Archive | May 2013

Critical Literacy in Working-Class Schools

“School success is tied to systematic inequalities that persist from generation to generation.”

Working-Class Perspectives

In her recent post Kathy Newman discusses the lengths to which schools go to improve students’ high-stakes test scores and reminds us that parents’ income is the best predictor of students’ performance on standardized tests.  Nevertheless, when working-class public school students perform poorly on high-stakes tests we say to the teachers, “It’s your fault.  Teach better!”  What we get is teachers who teach worse:  lessons become scripted and rote.  And we say to students, “It’s your fault.  Try harder!”  What we get are students who become even more alienated and less motivated.

Of course, lurking behind the whole issue of high-stakes testing is our faith in the concept of the concept of meritocracy.  Only when meritocracy is rigorously defined and the assumptions underlying it are stated explicitly, does it become problematic.

Meritocracy starts with the assumption that, by and large, all American children start kindergarten or first grade on a…

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Why are you making it so hard to go on vacation?

I came across this blog, reposted on Twitter http://thesabloggers.org/why-is-it-so-hard-to-just-go-on-vacation/?utm_source=feedly. It struck a chord with me, as I’ve found myself having a lot of conversation around this idea of vacation and guild with colleagues and friends (as it pertains specifically to the field of Student Affairs). So I felt compelled to write my own thoughts.

There seems to be an unwritten rule and culture within Student Affairs that working until you drop makes you a good SA professional. People often take pride in having no life outside of thier job. “I worked 55 hours today” they may say with a smile. “Oh yah, well I had two student meetings back to back that lasted until midnight and then I had to come back in office at 8am to finish the logistics for this weekend’s events” is the response from another. Sound familiar? I’ve heard it time and time again, and used to find myself doing the same thing until one day I took a step back and said “Waaaait a minute. Something is wrong with this picture.”

So now there’s the new me, happy to not check emails once I leave the office (even when my email alerts seem to be going bizerk on my phone), ecstatic to get off around 5’ish on a good day, and happy not to think about the office once I’m gone for the day. But yet this type of behavior is often looked down upon. Why is that? How has this “work until you drop” culture been instilled in the field as the thing that defines you as a “good SA professional?” Now, I’m in no way saying all work places, employees, or supervisors support abide by this or work in this fashion. But, in my experience so far, I have found this culture more often than not.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this field, and I will stay until I get the job done. But at the end of the day, when I go on vacation, I GO ON VACATION!…and I’d like to not be made to feel guilty for doing so. 🙂

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The Road to Curing Dark Eye Circles Starts With Sweet Almond Oil

So if you’re like me, you’ve been battling dark under-eye circles since…well forever. For me they’re heriditary. On nights where I don’t get enough sleep I often resemble a racoon that wore too much mascara. That’s what I like to think anyways.

I’ve tried everything: expensive eye creams, concealer, getting more sleep…but I never noticed anything dramatically different. Upon a Facebook posting asking the question , “What eye cream do you use for dark eye circles?”, my cousin told me about Sweet Almond Oil as a natural way to combat them. Hmmmm, I had never heard of this before, so I started looking it up. I found quite a bit of [online] literature and information referencing it’s use.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/300227-sweet-almond-oil-for-dark-circles/

Well, I figured as much as I’ve spent on a tube of L’ancome I could “invest” in a $20 bottle of Sweet Almond Oil at Whole Foods. Couldn’t hurt to try.

(Note: there is a difference between sweet almond oil and regular almond oil. Make sure you’re using the correct one.)

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Routine: I use it every night before bed after I wash my face. To use, take a drop of the oil (it doesn’t take much) and gently rub it under your eye in a back and forth motion using your ring finger. It doesn’t totally absorb right away, so if it’s slightly oily, that’s okay. But, it also shouldn’t be dripping down your face.

Note: For the first two days I used the oil both under my eye and under the brow bone. I started developing milia immediately under my brow bone, so I stopped putting oil there.

I failed to take a before picture at the start of the process. I didn’t think about it until four days later. But I do have pics showing the gradual progression over the course of two months. The results are pretty amazing!!

After only four days of use I began to notice a slight difference….or maybe that was wishful thinking. There appeared to be a softening of the skin under my eyes. They didn’t appear as deep set as they normally do, and I looked a tad less tired.

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Four Days

After 2 weeks, I noticed a slight lightening of the hyper pigmentation. I also started to notice a decrease in fine lines. My eyes no longer looked so sunken in.

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After 2 weeks

This photo was taken about one month into my use of sweet almond oil. I think I was tired, making my dark circles more prominent than normal. However, notice the reduction of fine lines, and the skin under my eye is a lot smoother.

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After one month

AND FINALLY……

Two months later! And no, there is no filter!! 🙂

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Two months

No eye cream or oil is ever going to make dark eye circles completely disappear. But, the sweet almond oil DEFINITELY made a significant difference. Not only has it subsided the hyper pigmentation, but it has decreased the appearance of fine lines. I still choose to use a concealer at times, but it’s nowhere near the same challenge of cover-up as it was before.

For $20, it was worth it! Now, go out and buy some! 🙂