I'm sitting in an empty living room (that is, empty of people... besides myself, obviously.), chowing down on homemade avocado shake (whatever it's called), in my school-work clothes (whatever it is that student-teachers wear), exhausted after a day of high school classes, college classes, and talking on the phone with my mom about her college and high school daughters.


Last night, I walked into the living room to find David laying on the couch watching the Giants game on T.V. I'm trying to find a place to include one particular detail in that sentence, but I can't find room for it, so I'll just add it on here: David is in a sleeping bag.

Me: (Laughing) "Why are you in a sleeping bag?"
David: "[something something something] ... I just bought a sleeping bag, ice cream, and beer. It's like I'm preparing for the best sleepover ever."
Me: "Did you really have sleepovers as a kid?"
David: "Yeah."
Me: "What do dudes even do at sleepovers?"
David: [without missing a beat] "Have pillow fights in our underwear."
Me: "Oh, ok, so just like us girls."

Womp womp.


More on perfection... I'm agirl who loves music, but fears picking up the guitar because I know the chords won't come out perfectly. I loved (emphasis on past tense) playing basketball, but stopped because I wasn't as good as I wanted to be. In fact, I loved being active, but don't take up sports because I can't hang with the best, can't compete with the best, and can't be the best. I dropped math and science when I got to college because it was my first time not being a straight-A student. I won't open my mouth to speak unless I'm sufficiently sure that the words I'm about to speak are precise and accurate.

Now, I'm learning to teach in a way that will encourage my students to struggle and make mistakes. I'm learning how to get students to acknowledge areas of struggle and be O.K. with the fact that they aren't getting it right the first time around. I'm learning how to encourage students to take risks, how to pick themselves up when they fall, how to help them learn from their falls, and -- most importantly -- I'm learning to let go.

I guess it's like teaching a kid how to ride a bike. Say your goal is to make sure that they stay on the bike: you can either hold onto the handlebars and run along side them for the rest of their life because after all, for as long as you hold on, by God, they will not fall; or you can just let go. Let 'em try. Let 'em fall, they'll get back up. Let 'em fall multiple times. Eventually, they'll learn... and they won't need you anymore.

It's like I've gotten used to this idea that a truth is more important than finding that truth. That the objective is more important than the learning process that takes place to meet the objective. My tendency is I'm quick to correct someone... including myself. See that sentence right there -- the one that came right before this one. That one. I went back and deleted what I had typed, thought for a second for a better way to say it (you know, in a way that makes sense on paper even though it makes sense if I were saying it out loud), and then I stopped myself from correcting myself. "My tendency is I'm quick to correct someone... including myself". Does that phrase make any sense grammatically? No, not really... It's not perfect. But it's what I want to say. Maybe I'll get better one day at phrasing my words. Or maybe I'll just get better at getting out what is in my brain because I let myself make grammatical mistakes.


This blog is my laboratory, in a sense. I get to combine words in ways that I'm too self-conscious to do in person, in real life. I can spell words however I want. I can even make up words.

Damn, this blog-as-a-lab thing is kinda cool.

Most importantly, I can say the things that I'm too afraid to say in real life because I'm not sure if I've got things perfectly correct.

Why would you be afraid to say things in real life? you may ask.

Well, I just never want to be wrong. I never want to make mistakes. I won't open my mouth to speak unless I'm sufficiently sure that the words I'm about to speak are precise and accurate.

So what are some of the things that I want to say?

I want to say... that it's very strange being at Mills College and Albany High. I'm surrounded my more White folks than I've ever seen at one place at one time in my life. I don't say this because I don't want to sound racist/trite/oversensitive/"brown and angry". But for reals, I've just literally never been in this situation before, and I'm trying to find ways to navigate about this new terrain. I thiiiiiiink that there's this one other Filipino in our program of 60+ students. I'm not sure how she identifies. In these new places, I'm very aware of the fact that I confuse people because I look Asian-ish-sorta-kinda. I'm reminded that in a large group where there aren't too many black-haired folks to begin with, it's very easy to quickly classify me as "Asian" because there aren't many black-haired non-Filipino students to contrast me with. I get so self-conscious that my home English starts peeping out, and because my home English peeps out, I get self-conscious, so I try to accommodate to all these feelings by not letting myself speak at all. That way, I figure, I won't make any mistakes.

Which keeps me from learning.

But at least I won't make any mistakes.

It's just that... I don't want my feelings to be wrong. I don't want to be wrong by feeling different about something than the rest of the class. But I've got to realize that of course I'll feel differently, I'm the only Filipino there!

