black, cats, pets, Uncategorized

Black cats matter

This summer is unusual since I am taking care of two black cats, well a cat and a kitten. They get along quite well despite being completely different. The cat is smart and bold while the kitten is shy and kind of forgetful, he will easily miss his dinner time keeping himself preoccupied with other things. Oh well, you can guess who gets fatter meanwhile…

These furry friends do make my summer cool, they live in a basement apartment which is always dark and fresh as you can imagine. With cats you have got to learn a lot, for example, you have to be simultaneously strict and gracious to them. You need to entertain them while they are entertaining you. They will test your boundaries to make you feel so important and unimportant at the same time. This is when you start thinking about the dogs comparing pros and cons.

Pet owners live longer and feel more optimistic about life. Cats bring happiness to those who are looking for it. At the end of the day, we all need someone to keep us more in tune with the nature.

 

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!