Sunday, April 29, 2012

CPR Certification

A couple days ago, I completed my CPR certification. As I stated in a previous post, its a component of my final stretch. It's a requirement I need to complete in order to get my credential. I've never done CPR, so the class was interesting to me. It was interesting to me because the teacher was good at engaging all of us.

We had an adult CPR dummy and an infant CPR dummy. So, that was one way in which all of us practiced the CPR technique (i.e. 10 seconds to check for vital signs, 2 one second breaths with brief pauses in between, and 30 compressions). As we practiced, we had to keep pace with a video that was playing.

For the infant CPR dummy, he showed us how to support the entire weight of the baby on one arm. At that point, you can use your middle and ring fingers to do compressions in the center of its chest just below the height of the nipples. He walked around to correct our finger orientation and placement.

For what are called back blows, while the baby's weight is being supported by one arm, put another arm resting vertically along the baby with your hand supporting its jaw, flip it over so that now the baby's back is facing you instead of its chest, have your new supporting arm resting on your thigh, and you can do back blows (i.e. in the center of the back, but just below the shoulder blades) for a baby that is choking. While practicing all of our techniques, the five of us stood in a circle as he assessed us.

The technique that will be a definite take away for me is the self inflicting abdominal thrust. Why? I choke on so much food... I eat too quickly. Again, what was good about how he taught us was that he had us stand in a circle and broke each step down. Put your right thumb on your belly button, move that thumb just above your belly button, grasp your right hand with your left, make a fist, take a lunge forward with your right foot, fully extend your arms out, then forcefully retract your arms back into your stomach.

What I would have liked him to have done though was to have more written down on a poster sheet or the whiteboard. It would've made it that much easier to remember all of the exercises. To be honest though, that's something I need to do more of as well.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Yesterday, I saw an education related documentary called "Bully" with my friend, Gabby. I was the nerd in the back of the theater taking notes in the dark on my mini notepad :-). If you plan to watch this movie, be warned that I may be spoiling much of it for you. My goal in talking about "Bully" is to try to point out what theme I thought the movie was focusing on.

These are the students who were focused on in the documentary: Alex (age 12), Kelby (age 16), Jamey (age 14), and Ty (age 17). First, I want to point out that there were no elementary students in this documentary. What does that mean? Does it mean that, at the very least, bullying is less of a problem in elementary school than middle or high school? I would imagine that that's true. Does it mean that bullying is nonexistent in elementary school? I doubt that that's true. These are some questions that I'm just putting out there for you. What is the earliest age at which a student has experienced being bullied? How frequently does any one student experience being bullied? How many students at the youngest age experience being bullied? I think answers to these questions would reveal how early bullying can become a problem, how much of a problem it tends to be at the youngest age, and how early it can be addressed.

What Alex, Kelby, Jamey, and Ty had in common was that to some extent, they were not socially accepted. Alex was referred to by many of his classmates as fish face. He wasn't accepted or tolerated because of how his face looked. I presume that made it difficult for him to make friends. Also, for some reason, some of his classmates would beat up on him. He wouldn't communicate this to his mother, so that made matters even more difficult for him. When his mother found out, she reported it to the principal. The principal was dismissive of the mother's claims. So, the principal never really acted on the mother's concerns. In the end, the principal made promises to make sure that her son was safe but never expressed any specific actions. If anything, the assistant principal was the one who briefly shined since she actually interviewed students on the bus to figure out how Alex was being treated.

Kelby is lesbian and her appearance is noticeably masculine. She lives in Oklahoma. She was rejected by her church, excluded from joining the school basketball team, made fun of by one of her teachers and her classmates. So basically, where she is, society as a whole wasn't very accepting of who she is.

Jamey was made fun of alot. I don't recall the documentary specifying the insults. In response to how she was repeatedly insulted, she brought a gun on the bus. She was disarmed. Basically, I propose that if she was accepted, then she wouldn't have been made fun of.

Ty is a student who committed suicide. As he grew older, he became a loner. He was always chosen last for team sports. He would record a video journal. In one of the entries, he tries to put himself at ease. If he was socially integrated, then that would be an obvious indication that Ty was socially accepted. I'm not sure what pushed him over the edge, but I'm guessing that it was being alone for so long.

So yea, those are my examples for why I think social acceptance was a theme of the movie. There are a few other things you can take away from those examples. There are three ways to perpetuate bullying: #1 The student who is being bullied says nothing about it and just accepts it as unchangeable. #2 If the administrator doesn't investigate and act on bullying, and #3 If the teacher doesn't investigate and act on any claims of bullying (in Kelby's case, the teacher is the bully).

My understanding is that if you want to end bullying, then every student must learn to socially accept other people regardless of appearance and/or differences. And, perhaps going a step further would be to also interact with other people in a positive way regardless of their appearance. So then, how do you get every student to learn to socially accept other students despite their appearance and differences? I don't know. But, my guess is that if the principal of a school and every teacher of that school establishes and maintains a school culture of social acceptance regardless of appearance and other differences, then bullying wouldn't have any legs to stand on. How do you establish and maintain such a culture? I think I could figure that out, but it would take me a while, so I'll just stop there for now.

If you want more info on "Bully," you can go to their website.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

CAEE Dublin Job Fair Pics

 Here are the pics of the Dublin Job fair I said that I would upload.

CAEE Dublin Job Fair was held at Dublin HS


Admissions Area (non-teachers go through left and teachers through right)

Hayward USD (Interviewing)

Franklin-McKinley USD of San Jose

San Lorenzo USD

Kent School District of Washington State


Kent School District Ad

Mount Diablo of Contra Costa County

Some Chinese Travel Abroad Program

Fremont USD

Reflection of How Dead the Fair Was

San Benito High School District

San Francisco School District

Again, Note How Dead It Was

Antioch USD

By the way, I forgot to mention that there were separate rooms for interviews. They were held in the library and "little theater." I don't have pictures of those rooms since I couldn't get any interviews. Anyway, there are the pics for you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

CAEE Dublin Job Fair

On Saturday, I went to a job fair in Dublin. I made a huge mistake on the way to the job fair. This is the first job fair which has required me to basically pay an admission fee. I drove all the way to the exit and forgot my wallet, so then I had to drive all the way back. So, I basically spent 2 hours and 40 minutes on driving. That sucked.

Anyway, if you were not yet a teacher, you needed to pay $5. That kind of pissed me off. It pissed me off because I can't think of a good justification for doing that. One possibility is that they would want to discourage non-teachers from attending. They would want the job fair to consist mainly of current teachers. I'm skeptical of that though. It's only $5. $5 is not going to discourage many people from going somewhere which they may find a job from. I'm inclined to believe that they were just looking to make some cash off of the event. That annoys me since without the prospective teachers, they wouldn't have a job fair.

So, it's interesting. There weren't many people at the job fair. I could seriously run through the gymnasium of Dublin HS with no problem. That could be for multiple reasons. One could be due to them charging $5, but I think more likely is that Dublin is not very reachable by public transit. Anyway, it's anyone's guess.

I saw two interesting prospects there. It was interesting that there were employers all the way from Seattle at the job fair. They encouraged me to apply, so I did. I assume that they are short in supply for teachers in Washington state. I also applied for Singapore International School (aka: Kinderworld International). Apparently, they need teachers in Vietnam. Both opportunities sound interesting. I've been in California for almost half my life, so I wouldn't mind stepping out of my comfort zone. Also, the compensation for Vietnam sounds pretty good. $2200 per month for salary (includes full benefits in calculation), $380 to 400 for rent, $2000 per year for travel, and I think a $5000 stipend (I need to verify that last part). That's in American dollars... not Dong which is the name of the Vietnamese currency.

Alright. That's all I have to say about this job fair. There wasn't much to see at the job fair, but I still took pictures. I'll aim to upload those tomorrow. Don't have time right now. Later.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Responding to: "But, They Didn't Have to do It!"

So, it's morning. We're in a portable. All the kids have finished getting snack. Some students finished snack and didn't push in their chairs. Other students simply didn't want snack, so they left without pushing in their chairs. I picked out one student who moved from one chair to another without pushing in her first chair.

Me: "Go back and push your chair."

Her: "But, everyone else didn't push in their chairs."

Me: "It's true that a lot of students didn't push in their chairs. But, everyone is supposed to push in their chairs. Push in your chair."

Her: (She pushes in her chair)

Me: "Thank you"

I wait a little bit and think about what she said.

Me: I have a suggestion for you. In the future, if a student doesn't push in their chair, tell them that they're supposed to push it in. That's the best you can do.

Her: And, if they don't, you could give them detention!

Me: Uhhh... maybe. I'll think about that.

Anyway, the bottom line is that, if a student tells you that everyone else didn't do a particular task, say that it doesn't matter because the task still needs to be done (i.e. in this case, pushing in one's chair).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Alameda County Office of Education Job Fair

This is kind of a delayed post, but I think that it will still be of interest. This pertains to a job fair I went to on April 5th. It was at the Alameda Office of Education in Hayward. If you want to see pictures from the other job fairs that I went to, go one of the following links: Santa Clara or LA Moderna

I was kind of disappointed in this job fair because it seemed tiny compared to the job fair I went to in San Jose. That probably was unavoidable just based on the districts that Alameda county consists of. There were two major plus sides to it, #1 It had workshops and #2 The arrangement was organized.

I found the idea of having workshops at a job fair interesting just because I never spend the entire day just visiting districts and dropping off resumes. I usually leave a couple hours early. They had workshops where you could have someone from a human resources department critique your interview, another on interview do's and dont's, another on using social media to market yourself as well as a few others.

The job fair was organized in terms of where all the tables were located. You had all the public schools (and some private) in one room, charter schools and vendors in another, and workshop rooms in another area. Also, they had schedules on TV monitors and on boards to remind you of the room # and time of the workshops.

I did get one administrator who was interested in my resume. Hopefully, she'll get back in touch with me to let me know what she thinks. Alright. You can see the pictures below:

Driveway Entrance

 Front Entrance


Receptionist Desk (balloons in balloons!)

Workshop Listings

Lines to Enter Job Fair

"Schedule of Events"

Registration Desk (Left Side)

Schedule of Events (TV Monitor)


San Lorenzo USD

Hayward USD

East Oakland School (on right)

Alameda Office of Education

TV Monitor 


Brandman University

Education for Change (charter school)

Cal State East Bay

Sylvan Tutoring & All Languages School (from left to right)

DeVry University


Bicycle Powered Blender (that's all I really looked at in the workshop area. She broke a sweat to make us some smoothies... :-) )

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Student Who Feigned Injury (sort of)

This happened to me a few weeks back, but I think it's still worth talking about. So, these two students were playing football on a grassy hill. One of the students dives for the football as its thrown to him. He jams his knee into an elevated part of the hill. I asked him if he was ok. He shakes his head. I told some other teacher's that he was injured and needed ice because he claimed to me that he couldn't walk. They told me that he needs to go down and get it because we need teacher's to supervise the playground and I was the only teacher supervising the playground at the time. That's seriously like a quarter mile walk. On the assumption that he was truly injured such that he couldn't walk, I didn't want him to go all that way. I ask if a teacher can bring up the ice.

Another teacher comes because she escorts students to go from the upper yard to the lower yard as their parents arrive. Orally, she pushes him to try to walk. He gets up and walks with a limp. The other teacher tells him that he needs to go down to get ice. So, he says ok to walk down. That's when I get kind of pissed. Immediately, I approached him before he headed down.

"Wait a sec. You told me you couldn't walk. And now, you're going to go down to get ice?!" The other teacher sees that I'm annoyed. Literally, she goes, "Uh oh...."

He stares at me blankly. He knows he screwed up. He doesn't know how to respond.

"Next time, if you get injured and you can walk, then you need to walk and get the ice yourself. I was going to run down for you. Do you realize that I'm the only one up here to supervise this playground? If I left, then no one would be up here to supervise them."

He just gives me an "Oh...." I just respond, "Alright. Go with her and get some ice."

What did I learn from this? If a student claims to be injured, examine them thoroughly. For example, if they say they can't walk, try to get them to walk. But, sometimes you just never know when you might run into a persistent liar. Such a person would "cry wolf" so to speak. But, it doesn't hurt to still push them (orally). Of course, it's easier if they claim to have a scrape or cut because those are physical signs which can be located.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Credential Program Complete... But, Not Enough

Alright. I'm back from my spring break. My spring break mostly a break. Completing my program is not enough to get me my credential. In an earlier post, I mentioned my remaining requirements before I get my credential. I've had to study for the RICA. RICA stands for Reading Instruction Competence Assessment. It's an assessment of a candidate's ability to teach and assess reading, writing, and oral English. For whatever reason, the test didn't cost me anything. I think it's because I said I was with CalState Teach. The exam is about 3 and 1/2 hours. Joy. Originally, I was studying for this exam a semester in advance, but one of my supervisor advised me against it. I wish I didn't listen. I will basically have had two weeks to study for it. I'm taking the exam on April 19th. Don't get me wrong. I've been practicing for this exam and it seems pretty easy since I'm able to recall what I learned while student teaching. But, when I study, I like to go overkill on what I'm studying. I like to be as close to 100% sure that I'll do perfect on the exam. It's a lot to ask for, but I always want to do my best.

A week after I finish the RICA, I will complete my US Constitution test. Luckily, I can take this test online, so that grants me a little more flexibility. I don't need to go to a specified location to take it, make an appointment, or wait until 3rd Thursday of the month or something like that. This test cost me $85. It has 50 multiple choice questions.. It wasn't very wise to allow this test to be taken over the internet. That's assuming that they care that they can't track who is cheating on this test or not.

