Things I learned in School Today

School is, basically, a game.  At least, that’s what I got out of the presentation.  I think the point was that games are better than school, but, based on my experiences, school matched his definition of a game.  So….yeah…..

Also, overmedication for ADHD is a huge problem.  Now, I’m not going to say it isn’t, but what I will say is that there are a lot of kids who do benefit from medication.  Yes, there are cases of improper use, but making broad generalizations stating that it shouldn’t be used ever and is really not for the kids, is, frankly, stupid.

Also, debate club in high school must be really easy.  ‘Cause these kids in my class who claim to be champions aren’t very great.  Well, I guess the one was good at reading quotes quickly…but that was about it.

We had presentations in two of my three education classes today.  It was, overall, not very exciting or purposeful.  I could have stayed home and slept.  But that would have been bad.  And I need to talk to my professor about my late papers.  So…guess it’s good that I’m here.

Going back to the ADHD med guy, one of his main reasons for not medicating kids was that then they can’t “be themselves.”  This brings up an interesting discussion that I don’t think he was meaning to get at.  Should anyone be medicated?  Does being on medication mean you’re not yourself?  Am I not myself because I take medication?  Who am I?  Am I supposed to be depressed and anxious and unable to function?  Or maybe the medication gets other things out of the way so that I can be myself.  Or maybe something in between.

Personally, I’m depressed and anxious enough on meds; I don’t think I would “be myself” if I were more depressed.  Then again, how do we define who we are?  Maybe being myself isn’t desirable.  Maybe the meds help me be myself, or maybe they make me “someone else.”  Or, maybe I’m myself whether or not I’m on meds.  After all, they become a part of me.

Really, saying no one can benefit from ADHD meds, or any meds, bothers me.  A lot.  I couldn’t sit through his presentation very easily, because I was upset by the implications of his generalizations and his lack of understanding.  But whatever.  There was no time for me to ask a question or anything (not that I would have), so it’s over now.  I’m probably the only person who will think about that presentation.

In an hour and a half, classes will be over, and it will be time for me to talk to my teacher.  I don’t know…I don’t know what to do or ask her or say.  I just know I haven’t been able to do the assignments and don’t know when I’ll be able to.

I have a drawing due tomorrow.  I haven’t started it yet.  Guess that’s what I’ll be doing tonight.  Even though I’d rather not.  There’s just so much to do and it’s so unnecessary.

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.

Apples

I am eating an apple.  It’s kind of difficult to type while eating an apple.  But that’s not going to stop me!  Adversity?  I laugh in the face of adversity!  Hahahaha!

Granted, that adversity is mild and self-imposed…but still…I laugh…rhetorically…

Alright, apple is in my belly and trash can now and I can type properly.  What shall I type about?  This always is the question.

Oh, I know.  There was this little thing called a national election yesterday.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it.  President Obama has been elected to another four years in that office.  There were many notable races for other offices throughout the country, but I’m not going to type about that today.  After all, that’s what the news is for.

What I will type about in regards to politics is my new plan for world domination…I mean…something that sounds less bad…I noticed that, on the ballot in my area, many of the races were uncontested.  The incumbent, in most cases, or somebody new who was in that same party, was the only option (besides write-in) for most of the local and state offices.  This is fine.  In fact, it may even be good.  For me.  And my world domination plans.  You see, by simply getting onto the ballot and being in the opposite party, I would have a fairly decent chance at getting quite a few votes.  In an area where a few votes are the total…well…I could, conceivably, win.  Of course, with some advertising and campaigning, that likelihood would increase.  By starting at the local level and building a name for myself, getting to the state level wouldn’t be too difficult (really.  Don’t argue this point.  It’s undeniably true).  After that, it would be only a matter of time before I was elected to national office…and then…THE WORLD!!!!!!  Yup, that’s my plan and my goal.  The sheep from Alaska will rule the world! Muahahahahaha.  Plus, as we already established in this post, adversity will not stop me.  I will not give up.  I will take over.

Seriously, though, I could run for local office or state senate or something without too much trouble, theoretically.  At least until someone found this post about taking over the world and took it out of context and turned it against me.  Then I might have some difficulty.  But I could still pull through.  Maybe I should give up on my teaching aspirations and start politicking.  I think, though, that I could do more good without running for office.  Like use that theoretical money to start up my nonprofit.  Or finish my education and be an excellent teacher.

That was a relatively short post, but I think I’m done for now.  Perhaps more will come this afternoon.  Then again, perhaps not.  We shall see.

