What about Education

The  American education system has been under constant renovation since the beginning of the 1950’s when the Cold War started and America suddenly started competing with Russia to be the best at everything. We started stressing the idea of sciences and technology, creating the dream of having a satellite that orbited the Earth and being able to land on the moon. And while the Cold War has been over for over twenty years, the American education system is still under renovation. The creation and stress on the idea of Common Core Standards has swept every public school across the nation, applauded by some and relished by others. Common Core Standards is just another way for the United States to push their new reason to better education; testing.

Everything about the modern public school education is about testing; making sure every school has good test scores so that they can get the appropriate funding from the state. While I understand the importance of testing and that it is a measurement to see what kind of students the school produces, I do not think it should be the end all be all of our education. Yes countries in Asia and Europe have extended school days and years, and yes some of them may test better than the United States, but that does not mean that their kids are getting a better education. Education should be more about applying what we learn to life situations and less about a test. For example, in my theater technology professor told my class that “you can study how to create a set all you want, but you’ve never really learned anything until you’ve done it “. The same thing can be applied to almost every subject in school; one cannot learn to write a paper until they write one, one cannot test experiment by looking at videos but by testing it. So if education is supposed to be applied to real life, then why are we stressing on a test? I feel like kids were more enthusiastic about education in the 1950’s not because it was easier, but because the goal was to get a job or to help create something. Education was not about a test, but to genuinely help a student further their education.

Testing is not the only reason why I believe our education system is floundering. I believe that because our education system is so dead set on getting ready for a test, our education system is hiring teachers who aren’t really able to teach or really show passion for their subject. What I mean by this is because there are so many requirements due to testing that teachers are unable to go into detail on a subject. If a student is unable to grasp a concept, a theme, or an idea the teacher does not have the time to go back and explain it to that student or group of students. Although there are tutors and after school help, not all students are able to have that luxury. Because of increased school budget cuts, many after school activities including extra help programs are no longer available. So that leaves two options; have the parents pay for an outside tutor (which usually will cost someone a good chunk of change), or have the student fend for themselves. While some people also have the luxury to pay for outside help, most people do not. This leaves the student to fend for themselves, most of the time ending with the student getting frustrated.

But increased stress on testing is not the only affect a student’s education, it’s the teacher themselves and what they have to bring to the table. If a teacher does not show any passion for the subject, for the students, or any drive to make the students’ lives better, the student’s education is at stake. My favorite classes in high school were the classes where the teacher that would make the effort to get to know you, who cared about their students, who cared about what they were teaching, teachers who went the extra mile and would apply what we learned to real life. Even in college, my favorite classes are the ones where the teacher shows passion. Unfortunately because some schools are in bad areas or corrupt school districts, they get teachers that could care less about anything I just said. While I understand that in many cases this is a ploy to keep the poor uneducated and thus keep them poor, I think that this every unfair. Every student should a get a chance to have an amazing education. Thus we should be putting teachers that actually care in inner city schools. Because whether people believe it or not, passion is what interests people, not the subject. When I was working with the inner city students this summer one of the most common things said was “normally I don’t care about that subject, but the professor was so passionate about it that I couldn’t help but be interested”. So maybe instead of hiring any teacher off the street, allow someone who cares to teach our youth.

The American Education is a system that is under constant change. It seems to be molded into something new every day. Its current stage deals with the idea of testing and our Common Core Standards. While I understand the importance of testing and the ideology that America has to be the best, whatever happened to the idea of actually using our knowledge to create a better lives for ourselves? Whatever happened to being passionate about education? I want to be an educator, and I intend to teach subjects that I am passionate about, no just something I’m good at. One thing about passion is that you should strive to become better, and I will strive to be a better educator for all of my future students so they can become better citizens. Test scores are only test scores, but becoming a better person and striving to find your passions are so much more important.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Summer College

When someone thinks of the term  ” inner city kids ” the stereotypical picture of a  minority student with baggy saggy clothes, and a really bad attitude comes to mind. Most people think that these kids are considered disrespectful , uneducated ” thugs” . But how many people actually try and get to know these kids ? How many people look past the stereotype and what the media portrays these kids to be? Over the past month I was lucky enough to work with these kids through my universities  Summer College  program. This program brought students from Newark and New York City to  a liberal arts  college over the course of four weeks and allowed them to see what a great opportunity college is .This program was single handedly the most amazing and eye opening experience of my life.

