The Pledge

I’m going to assume that most people reading this are familiar with the fact that the U.S. has a pledge of allegiance and a national anthem.  If you’re not…well, they exist.  Now you’re all caught up.

One of my Facebook friends, who happens to live in the Midwest, is male, white, heterosexual (and strongly opposed to any other option), Roman Catholic (because he likes the Sacraments; otherwise, he might be Lutheran, ’cause, after all, women should maybe be able to be priests), an Eagle Scout, and Republican, recently posted an interesting question.  He’s been out of the primary and secondary school system for a while, seeing as he’s nearing 30, but is planning on working with kids (he wants to be a camp director).  Did I mention he’s also patriotic, in a push-his-beliefs-on-you kind of way?  Well, he is.  I think he honestly believes that the US is the best place ever in the history of anywhere.  And, of course, Obama and the gays are ruining it.  Whatever.  His Facebook question was directed at his “education friends”…of which I am one, I guess…and was wondering if the pledge of allegiance is still said in schools, and if so, until what grade.  Well, this was a stupid question that could easily have been answered with a 2 second Google search…which is, of course, what I used to find my copy-paste law about it.  I’m not sure what the law is in other states (haven’t bothered to look it up yet), but in his state, public schools must provide the pledge or national anthem every day, and private schools must unless it goes against their religious beliefs.  However, no one can be compelled to recite against their or their guardians’ objections.  This is required for every grade, 1-12 (and often applied to kindergarten, since they’re usually in the same schools and it’s done over the announcements or speaker system for everybody).

So where is this post going, you may ask…well, I’m a bit annoyed.  Just a bit, though.  Not enough to really care or express a strong opinion to him on Facebook, but enough to write about it here (though that may be out of boredom more than annoyance).

My question is, should this really be required in schools?  Do the kids even know what they’re saying?

I am a proud product of the public school system.  Beginning in kindergarten, I stood up with my class and recited the pledge each school morning.  Of course, at age five, I didn’t really get it, but that’s okay, whatever.  It was just one more thing school told me to memorize and recite.  And I did.  Then, in fourth or fifth grade, some schools merged and there were suddenly new kids in my class.  One of them identified as Jehovah’s Witness.  At age 10, we didn’t really talk about that much, but somebody in class did notice that she didn’t stand for the pledge (which, as everyone knows, is the most important part), or even say it sitting down.  Well, this apparently caused some drama, though I don’t really remember it, and the teacher had to address the class and explain that this was because of the girl’s religious beliefs.  That’s all fine and dandy, but it got me thinking, briefly, about why they would object.  After all, it did mention God (which, even at that point in my life, I realized was kind of contentious).  That thought didn’t last long, at least that I can remember.  I had important tests to get 100s on, and was far too busy making sure kids didn’t copy my spelling tests to think about philosophical ideas.

Somewhere between 12 and 14, I started thinking about it again.  One girl in my class chose not to stand, not for religious reasons (she was a professed atheist), but for some reason she never really articulated to me, though she was one of my good friends at that time.  As I remember it, it became a bit trendy for kids to sit (and converse) during the pledge and ensuing morning announcements.  This was in a world shortly after 9/11, when we were expected to give full support to every governmental action.  Most of them did it because they finally realized they could (not for any deeper political or spiritual reason).  The teachers couldn’t make them stand and recite.  Of course, there was a faction of kids who did not agree with this show of apathy and diligently stood each day for the recitation.  In fact, most of us stood, at least on some days.  Most days, I didn’t think about what I was saying or doing during that time, but on occasion, I did start to think it was a bit silly, and I wondered about why I was doing it and what I was saying.

In high school, at some point, I pretty much stopped standing for the pledge.  When the national anthem was played at school events (I didn’t attend sports), I would stand, and maybe put my hand on my heart out of respect, but the pledge wasn’t important, if it ever had been.  Politics was a pretty big thing in my high school, and there were certainly strong representatives of both major parties.  One girl, during a gubernatorial election time, told the class that “the only people who benefit from Democrats in office are teachers and welfare workers!”  After class, the teacher told her that, in saying that, she was being “closemindedly stupid.”  He was a pretty great teacher.  My immediate thoughts were “So…that’s supposed to be bad?” and “You do realize you’re saying that to a teacher, right?”  She was one who always said the pledge.  Sitting became a way to show dissent to President Bush’s policies (and showing laziness, depending on the student).