 

Words from a teacher and Person-first language

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am currently taking a class on special education.  It’s an introductory course, and I already have background in a lot of the topics because of my psychology and art therapy courses.  This makes the class rather easy but still informative (in the specifics of educational laws and functioning).  The professor has years of experience in the field of special education, teaching children in public schools and education students in universities.  She seems fairly knowledgeable on the subjects we discuss and doesn’t generally make mistakes.  Until today.

Now, I’m certainly not saying that people aren’t allowed to make mistakes or misspeak.  However, basic understanding of the proper use of terms one is using to teach is, I think, a fairly reasonable expectation.

Today, our lecture was about emotional and behavioral disorders (also known by many other terms, but that’s the gist of it).  When we got to the definition part, which was quite early in the short class, the professor began talking about the federal definition and other definitions of various organizations and such.  Well, the federal definition, apparently, includes an exclusion for social maladjustment, such as “conduct disorder–aggressive, disorderly, antisocial behavior.”  Besides that wording and punctuation being a bit odd, the professor’s explanation did not properly address it.  Maybe I’m misinterpreting the statement, but it seems to me that, especially with that combination of words (conduct disorder, aggressive, etc.), the antisocial behavior mentioned is just that–antisocial behavior.  My professor, however, seems to think that antisocial behavior means social awkwardness and avoidance.  Although this is a popular interpretation of the word antisocial, it is an actual disorder, with a specific set of antisocial characteristics and behaviors.  It is my understanding that, when discussing diagnostic things, one should use the correct diagnostic definitions.  In this case, antisocial behavior is obviously behavior that is against society, not simply unsocial.  My professor did not address any of the other words in the exception of the category.  It bothers me that people don’t understand things like this and perpetuate such misunderstandings in their teaching.

This wasn’t a major incident, but it did remind me of another post I’m working on, so I thought I’d talk about that topic now, too.  That topic, which this particular professor seems to enjoy emphasizing, is person-first language.  Basically, person-first language means that, when describing someone, you should put the person or humanizing adjective before a disability or disorder.  For instance, instead of saying something like “The autistic boy went to McDonald’s,” you would say “The boy who is autistic went to McDonald’s.”  The purpose of this is to emphasize the human aspect and deemphasize the label, reducing negative connotations and focusing on commonalities.  This seems fine and dandy, but I’m not convinced.  First of all, from a purely linguistic point of view, the wording is, well, off, and seems to emphasize that there is a difference.  In our language and culture, we generally say things like “the blonde girl,” “the good lawyer,” “the fat man,” “the distracted child,” while person-first language makes us think about this and, only for specific cases, makes us change the wording.  It is less common and more cumbersome to say “the girl who has blonde hair,” “the lawyer who is good,” “the man who is fat,” “the child who is distracted,” and people just don’t do it.  Moreover, it’s not suggested by person-first language.  At what point do we draw a line in rewording our descriptions?  Is “The German boy who has autism” better than “The German boy is autistic” (is versus has is another issue altogether) or “The boy who is German has autism” or “The boy with autism is German” or “The autistic boy is German” or any other combination of those words?  I think it depends on what one is trying to say, but I don’t believe any of those is inherently dehumanizing.  Should we say “The young male person of German heritage exhibits behaviors commonly associated with the set of symptoms known as autism”?  This rewording, to me, while well-intentioned, actually puts unneeded emphasis on the condition being discussed.

In addition, some communities, such as the Deaf community, do not approve of this type of language.  Deaf people, according to literature, would rather be called “Deaf people” than be called “people who are deaf” because they have a culture, a community, a language all their own, and it’s not dehumanizing to identify them as being a part of that.  In fact, it is empowering in many cases.

I’m not suggesting that every possible wording is okay in every circumstance, but I do think that the wordings we use should fit what we are trying to say.  There are also differences between saying “The depressed girl” and “The girl with depression” and “The girl who is depressed” and “The girl who has depression” but I don’t think one is inherently wrong or dehumanizing.  What can be dehumanizing is how people use the words.  “That guy is sooo bipolar,” for example, puts the person first but is still demeaning, while saying “The bipolar man shared his lunch” is not.

Sitting in Ceramics Again

This time, I’m done throwing.  I’ve trimmed four plates today (that I threw on Wednesday) and thrown four more.  Now, I’m waiting for those four to stiffen up so that I can trim them.  Then, I’m done with ceramics and won’t have to come in to the studio on the weekend!  Come to think of it, I won’t really have any school work I have to do this weekend!  I can sleep and craft and teach Sunday school and read and hang out with my family and eat ice cream!  But that’s not until tomorrow.  Right now, I’m waiting.  Oh, and doing the notes that are due at midnight for my special education class.  I’m taking a break from that, obviously, to write here.  I already finished and submitted one chapter; now I have one more to do.  This next chapter is a bit longer, but not too much.  Plus, the reading level of the book doesn’t make it very difficult, so I get through it pretty quickly.

Speaking of that book, one of the sections I read today about cultural diversity and disability as culture reminded me of a post I started yesterday.  I thought about it on the drive home and, instead of forgetting it as I usually do, I made a point to remember and type a couple of notes for it and save as a draft right away.  It’ll be a pretty interesting post, I think, hopefully.  But I’m not doing that right now, either.

I’m also not eating ice cream.  I’ve decided to stay in this building, mostly this room, until my plates are done so that I don’t lose motivation or “forget” to come back in time to do work.

So what am I going to write about now?  Ummm…good question.

Well, I’ve been listening to NPR the last couple days while driving as it helps me feel more…awake (?) and aware than listening to music.  I listened to the last 45 minutes or so of the presidential debate while driving home on Wednesday, and have heard quite a bit of commentary on it since (along with conversations about pets, TV shows, books, and other random things I don’t particularly remember).  That’s been interesting.  I don’t really have much to say about it.  What I tend to have things to say about are social issues, and that wasn’t covered too much.  Yeah, there was mention of Medicare and PBS, which are very interesting and important, but I just don’t have much of an informed opinion on the healthcare situation (more research needed), and PBS is obviously the coolest thing ever, so why would I need to argue about that?  I care about rights.  Human rights.  For everyone.  I care about education.  For everyone.  I happen to think that my views on human rights and education are a bit too different from Romney’s and the Republican party’s as a whole to vote for him, but I don’t really feel like discussing partisan politics right now right here.  What I do feel like discussing is the idea that everyone do the best they’re able to get informed (from the least biased resources they can find) about the issues they care about (and maybe even ones they don’t) and make a sincere effort to vote for people who share their views.  Whether that means voting for a school board member, the President of the United States, or anything in between, do it, whenever you can.  ‘Cause if you don’t, somebody else still will, and your opinions won’t really matter in some ways then.  That was a very poorly worded sentence, but I’m leaving it that way because I trust you know what I’m trying to say.

What else?  I’m hungry.  I could eat some fruit snacks or go to the vending machine to get something, but I don’t really feel like getting up right now.  I’m kinda comfy, and I want to stay that way.

I should probably get up and check my plates, but I’m sure they’re not dry yet, as I checked them about half an hour ago and they were quite moist.  Actually, some of them I just flipped then, so they’re definitely not ready.  I could start my notes for that special education chapter now, but then what would I do later?  I think I’m going to start working on that post I mentioned earlier, the one I had the idea for while driving and actually didn’t forget.  Yes, that’s what I’ll do.

Would’ve been nice to know

…maybe a bit ahead of time.  I have a drawing assignment due today, and, apparently, we’re supposed to bring in a print out of the original photo we drew from…said the professor in an email late last night.  I didn’t see the email until about 15 minutes ago…so, of course, I don’t have a print out with me.  I suppose I could try to find a computer lab and figure out how the printing at this school works, but I don’t really feel like doing that, especially when I have plenty of copies of the photo at home.  I think what I’ll do is open the image up on my computer screen and turn the brightness up so people can see it.  That had better be good enough.

In other news, my neighbors now have a Romney/Ryan sign up in their yard.  They’ve lived next to me for…10 years, maybe, and this is the first political anything I recall seeing at their house.  Why now?  And why Romney/Ryan?  Sometimes, people make me wonder.

Have you seen the Romney commercials about China’s cheating?  Yeah…they’re a bit ridiculous.  Besides being inaccurately portrayed in their graphs, the “facts” aren’t really even presented, and the issues have been going on long before Obama took office.  Also, China is “stealing” from us.  That’s silly.  What the commercial in question seems to be referring to is that “they” are taking our jobs and, especially, our ideas.  Hmmm…maybe you should talk about the businesses, not “CHINA” as some huge, evil entity.  Yes, China is pretty big, but really, there’s no need to villainize all the people of a single country and leave the people of our country free from any responsibility of evilness.  In fact, why are we even talking about cheating and stealing and trying to make people seem bad?  Is that the only way we can make ourselves seem good?  Or could we, perhaps, try presenting facts in a factual way and politely giving our opinions on them, maybe even forgetting to attack other people and instead sharing why we’re okay?  Of course, it’s not just the Romney campaign doing this; it’s pretty much every political organization and candidate.  It’s quite difficult to tell facts from propaganda in many cases, especially for the people who should be most impacted by the election–a majority of Americans.

I started a post on Saturday, but I haven’t posted it yet, mostly because I became bored and distracted and then my bowls were dry enough to be trimmed so I left my computer.  In theory, it’s going to be a great post, with some research and personal experience/opinion and all that great stuff…but it’s not yet.  I got through reading about five paragraphs (and not long or  complex ones, either), and then wandered around the internet for a while.  I, apparently, like to open many, many tabs in my browser, in a way trying to hoard them and their information, and then get overwhelmed, bookmark or close them all, and start again, not having read any of them.  This is not very productive.  I am trying to focus more and actually do things rather than just click lots of things and learn nothing, and the post I’m working on is part of this effort.  Hopefully, I can get through it and share it with you all in a somewhat timely manner.

In my ceramics class, I have to mix and test 20 glaze recipes, meaning that I also have to find these recipes.  They all need to be mixed and applied to the test pieces by next week Friday.  By that time, we also need to have thrown and trimmed six good plates.  We also need to work on glazing the pieces we’ve already made.  In my case, most of them still have to be bisque fired, and some of my mugs still need handles.  I should probably get on that.  Next, we’re making tea cups, and then tea pots.  I just hope we don’t have to make six tea pots in a week, ’cause that’s a lot of throwing and piecing and stuff.  I still am not very good at this whole throwing clay thing, but I have to keep practicing because I might need to be able to teach it in the future.  Oh joy.

There is a guy in my drawing class who’s a ceramics instructor at a camp and community studio.  I’m thinking about asking him if he’d be willing to help me a bit, ’cause apparently he throws five pounds for fun…five pound balls of clay are still my enemy.  Also, he’s not so great at the whole drawing thing, so maybe I could help him with that in return, ’cause I understand and can teach the basics for drawing pretty well.  We shall see.

Well, class is about to start, so I’m going to publish this and start paying attention.

This is Bothersome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you read that?  It’s from Representative Akin’s senate race site.  The first sentence in the second section needs a semi-colon or other editing, but let’s not get into that.  At the beginning, it says, in reference to his comment about “legitimate” rape, that he made a mistake.  That’s fine.  Then, it says “…working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities,” seemingly still in reference to his rape comment.  So let me get this straight…people, especially women who can get pregnant, who get raped are the most vulnerable in society?  I’m sorry, but, most of the time, rape isn’t about being weak or the most vulnerable (unless women in general are just considered vulnerable, which is a problem in itself).  Rape is about power, the power the rapist wants to exert.  What, exactly, makes someone “the most vulnerable,” in need of Akin’s protection?

In looking for someone else’s response to this comment, I first came across this statement by Akin, in which he again refers to the most vulnerable in society.  Some excerpts:

  • “As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault.”
  • “the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year”
  •  “Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government”

Let’s first make it clear that I don’t really have anything against this man.  He simply provides good starting points for conversation, and I’m not going to let these comments go without my comment.

Oh, from another interview (here):  “even as a pro-lifer, I’ve always stood up for people that were the most vulnerable.”

Okay, so let’s take a brief look at some of these comments.  I’m not even sure where to start.  Well, I guess, lets start with the “thousands” of women who are raped and abused every year…more like hundreds of thousands, millions if you go global.  Approximately 2/3 sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim (for lack of a better word)…predators can be anyone.  Anyone can be abused.  Abuse is NOT a sign of weakness, and his comments (and those made by lots of other people) implying that it is really bother me.  Also, the democrats trying to grow government…at least they’re not trying to force the growth of unwanted babies in wombs they don’t own.  Yes, I realize that’s a bit of a polarizing and arguable statement, but I don’t really care.  There are undeniable facts that are being denied, and that bothers me.  If you would like some statistics, check out rainn.org

About the “vulnerable”:  that seems to put some of the blame on the victim…it’s like saying it’s the rabbit’s fault the eagle ate it because it’s vulnerable to the predator.  Again, rape is NOT the fault of the victim.  There is nothing someone does to make them vulnerable, or even worse, deserving.  Rape is most often committed in the victim’s home by someone who is not a stranger.  It’s not like most rapes are young women being stupid and walking alone down dark alleys in crappy neighborhoods at 3 am.  It’s date rape, it’s incest, it’s abusive relationships, it’s general predatory behavior and has nothing to do with the victim being “vulnerable.”  What does vulnerable mean?  It’s a state of being, a capability or susceptibility to being wounded, hurt, abused, etc.  How does one determine the “most vulnerable” people when it comes to matters like rape?  We are all capable of being harmed, and I find it offensive to imply that some people are innately more susceptible than others, weaker than others by some fault.  I’m sure this isn’t what these comments were meant to illicit or represent, but it’s worth thinking about because it is a far to common attitude in our society.