Monday, November 28, 2011

Teacher Personality Types

Have you ever noticed that teachers have similar personalities depending on which subject they're teaching? Not all of them fit into these categories, but many do.
Science teachers: It's a big, fascinating world out there and they want you to explore it! However, they may occasionally feel bored and frustrated that they're standing up by the whiteboard giving a lecture on photosynthesis to a bunch of disinterested students instead of exploring the big, fascinating world.
Social studies teachers: They too think the world is a fascinating place, but they feel kind of awkward when they're standing up there going blah, blah, blah and getting nothing but blank glances in return. Offer an insightful comment and they'll love you forever. Or offer a smart aleck comment, because even those are appreciated.
English teachers: Literature holds a very special place in their hearts. So special, they go thumpthumpthump whenever somebody pulls out a copy of The Giver. Because of the theme, not the handsome guy on the cover. They understand, however, that not everybody feels this wonderful sensation and try their best to make you appreciate it. They like discussions, too, making it another class where you can get away with a few snide comments. I didn't even know the words snide and cynical were positive adjectives until my teacher used them to describe me at parent teacher conferences.
Math teachers: They do not like comments. Or discussions. There's only one right answer in math, so sit down, shut up, and find it.
Fine arts teachers: They know you're here because you signed up for the class, not because you had to. Both of you care more about having fun and appreciating theater/music/art. So why not turn it into a party?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Word on Tweens

The word 'teenager' didn't come into existence until the 1940's. Before then, they were simply young men or young women, not quite children but not quite adults. Now, after seventy years of fashion and music and books designed specifically for teenagers, we're starting to see another in between group. Tweens.
It's not a word you hear too much, partly because it's a new term and partly because it just sounds weird. Tweens are roughly between the ages of 10 and 12, too old to act like younger children but too young to technically be called teenagers.
At fifteen, I remember my tween years as a time of trying to span two worlds. I had outgrown The Children's Place and all the other stores my mom used to take me shopping. All my clothes either came from Justice or Target. I've always been an avid reader, but I was picking up books less and less. Back in second grade, I read at least five books a week. Now I was going to the library once a month, wandering the children's section until I came up with three books. I hadn't discovered the smaller section for teenagers yet, so I thought I'd read everything that was worth reading. Now what was I supposed to do in my spare time?
Bored distracted girl student in classroom - education photo
Then I discovered Disney Channel. Hannah Montana. High School Musical. Zach and Cody. The Jonas Brothers. Miley Cyrus. High School Musical 2. Older kids, cool kids, acting out fascinating lives I could relate to and enjoy. I came home from school every day and sat in front of the TV for three hours, respectively. And with the help of that new ipod thing, I could carry their music around in my pocket. No CDs required.
I wanted to be like that. Cool. Fascinating. And older, so I could finally fall into the firm, solid category of Teenager instead of hanging out in gray, misty abyss of in between.
placeand rockin movie princess protection program camp rock luv movies
It took me a long time to realize how stupid they really were.

My tween years weren't all bad, though. One of my favorite memories was the day my family went out to a theme park. I was the perfect height, the perfect age, to not be bored by the little rides

And not freak out on the big rides.

Well, it seemed bigger then.
Now that's a big ride.
A blur of shopping and rides. A very long, pointless blur of everything Disney. To short a blur to remember in great detail. To short for signifigant emotional development. To short for the world (aside from Justice and Disney) to care.
And then my tween years were over, almost before I knew the term.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fun is Dangerous