I sat because it simply didn’t hold meaning for me, and I didn’t want to be forced to do something that meant nothing to me.  I started wondering why other people bothered, why we did this every day, what it was supposed to mean.

The pledge reads:  I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The whole thing just seems off to me.  I mean, first we pledge allegiance to the flag.  Then, we say it’s one nation under God, totally ignoring anybody who believes differently (and maybe implying that other nations aren’t).  And we say it’s indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  We were never really taught what it meant or the history of what we were saying.

There’s a lot more to this, but I think I’ll be done for now.

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Those sesame things

You know Gardetto’s?  That yummy snack mixture with pretzels and chips and things?  Does anybody like the sesame seed breadsticks?  They just don’t go with the flavor of the rest of the mix.  And they’re icky.  But even if you don’t think they’re icky, they don’t match.  I always try to eat them at the same time as a rye chip so that the icky flavor is kind of hidden.

The vacuuming guy almost knocked over my pile of stuff with the weird double vacuum.  That’s annoying.

Did I mention I’m once again at a point in the day where I have quite a long break and nothing to do besides homework?  ‘Cause that’s the current situation.

The roads were bad (snowy, not naughty) on Friday, so I didn’t go to class or Goodwill.  I need to come up with some new ideas for Goodwill.  It seems that everything I find online is either similar to something we’ve already done or just stupid.  You’d think I’d have a pocket full of ideas for just this situation, seeing as I have a degree in art therapy, but no.  Let’s not get into how my four years and thousands of dollars were apparently wasted on learning nothing about my major that I couldn’t have figured out myself.

 

Oh look, it’s not Monday anymore.  It’s now Tuesday.  I started typing this yesterday, but I got bored and did some homework and my battery was getting deadish and I forgot the cord at home, so I went to Wal Mart and got some string and stuff for bracelets.  Now I will never be bored again!  Muahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

I’m tired.  I have 15 minutes before class starts.  Maybe I could just lay down on the floor and rest…no, that’d be weird…and then I wouldn’t want to get up when it was time.

I don’t really have anything to write about…and I’m too tired to come up with something…so I won’t even try.

Another Post!

Well, it looks like I might be posting more frequently this semester.  I have this awkward 1/2 hour break between two classes, but they’re in the same room, so there’s really no point in leaving.  I guess that means I’ll blog.

If I’m going to be blogging a lot, I suppose I should try to come up with something more interesting to write about.  I mean, I know the details of my life are fascinating…but really.

Let’s see…what to write about…oh, I know.

Here’s an article that one of my education professors asked our class to read today.  Basically, the issue at hand, though it’s a bit clouded in this article, is student privacy.  Specifically, a teacher posted a class picture on her personal Facebook account.  Now, she might be fired, but the school board is unclear as of this moment.

So the question is, should she be fired and did she do something wrong…well, that’s complicated.  I don’t know of any laws that specifically state that teachers can’t put pictures of kids online like that (but there certainly could be).  However, in my experience, a lot (most?) organizations, schools, etc. that work with kids have policies against that sort of thing.  For instance, at camp, we are not allowed to post photos of campers.  The camp can, on official sites, but only with written permission from guardians.  From reading this article (which, let’s be honest, isn’t an example of very rigorous journalistic investigation), it seems that this school/district did not have such a policy in place.  If they did, and she violated it, of course she should be fired.  But if they didn’t…remove the picture, of course…but, more importantly, make a rule about it to prevent future problems.

I think she should have used some common sense and not done that, but if they don’t have a policy, there’s really no grounds to fire her.  Move on.

The larger issue this brings up, I think, is that times, they are a’changin’.  Schools, and everything, basically, need to keep up with technology, media, and society as a whole to prevent things like this from happening.  Posting pictures of kids who aren’t yours on the internet without permission is, frankly, stupid, and people need to realize that.  Maybe it’s the individual’s responsibility to learn that for themselves, or maybe the organizations need to take initiative and do some leading.  Either way, things like this, I think, will continue happening as long as people try to ignore or avoid change.

Well, time for class now.  Type to you later.

Simply Stated

“When a principle is stated in simple terms, it can sound simplistic.”