When I told people  that I was doing this program, many of them doubted my ability to relate and handle students from inner cities.  Many of them asked, ” Do you know what you’re getting into? Are you sure you can handle them? Do you really think this is a good idea?” Over time these doubts got to my head. These people made me think that I couldn’t do anything I set my mind to. It made me doubt all the abilities that I thought I had and made  me think that this was a huge mistake. However by the second day of the first week I knew they were wrong. Each and everyone of the kids that I met were the most amazing people ever. They were engaged and allowed us into their lives with open arms. I formed relationships with people  that I thought I would never form relationships. They are in  many respects ” my children” because I truly cared for them and wanted nothing but the best for them. These kids were not a stereotype, they are normal teenagers. And that made me happy because they don’t let those around them tell them who they are. They don’t let society put them in a box. They are most unique, intelligent, funny, forgiving, and best human beings that have ever walked this earth.

Because I got to know some of them extremely well , I learned about myself too throughout this process. First of all , it affirmed that I do want to work with teenagers as I get older. It opened my eyes to maybe working in underprivileged schools because these kids deserve the best education. It also made me realize that maybe I’d want to work in a non profit, doing theater and writing that way. This way I can really be within the community and help create better relationships between others . But if I do become a teacher, it opened me to the idea of being more than just a teacher, but a guidance counselor. This program allowed me to realize that I have a knack for listening to others and help them sort through their problems. I want to keep helping others through their problems . The first week a  student I was  mentoring  told me that I was the first person that made him realize that he support to go to college, and that I was that support. Hearing that come out of his mouth opened my eyes to how much I helped him. Because of that, I want to help others achieve their goals.

People can say a lot about our inner city areas. Yes they are crime ridden, and seem to only be falling deeper and deeper into poverty and despair. However there is a beacon of hope, and not to sound cliché but it’s in our  youth. Those students our society labels as ” destructive” and a “nuance ” are the reason that I think our world can be great. All we have to do is allow them to open up, and to stop stereotyping them.  These kids are the reason that I loved this summer. I’ can’t wait to come back next year and learn more rom these kids . I can’t thank them enough .

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s Quiet

Just a little something I wrote in class the other day :

It’s Quiet

It’s Quiet

Stop Think Breathe.

Stop.

Let everything just freeze in time

No movement, no sound

Let there be nothing.

It’s Quiet.

Stop Think Breathe.

Think

It’s Quiet, but also very loud.

A thousand voices screaming, roaring in your mind.

Moms, Dads, Jason’s, grandmas, Grandpas, Mine, Yours

Sentences, Phrases, Words, letters, numbers, memories

All spewing past one another at a million miles a minute.

Still, It’s Quiet

Stop Think Breathe

Breathe

Close ones eyes and escape.

Escape everything that is bad, that is bothering you

Let your body go except for your lungs,

Whether it is the Cool crisp air of the outdoors or the smog filled city air

Breathe it in.

Let it consume you, fill you, steal you, invigorate you.

Let every particle take you over,

Until whatever bothered you, whatever made you mad is released.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe.

Stop Think Breathe.

It’s Quiet.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Being Different

Our society is generally considered to be a very blended, meaning that people of different ethnic, cultural, and personal points of view come together and do not let their  differences  come between them.  People are suppose to  accept those that are unique, those that break the stereotypical norms that our society created many moons ago.However this is far from the truth . More and more people who are considered ” different ” by society is not only outcaste but scared into fitting the mold of society. Even worse I that this not just happening to adults anymore. More and more children and teenagers are putting themselves and each other under  the stress and pressure to be like everyone else. While in our parents day it was common to  be pressured into wearing a certain article of clothing or act a certain way, our generation takes  peer pressure to a new level. Many  kids are pressured into hiding there sexuality , pressured to choose between their culture and what other students consider to be cool.  My question is , why is being different so bad?

