Sunday, April 4th, 2004
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Yesterday was Derek's birthday. Since drinking and barhopping are favorite activities of his, a little group including his sister and some friends did just that. I joined them downtown at Boston's, then we stopped in at the Stage Door for shots and then went on to Celebrity.

In compliance with Don't Ask Don't Tell no names will be mentioned (appearance on this blog is not an indication of sexual orientation). As you can see, there was an obsession with watching passers by on Second Street (including suspected hookers and strange patrons of Stage Door), with hair and personal appearance, with crotch shots, with half naked Kroger salad bar boys, and with drinking, ending, of course, with the obligatory shot of Derek passed out drunk (compare to this shot from December 2002).
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Monday, April 5th, 2004
I'm a grammar god -- see if you are too According to this Quizilla quiz, I'm a grammar god, which I guess is good since I'm planning on becoming an English teacher!
Tuesday, April 6th, 2004
The professor of my ED303 (Intro to Educational Psychology) is love with the Gregorc Style Delineator?. She says that by knowing one's style one can know how one best learns and how one prefers to teach. By understanding the different styles (there are four), we can better understand differences in our students.

In class today we each completed the Style Delineator? word matrix, in which one ranks various words (such as objective, quality, aware, and spontaneous). Then we added our rankings according to the form to find out our style. Don't tell Gregorc Associates that we used photocopies of their form; apparently you're supposed to buy the form for $3 each ($2.18 each in bulk).

My highest score was a 27 in Abstract Sequential and 26 in Abstract Random. We'll learn more about the four styles (the other two are Concrete Sequential and Concrete Random) next class.

I'd never heard of Gregorc before this class, but all this reminds me of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? personality assessment tool. We did a mini-workshop on this a few years ago at a church retreat. There are 16 MBTIs. Mine is ISTJ (Introvert Sensor Thinker Judger).

The Meyers & Briggs Foundation warns against the "superficial use" of their tool, urging that it be administered only by qualified people. I dare say that might apply to Gregorc too. That's why my professor's spending so much time on this is so striking. Still, whether valid or not, all this is interesting.
Friday, April 9th, 2004
Last month I took the Praxis II test in English language and literature. Today I finally received my score. Suffice it to say that I got well above the minimum score (167 out of 200) required by the state of Ohio, so I know enough about English, at least as Ohio's concerned, to teach it.

Of course I don't know enough yet about teaching, as far as Ohio's concerned, to teach. That requires yet another standardized Praxis test on pedagogy, which I'll take after completing a master's program in education.
Saturday, April 10th, 2004
You might remember that I've been singing in the Dayton Gay Men's Chorus. A few months ago we got an invitation from the Dayton Boys Choir to participate in the All Ohio Boychoir Festival on May 22nd at the Schuster Center. I know what you're probably thinking -- why would a boys choir invite a gay men's chorus to sing with them? That would just be inviting controversy, wouldn't it?

That thought crossed our minds too, but it is 2004 so perhaps people are mature enough to realize that gay men are not pedophiles and that merely seeing a gay man is not enough to turn a straight boy gay. Perhaps the Dayton Boys Choir realized that surely some of its members are gay and that having a group of proud, gay men singing in the concert would provide them with some good role models.

Well as it turns out that in fact would be too much to ask. The Dayton Boys Choir let us know last week that they hadn't realized we were gay. Unlike the Cincinnati Men's Chorus (a great group that does a lot for the Cincinnati gay community but nevertheless a group without the word "gay" in its name), "gay" is a part of the name of the Dayton Gay Men's Chorus. Did the management of the Dayton Boys Choir really not notice that little 3-letter word in their correspondence with us?

True or not, they now feel that since the All Ohio Boychoir Festival is a part of the Victoria Theatre Children's Festival, they can not stand any controversy. So we're invited not to be a part of the concert.

We've decided not to make a big deal about it. Pick your battles and all that. I did send a personal letter on my own expressing disappointment, however. I understand that homosexuality is still controversial but am disappointed that the Dayton Boys Choir management isn't brave enough to stand up for what's right. Boys don't turn gay just because they know gay people (boys don't turn straight just because they know straight people). And if a pedophile wanted to gain access to boys in a choir, it'd be a hell of a lot easier to be closeted and volunteer for the boys choir than it would be to be openly gay and try to molest a boy during a concert.

At any rate, if you want to send an e-mail to the Dayton Boys Choir about all this, you can reach them at these addresses:
Butch Brown, president
Will Harris, vice-president
Cindy Boyer, trustee
Elaine Bonner, secretary
David McCoy, trustee
Brendan Greaney, trustee
Harvey Canty, trustee
Nanci Hames, trustee
Tim Brown, trustee
Ken Fink, parent representative
Brian Ross, parent representative
Mike Owens, parent representative
Don Eadie, parent representative
Sunday, April 11th, 2004
I've finally gotten around to setting up a form so that you can search my books database.
Tuesday, April 13th, 2004
I don't have the type of blog where I post links every day to interesting articles I've found, but today I do have an interesting article to point out. As many of you may know, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia practically went apoplectic last June when his colleagues ruled not only are sodomy laws unconstitutional that ban only same-sex sodomy (equal protection clause anyone?) but also are laws banning consensual private sodomy regardless of gender.

To be fair, Scalia gets apoplectic about lots of things, not just gay sex. He also gets rather upset if reporters, exercising their constitutional right to freedom of the press, make audio (only God knows what Scalia would do if he saw a video camera) recordings of his speeches. Recently Scalia ordered the federal marshalls who protect him to force two reporters to erase tapes they recorded of a speech Scalia gave.

The article about this that I liked so much is by Dahlia Lithwick, who covers the Supreme Court for Slate. She points out that not only were the marshalls' actions in this situation probably unconstitutional but that the marshalls regularly take illegal actions at the orders of the Supreme Court justices (an excuse that didn't work so well for Germans who'd taken orders from Hitler).

I find it ironic that conservatives don't find their own inconsistencies ironic. The government should stay out of people's lives, unless the people are having gay sex. Equal protection should be upheld, unless it would lead to gay marriage. And Lithwick points out a new one: the constitutional rights to due process and freedom of the press and freedom of speech should be upheld, except in the cases of reporters covering Justice Scalia's speeches.

She ends her commentary by saying "The real problem is that there is a small army of state officials who don't seem to be playing by a rulebook. They simply act at the caprice of our judges, and this should not be tolerated." What are you going to do about it? Tolerate it? Or write a letter to your congressperson?
Wednesday, April 14th, 2004
I walked over to the main library today to pick up a book today, and after I was done at the library I stopped at Yummy Burger to get some Thai for lunch. Derek and I ate there a couple weeks ago. It doesn't have the variety that Thai 9 in the Oregon District has, but it's cheaper and doesn't require reservations. Do be sure to take a friend or a book, though, as the service isn't especially fast.
The other White Tower building left downtown, a couple blocks south of Yummy Burger, has signs in its windows saying it's going to become a Smokin' BBQ place. That'll be interesting.
Friday, April 16th, 2004
You may know that I'm a member of Cross Creek Community Church, and you may know that Cross Creek is part of the United Church of Christ, but did you know that Cross Creek is also affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists? Just as some people make certain assumptions when they hear the word Christian so too do they make similar assumptions when they hear Baptist. There are of course Baptists and Christians who are pretty vocal about their beliefs, thus fostering those assumptions, but there are other Baptists and Christians who put a different emphasis on their beliefs. Southern Baptists might be representative of the former group; the Alliance of Baptists is representative of the latter.

Cross Creek's pastor, Mike Castle, comes from a Southern Baptist background, and after leaving the Southern Baptists and coming to the UCC (with a brief visit to the United Methodists), he wanted Cross Creek to have a connection to the Baptist tradition, at least the parts of that tradition that Cross Creek could affirm. So Cross Creek has been affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists since Cross Creek's founding. Last year the UCC as a denomination decided to partner with the Alliance of Baptists along with the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ (with whom the UCC already partnered for foreign missions).
? So to make a long story at least somewhat short, this year the 18th annual convocation of the Alliance of Baptists is being held here in Dayton, and Cross Creek is the host church, providing volunteers to staff tables, cook and serve food, house participants and other tasks. Since our building is too small for all the participants, the event is being held downtown at First Baptist Church, an American Baptist church that's also part of the Alliance of Baptists.

I chose an easy task for my volunteer duties, namely providing housing to a participant. My guest this weekend is David Reese, a religion major at Oberlin College. He's got an interesting web site, and apparently he's a comedian who's part of the group Piscapo's Arm.

I'm not participating in the workshops at the convocation, but I am going to the worship services. Tonight's started off fairly slow with all the officials of the hosting congregations and the three denominations taking a long time to say how glad they were that they, each other, and all of us were there. The pace picked up when Timothy Tutt, pastor of United Christian Church in Austin, Texas, explained ecumenism by comparing it to jazz, with some musical help from Winton Reynolds, Phil Borrero and Brad Taylor's jazz trio.

The highlight of the service was a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah H. Wright, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ. This man has a style that's decidedly "African American Baptist preacher," which had me wondering where he was going (was he heading to Biblical literalism? Jesus as Christ is the only path to God?), but by the middle of his sermon he was saying some things I could definitely agree with. I'd be very surprised if any members of his congregation were ardent Bush supporters or strident believers that homosexuality is a sin.
Sunday, April 18th
Today was the last day of the Alliance of Baptists convocation held here in Dayton. I went to the worship service last night, at which the main speaker was Charles Kimball of Wake Forest University, to a dialogue this morning with James Fowler of the Emory University Center for Ethics and Public Policy Research, and to the worship service this morning, at which the main speaker was Karen Thomas Smith of Al Akhawayn University in Morocco.