That’s what I learned in my textbook reading for my educational psychology class today.  Good to know.

I read for about an hour.  It was boring and I don’t really remember the point of it, if there was a point, so I’m taking a break.  Since I didn’t bring my knitting or Gameboy, I’m typing to you for my break.  Surprisingly, I’m not in McDonald’s.  I’m actually still at school, and may stay in this building all day, ’cause, well, it’s cold.  I am currently sitting directly under a vent blowing cold air, so I could be warmer somewhere else, but then I’d have to pack up my stuff and move and I’m not sure I feel like doing that right now.  Maybe I will when I get hungry or thirsty or something.  But not right now.  The door is also nearby and people keep opening it to let themselves into the building, which lets cold air in with them/lets warm air out.  Yet I’m too lazy to move/the other seats are also under vents or by doors.  I suppose I could put on my coat…but no.

The girl over there just said sock monkeys are elegant.  Earlier, she was telling that guy about her sister-in-law’s cervix.  Then, he got up and walked away.  Good choice.

I should probably start reading again.  I have a couple things to read for tomorrow, and some more for Friday.  But I really don’t want to do that right now.  It’s boring.  Then again, this is pretty boring, too.

Oh, another guy just came to talk to the talking girl.  Maybe this will be entertaining.  Nope, just talking about hats.  And not the elegant sock monkey kind.

I could go get a sandwich.  That might be yummy.  Or maybe there’s a good soup today.  Or a chocolate muffin, though that wouldn’t be very filling.  Goodness, I have to make a decision.

Haha, there’s a guy at the table next to me who’s in my education classes, and he’s talking about our assignment to do a case study of an adolescent.  “We have to follow some kid around…that’s not creepy”…well, maybe him doing it will be creepy, but that’s not really the point.  It’s not like it’s stalking, just observing and interacting.

Well, I ate the sandwich I brought with me.  It was yummy, but I will definitely need to get one later.

In case you couldn’t tell, I don’t really have anything to write about.  I suppose I’ll stop typing and do something else, perhaps even something productive!…eventually.

 

I’m finally in proper education classes!

I don’t think I’ve told you that before.  Now, I have.

I’m also a full-time student, with plenty of credits and classes to entertain me.  Today, I have three education courses.  So far, they don’t seem too informative, but also not too difficult, so this should be okay.  I think they’d seem more informative if I didn’t already have a degree that covered a lot of these things and if I hadn’t been teaching in some way for over eight years.  Obviously, I’m not saying that I know everything after only eight years, but I do know a lot of what these intro classes cover.  And I’m fine with that.  They are needed for my degree and I will take them.

I got to school about an hour before my first class, thinking that would be plenty of time to get my parking permit, park, and get to class.  Well, I was almost wrong.  First, there were no parking spaces anywhere near the parking permit office, so I had to drive around until I found a meter.  Then, when I put my quarters in, I realized that each quarter was only good for 25 minutes of parking, not one hour like in the meters by the arts building.  Whatever.  I paid the meter and walked to the parking permit office, in the cold wind (like, -degrees), filled out the form, got my sticker thing, and walked back to the car.  Then, I got in the car and started looking for parking spaces because I didn’t have enough change to feed the meter for my whole class block and it was only a four hour meter anyway (my classes are in a five hour block).  Turns out, there are no parking spaces anywhere near the building where my education classes are.  Well, there are, but they’re either reserved for service vehicles, handicapped, or some other reservation, or they were full, probably since 2 am or something stupid like that.  So I couldn’t find a parking space and I was running out of time before class.  I drove around a couple blocks to try to find street parking, giving up on the idea that I wouldn’t have to walk forever in the cold.  There were no street parking spaces.  Finally, I drove over to the arts building, because I knew there had always been some spaces open last semester, and, if I had to walk, I might as well not have to pay for parking my car.  A few spaces were left, and I took one, as close to the far-away education classes as I could.  Then, I walked in the cold wind to class, only to realize that, when I printed my schedule this morning, one class’ location and other info didn’t print.  So I looked around a bit and tried to get online to check, but of course that didn’t work.  By this point, there were about five minutes left before class was supposed to start.  I went to the info desk and asked the girl there if she could help, and she was really nice and found the room number for me.  I got to class with a minute or two to spare.  Yay for first days!

