culture, experience, immigration, learning, motivation, self help, survival, Uncategorized

How to survive in a new culture

Working with American teens made me think about useful tips I can share with new teachers.

The culture I found myself in is a mix of Latino and African-American youth with a minority of whites and Asians. Just for your information I came from Ukraine where the population is very homogeneous.

The school environment is not usually conducive to making friends with students but I keep trying anyway.

  1. Listen to their music. God only knows how much I hate rap but this is what they love. I make myself listen to the lyrics, it’s quite weird for strangers like me.
  2. Eat their food. Teens love junk food, it never looks or tastes great. But you should be brave enough to try it. I also go to cafeteria once in a while to experience the agony they have to endure every day.
  3. Don’t ignore the things that matter. Two of them are mentioned above but figuring out the rest can be tough. One thing that I noticed is you have to pronounce their name right.
  4. Ask questions showing genuine interest. When doing this you should be ready to deal with their answers which are not always easy. Reflect on them.
  5. Be a good student. Take notes to remember new words and concepts, learning new language / dialect is always fun. You will be tried and tested a lot.
  6. Mind your body language more than anything else. Respect yourself and the people around you.
  7. Stay positive and keep learning despite making mistakes.

This list is not all encompassing but gives you a general idea. Good luck!

experience, job, learning, Uncategorized

Skills so much needed

When you start every day wondering what skill you will have to learn today it doesn’t sound like a dream job but maybe this is what it is. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is not a walk in the park and definitely not a piece of cake for all I know.  While the school is almost over and the freedom that summer brings is so near you keep asking yourself Am I ever going to graduate? School of life is a bit tricky, it makes you learn a new lesson when you feel that you are done, finished and ready to face the challenges.

So much to live, so much to learn. Isn’t it frustrating and inspiring at the same time? Ambiguity of this question brings us closer to philosophers and thinkers that devoted so much time to discover the truth trying answer all the Why – questions.

What skills do you have to survive or what skills do you think you have? Recently I learned that my arsenal is not big enough, it’s a steep learning curve for sure but the good news is it’s never too late to learn.

job, learning

Special Ed

I got a chance to co-teach kids with disabilities,  that was an eye-opening experience. There were about 16 young people who had different issues. Two kids were blind, one had a Down syndrome, one girl was in a wheel chair. I was surprised to learn how their abilities differed. Some of them were really good at Math, others at PE doing the school curriculum at their own pace. I looked at them thinking,  Are they ever going to become normal? There were 3 more teachers in the classroom, I admired their skills and knowledge. When I came home that day I thought a lot about the blind girl since I spent most of the day next to her. I wanted to talk about this and that but realized that one has to see to know this kind of things. How limited your life is when you cannot see! I realized I have to stop complaining, I am able to see.

The next day I was subbing in a regular class at a different school, and you know what I thought? Those kids with disabilities were way more normal than the ‘normal’ ones. Is it evil human nature or peer pressure, I am not really sure… And one day if special ed children become ‘normal’ will they fall into temptation and turn into monkeys?

learning, meditation, Uncategorized

Looking back

Looking back at my life I try to learn from my mistakes because the moment you stop learning they will throw dirt in your face.

This morning I am listening to Sade and I can’t believe her music has been with me for the last 25 years or so. I think it does make me look old, kind of. My sweetest taboo is not music though, not books, not even Internet for crying out loud. It is definitely something else. Maybe it’s living in the past…

Maybe it’s living in the future… Can’t be quite sure but definitely not here and now. Escaping the reality is a conscious decision of mine, this is why I started doing all kind of arts and crafts. It’s like creating your own little world where you can always be yourself

It’s been a month since I quit my last job. Time flies when you have fun. The good thing about it all is that I have time and energy now to work on my art business: classes, social media and blogging. You should never regret choosing a change for the better especially if you already made a choice. I am positive you have to stick with what you’ve decided to do never looking back. Some days will be less optimistic than others but you can go through.