The main  reason that I am writing is in response to a Humans of  New York post. the post was  a picture of a boy no more that 14 years old saying , ” I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me “. This post was both extremely raw and shocking. The fact that a young person, barely a teenagers , knows that because he’s different  that it will affect his life drastically says a lot about the standards we uphold. Differences are suppose to bring people together. No one should be scared to share a love that is  not considered  normal because they are afraid of what others will do. Sexuality, religion, race, and class should not affect how you see someone. A person’s personality, their morals, how they are as people is what you should judge people by. By picking out certain parts of a persons story that makes them different and using that to say why they aren’t likeable is simply childish. We should be telling children embrace every single differences  that they have because that is what will make them a better , happier person.

This hit a raw spot in me because I know what it feels like for others to treat you differently based off what many consider a defect . Because I am physically disabled , my life has always been a sea of questions from my peers, ” Why do you walk like that ? Why do you have to wear a brace? Why do go to the doctors so  much?” were typical questions asked  by my childhood peers. Eventually those questions would turn into bullying by some, but that never bothered me. What bothered me  more than anything was when it came to theater. Many directors that I working with would not cast me in bigger leading parts, not because I was not good enough because I could out sing most of the other male leads , but because I was physically different. I was not strong enough to lift girls, or my  right side never matched my left when dancing . And as much as I did not want to admit it , it killed me that I would never be looked at equally  compared to my peers. Not until recently while in college did I realize that some directors are looking at talent, not just the right side of my body. In fact one of my close friends even told me to try and pursue acting because I am good  even if I am physically different.

Differences are what make us human. They differentiate us and make us unique . If everyone were to be exactly this same, then the human race would become one of those really bad sci- fi films where in the end we all realize that being ” normal ” is really, really boring .So instead of telling everyone to fit the mold, instead of making people hide who they really are, let them be themselves! Allow people to be unique, and do not judge them based on certain chapters in their lives. We are suppose to learn from one another, that is how we grow. So instead of telling someone to shut up ; listen to them,  understand them , accept them. Being different does not hurt anyone. Not being yourself does.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Religion in Modern Society

            In our society there many different types of religions. There’s Christians, Catholics, Presbyterians, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Atheists, Buddhist, Hindus, the list goes son and on. The point is to say that our society  is much more diverse than just the color of our skin. That how we live is so very diverse. So why is it that people believe that their point of view is the right way for others to live. Why must people force their point onto the society so that everything is “the way that it was before”. People who push their religion onto a growing society can both hurt and harm a society. Forcing ones religion can stop progression into a better society. On the other hand  the overall messages  of religions are important to keep a society have proper  morals. However, in a society such as ours, how to keep progressing as  a society and keep the true teachings of religions together without all the other extra baggage? When do we as a society learn that everything has a fine line to it, even our religion?

Recently one of the main arguments that has arisen in our society is if jobs should supply women with birth control or not. Some peoples argument is that they should not because  of the bosses religion.  Certain religions believe that women should not take birth control because that means that they won’t partake in premarital sex. They also believe that it is against procreation. While I respect their opinion, I believe that a boss has no right to force their religion onto their employees. Their employees may have  a different religious belief than them. Why should a person be denied something based off of their BOSSES beliefs. And if the boss denies the employee something as simple as  birth control , what else can they do. Could they fire someone because they have a  different faith than them? Because if that’s what it’s coming to, then that is considered prejudice. No person should ever be attacked based off of their religions. And with a place of such diversity, why should religion even BE  in the work place. Now I am not against showing public display of religion; if you where a cross necklace,  if you have star of David earrings, or if you pray before meals that is perfectly fine. I’m saying that religion should not affect decisions in the work place, because a  work place is a place for WORK.

