day 2 at the wccc

2-3 year olds have so much more energy than the 5 year olds, and as a result they tire me out SO FAST.

To set the scene, I came right on time during this visit, and the kids had already woken up from their nap and the teacher this time was much better at introducing me to the children, which may explain why they were more accepting of me in their classroom as they came to me before I came to them. Like last time, I helped the kids pack up their things, except I was much more involved in helping them, for it turned out to be basically me packing up their stuff while they watched/attempted to help. I put the cots away, but there was one kid, named Jackson (I got it right this time, I can actually remember most of their names so prepared to be amazed) who just refused to get up. Mrs. Ruby (the teacher) told me that he was a hard one to wake up. I picked him up and he started to smile and giggle but he tried to hide it, pretending he was still asleep. As I tried to put him them, he refused to stand up so I had to pull out and chair as he jumped slumped into it, soon falling off and "sleeping" on the ground. During this time, the kids were also told to use the potty, and the teachers helped them with this, some of them even had diapers, suggesting that at least some of the kids weren't fully potty trained.

The kids were then instructed to sit at the table for coloring. Obeying orders wasn't the problem with these kids, its just that they wanted to do so much more, refreshed and full of energy after their nap. Many of them wanted me to read books for them, and I noticed that one girl, named Lindsey, who seemed to be a very girly girly girl, was carrying around this Barbie book, and even though the teachers and I told her to put the book back, she would always go back to that book. That book was also the most feminine book on the shelves, suggesting that this girl was already fitting into her gender role (more on this later). The drawings of the children were pretty incomprehensible, except there was this one girl, Emilia (similar to the Elizabeth of the 5 year olds group) had advanced control over her hands, for she was able to draw/color recognizable shapes, which were in this case a blue football. At one point, she even exclaimed "thats not how you color! You have to color like me!" and by coloring like her, she meant everyone had to color inside the lines (which she did an okay job at) and use a lot of force when using the crayon. The pictures of the other children tended to be much a bunch of different styles of lines, such as squiggly lines and awkward looking spheres. One girl, Megan drew me a picture of something, and I asked her to write her name for me, which she attempted to do, as she told herself (Up down, up down, up down) and "Megan" turned into "MMMMMMMMMM".

Then came snack time, by this time I was well acquainted with Jackson, and the other boy in the class, Jonas, and a handful of the other kids, (this class was relatively small, I would guess about only 8-10 kids). As they lined up, with much persuasion, for snack time, they joined the other classes in the little cafeteria room for milk and animal crackers. I sat next to Jackson, who only wanted to drink his milk, and wasn't interested in his animal crackers as he pushed them away from him. These children seemed to also be learning how to effectively communicate, using words instead of pointing to tell others what they want, as the teachers called this "using big boy/girl words". Of course, in order to facilitate this shift, I didn't give Jackson the milk when he pointed to his cup or the jar of milk, instead I asked him to tell me what he wanted, and he did so easily, and then I allowed him to pour his own milk. After a while though, he got relatively bored with the milk, and began to pick at the animal crackers, biting off the parts that protruded from the rest of the cookie, but mistook them to be the legs of the animal, when sometimes they were actually heads. Once they were round-shaped, he claimed that they could "floom" (his word for going really fast. its not really a word, its more like a sound accompanied by a lot of spit). I assumed that this was relative to his knowledge of cars and their aerodynamic shape (he would rant on and on about the Disney movie "cars" and how he has it and how much he loves it, in which other kids chimed in and wanted to share their knowledge of this movie with me"). But he also told me that after snack time, his mommy comes in to pick him up. Being my first time looking after this group of kids, I assumed that he meant right after snack time, when in reality, she didn't come until about 6 o'clock, about 2 hours later.

After this, the kids were sent back to the classroom, for story time, where the same little tricks were used to get them to be quiet, although it didn't work as well as it did in the other group, due to their short attention span, the kids grew awfully restless, especially when the story was about the biological growth of a bird, starting from an egg. It was awful. Afterwards, the kids were escorted to play outside (thank GOD), where they burnt off most of their energy, and the usual playground activities ensued, such as tag, hide and seek, pretend play, and just using the items on the playground. At one point, Elizabeth wanted me to pick her up so she could dust the roof of her castle (which was meant to be a log house) with her fern-esque leaf (where she got this leaf I have no idea) and she giggled in excitement as I helped her dust the roof of her castle. Another surprise came from a boy from my previous group, named Andrew, who wanted me to play catch with him, but he wanted to play behind the trees because the sun got in his eyes and the tree provided shade. To be aware of his environment to such an extent in my opinion is pretty incredible, although his hand-eye coordination was lacking. Afterwards, when a boy joined our little "in the shade" play group, Andrew wanted to play basketball. However, woodchips were all over the playground, so bouncing the ball was an impossible feat, but they tried to bounce it anyways, and he used the tree trunk as a makeshift basket, and by throwing the ball against the tree represented a point. The kids got bored of this impossible game quickly, and plus it was getting cold, so the kids were hastily rushed inside.