    Yesterday was my brother's birthday. We went out to celebrate at a place with pizza, bowling, arcade games, and go karts. My dad thought it would be good for me to practice driving on a go kart. After all, they're just like real cars but not as dangerous.
     Or so I thought.
     My friend and I went to go stand in line when we realized there were two. The line for single passeneger karts was very long. The double passenger line was completely empty. Because we are intelligent people, we stood in the double line.
     There was this little sign with an arrow pointing towards the double line that said:
     All drivers must be over 54' with a valid driver's lisence. Passengers must be over 36'.
     We didn't take it seriously because it wasn't a real sign, just a piece of paper taped a foot above the ground. That makes it a little hard for passengers over 36' to read. Besides, how many sixteen-year-olds hang out in dinky overpriced "party places"? That had to be one of the rules nobody bothers to enforce.
     The guy came up to unlock the gate seperating us from the very dangerous go karts."Which one of you is driving?" he asked.
     "She is," my friend said.
     "May I see your driver's lisence?"
     I actually do have one. It's a very special lisence you can only see if you believe. I used to have an invisible car to go with it, but I lost it in the grocery store parking lot. Pity. I think it might have been a mustang.
     I decided that doesn't make it valid. We walked away and got ice cream. Have you ever thought of the havoc a three foot tall child could cause with an ice cream machine? They might have difficulty lifting the handle back up when they were done. If nobody with a valid driver's lisence raced to their rescue, the ice cream might spill onto the floor. That would create a hazard for any people (or go karts)trying to walk (or drive) by.
     I'm trying to think of how that rule could be necessary. It's perfectly possible for a kid to injure themselves in one of those. Maybe they want to make sure some stupid kids don't injure themselves and another person at the same time. Or at least, not a person above 36 inches.
     I don't know what they have against toddlers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

School Lunches are Disgusting Enough Already

....and after
      The first time I walked into my middle school cafeteria, I thought I might have stumbled into heaven. At least until I ended up at the very back of the line. But long waits aside, it seemed spectacular. My elementary school cafeteria had two lines, each one offering a different choice everyday. But this new school had five. Five. A pizza line. A salad bar. One for sandwiches. Another for corndogs, mini corndogs, chicken sandwiches, and spicy chicken sandwiches. A "variety" line  that changes daily with baked potatoes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
     After a few months, the charm wore off. Half of the sandwiches are made in factories and shipped to my school in cardboard boxes. The pizza comes from Five Buck in cardboard boxes. The variety and carnivore line are out of question because I'm an involuntary vegetarian (I gag if I try to eat a piece of steak the size of my thumbnail).
     Then the salad bar-the delicious salad bar with eggs and olives and cheese and croutons and cream cheese I visited three days a week-was replaced by a table of prepackaged salads in plastic containers. I've gotten them maybe ten times since they changed things two years ago. I feel so wasteful because they're big salads
with 3 spoonfuls of eggs and about 36 cubic inches of spinach.
     I guess things could be worse. We don't have mystery meat like they do in cartoons (though I'm not exactly sure where the corndogs come from). My brothers, who are still in elementary school, have whole wheat breadsticks that don't break if you whack them against the table.
    This week I heard on the news that congress was considering a bill that would make school lunches healthier to reduce childhood obesity. I actually shouted at the TV. Healthier is not the problem here. The problem is making the stuff they give us lest disgusting. I've seen people skip lunch hundreds of times. That's not an exaggeration. It's not just the vegetarians and anorexics, but people who don't feel like eating factory dust again.
     Besides, obesity? Sure, some people have weight problems. Even twelve-year-olds. But according to Michelle Obama, 1 out of 3 people under 18 are overweight.
     Uh, no. Every time I hear that, I look at the people around me. There are six at this table, lady. Which two of us are fat? The girl who eats lunch twice a month? The one who throws away a half-eaten sandwich? (There are starving teenagers in countries your husband doesn't oversee) Oh, those statistics don't necessarily apply to our group? Maybe to that girl at the next table then, the one who's eating a bag of peas  from home with no drink or other food groups to balance it out.
     I'm sure we could find some common ground. Something healthy and tasty.


