Earth Day

the first student-run UCLA organic garden

(the group photo does not include all of the people present today... but oh what an amazing fun day it was!)


Young and sciences' roof-hopping

Artsbridge- class 2

(some photos by my students, from today, random test shoot)

Just got back about an hour ago. I am SO tired.

Doing this makes me appreciate my current and past teachers a lot more. I feel so drained. My head is slightly pounding and my voice is hoarse from talking so long, so loud. I am no teacher.

To start the class, I had the students write about how they are currently feeling. Results were rather standard, and actually quite bland: many felt good, bored, were excited for the weekend, hungry, glad to go home soon, etc. Ah yes, memories of being a middle schooler?

The basic tenets of today:
- Light is of waves and particles.
- The 3 basic laws of light.
- The camera functions the same way as the eye. Reflection.
- Aperture. Shutter-speed. Depth of field. Accommodation. Viewfinders, point-and-shoots, and SLRs.

…too much? I find myself cramming too much information into one lesson, highly aware that I have very little time with my students, both today and for the rest of the teaching residency. I only have about 6 more classes left. And am still introducing the students to the camera.

I finished having the students photograph themselves, then led the first group of students, all male, out to make photos. (Why is it that when sitting, then males cluster themselves to the left, the females to the right?) Counted my total photos: 17. I have about 30 students in the class. Almost half did NOT do as I requested and photograph themselves. I feel like screaming. It’s taking a lot not to blow up at my students, “Shut up and listen to me!”

I wanted everyone to watch each other photograph then see the photos later, but we ran out of time. Once we got out into the open air, the students went wild and a fight almost broke out between two of my students.

The students seem most interested in photographing each other… but… mostly posed images of themselves in “gangsta’” poses, mock-killing each other, etc. Then they photograph cars. (typical boys?)

Today was highly discouraging. Once again, I wasn’t sure whether my students understood me or not. I had originally planned for some activities to teach my students about light, involving our going outside and doing some light experiments, but by the time I got them settled down enough to listen to me speak, I had no desire to bring my students outside and make them rowdy again… so today was once again primarily a lecture, sorry to say. I’d planned (planned a lot, but only got a bit done) for a comprehension test at the end of class, but we ran out of time… For the next class however, we shall start photographing. For real. No lecture, just a brief introduction, then photographing…

Highlights of the day came not from the class, but from the bike ride to and from the class (before class I visited the Los Angeles Eco-Village, which was AWESOME). Took a different route there and back again, saw new things, experienced new sensory stimulants, passed through Miracle Mile, Koreatown, USC, etc. Got flirt-honked at 3 times (that has only happened to me about 6 times in my 3 years here in West LA… interesting contrast from the 3 honks in my few hours at East LA), and two “I like your bike” comments. “Hey! It’s the photo lady!” happy cry from one of my students at the beginning of the class, and (thankfully) no more questions of “how much did your camera cost?” or annoying “Boo UCLA, go USC!” chants.

Had a brief chat with the substitute teacher. “Yeah,” she says, “never had to raise my voice before. I guess this is good practice.” I have new respect for Audrey and Erin, dealing with the Watts kids at Jordan. I’m having issues controlling, identifying with, and teaching my central LA students. I can only imagine the hard-core East LA kids.

Not really enjoying what I am doing, but it’s a good experience. Teaches me that I am NOT vocally or mentally fit for such a job… I do not care enough about the students. Patience is definitely not one of my virtues. I would rather ignore someone and plug on with my work than stop, wait, and help. Although I do the latter out of necessity from a screaming over-fed conscience. Maybe it’s their age; I’m not sure about what’s going through their noggins, what’s sticking. Can’t wait to give them a test and see what they’ve learned, what they remember. Hopefully something substantial… I really do love what I teach. I hope, if nothing else goes through, at least they will suck up a little bit of that love.

Who knows? Perhaps next class shall be better. I hope teaching improves after we start photographing. Haven’t yet worked out the logistics; new worry of losing students once we exit the classroom to photograph, with students running amok (and not really listening to my orders. I hate giving orders). Having difficulties remembering names, although I now know faces. Having big problems caring about my students; I want to, but I feel like they don’t care much for me. They seem to like me, and respect me to some degree… but I'm not really feelin’ the love.

Currently eating oily rice with vegetables. The food plunks to the bottom of my belly and sits, like a rock, undigesting. I feel ready to curl into a fetal position, puke, then sleep.


Strawberry Peak

7:45 AM, we sight and start climbing Strawberry Peak, an ominous bump in the distance

Yerba santa, "good weed"

11:30 AM, we reach the peak!

thanks for a wonderful morning, Jeff and Brian!