France Gall, Arcade Fire – “Poupee de Cire Poupee de Son” (1965) #tbt

What a cutie she is!

I think this is one of my favorite tunes of all time, even if I can only sing a few of the lyrics. I almost never get tired of it, no matter how many times I listen to it.

France Gall – “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son” (Spotify Link)

The flute begins and the horns guide you in. Then, the sharpness of those violins pierce through and a faint bell dings in the background. The castanets cackle away and the horns slide to accompany her voice, which sounds pure and untrained in the best way possible. The composition of this song is incredible, when you really sit down and critically listen to it.

It wasn’t until later that I found Arcade Fire did a cover of this song, which I found such a strange coincidence. Here was a song that I had labeled as an all-time favorite, and a band that I love so much. Maybe it was just meant to be.

Arcade Fire – “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son”

I think I’ll need to learn all the lyrics just so that I can actually sing along to the whole thing.

PJ Harvey – “Down by the Water” (1995) #tbt

Okay, been a while since I haven’t posted new music, so here’s an oldie but a goodie. Maybe I’ll do a #tbt every week, so I get some classic stuff that I like on here too. This specific song is featured on my Stripper Rock Playlist, along with a great many other classics. What I like about this one is how seductive and scheming she is, just by listening to the music, you can tell that she’s up to no good. The music video adds a touch of black magic to the music.

PJ HarveyDown by the Water (Spotify Link)

First Day of School, or, Opening Night

I can’t even remember my first day last year. I’m sure it was hectic, but I wish I had a record of it so I could go back and evaluate how it went wrong/what I can do again that worked well. But first days are always a little nerve-racking for me. New kids, new campus this year, and I’m a changed teacher. How will this year be different? I guess I’ll find out soon.

I walked into my classroom this morning at 8:00 to realize that there were NO CHAIRS in my room for the students. When I went to the main office to figure it all out, I found that every one else was having their own little crisis. An English teacher running around looking for Expo markers, a History teacher frantically trying to print her syllabi out of a printer that just happened to stop working today; so we all were stressed out in our own way. Eventually, I did get chairs. I ran around school, looking for any chairs to grab, and had students help me carry them in.

We weren’t quite ready for everyone, but it all came together. I’ve done theater in the past, and it felt like opening night: Rushing to put everything together for the first time and acting like you have your shit together when really you don’t. We smiled through it and pushed through the day. And it was quite a success, I believe. It was definitely hard finding the motivation to get out of bed and get to work though.

A friend left this on my Facebook wall. Very accurate.

The students were filled with a different type of energy. They were excited to see everyone after the long summer apart from each other, but not quite ready to put their minds to work. So it was the normal syllabi, rules, and icebreaker routine that we are all used to. I guess that’s just part of school.

I am getting a good sense of my students already. I have my eye on a few students I know will be problems, and starting off strict with the classes that are pushing my limits. Better to start tough and ease up, rather than the other way around. It’s hard to regain their respect, which I spent so much time last year doing.

My schedule is quite nice. It’s 2 periods, my prep, another class, lunch and then 3 more classes. Spaced out so that I get a few breathers and recover a bit.

I want to spend this year using my prep wisely, which I definitely did not do today (I spent it writing blog posts instead). I need to use it to get majority of grading done and make sure that I have the next day planned out. Last year, I would just plan day of and rush to get it together last minute, which worked, but was extremely stressful. I want to have the majority of it done before the next day of work.

Beck – “Dreams” (2015)

To be quite honest, I was not the biggest fan of Beck’s last album Morning Phase (2014), and I am a HUGE Beck fan. There were a select few songs from the album that I thought were great, specifically “Blue Moon,” but the majority of the album did not satisfy my music palate.

His latest, “Dreams”, I think is stellar, and is catchy as hell. It mimics the type of alternative music that is out there today, but through “Beck-colored lens.” I think in general, Beck’s upbeat music is just so much more pleasing. This song is not only upbeat, but mood-setting material. The kind of song you listen to pumping your fists driving down the road in the high sun. Keeps me placated enough for Los Angeles rush hour.

