Thursday, July 30, 2009

Great Radio Website

I have found a great radio website. As you all know, I love Dave Matthews Band. This website is a Dave Matthews Band radio station; however, it doesn't just play their studio albums but it plays studio songs, rare songs, never recorded songs, and cover songs. One minute you're listening to the song Typical Situation recorded from a show in 1993 and the next minute you're listening to Shake Me Like a Monkey recorded just a few weeks ago. Great website for Dave Matthews Band fans. It's definitely all I've been listening to ask I surf the internet.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dave Matthews Band

One aspect of my life that is really hard for people to understand is my obsession with the Dave Matthews Band. Ever since I heard this band for the first time I was hooked. The first song I ever heard was the song Rapunzel off of the Listener Supported CD. I listened to the CD back in 1999 and I just loved the musical and lyrical aspect of the band. I was so intrigued by Dave Matthews Band that I went to K-Mart and bought a Dave Matthews Band CD. Ironically, the CD I bought didn't even have the song Rapunzel on it. The CD I bought was Under the Table and Dreaming. The rest is history...

This past weekend I saw Dave Matthews Band for the 29th and 30th time. On August 1st and 2nd I will see him for the 31st and 32nd time. There are multiple reasons I see Dave Matthews Band this much. First of all, it's a great type of vacation. Seeing Dave Matthews Band is a great way for me to get away for a day or two and see my favorite band. It's great to unwind for a few days and see a great band.

Secondly, Dave Matthews Band is a great band to see live. It is not rare for Dave Matthews Band to play for two and a half to three hours each night. Dave Matthews Band consistently has one of the best light and sound displays of any other band I've ever seen. Their musicianship is showcased live by their improvisational ability. I'm always looking to see what they're going to do next because it changes year to year and show to show...which brings me to my next point.

Thirdly, Dave Matthews Band's live shows are constantly adapting and changing. Usually when I see Dave Matthews Bands I see him two nights in a row at one particular location. People ask me, "Doesn't he just play the same concert?" NOT AT ALL! There are obviously exceptions to this. For example, Dave Matthews Band just released their new album (Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King) so may repeat 2-3 of those songs in a two night stint; however, when Dave Matthews Band plays two nights in a row you usually hear 36-40 different songs over those two nights.

Fourthly, not only does Dave Matthews Band's live shows constantly change but their shows are always changing as well. For example, I have heard the song Ants Marching at least a dozen times but the song has changed so much from the first time I heard it in June of 2000. Songs are always changing and adapting and constantly display the bands musicianship and creativity.

Dave Matthews Band is my favorite band and, as sad as it sounds, I will probably go to a lot more concerts until he just stops playing. The video below is Dave Matthews Band playing the song #41. The song is entitled 41 because it's the 41st song that the band had written. The song showcases lyrical ability of Dave Matthews and the musicianship the band possesses. It's quite long but you should definitely watch it regardless.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Training Over

Today, believe it or not, is my last day of formal training before I enter the classroom in the fall. For the past 7 weeks I have been in a very intense training program sponsored by Teach For America that is intended to build preparedness before one is in charge of their own class. I am proud to say that today is the last day of the 7 weeks. Today, to end our training, Indianapolis Teaching Fellows as well as Teach For America is having a luncheon with Gov. Mitch Daniels. It's an exciting way to end and start my time in Indianapolis.

The past seven weeks have been great in a lot of ways. I went from a college graduate that wasn't sure what life outside of college looked like to an elementary school teacher in Indianapolis. I'm grateful to have a job let alone work for an amazing organization like Teach For America. Over the past several weeks I have learned a lot about student behavior, classroom management, investment of students, diversity, community, effectiveness, lesson planning and lots of other little nuggets I'll add into my instruction this next school year. It's been like drinking from a fire hydrant.

I say training is over when, in reality, it's just beginning. Granted, I taught summer school in Atlanta, Georgia; however, the students I instructed down there didn't seem like "my class" or "my students". The students I'll have at Imagine West in Indianapolis will provide me with lots of training as I learn what it truly means to be a teacher that is trying to erase the achievement gap. The next few weeks before school starts looks like a variety of different things. From one angle it looks like a vacation. I will be seeing a lot of friends I haven't seen in awhile while also going to see Dave Matthews Band in various areas around the Midwest. I will also be going to Chicago with my family to partake in some fun activities as my family and I decompress from the stresses of every day life. In another sense these few weeks before school starts is a lot of work. I desperately need to make sure that my vision precedes my action. I need to make sure that when it's day one and my students are looking at Mr. Schaefer for the first time that they're getting the best Mr. Schaefer they can get.

So, as training is over, I'll have some vacation time; however, I'll be constantly thinking about the best ways to serve my first class and what I need to do to be the most effective teacher I can be.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What a Teacher Makes

Taylor Mali is a teacher and also a beat poet. I love this poem he wrote so much that I decided I would put it up for others to see:

By Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is, "What's a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
He reminds the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests
that it's also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.

"I mean, you¹re a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"

And I wish he hadn't done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a goddamn difference! What about you?

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm Already Bad at This

Good day to you! I have to apologize because I already feel as though I'm bad at this whole "blogging" thing. Oh well, this whole past week had a lot of elements of busyness so there wasn't too much of an opportunity to blog. I'll give you a quick rundown of last weekend.

Last weekend was an exciting weekend because one of my best friends, Jeff Deselm, got married to the love of his life Samantha Harper. The wedding was in Fort Wayne, Indiana and, of course, I am in Atlanta for the summer. So on Friday I got a cab ride from my school to take me back to Georgia Tech (where I'm living in Atlanta) and then to take me to the midtown train station (Marta Station). I then hopped on the train and it took me right into the airport. I easily found where I was supposed to be and sat eagerly by my gate as I awaiting to be home with friends and family.

My flight got into Chicago (Midway) at 9p.m. Fort Wayne, Indiana time. Brooke was in Chicago that day and was able to pick me up. I then enjoyed the drive home to Fort Wayne with my beautiful girlfriend as I was anxiously awaiting to be reunited with friends from home.

The next day was launched and the wedding was beautiful. Secretly, I think all of my friends and I knew that Jeff and Sam would end up together and it was great that they finally tied the knot. Congratulations to Jeff and Sam!

I then flew back to Atlanta out of Dayton (thanks again to Brooke for driving me). I got back into Atlanta really late and, without getting robbed, made it back to Georgia Tech in one piece. It was a great weekend.

The week wasn't that long due to a shortened week because of the holiday; however, it was still work as my fellow teachers and I are desperately trying to get our students ready for their standardized test.

So, again, sorry for not blogging in awhile. I promise that won't happen again.