milk cartons

28 06 2008

So I’ve been teaching first graders here in Phoenix, Arizona. Here are some facts about Phoenix:


  1. There are cool bicycle riders and cool vegan food here, even though it seems like cool vegans and cool bike riders should not be in Phoenix.
  2. It’s the fifth largest city in the United States. I don’t understand this. Sometimes it is 121 degrees here. Why would you want that?
  3. Phoenix has 15 libraries. Here is what one person says about the Burton Barr Central Library: “It gets the vote as being the best library in Phoenix, but then agian it didnt have very good competition. I only dislike the employees about 50% to 75% of the time. “
  4. There are roadrunners. I don’t know that this is a fact. My mother told me there were roadrunners.
I’m teaching at a great little school called Pastor Elementary.  I am teaching first grade. Here are some things I had forgotten about first grade:
  1. It’s difficult to say the word “sphere.” (relatively unrelated sidenote: here’s a cool website that connects blog entries to real articles. it’s called sphere. it’s pretty nerdy.)
  2. It’s difficult to listen to other first graders talk when you are also in first grade.
  3. Hannah Montana is kind of a bfd.
  4. Ditto High School Musical. And even Camp Rock (albeit prematurely).
  5. It’s difficult to solve puzzles using tangrams.
But probably the most important thing I’ve forgotten about 1st grade is that it’s exceedingly difficult to open milk cartons. You know, those little lunch milk cartons you always got with your (disgusting) hot lunch. Every day, I go to lunch with these kids. And every day I am asked to open at least ONE milk carton which I cannot physically open. This is embarrassing.
Milk cartons generally fascinate me. Why did anyone decide that milk should go in little cardboard waxy boxes? Why can’t milk cartons take on juice box format? Wouldn’t that be just as efficient and much easier to open?
I Technorati-ed “milk cartons” today and only found one thing of interest. I guess this guy ordered a computer from eBay and whoever mailed it to him mailed it in a box which also contained an old pizza box, an empty soda container and (wait for it) a milk carton (really it was a milk JUG, but it’s still gross). The site has pictures. They’re gross. It’s every eBay user’s nightmare.
The last thing to note is that the academic achievement gap is worse than I thought it was. I have kids in my class who can’t read a word. And then there are kids in my friends’ seventh grade classes reading at a Kindergarten level. Maybe it’s cliche, but you see it happening and you wonder HOW we let it get this bad. It’s the most depressing evidence of institutionalized classism and racism that I’ve seen in my entire life.
Check out some statistics:



fine but

25 06 2008

you don’t understand. you think you understand, but you don’t. you are thinking, “of course sophie has abandoned her blog. her blog — the single most important thing in my entire life — is now null in void.” you are wrong. because you don’t understand. you don’t understand that there was a car accident and that the car accident was BAD. it was 80 mph off a veritable cliff into a lake-swamp. yes, friends, i was underwater, in an upside down car with all the smashed windows letting MORE water IN. kind of puts into context “upside down again,” huh?

so needless to say, my computer was destroyed. but it’s okay — it’s back now and everything is fine. even the thousands and thousands of nasty mosquito have vanished. so life is as usual.

kind of. i’m working sixteen-hour days at teach for america institute. which no one in the history of life has ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever enjoyed. and i am not the superhero exception to this rule. waking up at 4 a.m. is bullshit, and getting back at 9 p.m. is bullshit, and a lot of what we learn is bullshit, too.

but it’s worth it, i promise. 

that said, blogging is last priority. still, i haven’t forgotten you. i think about you every day. when i’m not surfing my endless tumblr blogs to find new and stimulating material, i feel like a small part of me is missing.

so we’ll do our best, shall we?