Another thing that I find hard with Modern Religion is that people are trying to make the smallest points the main idea, and not trying to keep the main ideas of religion in tact. For example Most people ( politicians included) believe that Gay marriage should not be passed because it is in the Bible that one shall not mate with one of their own sex. They believe that it is a sin and that it will ruin the sanctity of marriage. Well I hate to break it to these people, but times have changed. They idea of marriage has changed a lot over  the span of time. And while marriage in the 1950’s was seen as a contract to stay together no matter what; today standards are played by different rules.  We see people get married in quickie Vegas , on to for money, people who elope. Plus anyone can get married, and it doesn’t have to be in a church : Wickens and Atheists get married all the time in court houses . So why should it matter it two men or two women do the same thing, all they are doing is professing their love  for one another. So how does that destroy the sanctity of marriage but being married in Vegas doesn’t ? What ever happened to loving thy neighbor, to be kind to others ? Those are the teachings that religious people should be focusing on, not stopping people from loving one another.

Religion is supposed to be based on the idea of acceptance and loving one another. Then doesn’t that also mean changing to make what once was current to todays society. I am not saying that we should throw out everything in the Torah or the Bible. I am saying that we as a society need to take the important aspects of religion and teach them to our society. We don’t need any of the extra stuff because that is not what’s needed in  our society so that we can learn accept and prosper. Religion is a very powerful thing, however the way we use it as a society will be the determining factor on whether it helps or harms our future.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Living YOUR life

There  comes a time in everyone’s life where that person needs to take control of their own life, and go in there own pursuit of happiness . For most people, myself included , it is usually in there teenage years. That is the time where on some terms we as humans are given the ability to figure out what we want to do with our lives. We get responsibilities such as jobs and drivers license. These responsibilities and freedoms allow us as people to find our interests and our true passions in life. As time goes on we are given the opportunity to make our own decisions. We are told to “chose wisely” and to act off of reason not heart. And on certain occasions, that is right. It’s important to realize that you will not always get what you want, and that things will not always go your way. But in certain situations a person needs to follow their heart because sometimes that will lead to a better version of themselves. So I pose the question, is it better to live off of logistics or to follow what makes you happy ?

Over the past year I have had to come to grips with a major decision in my life. I have always been very into musical theater, and have been doing shows since I was in the first grade.I love being on the stage and performing in front of others.The high I get from performing is something that I can only describe as being magical.My dream has always been to perform on Broadway.However I know that this is something that may never happen for me. I know this because although I am very talented, I have a physical disability that will hold me back in many ways when it comes to auditioning for parts. My back story is that I had a stroke at birth that affected the whole right side of my body physically. And although I have had two surgeries that have helped immensely there are still many limitations physically that won’t help me during auditions. So when I had to figure out what my intended major would be for college, it killed me to not put musical theater. Although vocally and acting wise I have the talent, the dance audition would have stopped me from getting into the program of my dreams.My singing teacher has had many conversations with me that I needed to find a program that suited me. My mom said that I needed to be more practical, and think of a alternative major.

So in a crossroads I decided to take the educational route and go for a double certification in English and theater education at the high school level. That was a challenge because not many schools have theater education  or allow a student to be dual certified. This killed me because that meant that I may have to give up performing forever. I did not want to give up one of the only things that made truly happy in my life. Even though I would not be performing as a teacher, I accepted that at least I would be able to help others build to their dreams some day. As I looked from school to school, my dreams of keeping theater in my life became more and more dim. I was willing to give up till I found the school that I will be attending this fall. A school that allows a dual certification, and has a masters in teaching program. So I could strictly double major in English and theater, then masters in education. That way I could still have my theater experience. Even better was when I found out my schools connections, and that I would be able to possibly get some Broadway experience.

