create a realistic balance sheet of your current personal and professional assets and liabilities:
- high energy
- personable demeanour
- can be messy/disorganized
- being a risk-taker
- having high energy sometimes results in me devoting a lot of energy to one area, and less energy to another. For example, on Sunday I spent about 6 Boy-Meets-World episodes prepping a visual powerpoint for science, and I didn’t finish marking the good copies of my students’ sciences humaines compositions. I need to establish balance.
- can be over-sensitive
- I am personable, but I’m also quite shy/soft-spoken around grownups (not around kids/teens). I need to work on that.
7. What barriers are you creating for yourself?
I guess my biggest barrier right now is not being particularly outgoing. I sincerely wish it was. My mom can befriend strangers in a lineup at a grocery store and English is her second language. I probably miss a lot of connections by being a small, quiet person. Often in teaching I’ll have at least one student who is soft-spoken, but who, upon reading her written assignments, reveals a deeply introspective young person with a lot to share in writing. It makes me sort of smile to find that buried trait in a student.
8. What, if any, false assumptions might you have made about your role, your impact, your value, and your self-confidence?
There have been a couple times when parents have surprised me by saying that their children love my French class. It’s sometimes not easy teaching a subject like French 8, where students are obligated to take the course and learn a foreign language. I guess it’s most surprising to me because a lot of the time I am trying new things with teaching, and it can be like cooking and knowing the basic ingredients, but using instincts to produce a final result. For example, I taught using the AIM program last year, and I felt that it would make me look like a fool in front of the class, but then I had good feedback, and I feel good about the curriculum I covered and the feedback I got from parents.
He never really considered her to be human. For all the warmth that radiated from her supple skin, for all the times her breath hotly filled his ear. It never occurred to him that she was human.
What was she? A mannequin. A perfectly molded mannequin. A tall, full-figured replication of prototypical womanhood.
His misconceptions made her seem distant and confusing. His mind simply could not comprehend her imperfections. He sincerely, logically, infallibly(!) perceived her to be a human being incapable of error.
She didn’t make her bed this morning after they slept in it. The lopsided condition of her covers, though tell-tale signs of imperfection, to him were glitches of his own fault. His human inability to compute perfection distorted his perception of her perfection. When the back of his hand meets her cheekbone, how she winces so horribly. It makes him want to weep.
She is unlucky, in a sense. Perfection is hated in our world. We strive despairingly towards it. Those who seemingly possess it are shamed, dehumanized. We grow old, tired. She never lost her perfection and he saw himself wanting something real. A marriage to a wife. To a hard-spoken, oppressive spouse. Not his soft, surreal play-toy.
And so he began to seek a wife, using her as his simultaneous toy.
Then he sent her overseas. He told her he would follow, and he even paid someone to accompany her, so she’d feel as comfortable as possible. She had no money to return, and he told her he’d be with her soon.
Once there lived a fish named Philip. He sported an endearingly characteristic mole on the left side of his upper lip.
So far as we know (and by “we” I obviously mean “us”) he is the only fish ever to have a mole in that exact location.
But to discuss the mole any further would both be rude and head-ache inducing — for Philip. And as we know, Tylenol is obnoxiously hard to come by in the containment of an aquarium.
But now, we must make known an unfortunate fact. Even in the absence of further discussion of his mole, Philip is problematically prone to headaches.
Such wasn’t always the case. Only until recently did Philip suffer from headaches, when his coffee machine was suddenly swiped by a kleptomaniac squid.
This squid was a particularly devious decapod. Her name was Elvira but her friends called her Christopher.
Because we are not her friends we will refrain from the latter monicker.
One drab October morning, humidity was high, and as such, the aquarium was threatening to overflow. Elvira, being jittery from caffeine overdoing, rose up to the top of the tank, became overexcited and somehow thrust herself from the waters and was promptly consumed by a starving Mexican cat.
This cat’s name was Felix Sanchez III but since that is such a distasteful bother, his friends called him, coincidently as it may be, Philip. To complicate matters, Philip was good friends with Philip. The two had met during a complimentary salsa class.
Philip, having no feet to speak of, turned out to be rather bad at salsa. Philip was also bad, as it could be said that he had two left feet.
Needless to say, Elvira made a rather invigorating snack for Philip, though he later complained of her bitter aftertaste, which he described as “more depresso than espresso”.
Skies of milk-tea, murk
Banner over me, in haze,
I hesitate toward the bar, drunk
Eyes rolling like bullshit dice.