Monday, November 14, 2011

How to Get Candy in November

Is your Halloween candy running low? Here is a slightly weird step by step guide created from my personal experience that will help refill your candy bucket.
1: Get friends. It's easier to slam the door on one person than six.
2: Dress up, so they now you're being serious.
3: Bring along plastic lightsabers so you can threaten people.
4: Choose houses of people who have known you forever and will thus think you're being cute instead of bizarre.
5: Ignore the weird stares.
6: And the slammed doors.
7: And when they insist they're out of candy.
8: If they try to remind you it's not Halloween, begin singing Jingle Bells. Everybody loves carolers. At least, mostly everybody.
9: Keep standing on their porch.
10: Say thank you, even if they only gave you a roll of lifesavers.
I tried this and it actually works! I got two toothbrushes, a roll of smarties, three suckers, a pack of cards, and a handful of jolly ranchers.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday, dear Eliza, happy birthday to me.
That's right, people. I was fourteen, but now I'm fifteen.
I'm trying to see the difference. So far, I've noticed two:
1: My thirteen-year-old friends think it's weird that I'm so much older than them
2: I can drive-once I take the learner's permit test, of course.
I was talking to my friend about studying for the test. She told me her brother had a copy of the driver's handbook he probably wouldn't use anymore. I told her to giftwrap it and bring it to my party.
I didn't think she would take me seriously.
I don't feel different. I don't look different. I wonder if adults will treat and think of me differently than they would a fourteen year old. What do you think? Can a year make a difference? How about three or four? Is a thirteen-year-old that different from a seventeen-year-old? Do they have more differences than a thirty-year-old and thirty-four-year-old would?
 Leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Not Cranky Old Lady

Old ladies have a certain reputation for being cranky. Sometimes this is true, sometimes not.
The city likes to use my school for a voting place. There's always an old lady manning the voting table. Today I wondered what she would do if a teenager tried to vote. I got my friend to walk in with me. We had our student id's ready.
"Hello," I told the fluffy-haired lady. "We'd like to vote." I was expecting her to say snappy, tell us to get away, mutter about teenagers these days. Instead, she smiled.
"Do you have your ID's that say you're over twenty-one?"
We held up our cards. According to mine, I'm 8,519,307 years old. Or maybe that's my ID number.
"Well, you're certainly old and gray," she said. "But I'm sorry. I can't give you a sticker or else everybody would want one. Come after school."
It was nice to talk to somebody like her. It's like killing two stereotypes with one stone. Plus, I got a sticker.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Standards These Days

Everybody talks about how different teenagers are these days-music is dirtier, clothes are tighter, and books are...well, sometimes TV can be more appropriate than reading. Sometimes.
I am extremely annoyed with all this. How are we supposed to live decent lives with high personal standards when the world's are so low? My mom almost never turns on the radio in the car. If she does, she changes stations every fifteen seconds in effort to find a song that isn't about drugs or sex.
It's hard for anybody to live a clean life, but especially so for teenagers. We listen to same radio stations and watch the same shows as adults because that's all there is. Count Nickelodeon and Disney if you like, but most people who like them are under the age of twelve. Besides, would you really describe Miley Cyrus or Demi Lovato as good role models?
And then there's the books. I like books. I review good books on my other blog, goodteenreads. Unfortunately, I only update it every week or few because nothing is appropriate. So many books include scenes where something you see a lot in movies. No, not that, get your mind out of the gutter. But something that approaches that.
Moving on. Call me idealistic, but it's a dirty world, getting dirtier with each passing generation. This generation has to wallow in the mess created by the adults who put the adult in adult movie. I know standards aren't likely to change soon, at least not for the better, but please don't blame teenagers for putting these standards into place.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Costumes These Days

Dear Fashion Designers of the World,
October is a cold time of year, particularly the end of October. In case you're unaware, that's when Halloween takes place. I had to wear a jacket over my gypsy costume this year. It's made of thin polyester, but it's far from the coldest. Nearly all Halloween costumes for teenage girls I see in stores and catologues look something like this, minus the leggings.

I believe you are unaware that some of us live outside of  Florida.
Temperature aside, have you considered the modesty issues? Everybody talks about the appaling dress standards of teenagers these days-particularly the tank tops and short shorts you see girls wearing in the summer. That's the season that does not take place in October in the Northern Hemisphere, where I happen to live.
The general population seem to believe teenagers want to wear low cut, low rising, tight clothes. We don't get to design and manufacture the clothes. We're the ones who have to wear them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Silly Teenage Fun

Teenagers are supposed to be "troublemakers". It may be a stereotype, but there's nothing wrong with a having a little bit of silly teenage fun. Today I was collecting donations for the food bank with four friends. We realized it was only two days after Halloween, so we decided to tell whoever answered the door at the next house that we were trick-or-treating.
He was not amused. He did give us some caramel apples his grandchildren didn't want along with the canned stuff for the food bank. Apples are perishable, so we couldn't donate them.
 Can silly teenage fun be a good thing? Click the little orange button and tell me what you think.