For those of you that are reading this, I hope you realize that this story is more than just me discussing why I chose my college. It is about how one can still attain their dreams and follow their heart while being logical.I have been through a lot over the past 18 years, and theater has always been that one thing to lift me up. So it excites me that I get a chance at possibly following my dreams. I think that this story shows that one should not let an obstacle define you. That one should find a way to get around that obstacle to achieve whatever  they want… Don’t let limits or logistics define you. Let you and your beliefs define you.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Truth About Communication

Being a teenager in the 21st century, society puts some lofty technological expectation on me. However before this class I can say that I did not meet up to these expectations. I did not know how to upload video to YouTube; I didn’t the significance of writing a blog. However over the past school year, I have learned so much about the world that we call the internet. The internet is more than just a place to connect with friends. It is a place to expand our knowledge, to grow as people and to become better citizens. The internet is a place to be creative, and to voice our opinion. The internet is more than just a person on a computer, it is a community. Communication in the 21st century has taught me more about the impact what one person can do than any other class.

If this class has taught me nothing else, it has taught me the importance of how to create a positive online persona. People believe that the only impression that counts is the one when you meet someone face to face. However this class has showed me that in this day in age this is not the case. People don’t have to wait to meet someone in person. Now they can look them up on a search engine and all of that person’s life will be in front of them in the click of a button. So it is important to have a positive on line persona. If you post pictures that are less than flattering, or when decide to vent to the online world about how annoying your boss is; most likely it will come back to haunt you. Many jobs now require you to offer up your social media site passwords to make sure that you represent the place in a positive. Schools are also doing this as well. Colleges will look through potential and current student’s sites to make sure they represent the school in a positive way. So being negative online may ruin your chances of advancing your future. Finally being negative on the internet and not thinking before you type hurts others on the internet. Saying critical things on chat rooms and on comment sections towards others is considered a form of cyber bullying, which is a very serious topic in today’s society. Plus many comment sections are taken down because of the terrible things people say towards others. So it is important to have a positive persona because you never know who is looking at your page.

My view on the use of social media sites has changed as well because of this class. People believe that these sites are used for fun, to connect with our friends when we can’t see them in person. While this is a very true statement, social media sites have become so much more than that. Social media sites have become a place for news outlets to reach their audience. Before I opened a twitter account through school, I believed that twitter was only for normal people to look at the lives of the rich and famous. However I soon found out that all major news outlets use twitter to get storylines out there. By following these sites, I have been able to be informed on all major issues in our world. Social sites are also used for social activists. People used to have to put flyers, and try to get news agencies to get the word out on social issues. That can cost a lot of time and money. Now all someone has to do is create an event or tweet something out to the public and thousands of people will be able to see them. Creating videos for YouTube can also help get the word out, and provide a more realistic image to those that do not believe what is being written. So the use of social media sites has more impact in our society than just connecting us to our friends; it connects to all of the world and its problems.

To go along with the use of social media sites, I have learned about the positive aspects of publishing on the internet. I think one of the most positive aspects is being able to voice your opinion to people who care. Often times when teenagers try to get involved in serious topics they are often shut down because they “don’t know anything”. So when I get to write about topics such as gay marriage or affluence in America, I feel like my voice matters. And when people like what I write it makes me feel like I am doing something right. Publishing on the internet also allows me to see how other people view a situation. Publishing is a learning experience. You can interact with people from all over the world on all different ideas and beliefs. These conversations are what create a strong well rounded society. So publishing is more than just writing, it is an educational experience that you cannot get in a classroom.

Next year when I go to college and after that when I start my professional life, the teachings in this class will always be with me. I will always be aware of what I do on the internet; to not do or say things that I would never do or say in public. That anything that I write on the internet can be seen by anyone. When I’m in college, I will make sure I don’t post anything that is stupid or seems shameful towards. I will think before type, because you never know who you are talking to and what their story is. When I become an educator I want to take pride in what my social media site looks like. I want to show my students that this is how you become successful; by learning how to represent yourself in a positive way. I also want to teach them that it is okay to be opinionated, but there is a certain measure of caution that you must take on the internet.
This class is more than a class; it is a guide to how to use the internet to your advantage.

The cyber world is full of games, and every person has to learn how to navigate through it. If one thinks about it, the internet and cyber space is just life, only worse because people can be a lot harsher online. However Communication in the 21st century allowed me to learn the tricks of the game, and I can go into college with all of the tricks up my sleeve.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized