where you at?

where you at?

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Friday. TGIF. HAPPY FRIDAY!!! I woke up this morning at 5:15am in preparation to leave the house ontime to get to school by 7:45am. After all, today was our first choir day!! Yeah, that’s right. michelle and I are moderators for our individual sections in choir. I’m with the altos and it was today that I realized I’m reliving high school…totally. High school and cantor ensemble at USD when I was student director. I got to sit in a room with the other altos and hear them try their best at mimicking the alto line they heard being sung on the tape. None of them can read music, but they have an ear, and a voice, and so along the way, I tried to teach them beats, and how long to hold certain notes for. It was great and wow, it was a wonderful way to start my day off! Happy Friday was RIGHT!

This morning I prepped for my two classes today. We were doing the “emotional cup” activity, but rather, I gave it my own cool title…”How Full Are You?” And once it was time for the questions, I gave it my own title…”WY-A” – Where You At? This was when we talked about the celebrations – the good things that have happened…then the struggles – some of the hardships…then apologies…then compliments…yeah, that’s right. I teach health! Since it was the first week of school, I knew that my students had a bunch of stuff on their plate, so I thought this would be a great way to get a gauge for where they were all at. It was wonderful!

And then afterwards, I gave each of the girls a part of a poem. We were all seated in a circle in the campus ministry side room, so it was a perfect place to gather. I knew that I wanted to end that activity with a prayer or a poem of some sort and I had no idea where to find a good one…then I looked over at a poem that I broke down on a posterboard on my wall in the campus ministry office and realized, oh my gosh! This is PERFECT! (I’ll try to post it later!) but anyway…it ended with… “I have created you in my image and likeness, and woman, you, are, GOOD.” This poem was on display on some other poster, but the original poster was kinda super cheesy, so I made it a little more edgy on my visual portrayal. Haha!

As talkative as my classes both were, the craziest must unreal phenomenon happened…after that last sentence, there was an overwhelming “awwww” and then they clapped!!! And then I told them that they were beautiful and special and hopefully sent them off with goodness in their hearts as they prepared for the weekend! It was so good, and so great…inexplainable, it was very powerful!

It’s funny, cause with my first class, I had those four sections to go over, but we were running out of time. My class of course was stuck on talking about some of their own difficulties, and I was like, ah we need to move on! But no…I learned to never sacrifice hearing my students talk about their feelings and their emotions, just to get through the activity. What they were saying was important, and what was great is that every person in that class was experiencing the transition of now being a sophomore from being a freshman. It’s a rough time, and I was hopefully able to bring it up to them that 1, there is solidarity there and this brings everyone together among the sophomore class, and 2, as sophomores, it is a great blessing to take the freshmen underneath their wings, guide them, and show them the ropes – there’s goodness in this transition too. Such a blessing I have in teaching health that I can bust out an activity to check in with the health of my students – see how things are going with them socially, spiritually, emotionally, mentally…so good.

So, as for my name on campus, I am known as ms. Cadillac, ms. C, ms. Caddy, ms. CC, there are a bunch – or sometimes I get, ah! Are you the health teacher? Or, ah! YOU’RE the health teacher! …I have lots of fun with the girls, and when I had lunch duty today, some of the girls tried to teach me salsa and meringue…haha that’s what you get when your students are primarily Dominican. It’s wonderful, it really is! I got to talk one on one with one of my students today…I noticed there was a sadness in her character and demeanor and so I asked her to meet up with me during one of her free times in campus ministry. It was my first one on one time with a student, and it gave me an opportunity to pray for her, and realize how hard it is to be in high school – with the pressures of family, and school, and personal life…it really is difficult going through it…and especially when you are not in the best environment, that makes it only a bit more challenging.

Something that I find so beautiful about the girls at the high school, is how nice they are to me. for instance, when I was in high school, if I ever saw a teacher, I would run the opposite direction or try my hardest at not making eye contact. With these girls, every time I see a student in the hall, or a group of them, whether I knew them by name or not (I’m struggling in this part of being a teacher!), they always say, “hi miss!” when michelle and I were walking down to the train station after stopping by the mr. softee truck for my rainbow sprinkle dipped cone and her chocolate éclair, the students all said bye to us as well…it was just another reality check…that even though they talk in class, and pick and choose exactly what they want to respond to, they have hearts of gold and are open, that is, as long as you talk with them and do so in a loving way.

One of the students was singing the “happy birthday” song by stevie wonder. I immediately turned around and was like, oh my gosh! Who is singing that? it was then that she was like, oh my gosh miss, you’re my best friend! You are my new favorite person!! I was just like, girl, what are the other verses? She didn’t know, but said she would find out. She was like, dang, I thought you was black. Hahaha I was like, huhhhhhhh! Hahaha not even! But then I saw her in campus ministry cause she was visiting and she said the funniest thing…she said…”ms. catalan, on the real though, you’s a black filipino.” Hahaha…I’m in!!!

Just, such a good day. Yes, I have a lot of papers to grade, and things to read, and life to catch up on, but I’m also bathing in the goodness of that which this week brought to my life. On the subway this morning, this construction worker almost collided with another guy on the train, but both were so tired, they just brushed it off. I smiled because I thought it was cute that the construction man was like, ah, sorry! And I don’t know, but I just smiled cause I thought it was great that he said sorry and the other guy was just like, oh it’s fine! Not that typical…The construction man sat down, and I just looked at him. He was in a matching hat and shirt for valley crest companies. It immediately made me think of one of my prospects at news america.

Then I saw he had a tattered piece on his left pant leg, and he was just tired…he was reading his Spanish newspaper and eventually fell asleep for many stops. As he got up from his seat to exit the train, he gave me a smile, and I gave him a smile back, and he said bye, and I said bye too. It was great to have that early morning exchange and to acknowledge another person so early in the morning. Very unexpected. I then saw a mother playing paddy cake with her daughter on the train. There was so much joy. The little girl had cute little flowers in her hair…which means, someone took time to put those gadgets in her hair…she was already being pampered at her probable estimated age of 5. it was super cute!

And that, that was my adventure for Friday on the way to the heights.

You could see him with your heart if you stop looking with your eyes – how could you say no? by steve angrisano

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