Wednesday, August 06, 2008

racing like a pro.

The Museum of Science and Industry.

I remember going as a kid and being excited about all the hands-on interactive things one could do. There were buttons galore, levers and handles and ropes, that when pulled activated some sort of mechanism, usually to demonstrate how a certain scientific principle worked. I would get lost in different rooms, watching things light up, learning about energy and physics and how things work.

I spent hours in the space center looking at the capsules that were flown into space and landed on the moon. They looked like they were made with pieces of gold foil, tubes, pie tins, bits of glass, plastic, and light bulbs. I climbed through a giant head, learning how the eardrums interpret sound, and how the eyes transform the information we see into an image relayed to our brains. And I loved watching the mold machines work; the two metal blocks slowly coming together and a still-warm triceratops being scraped into the little bin below.

We took our kids there today for program and instead of making a big project out of it, we decided to just give them a free day. It was fairly relaxing, but those kids are starting to get the best of me.

The museum has a much different effect on me now that I'm older. The sense of wonder and awe is somewhat replaced with a strange longing. I found myself reading the histories of old cars and their development over time. I thought about what it was like to fly a WWII fighter plane, and about all the materials and technology needed to create something like that – a full ten years before the transistor radio was invented.

I spent a while looking at the model railroad, finding different locations in Chicago on a much smaller scale. I watched a miniature train going over Lake street, the bridge yellow and rusted. Little people went about their business and lower Wacker was full of traffic.

This stuff is all interesting, but sometimes I want to have that same feeling of being overwhelmed, overstimulated, and excited. Where do we go for that sort of thing when we get older?

The rest of the day was also out of the ordinary today. The bus ride home was full of the kids misbehaving. We fired one of our students that we should have fired three weeks ago. I yelled at a half-dozen others with the threat of also being fired. It's frustrating because it feels like their behavior is directly related to how well I'm doing my job. If I'm doing the best I can, I should be able to handle these kids, keep them engaged, interested, and entertained. When it goes south I tend to put the blame on myself. I re-evaluate what I should have done differently in certain situations. How could I have reacted better to that scenario? What other tactics could I have used? But sometimes I feel like my best — the best I can possibly do — is just not good enough to handle some situations.

It's a tough realization, but after considering for a while, I think I'm ok with it. I think it just might mean that I'm not totally cut out for teaching inner-city high schoolers. Other people out there are probably better suited for it. Which should mean that I'm probably better suited for something else. Which is cool.


– If your back wheel gets stolen, for fuck's sake, stay away from Rapid Transit on North ave.

– Tomorrow is my last day of work. woo.

– Vacation for a few days next week with the family.

– Cool evenings are the best.

– Cutoffs. They're everywhere. On cool people.

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