muchos manos nanca trabajo ligero.


i expected today to be another shitball tuesday, but it didn't turn out so bad. i arrived fifteen minutes late, as usual, to mrs. hansen's class, and she had more inventory for me to do. by inventory, i mean looking at a couple of books sitting on a shelf, and marking them off on a piece of paper with a pink pen. it seriously takes me two minutes to do it, and i can't understand why she passes this task off to me. then, she had me make more mini-flashcards. so i took ten, maybe fifteen folders and sliced them up in the teacher's lounge. erica madrigal walked in at one point, and i said, "hi," but she barely greeted me with a smile. semi-snub, part-slighted.

i really began to resent mrs. hansen, and americorps in general, as i was cutting up pieces of folders. all i could think was, i have a college degree. i used to mean something to somebody. i used to be useful, and this is all the work you can give me? how can i inspire others when i'm poor, when i'm doing such meaningless work everyday? i just received an email from our site director, sister liane, about how the u.s. house has officially declared this week americorps week. like our program has been "officially" recognized or something. well, who really gives a fuck? when they haven't raised the ed award since its conception in '94, when we have terrible health insurance that our supervisors have even admitted they don't understand, when we sit in corners, in desks, all across america twiddling our thumbs, who really gives a goddamn-fuck about americorps week?

i know i don't.

and this rant is usually countered by, "but it's about the kids. it's not about money. it's a good experience." and i can only answer, "well, isn't that why we have teachers in the first place?" if they really need some cocky 23 year old to sit in the back, run little tasks, mark things off, then maybe they should find a new line of work. that's what they're paid to do. jesus.

but enough whining. i got to play old capulet in mrs. hansen's class toward the end of the period. i grabbed this kid's arm (following stage directions) and i think it made him pretty uncomfortable. during third period, kathryn needed me to pick up some fruit. so i did.

in rhodes' fifth period class, the kids looked bored out of their minds. their new book is about magic dogs, known as "cadejos." i asked jorge vasquez (pronounced 'vah-skez') what a "cadejo" was, and he said, "it's not real. mr. rhodes said it's like a fiction." then they had to write about "changes" - what's different since they've moved here from mexico. jesus valadez, a big boy, whitening hair, who looks older than me, said in mexico he lived in a six bedroom house. now he lives in a three bedroom house. big yard mexico, little yard u.s.a. i couldn't help but think that things were better there. that there was a sense of community, devoid of gangs, massive consumerism, internet frenzy. romanticizing is dangerous.

against our will, we attended an immigration workshop last friday in belmont. i was tired of telling stories about my family that i didn't really know, so i just got into it. "i think that my family would've been better off in the philippines. you know, they wouldn't have struggled so much with english, all of them probably would've gone to college and had the success that they wanted." lori, who's applied to eighty-something med schools in the past couple of months, said, "that's true. it probably would've been better education-wise, but you know, the quality of life wouldn't have been as...good." we didn't have time to completely discuss, but liz jumped in with, "well. maybe. but that would depend on your definition of 'quality of life'."

sometimes i think about how much our parents have sacrificied to be here and for us to be here, and how little gratitude we have. how little we have to show for it.

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