For about the last hour, it was constructive chaos, and the kids were allowed to play with basically anything except the table top toys. And at this point, the gender rift became very apparent. The two boys in the class played with the cars the entire time, while most of the girls played dress-up, and dressed up as dancers, cowgirls, and other very feminine roles. The girls almost immediately recognized that the cars were for boys, and one girl, Stella maybe?, when a car rolled her way, picked it up and gave it to the boys saying, "here, cars are for boys". And although one girl did play with the cars, her playtime was brief as she moved onto more gender neutral activities, such as legos or books. The kids soon moved onto table top toys, as during this hour most of the parents had come and picked up their children. When Jonas's mom came, he didn't say a word, just somewhat sat there in "shock", not saying a word and not moving. All eyes were on him, and for a solid minute did nothing until one of the teachers, Miss Brittany, coaxed him to get his coat and things from his cubby. Jackson was the last one to leave, and until his mom came, we just played with a magnetic picture etcher, as he attempted to draw a rocket that quickly turned into an odd black circle.

i love it, i love my music, my programs, all the free pc games i get, and sometimes videos for my favorite tv shows. i love it all. and yes sometimes i do think of the consequences, but i figure as long as i don't pirate as much as joe over here with this gigabytes upon gigabytes of illegally downloaded material, i'll be okay. but while i'm at school, i'm uber suspicious, which means that i won't be downloading anything illegally, which means that if i want my music, i gotta a, steal it from my friends, b, try to find it online via music search, or c, look it up on hype. all of which are working pretty well for me.

day 1 at the WCCC


I have a lot of experience with kids, and I leaned heavily on this to incorporate myself into the WCCC. As a YMCA camp counselor during the summer, I had basically all the jobs that the "caretakers" had at the WCCC, but the camp kids were much older, ages ranged from 1st graders to 5th graders and a few outside of this range sprinkled in. In addition, I also taught kids how to swim for many organizations, including my various swim teams and such, but once again, these kids were mostly 10 and unders, or "squirts" as we called them. The kids at the WCCC were obviously much younger, and its definitely a new experience.

So immediately when I walk in, I was about 5 minutes early (the afternoon shift), meaning that most of the kids were still asleep, and I was half-awkwardly introduced by the teacher. The kids that were awake immediately noticed me, curious to see a stranger in the midst, but I think my crew of kids were about 5 years old (which I learned later) and weren't really threatened at all. The teacher told me that they love it when boys come, maybe because most of the teachers/volunteers are of the female orientation, and its nice to see a boyish figure every now and then? I took these first 5 minutes to take in my surroundings, and I saw all of the kids on their cots, which look disgustingly uncomfortable, these plastic devices with mesh in the middle covered with each kids' own sheets. I noticed that the kids that were asleep were curled up instead of sleeping with outstretched arms and legs, like how adults sleep. Possibly because the cots were a bit small (but there was about a foot left of space left on the bottom of the cot, but the mesh didn't instead all the way to the ends of the cot), or maybe its because its their attempt to keep warm, although the room wasn't really that chilly.

Anyhow, the kids woke up, and I helped the teacher collect the books/cots which some kids weren't even reading, they were using them as hats and were hiding in them, possibly due to a short attention span because the kids aren't allowed to do anything while it is nap time besides read their books. Afterwards, the kids began to do their academic exercises, which today was writing the number 6 and the word six a bunch of times. At this point I was able to sit down and actually connect with the kids. And they were incredibly friendly, especially the ones at my table, three girls named Maragret, Burnie? and Elizabeth? and another boy named Ilan? (I am absolutely TERRIBLE with names). I was helping Ilan with his numbers and then he said that he smelled gum (which I was chewing), so I jokedly hid my mouth behind my hand, which got the kids laughing, and I guess that was all that I needed to break the ice. During this time however, Maragret's nose was bleeding, and many of the children were scared. When I asked Ilan why he was scared, he said he was scared because it was red and scary. I then asked him if hes scared of my shirt (which was red) and he said no because it was painted red (the kid had a point, albeit it didn't make sense) so I asked him if apples are painted red and he replied yes. I then asked him what else is red but isn't painted red, and he was unable to answer me. Honestly, I just think that he associated blood with horror films when he was exposed to it and subconsciously accommodated blood to be scary, just like how he accommodated a heart that he traced to be pink, and then noted how a girl made hers multi-colored, which was "wrong". The girl immediately then scribbled in some pink into her heart and traced an airplane and made it pink. How he thought up of the "painted things aren't scary," I have no clue.

