Friday, November 18, 2016

Loneliness is Starvation

This poem is an original work by Nimisha Jain.

Loneliness is Starvation


Loneliness is starvation--
a hunger I crave to satisfy,
an eternal quest to quell,
a poverty that wreaks havoc.


Loneliness is a nightmare--
a dreary horror of slavery.
An incessant gloom of obscurity I long to escape,
clinging to me as a grotesque shadow of solitary.


Loneliness is eternal.
I walk through seas of people,
left to drown, engulfed by agonizing desolation,
where my shadows desert me in a dry spell.


My skin squirms, trembling in fright,
each second boiling my blood.
Every minute tightening the lump forming in my throat.
Every hour sorrow saturates my suffering.


Any hope I had was a snake,
cloaked scales of desperation,
slithering across the floor dripping with misery.
crawling into the abyss of the night.


My body crawls with cuts flaming in crimson.
My scars scream stories I wish to keep hidden.
My tears form an ocean of acid--
burning blistering moons along my skin.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Being a Learner During an Election Season

Reposted from New Tech High @ Coppell

By Mr. Hussey, American Studies (US History) Facilitator 

Macintosh HD:Users:bhussey:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 11.05.30 AM.pngFor a myriad of reasons, the 2016 election has captured the interest and passions of the nation. If one follows the expansive coverage of it on social media, television, or radio, they will soon encounter commentators using a style of combative, polarizing, and absolutist rhetoric that impels readers and listeners to take a stand. For high school learners closely following their first election, this type of rhetoric can be difficult to navigate. Young people have been thrown into this unique political moment, and tasked with not only their understanding of elections and politics but also the social act of “talking politics.” Learners, however, are resilient, and throughout this election, they have found ways to express themselves.

Three New Tech High @ Coppell juniors shared their reflections on what it is like to be a learner during the 2016 election.

Carson Winneker

This election is arguably the most controversial election in US history. Due to that fact, a civilized conversation has proven very hard to come by. People seem to be motivated by emotion rather than logic and reason. I do wish that more people were open about their beliefs and that they would respect the beliefs of others. Additionally, people seem to be dangerously uninformed or ignorant about both candidates. I believe that the mainstream media and people’s arrogance are to blame, as they are essentially forced to take a side in every issue. With ignorance, it makes it increasingly difficult to have a genuine political discussion. I’m opposed to simply yelling your own political agenda at the other side of the spectrum and expecting them to change to agree with you. I’ve always sought after purposeful discussions on why people feel the way they do.
Macintosh HD:Users:bhussey:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 11.05.01 AM.png

During this election, I have not tried to talk about specific politicians with other classmates and facilitators as much I have focused political satire. I feel that most people at NTH@C would be open to a strict policy discussion. As for the future of politics, this election should exemplify that our political system is structurally frustrating, to say the least. Both candidates have a substantial amount of controversy behind them and have extremely high public disapproval ratings. I honestly don’t know what path is right to take for American politics, but we can’t just sit around and let history repeat itself. We have to change for the better, and we can’t wait much longer than we already have.

Rebecca Carroll

Macintosh HD:Users:bhussey:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 11.06.05 AM.png
As a young-adult with a well-developed understanding of my political views, I’ve never had an issue with expressing my thoughts and opinions. However, I’ve found myself surrounded by controversy during this election cycle. Among my peers, my views about this election are considerably unwelcome. Though conversations in the classroom remain fairly civilized, I’ve realized that once we begin to discuss the election on our own time, educational and productive conversation is difficult to have. Though many people strongly believe in individual rights, whenever I exercise my rights to express differing opinions I’m met with backlash. Though I work not to offend others while discussing politics, I will not compromise my beliefs in order to avoid offending others. No one has the right not to be offended. This being said, even as an outspoken individual with a developed understanding of my political beliefs, I still find myself avoiding specific issues for fear of being verbally abused because of my unpopular opinions.

Brianna Lee

It has been somewhat difficult to talk about the election at school. This election is unique in the way that people are extremely partisan, and so trying to talk with a person who is a supporter of the other candidate results in less “talking” and more “arguing.” I admit to being very vocal and stubborn with my beliefs and when I find a person like myself who doesn’t agree with me, it’s like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.

Macintosh HD:Users:bhussey:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 11.04.31 AM.pngIt’s because of this high tension between parties that most students will shut down their peers when they bring up the election. Even mentioning the candidate’s names during class results in at least three students saying “Okay, guys, let’s not talk about this.” I can appreciate this when people want to work, but sometimes it feels like no one cares enough about this historic event that we are living through. No one seems to watch the debates, and when they do, they just complain about having to watch it in the first place because their family made them. The best discussions I’ve had over this topic have been with my current events teacher and history teacher. While they were enlightening discussions, I want to have as deep of conversations with people my own age. I want to know how much my generation knows of different important subjects because some of these subjects will affect us greatly in our future. People don’t seem to understand that this election, and current politics in general, will affect us the most. If we don’t get involved, we won’t have any say in our future, and that can end up really, really bad.
Macintosh HD:Users:bhussey:Desktop:Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 10.56.18 AM.pngI think that the projects we’ve done so far in history and in current events have helped create a possibility where people like me, who love to debate, can have the opportunity to stay informed on both sides of this election. I have gained more understanding for the opposing side and empathy towards their supporters. So, while there isn’t much of a community in the student body in regards to politics, I do feel like my school has made a welcome environment and opportunities for discussions on the election.

