Monday, September 27, 2010

Boxed Macaroni and the Big Bad Internet

This evening I was stirring the macaroni, thinking about how the powdered cheese mixture looks a lot like a color only found on its own planet of processed foods (sort of like krypton...you know, electric orange powdered cheese is a foreign color that probably shouldn't even be a food because it is definitely poison)...ahem...where was I...oh yes, stirring and thinking....

I was thinking about writing. I was thinking about my blog. I was thinking about my goals and how I want to create a place with REAL content. Interesting content. Content that actually inspires others, not just copy/paste boring posts. I want to use my blog to teach, to entertain, to share beauty and sorrow...

BUT when I sat down at my computer, I got so distracted by flickr, checking my email twenty times, twitter, other blogs, facebook and all the other crap in the whirling, swirling, colorful internet cloud (hmmm, that could be a beautiful picture....a cloud that is like Hokusai's wave...that is also the internet....that also depicts 'surfing')...that I got writers block.

How is it that the words were flowing out of me when I was stirring in the bacos (I was trying to cover the 'cheap' taste of the boxed macaroni with supremely bacon-y flavorful processed bits of heaven) but when I opened up the information highway my brained turned into goo?

Technology is so powerful. Technology is beautiful. The internet is grand. Blah blah blah. If I let it, I think that the internet could consume all of my time. I could just spend all weekend watching internet videos, reading blogs and then clicking on all the sidebar links, making playlists on Last.fm, favoriting photos on flickr,  editing photos on picnik. There is so much garbage out there...is any of it relevant? Does any of that stuff really matter? Does it make a difference? Will the internet help me be a better person?

On one hand, studies have shown that word games keep my brain active and help my memory later in life so I feel like playing Words With Friends on my iPhone isn't total garbage....but I will often choose to play, surf or fiddle with my touch screen over REAL interactions....like talking, listening to music, reading a book, creating something by hand....I have LOTS of hobbies...but it is TOO easy to close the door to my studio and sit in the recliner with my little gadget and fiddle around with some mindless app instead of using my 'relaxing' time to do something to truly relax. (Relaxing time = chill out time after school or right before bed if I've had a busy night.)

After school today (before relaxing time and way before the bacos and macaroni), I spent some time surfing around for Character Education resources. My plan is to mentor a student after school once a week.

I don't want to tutor someone in math or reading....There are too many other things that are important in life....I will leave the core subject tutoring up to the classroom teachers....I am a 'SPECIAL' teacher... (special teacher = music, art, p.e., counselor, librarian) I believe that kids are never going to be well-rounded if they don't appreciate the arts.....if they don't build a relationship with someone at school...and if they don't get to have fun trying new things.

Sure, reading and math are important...but the extra fun stuff is getting squeezed out of the school day, bit by bit....teachers aren't doing really fun units any more, the inspirational ones, the ones with the fun science experiments and the 'travel' unit with all the cool props and food explorations...there is too much pressure to make sure that first graders can count money and write sentences.

I've never been a mentor, one-on-one with a kid before, but I've already got the girl in mind. And I am looking forward to building a relationship with her, teaching her new FUN things and also getting to see her excel in the arts and in her life as she learns and gains experiences through this new after-school session with me.

I will be sacrificing some 'relaxing time' and some internet surfing time in order to spend more time after school as a mentor, but I think it will be like the macaroni....it will make me think...it will be real and it will be like this blog...a place for inspiration.

3 comments:

Hearthandmade said...

i hope being a mentor works out well for you!! sometimes it can be hard balancing everything!

Kate said...

It's sad how much "fun" is crowded out of the day bc of the pressure to cram more, sooner into kids' brains. There is far less time--in and out of school--to be a kid.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Beautifully written post today! Your mentee is one lucky girl.
Rinda