Thursday, November 17

Kids say the darndest things.

Music: "So Happy Together," The Turtles.

An old favorite.

So, I volunteered at St. Alouicious' again today, and sat in on some older kids than last week. 7-8 year olds! It was really rewarding, I think I like this age much more than last weeks' class, which were 4-5 year olds. I got to sit up in the staff lounge with the teachers and ask them all kinds of questions. There are a lot of small things that I pick up every second I'm around the school--the teacher I observed today, for example, had all these good little ways of keeping the attention of the entire class without having to reprimand individuals very much. Thinking back on my teaching job in the Bronx, (which was disastrous by comparison), I realize part of what I did wrong--I think I didn't choose my words or where I spent my attention wisely enough. Really, I think the end result was that I was too busy telling some of my students not to talk for them to gel together as a class. I guess it was because I was trying to be too suttle about reprimanding them...not willing to blame the entire group for what a few people are doing.

I'm great at dealing with individual kids, but a large group of them I have trouble with--because my tendency is towards individual attention and speaking to people one on one, and dealing with issues (like students needing help figuring out a math problem) one at a time--while this is a good thing at times, I think I needed to balance it out in my class by speaking to the class as a class.

The highlight of the trip was when the teacher let me sit in her chair at the front of the class, as their religious exploration studies this week were on Judaism (haw! I guess that's fair after I sang hand motion songs about the birth of Jesus). I had told her I would be glad to answer some questions for the kids, and she surprised me by giving me like 10 minutes to answer all these questions from her chair. I didn't expect it to be a rush to sit there, but it was. Thankfully because they didn't ask me any of the basic things that I don't know but which usually get me in trouble with other Jews (Holiday dates/names/purposes, namely. To all my family who's reading this and expects me to know when Passover is, I apologize, it's not the real me, I swear...It's all the Jesus I've come into contact with lately).

Here's a short rundown of some of the questions they asked me, and how I answered them. Let me know if you think I've misinformed massive amounts of small children on important facets of Judaism (Extra credit commenting option: How would YOU answer these questions, regardless of whether you're Jewish?). I found the whole ordeal to be fascinating/hilarious.

What's Shabbat?
Shabbat is the day of rest, it's this day where you're not allowed to do any work...You can't flip lightswitches or buy things either. Although it seems a little weird to me.

You can't flip lightswitches?

Can you still fall asleep with the light on?
Yes! Of course, you just have to get someone who is not Jewish to hit the light switch. Like, a friend.

Do you light candles?
Yes, we light two candles during the service before Shabbat.

My mother is Jewish! (The teacher: No she's not, Sam, she's Catholic.)
Me: maybe she's half Jewish, and half Catholic? (We move on.)

Does the man who runs the synagogue sing music?
Yes! Actually, my Rabbi--that's the man who runs the synagogue, the Rabbi--plays a guitar, so when we sing he plays the guitar. It's just like...An organ in church.

Do they tell stories at synagogue?
yap. They tell stories, just like sermons in church. And then the Torah is like a long story...It's a long scroll, except sideways...Do you guys know what scrolls are? Yeah, it's like that, except a really really long one, and we read a small piece of it every service, until the end of the year, when we get to the end, and then you have to roll it back. I did that with my dad once. (Hey dad, do you remember that?)

What do Jews eat?
Well, I eat whatever I want, heh, but if you're a serious Jew--there are a lot of different kinds of Jews--then you eat according to a set of rules called Kosher. One of the big rules is that you can not eat meat and cheese in the same meal, so cheeseburgers are a big no-no. And you also can't eat anything made out of pigs, so bacon cheeseburgers are an even bigger no-no.

What's synagogue like?
Well...(ask the teacher what an altar is called) we have an altar, but it's called the Bima (they like that). You go on Saturday nights with your family, after the sun goes down. It's like church, but there aren't any stained glass windows and it's at night.

(The last question) Are Jewish people greedy?
Well...Have you ever heard of stereotypes? It's a thing that everybody might think is true but isn't necessarily. (I think this was a little too complicated for them...But the kid seemed interested, the teacher cuts in.) Mrs Barker: Well, there are all kinds of greedy people, Curtis. There are Catholic people who are greedy, and Jewish people who are greedy....(I didn't really think that answered the question.) Like.....You know how girls are supposed to be good at sewing? Well, I like to knit!

I don't think I answered the last question very well, at least, not so they got it, but they really seemed to enjoy my visit. DEFINITELY going back next week to the same classroom.

By the bye...

Got a blood test today. I never see my own blood anymore for some reason (haven't skinned my knees in a while, doncha know)...So it was pretty strange looking at that vial. But the bottom line is, results in 5 working days. I'm not worried at all. To my grandparents: Meemee and Poppa, don't worry! It's no big deal. I'm just taking care of myself :).

Big update with Milan pics soon!

The Picture of Dorian Gray is really interesting. Too bad I'm going to have to speed demon my way through it in order to write my paper for this Tuesday.


Anonymous said...


I just finished The Picture of Dorian Gray for a class here - we'll have to have a discussion. My mother has recommended the 50's film version (maybe its from the 40's - I dunno).

Glad to hear that all is well!!!

- Jess

Linda Zou said...

I really like The Picture of Dorian Gray. Well, except for that random chapter in the middle of book where Wilde goes on a random tangent...and the gory details at the end of the book. Other than that, it was extremely interesting and well-written. I really couldn't figure out why it was so controversial, especially in light of the ending. Baudelaire, who preceded Wilde, was sooo much worse.

Anyway, great responses to the questions. Didn't know the fact about the Bima.