By then I had earned the "friendship" of many of the kids, especially Elizabeth who took interest in me for whatever reason. She seemed to be one of the older kids, judging by her knowledge of the basic classroom procedures and her mechanical ability to trace and draw pictures. She also wielded a significant amount of authority amongst the kids, one instance I remember was when Ilan wanted to see her paper so he could see how she did her 6's (even though a 6 was already on the sheet that the students were supposed to trace if they were having trouble). She wanted me to sit next to her during snack time, which I did. Snack time wasn't terribly interesting, except Elizabeth poured an entire cup of apple juice when she was supposed to take only a half-cup, which the other kids pointed to their cups as if to teach her what a half-cup looks like. By this time the kids wanted to know how old I was, so I turned it into a game where they had to guess and I would tell them if my true age was higher or lower than what they said. This game went on for a good 20 minutes and they could never guess my age because the top repeated guesses were 1, 10, 100, and 1000. And randomly 21. They seemed to be incapable of remembering that their previous answer of 2 minutes ago was incorrect, and that they should move either lower or higher according to what I told them, instead of guessing random numbers.

Afterwards, we had a short session on the letter "A", and kids had to name a word that started with the letter "A", which Elizabeth aced, while other kids were having trouble. Then we read a book, which was pretty uneventful. But what was interesting were the little "games" that the teacher used to keep the kids under controlled. They were pretty simple, for example, when she wanted the attention of the kids, she would say "1, 2, 3, all eyes on (and at this point all the kids would look at her and say) ME". And also, to get the kids from moving around during story-time, the kids were motivated to sit still so that they wouldn't "break the bubble" (the bubble being the circle shape they were sitting in). I vaguely remember trying to use these "games" in the past, but to no avail. Clearly children at this age are obedient and will do mostly whatever the authority figure says to do.

From then on, the kids just played outside on the playground until their parents came to pick them up. This was pretty uneventful, except many more children noticed me as we played hide and seek. There were a handful of children that cried for various reasons, which apparently were common because they were incredibly resilient and were all better in a matter of minutes if not seconds. Except one boy, Andrew, who was confronted by another boy who didn't like it when Andrew pulled on his jacket. At this point Andrew starts crying, and was inconsolable. Out of the blue, and this boy would NOT STOP CRYING. Maybe this is a residue of his baby years, crying whenever he is uncomfortable with a situation and keeps on crying until he gets attention/the problem is resolved. However, this problem was obviously his fault, for the other kid just said plainly and calmly "Andrew I don't like it when you pull on my new jacket," which didn't accompany a physical shove or anything of the sort. The staff felt that the problem didn't need attention because apparently he does it all the time, and usually resolves it himself in a violent fashion. Additionally, his parents were late picking him up on this particular day, which may have added to his level of "discontent" if children at this age are aware of the time.

I really wish these kids would stop crying. It breaks my heart when my ancient technique or rubbing/scratching their back fails to make them feel better.

Bottom line: the cost of education is ridiculous. Which should be no surprise, because education is a business and follows the normal economic laws of supply and demand. The higher the demand, the lower the supply and hence the price skyrockets. Even though the government does provide some aid, comparing the costs of education from today to the costs of education 20 years ago, the numbers would be drastically different. The consequences of going without one, we are told, would be hell upon earth, as society/parents/media tells us that without a college education, it would be difficult to lead a good life.

However, there are so many people in the world that lead successful lives/careers either not going to college or majoring in fields that aren't in any way related to their career. Although I am sure that these individuals are few, when I wait and think, I don't really have any data to support this idea, and would be interesting to explore.

the heartbreaking work of an emo

its about that time again for another installment of the saddest songs ever. if you've been following my facebook notes (all 4 of them. which you probably haven't). with this mix i went with a lot of the old school slow depressing songs instead of the modern "emo" songs, because they just sound really repetitive and the message just isn't as strong in my opinion. plus i feel that i left a lot of the oldies out in the last mix, so here they are.

1. "brick" - ben folds five
2. "nightswimming" - rem
3. "tears in heaven" - eric clapton
4. "iris" - goo goo dolls
5. "yesterday" - the beatles
6. "bad day" - daniel powter
7. "your song" - elton john
8. "over my head" - the fray
9. "against all odds" - phil collins
10. "because of you" - kelly clarkson
11. "glycerine" - bush
12. "bittersweet symphony" - the verve
13. "wonderful" - everclear
14. "champagne supernova" - oasis
15. "chasing cars" - snow patrol
16. "hate me" - blue october
17. "okay i believe you, but my tommy gun don't" - brand new

now go cry in a corner emo kid.
reading this article reminded me of a movie i saw over spring break which i don't really recommend to anybody, because its real long and it seems that there was absolutely no editing because everything moved SO SLOW. the title of this movie is "2001: a space odyssey". it has that famous musical space piece where an eclipse slowly appears. you know, the one that goes "daaaa daaa daaa. DA DA. *insert drums" yeah its not really that helpful if i do that is it.
anyhow, the writers of this movie estimated that we'd be exploring the far reaches of our solar system by 2001, which obviously is not true. which makes me think that it'll be a while before people abandon the old school interface in order to adopt a more "click-and-drag" approach. even though that may be new and interesting, even i wouldn't abandon the technologies i'm comfortable with in order to test the cutting edge (which is why i hate beta testing). i mean enough people have trouble using their regular old-school interface computers now, and i can't imagine people abandoning their traditional comforts to adopt this, until it becomes mainstream.