2.14.278

Yes, 278. That’s the year St. Valentine was beheaded; he was Christian and Christianity wasn’t legal until Constantine signed the Edict of Milan in 313. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, St. Valentine performed Christian marriage ceremonies and was imprisoned . . . and then Hallmark turned Valentine’s Day into a holiday.

Even before I had a Valentine, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. When I lived at home, my mum would prepare these Valentine’s Day goody bags for us and leave them about places a the kitchen table. We used to take the candy to school for days. It made Valentine’s Day a day about saying “I love you” to anyone and everyone, which was a very important lesson.

At work today, many of my students complained about feeling lonely and unloved. I asked, “You love people, don’t you? And they love you, right?” For the most part, they smiled.

And that’s what’s important. Valentine’s Day isn’t about chocolate or flowers, though those are nice. It’s about family and friends and reminding those around us that they are loved.

Admittedly, I do have a Valentine. He left me a beautiful surprise on my porch this morning, and I’d like to share it with you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Garbage Day

This morning when I woke up, the radio told me it was -1º outside. Funnily enough, that’s not the coldest it has been this winter. We had a very mild winter last winter, so I guess we’re due for it. It was bright and sunny today, though, which was exciting. By the time I left work at 4pm it was 24º. Much better. Felt balmy. It’s amazing what can perspective can do.

Anyway, thanks to the sun and the rapid temperature increase over the course of today, the snow on our roof started to melt. Today is garbage day so my ’round the back neighbors filled their recycling bin and left it on the side of the house. I assume they plan to bring it to the bottom of the driveway, but my neighbors also seem to drop the ball when it comes to taking out the garbage. Thanks to the melting snow, this is what happened to their recycling bin:

Recycling Bin

Trader Joe's Bag

Dripping Beer Bottle

Welcome to winter in Rochester, folks!

Malaysia, Pomegranates, and an IEP

As we stared out the window last night watching a foot of snow fall, two topics of discussion and one fruity experience took center stage.

Map of Malaysia (Map from Lonely Planet)

Earlier yesterday evening, I had a final job interview for a social studies teaching position at a school that is just starting up in Malaysia. Suffice to say, I believe it went quite well. I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for an email from either of the administrators who interviewed me . . . and I’m bad at waiting. Wish me luck!

 (Delicious fruit from here)

My roommate, E, and I debriefed about the interview over dinner. We talked about when I might move (hopefully August), what my responsibilities would be (to be determined), and what we know about Malaysia (not much). Then E decided she wanted to have pomegranate seeds for dessert. We’ve both been trying to expand our food options because we’re bored of what we usually eat, which presented a problem: E didn’t know how to obtain said seeds from said pomegranate.

The first time I had pomegranate seeds was in middle school. A family for whom my sister babysat sent her home with a pomegranate one night. My mum looked up how to get the seeds out, and we’ve been playing in warm water and banging wooden spoons ever since.

And so E and I cut open the pomegranate, obtained the seed, and had our dessert. There’s something about pomegranates that always make me smile because they’re so pretty to look at and so sweet. They always remind me of being in Israel where pomegranates grow like apples do here. As in, on trees. Everywhere.

(You can see more pictures from my time in Israel here)

I’m going to make the grandiose assumption that most people do not spend their evenings discussing special education policy while doing the dishes and cutting pomegranates, but E and I did. I’m going to miss that when I move wherever I’m lucky enough to get a job. E is involved in a local adult literacy program and told me that the student she tutors, who is our age, had an IEP in high school. E asked me to explain the difference between an IEP and a 504 (used my Master’s degree today – CHECK!). Simply put, there are 13 categories of disabilities for which students may receive an IEP, which provides access to special education services, certain accommodations, and certain curricular modifications. A 504, however, is for students who do NOT fall into one of those 13 disability categories but does have a disability; these students do not need special education services or curricular modifications but may need some accommodations in the classroom.

Perhaps that wasn’t so simple. (For example, you may be wondering what I mean by special education, accommodation, and modification. If so, I apologize for my poor explanation and encourage you to look here for a PDF from the Disability Rights Center, which may help.)

Anyway, I’m rambling so I’ll stop now. Like I said, bad at waiting. Have a great day!

Photos, travels, musings, and ideas on education by a twenty-something teacher trying to make the world a better and more peaceful place