Then, on April 27th, I will do my CPR certification. That was $90. It's a 4 hour class, so that's not too bad.

I'm not sure what bothers me more... The amount of hoops I'm jumping through to get my credential or how much these tests are eating into my pocket. Yup... I hope I can find a teaching job.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring Break

I'm taking brief break from blogging for a while. I'm on my spring break right now. I will continue blogging on April 15th. Whoever all of you are... thanks for continuing to look at my blog posts. I definitely appreciate it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Claims from Race to Nowhere

Yesterday, I watched "Race to Nowhere" at the elementary school (Anthony Chabot) I'm student teaching at right now. The documentary had several themes through which it put its arguments forward. I'm going to lay those out.

Claim: Workloads in elementary through high schools cause stress. Stress leads to emotional and physiological problems (e.g. headaches, stomach aches, depression). So, the workloads in elementary through high school lead to emotional and physiological problems.

Claim: School related depressions lead to student suicides.

Claim: Half of the high school students who graduate and go straight to college are not actually ready for college.

Claim: Students in elementary through high school are too preoccupied with homework. They don't have enough time to enjoy their childhood or engage with what they're passionate about.

Claim: In the end, it doesn't matter which university that you get into.

Claim: Every aspect, whether academic or extracurricular is geared towards getting into college. That is a distraction from the goal of learning.

Claim: Strong emphasis on grades and homework leads to cheating.

Claim: Some students choose classes based on what has the highest likelihood of raising one's GPA.

Claim: The amount of homework that is given is an ethical issue.

I think that a lot of these claims are interesting. I would like to address the extent to which they are true and how significant the claims are. I'll address a few at a time in future posts. But, at least you have a gist of what claims the documentary makes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Slap Happy

This is another story of me intervening as a counselor. My last one pertained to having two students negotiate for the playground space. This one is really straight forward. But, I was kind of confused as I observed the situation. The last and only thing that I saw was a female 2nd grade student slapping a 2nd grade male student like crazy on his arm. By his face, he looked pretty hurt by it. Right away, I sent her off the playground and into the auditorium. Just for reference, where we were, the auditorium is adjacent to this playground. So, I headed inside to talk to her.

Me: M. Come here please.

(M walks over)

Me: Why did you slap that boy a bunch of times?

(M has this guilt ridden "please don't scold me" look)

M: I didn't mean to hurt him. I was trying to play with him.

Me: Ok. Did you see his face?

M: (nods)

Me: Did he look like he was having fun?

M: (Slowly shakes head)

Me: Yea... actually, he looked like he was in pain. I know that you were just trying to have fun, but that's why we tell everyone to keep their hands to themselves. Sometimes, kids will play harder than they supposed to and then something like this will happen. Someone will get hurt. You need to keep your hands to yourself from now ok. Ok?

M: Ok...

Me: Alright. Go back outside, but you need to apologize to him. Before you apologize to him, let me just talk to him really quick.

M: I already apologized to him.

Me: Ok. Let me ask him to make sure. 

(We both walk outside. I keep M about 15 meters away)

Me: Hey. Are you ok?

Boy: Yea, I'm fine.

Me: So, M was telling me that she didn't mean to hurt you. She said that she was just trying to have fun and she accidentally went too far. Did she already apologize to you.

Boy: Yea, she did.

Me: Ok.Thanks.

And yea, that's that. My general principle as far as counseling students goes is to always talk to them separately. I bet other teachers do that as well. I do that so that they don't interrupt each other whenever they disagree with each other. Also, it makes it easier to put their stories together when they aren't always talking over each other. I don't think that would've happened in this case, but don't want to take any chances with, for example, averse reactions like vengeance. Who knows what the boy was thinking? (until someone actually talks to him)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Final Stretch

So, I will be done with my last week of student teaching after April 6th. However, that alone does not mean that I will have my credential yet. I still need to submit my fourth TPA which is due on April 9th. Will I have my credential after that? Nope. I still need to complete my RICA. It's basically a test for a teacher's ability to teach and assess reading to students K -8. So, I'll have my credential after I pass that test, right? Wrong again. I also need to take a U.S. Constitution test. I haven't taken the university courses which would satisfy that requirement, so I'm required to take it. Ok. Finally. Wait. I also need to get my CPR certification. Well... the good news is that it only takes a day to satisfy. After I successfully complete ALL of that, THEN I can acquire my credential.

Damn. That final stretch was longer than I had originally expected.