Lastly, and most importantly... I need to get out there and make some mistakes. I've been very hands-off in my student teaching placement because I want the first thing -- and the second, third, and down to the very last thing -- I do to be perfect. It's like I keep creeping up to the end of the diving board and staring at the water, the distance I have to go, calculate the angle and speed that I want to carry out this dive, wait for the wind to blow just right -- but I have to just do it and not be perfect and take the leap, take the plunge, take the fall...

I need to let go.


One Order of Mental Stimulation, Please.

One of the hardest things about being a perfectionist is... despite the fact that perfection can never be achieved, a perfectionist never stops trying anyway.

= = =

My mind is in need of some stimulation. I've been getting an adequate amount of sleep every night -- to the point where I wake up before my alarm -- I sit in a high school classroom anywhere from 2-4 hours a day, perhaps grade for a few more hours, sit in a college classroom for another 4 hours, sit at home and do homework...

I'm bored!!!!

I'm used to getting almost no sleep, ruminating over my day, perfecting this, tweaking that, juggling schedules, interacting with students, hiding my smile when they unknowingly do something adorable, comparing notes with teachers, and just overall feeling like I was getting somewhere in life.

Patience has never been my strongest point.

On the upside, I've had a lot of free time to do things like attend jazz shows, go to the movies, visit museums, go to a couple of baseball games, follow football, go for bike rides, have dinner with friends, practice instruments..

Whatever, I'm bored.

I really want to leave town and go somewhere for a bit. Anywhere, really. Anywhere with different weather than Berkeley, with a different backdrop, perhaps populated with peoples of a different accent or jargon than Berkeley/Oakland/Albany. I want to go somewhere so far away (in culture? in climate? in... anything!) from Berkeley, that I'll actually miss my home, my room, my apartment, and... Berkeley. I want to want to be here. I'm anxious. And... I'm bored.


Why Teach?

"The thing about teaching is... you can't go in trying to be a hero. You can't see yourself as this great savior, trying to save the kids and all that. You just come in and teach. You do your best. Whatever happens after that, happens."


= = =

The past several months has been such a humbling experience. From getting rejected from my top two post-college choices, to teaching my own class for the first time, to meeting 60+ social-justice-savvy teacher credential candidates, I can't help but feel no better than Joe Shmoe just trying to make it in this world.

When I left high school, I felt like a big fish in small pond. When I arrived at Cal, I was an anchovy in the Pacific. Now, I feel so-so in something medium sized.

There are 26.1 million high school teachers in the United States alone. A student who graduates from high school will have had about 40 teachers; if they graduate from college, they may have another 30 or so teachers.

I'm only one person, and soon, I'll only be one teacher. I'm not going to change the world.

But I can try to be good at teaching. Really good. I can try to share my knowledge with my students, and I can let my students teach me the things they want to teach me. I can wake up every morning wanting to be good. In fact, I can wake up every morning wanting to be better than the day before. I can give it my all... give my students my all.

In the end, I will teach not because I know I can be good at it or because I plan to save the world. I teach because it's something that I just want to keep working on no matter how bad I am when I start or how good I get later. I just want to keep working at it.

After all, what is teaching without learning?


Making Room

A: "It's natural to feel embarrassed. But you shouldn't feel embarrassed about feeling embarrassed, because, well, it's natural."
I: "Yeah, you've gotta make room for it."

= = =

I'm making room for the other feelings. The other, "non-happy" feelings. I spend so much time trying to be fair and even-tempered; it's time to give all of my other emotions their time to breathe so that they may exhale from my body and leave me in peace. I don't want to combust.

I'd like to think that human emotion is more complex and meaningful than something that can be controlled, forced, or altered.

Just let me be. Let me be the way I am right now for now. I'll be happy tomorrow.
A little more about me... I'm a very emotional person. I don't want to say "over-emotional", because then it sounds like something's wrong with me when there's not. I just experience a lot of emotions. Also, they come at me full force. Yes, it's a little stressful at times (another emotion I feel when I'm feeling other emotions). But there you have it.

I write this disclaimer because I find that I've been hiding from writing -- something that has taken more effort to do than writing itself. I hide from writing because it is (insert valley girl tone here) so not cool to be, like, totally emo.

But if it's uncool to be emotional, then I guess I'll come off my high horse and do what it takes to just be me so that I can start writing again. My writing is emotional and personal; it leaves me naked and vulnerable to critique for its style and content. For my style and content.

There you have it, now you know, now let the writing commence. I want to clock in my 10,000 hours of writing practice.