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to make a difference in my small corner of the world; to always be learning and growing; to find something magical every day.
I've been an activist, in some way, shape, or form most of my life. For over 20 years, I taught in the same school district....something I never saw myself doing when I previously would get bored in one to three years! But teaching is a job you can never truly become bored with. Burnt out, yes, but bored....No! :O
I'm just finishing my first year teaching high school language arts and family and consumer sciences at a "boutique" international school in Bangkok. I'm loving it here and look forward to at least another year, despite the COVID situation.
Previously, I taught at an alternative high school working in a GED program for 16 to 21 year old students and loving it! I now manage our two GED satellite programs, one working with teen moms and the other with students who have been expelled for drugs or violence. and high school health and English Language Learners, as well as middle school health and drama. I began and ran the Pacific Islander Club, Red Cross Club, and Upward Bound program for almost 10 years at my previous high school. I have been an active union member in the National Education Association and founded their ELL Caucus.
I volunteer with The Nature Conservancy in Oregon as a naturalist at a few reserves and doing occasional scientific research assistance and other projects (but last summer spent 6 wks on the Heart Mountain Ranch Preserve in WY, just outside of Yellowstone), am on the Coordinating Committee for the Racial Justice Organizing Committee (RJOC) and serve as Public Affairs Officer for the Salem Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and previously served in this position with the American Red Cross. I also work with various local health education groups, as that continues to be a passion of mine.
I was a grass-roots political organizer in Minnesota and in Greece, as well as a journalist and newspaper editor in both places. I organized political campaigns and worked for various, mostly Democratic, politicians. I continue to do political work at the local level, whether testifying at school board meetings, the OR legislature, or the city council on behalf of DREAMers, inclusivity, educational reform, police reform, etc.
I grew up in what I term "the best of both worlds"....i.e., the inner city of Chicago and the small town of Monmouth, IL. I primarily attended college (both a private, religious college and the "heathen" public university) in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN) and then did my graduate work in Oregon.
The light of my life is my 17 y.o. "fairy child", Liam, and my adopted niece, Carolina, but my daily comfort is coming home to my Snowshoe Siamese cat, Artemis.
Why I Teach: A Poem by Ann Timm, TeachingTolerance.org
if I did not teach
i would leave the high-rise office complex
and take home an empty briefcase
that was polished and shiny and had bright brass hinges that would gleam in the light
i would wear high-heeled shoes that would match my suit
and would distract my clients
in the middle of another one of my brilliant sales pitches
or cross examinations
or board meetings
or project presentations
or working business luncheons
i would be able to interact all day
talking to people all over the world
in rushed conversations, imagining what their faces looked like while
on my cell
or the next and new sort of electronic pulse
but i do teach
so i walk in to a room of pieced-together furniture
and worn out carpet, stained after years of a dripping furnace
holding a backpack of papers filled with ideas and hopes and things that scare them
i wear faded clogs that help me to get to
the one that needs me to read over this poem
it shows what they really think
or are trying to understand
or are angry about
or hope and imagine something they can someday be
i interact all day
explaining the movement of iambic pentameter
and the stylistic use of a fragment
and the importance of exposing their critical analysis of a piece of literature
and hurriedly answer,
you can go to the bathroom
but only if you take a pass
and make it quick, we have lots to do
and because i teach
i am a complete person, without any feelings of emptiness or regret or yearning for something else
because i see faces of those who will transform
what we do and how we do it and what that new someday will turn into
and always remind me of the
that every year brings
i do teach.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
Occasionally meet up with local CSers and always introduce folks to this great way of traveling!
I've been using couchsurfing.org for many years now and have hosted guests and helped facilitate connections for various travelers and events. I have used the network to meet local folks to find hiking or dancing companions even when I didn't need housing and found this experience delightful!
I've always been a voracious reader, so much so that I've discovered the joys of audio books for everyday use (not just for long car trips) in order to keep up with my "appetite".
I'm an all-around outdoors enthusiast,hiking, camping, canoeing, etc.
I'm an avid walker (and part-time runner)....in recent years have even done a marathon, a few half-marathons, 5-ks, etc. Whoo-hoo! Who says you can't teach an old lady new tricks? ;)
I like gardening but don't spend nearly enough time digging in the dirt....my garden is beautiful but very haphazard in its' upkeep.
I love theater and dance of all types. I love watching and discussing good films. We'll have to talk to discuss what "good" means. :)
- outdoor activities
Music, Movies, and Books
I love all three and love discussing them even more!
Films: anything directed by Pedro Almodovar or Mira Nair! Slumdog Millionaire; Real Women Have Curves; Persepolis; Sin Nombre; Amreeka; My Life Without Me;
Books: mostly fiction, of various genres, such as mysteries (anything by Louise Penny or Colin Cotterill), fantasy (e.g., "Fellside", "LockIn", "Woman on the Edge of Time", "American Gods"), contemporary fiction (e.g., "Say You're One of Them", "Under the Udala Trees", "Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti" ), historical fiction (e.g, "Half of a Yellow Sun", "A Thousand Splendid Suns", "The Moor's Account"), and young adult novels (e.g, "The Hate U Give", "The Golden Compass", ).
I have increased my non-fiction reading in recent years, mostly along the likes of "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life" and "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" and "Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman: 90,000 Lives Changed".
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Spending the day in the jungle outside of Kuala Lumpur with members of one of the indigenous tribes there to learn about their traditions.
Teaching my high school students relaxation techniques and sex ed!
Traveling in post-Hoxha Albania (and staying with ex-boyfriend's family across the street from Hoxha's personal bunkers!).....only glimpse I've ever had of what the Soviet Union in the 50s must've been like, as Albania had been an isolated satellite for decades....it was like time stood still in many ways but, boy did they try to "catch up" fast!
Living and teaching in Chengdu, Sichuan, China during the summer of SARS!
Spending three days in a homeless shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico with people en route to the underground railroad from Central America and Chiapas.
Living in Athens, Greece for a couple years and working with the current Prime Minister's mother (who was the former P.M.'s wife!) coordinating a peace & partnership conference, until politics got the best of it and I went into journalism instead. :)
Countries I’ve Visited
Albania, Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Wales
Countries I’ve Lived In
China, Greece, South Korea, Thailand, United States