Jeremiah Wright on Friday night was a very dynamic speaker, and I really enjoyed Karen Thomas Smith today. The daughter of a Baptist preacher, she became one herself and now serves as ecumenical chaplain at Al Akhawayn, a university founded by the King of Morocco in part to promote dialogue and work among people of different faith backgrounds. Part of what she stressed was that Christians who try to convert people of other faiths not only cause others to question Christians' motives but also lose an opportunity to learn what other faiths have to teach. She's definitely a woman who believes that Jesus had some important things to teach us but that Jesus is not the sole path to a relationship with God and God's creation.

If that's not enough to make you realize that the Alliance of Baptists are different from their more fundamental brethren, two books I bought today at the convocation's bookstore might be. Queer Commentary and the Hebrew Bible on its own might be enough to rile some Southern Baptists, but The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament would certainly make them indignant.
Friday, April 23rd, 2004
Roselyn and Mark looking at pictures On Friday nights I'm part of a book group at Cross Creek. We're reading The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg. Tonight we talked about how literally we take the Apostles' Creed (not very). Marty and Linda
Judy and rod
Sunday, April 25th, 2004
Anne, Marty, Linda, Lee, Eric, Mark and meIf you're a regular fan of my blog (lol), you know that my church has dinner groups whose members take turns dining at one another's homes. Tonight was Anne and Lee's turn to host, and they succeeding in maintaining our group's high standards!
Friday, April 30th, 2004
Today marks the end of my sixth week of observing at Stivers School for the Arts. I missed commenting at the half way point (I have five weeks of observing left), but so it's better late than never.

The most common reaction I get from friends or new acquaintances who are teachers when I tell them I'm studying to become a teacher is something along the lines of "What? You might want to reconsider that." And at school (Wright State, not Stivers) I've heard that a big part of the reason for the Phase I Observations is to let education students know what they're getting themselves into, in case they want to change their minds (a couple of my fellow Integrated Language Arts students have done just that).

There have been times during my observation that I've wondered whether I really do want to be a teacher. Teenagers in the best circumstances can be moody and difficult to deal with; kids who find themselves in bad situations are of course more of a challenge. I've had no real experience managing kids (dealing with programmers bickering over the temperature in an office isn't quite the same thing), and my college classes so far haven't dealt with the subject yet.

I need to learn how to deal with:
  • kids who sleep in class (my cooperating teacher's strategy is to let sleeping dogs lie)
  • kids who want to socialize rather than work (my cooperating teacher has the knack for dealing with this, but even for him it's an ongoing battle)
  • kids who refuse to do as they're told (anything from moving to another chair to working on a quiz)
  • kids who get upset when their teachers (me and my cooperating teacher) won't let them do something (go to their locker, go to the library, go to the bathroom, use the phone [use the phone?! in my day (god, I'm old) classrooms didn't have phones])
  • kids who don't come prepared (my cooperating teacher has lost this battle or rather chooses not to fight it other than through the gradebook; kids come without pencils or their books and more often than not do not do assignments on time)
When I decided to become a teacher, it wasn't because I was attracted to the idea of being a policeman.
This experience hasn't been bad though. Even after just six weeks I feel more comfortable dealing with the kids who don't want to be in school. And working with the kids who do want to be there, or who at least are willing to try, is what teaching's all about (how's that for a cliche, but nevertheless a true one).

I like working with kids one on one or in small groups. We're doing pretty basic stuff (how to use quotation marks has been the main thing this month), but it's fun to think of ways to try to make it interesting. Some kids seem to get a kick out of working with sentence that have their own names in them (and other kids think that's stupid). A lot of kids like to write on the board (they volunteer; the ones you have to ask to write on the board don't want to). One of my professors really advocates incorporating artsy/crafty things to teach kids about literature and grammar; I tried one of her ideas (character popups) with the reading lab kids and they seemed to like it.

Dealing with kids in small groups or individually is revealing. One kid who contributed a lot to my realizing how much I need to learn about behavior management was surprisingly willing to work when he was in a small group. Part of it was that he wanted to compete with two others kids, but part of it was that he was actually starting to get what we were working on. He can still be a challenge in the classroom, but it's good to know that there's another side to him.

Being at Stivers has made me think more about figuring out exactly what and where I want to teach. A good thing about Stivers is that it's walking distance from my house. Another thing is that it's a magnet school, so many of the kids do want to be there, at least for their magnet. Whether a suburban school would have more kids who want to be in school or who are willing to do what they're told, I don't know for sure. Something that has crossed my mind is that kids in a foreign language class might be more motivated than kids in an English grammar class. More on that later.
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