Information about the pictures:

Learners worked in groups to design, create, and deliver presentations about the 2016 presidential election including information on the candidates, party system, and electoral college. Each group also used the study of presidential elections from the Gilded Age as a lens to interpret the current election.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Becoming the Best Version of Myself

By Arianna Tejada

Have you ever subconsciously set goals for yourself? Made plans without knowing it? That is what inevitably happened to me this year. That plan was to become the best version of myself. Now, what does that even mean?

To me, being the best version of myself basically means that I have my life on track. It means being 100%, or at least almost 100%, physically, mentally, and spiritually sound. These three things can encompass many areas of life, such as making the most out of my day, finding my dream job, and embarking on that journey I know I should take. This could all just start by getting up earlier in the morning.

But for me, I wanted to improve my health (specifically exercise), my organization for school and life in general, and being able to find things that I enjoy doing or learning about.

My first goal was not to hate exercise as much as I did and exercise more consistently. Now, I wasn’t really an athletic person in my younger years. I did ballet for a few years as a child, tumbled at a gymnastics gym for a few months, and played tennis for three seasons.

I never had the desire to play soccer or run on the track team (my worst nightmare). I was always more keen to do something creative, like drawing or dancing. When it came to exercise, (as in go to the gym and do push-ups) that was definitely not my thing. However, this year, I told myself, “stop being a wimp and just go. It’ll get better.”

It’s not that I need to lose a lot of weight, but I wanted to get leaner and stronger so that I wouldn’t struggle to hold 15-pound dumbbells. For someone who is fit, this seems as easy as raising a piece of paper, but for me, it was difficult.

In the past, I would go to the gym once in awhile or do yoga for three days in a row. Then, I would wait two months until I got my mat out again. I downloaded the Nike+ Training app, which makes customized workout plans, and I would end up starting and canceling a new plan for months at a time.

I saw a Buzzfeed video called, “We Tried A Workout That Didn’t Suck,” and the girl said that when people say that they like to work out, they don’t mean being sweaty and tired, they like the feeling after. That is something that I remember every time I don’t want to go to the gym; It might be so hard during the workout, but once I finish it, I’ll feel great.

This time around, which was about five weeks ago, I have been completing my workouts on a semi-consistent basis. Sometimes I would put two-to-three rest days in between workouts when I really don’t want to go, but I think once I get over that hurdle of pushing myself to go every day, it’ll be the start of an exciting fitness journey.

My hope is that I start enjoying working out and I can make this a lifelong commitment. I know that being physically healthy is something that will be beneficial to my body.

Being healthy is a common thing that teenagers don’t think is a big deal. Either school gets in that way of thinking about making a healthy meal or doing some type of exercise or we just don’t care. However, many teenagers participate in sports, so they are good to go. I see people go to lunch and get chips, candy, a cookie, and a water, and I wonder if they think that what they’re putting into their bodies are things that will give them nutrients and energy.

My hope is for all teenagers to start treating their bodies well with exercise and wholesome foods because it’s the only body they’ll ever have.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

An Experiment in Writing

In graduate school, I read a few articles and essays from Stanley Fish on college composition. I remember that he created a real world audience for his students by creating periodical publications that he would self-publish university-wide. In this same line of thought, I have been thinking of a way to apply this idea in the project based learning, high school, humanities classroom.

I have many students who can write well already and need the pressure and excitement of a real audience. I have students who have a good understanding of writing and need help to find voice and coherence in writing. And I have a few students who need some elementary grammar and composition mistakes that have never really been addressed. At all levels, the dynamic of writing for an authentic audience and having their work on the internet or in a bound text will help them to see another purpose than writing for only the teacher’s eyes.

The project will include a blog and a self-published journal of writings from students. I want to allow the students to choose the genre and content of their texts, but I will encourage them to keep it non-fiction or fiction based on their perspectives as juniors at New Tech High @ Coppell. The vision for the blog and the publication is to show the many perspectives from this junior class. The students will have a digital and print collection of writing that they create and will have their names in the by-lines. (Truth be told; I am trying to be the type of teacher that I wish I had growing up. While I have had many great teachers in literature and a few great composition professors, I want to give my students the opportunity to make something they can be proud of and something they can set out into the world on the sea of information and perspectives.)

I want this project to run parallel to the project work that we do throughout the year, and I want it to be ungraded. My hope is that the lack of grade will remove unwanted, educational pressure and free up the students to take risks. I also want to work with a total of between 4-6 students each week across all of my classes so that I can give individual attention to students without feeling the rush of getting through everyone in a timely manner. This will also give me a chance to grow a professional relationship with my students outside of what I am doing with every student every day. (I re-wrote that last sentence about three times because I don’t want my students to read that and feel like I am trying to manipulate a relationship when my desire is to foster my relationships with them apart from the content. I never want students to feel as if I don’t actually care about them outside of the class and curriculum because that is untrue.)

The blog will be set up here, and I hope to publish the first edition of the book/journal by the end of April 2017.