My last class of the day will be starting soon.  Then, I have to go meet with my non-advisor to get some stuff sorted, then turn in a background check form, then get my books, and finally go home, after walking back to my car in the cold wind.  Tomorrow, I have class at 8:50 in the morning.  I have a 75 minute drive from home to school.  That should be fun to wake up for.  But at least it’s an art class, so I’ll be able to get parking more easily.

So………class is starting……..ish……..better stop typing……..

Let’s hope for the best

My hand hurts again…but that’s not what this post is about.  Well, it’s not really about anything in particular, like most of my posts…oh well.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting classes and things for school because I’m a “special student” aka I already have a degree, but I’m not a grad student, so I’m in limbo.  Finally, I’ve found the right people to meet with (I hope) and have appointments scheduled with them today and tomorrow.  I hope this gets everything for the rest of my time at this school figured out.  Otherwise, I might transfer to another university that seems a bit more together.  But who knows if that would really be better.

Part of the problem is that the coordinator for art ed. is new, and she didn’t know fully what her role was.  Plus, the help desk told me to contact the wrong person.  Plus, people just shuffled me to others without really helping me.  Plus, people stopped responding to my emails.  Plus, my advisor didn’t know anything.  Plus, the website’s not entirely up-to-date.  Plus, I have anxiety over things like this, like using the phone and such, so that didn’t help.  Overall, it’s been very stressful, but I’m hopeful that I’m on the right track now.  The lady I’m meeting with tomorrow seems to be knowledgeable and helpful, so that meeting should go well.

In other nonnews, I’m hanging out with my best friend since kindergarten tonight.  That’s always a fun time, and, although we now live in the same town, we don’t see each other very much, so I’m really looking forward to this.

I’d best get going now.  Need to drive to my meeting and such.

The Flu

Last weekend, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was at camp.  It was a lovely time.  I held the camp baby, made a cookie with her three year old brother, failed at melty beads, watched toboggans, ate yummy food, and made friends with campers.  Then, I went home and taught Sunday school Sunday morning, took a nap, and probably did some other stuff, before waking up Monday with a cough.  It wasn’t too bad.  Until the afternoon.  By 4:37ish, I had a fever, lots of pain, bad coughs, headache, dizziness, and general ickiness.  I went to the doctor, where they x-rayed my chest to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia and stuck a giant Q-tip up my nose to confirm the flu.  The latter was positive.  I had influenza b.

Now, it’s been almost a week, and I feel a lot better, but I still have a cough, some aches and pains, and my front bottom teeth hurt.  I don’t know if that’s related, but I thought you’d like to know.  This flu is mean.  Last Tuesday, I was supposed to work at Goodwill, go to a knitting meeting, hang out with a friend, and go to the dentist.  My attendance at all of those, of course, was cancelled.  I was also planning on going to my cousin’s house to do art with her five kids, but now it’s too late and I’ll have to wait.  Hopefully, I can make it work for spring break, but I don’t know.

Also, school is being stupid.  My adviser knows nothing about the education program, and I can’t find anyone who does who will talk to me.  Now, with about a week left before school starts, I’m considering switching schools or taking a semester off.  This is not what I want to do, but if they’re going to be stupid about it, I don’t really have a more logical choice.

On the plus side of this flu, I’ve done some stuff out of boredom.  I made a few cards and wrote some letters in them, made a few macrame bracelets, started my brother’s Christmas present (a macrame necklace), played a bit of Pokemon and a bit of the Sims Medieval, did some word and logic puzzles, and watched hours of Ancient Alien Astronaut Theories on the History Channel (I may have been at least partially asleep through most of those, though, because, let’s face it, those shows are stupid and the narrator’s voice is sleepy).  I also managed to put some new podcasts and things on my iPod and have been listening to those the last couple days.  I quite enjoyed Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and This American Life.  There was also one that mentioned Little Free Library, which is a really awesome nonprofit you should probably check out by clicking the handy dandy little free link I provided.  That got me started, again, on thinking about the nonprofit I want to start and looking into things to do with that, like other organizations and how to start a business plan and all that jazz…but then I got bored and tired, so I rested and haven’t returned to that stuff yet this afternoon.

Well, I’m getting tired of this, so I think I’ll go find something else to do.