Beck – Dreams (Spotify Link)

I’m hoping he comes out with another album… not sure if this is a just a single (Beck often just releases singles, without an album to attach it to). Regardless, I’m hoping he creates more tunes similar to this one.

Chet Faker – “Bend” & “1998” ft. Banks (2015)

Chet Faker makes such funky music, and he’s at it again. This isn’t off an album or anything, so no commitment when you start listening to these. Bend, the first one posted below, hits me deep in my gut. It starts off slow and jazzy, with simple beats, and then the voices layer up, leading up to a climactic refrain. The electric guitar is reminiscent of funk (of which I am a HUGE fan), and his voice remains cool and calm. Put it all together, and you have one low-key, funky, and sexy as hell track.

Chet Faker – Bend (Spotify Link)

Huge fan of Banks as well, who is featured on this next track. I imagine this specific song perfect for driving late at night on empty freeways, blasting loud for no one to hear. Like Bend, and other earlier songs (No Diggity, Drop the Game (with Flume)), it’s funky, and requires having the bass turned ALL THE WAY UP.

Chet Faker – 1998 ft. Banks (Spotify Link)

Lianne La Havas – “What You Don’t Do” & “Unstoppable” (2015)

If you love amazing singers, you’ll love Lianne La Havas. I’ll be honest, before this, I only knew her song “Forget” (Youtube Link | Spotify Link). On my Costa Rica trip, I met a girl from France (named Ines, SHOUTOUT!!), who told me that I should listen to more of Lianne La Havas. So here I am. Listening to more of Liannae La Havas.

AND LOVING IT. Check out her newest album Blood (Spotify Link).

She’s got an amazing set of pipes, and her music is so catchy.

This one’s pretty up-beat, and her fluid and spunky voice comes to her so effortlessly.

Lianne La Havas – “What You Don’t Do” (Spotify Link)

This next one’s the first track off her album, and is a little more dreamy and jazzy. Her voice floats like a feather and I imagine myself somewhere underwater. Sorry for all the weird imagery. It’s just how I describe music. I’m a visual learner… deal with it!

Lianne La Havas – “Unstoppable” (Spotify Link)

New Year, New ‘tude

This week has been devoted to getting back in the groove. All the teachers are congregating and meeting in the week before school begins and the excitement is building. New campus,  We have a handful of new teachers and new students and so it’ll be a fluster of introductions for the next week or so. But this year should be so much easier last year. I’ve figured out a strong classroom management policy and have protocol for dealing with certain situations. So watch out, everybody! Ms. Chemistry is armed and fully loaded!

My attitude towards the incoming students.

This year, I’m prepared for the lows. I know they are coming, and I know some ways of dealing with them that work for me. I’ll also know that I’ll get out of those pits of despair, and that the achievements of my students are so fulfilling, that it makes the whole ordeal worth it.

A college professor once shared this to our education class, and this is entirely accurate. I think my low point is actually in December and January. And instead of “Anticipation” I would say it’s more of an “Excited.”

I’ll continue to keep a journal, to track my growth and evaluate my struggles and strengths. This will allow me to reflect on how to become a better teacher, and how to deal with the tougher situations. Struggling teachers out there: I highly suggest the journal. It’s not like it is a sure-fire way to make you feel better or deal with the problems, but now I’m able to look back and realize what I did wrong, and recall certain events in the classroom more clearly. By doing this, I was able to imaginarily go back and change how I managed the situation, and take note of trying that new method the next time that problem arose.

She makes sitting in your bed alone with ice cream and cookies and cigarettes, just writing in your diary, seem so sexy. #BridgetJones

I also won’t be a student at the same time that I’m teaching, so that is a huge burden off my chest. I’ll have more time to do what’s important to me: read, write, work-out, see and talk to real people (students are not real people until they turn 18), maybe join a soccer league. I’ll have more time for my scrapbooking, my knitting & painting, and my Kim Kardashian Hollywood game! Who knows? The opportunities are endless! All I know is that I’m stoked for this coming year. I hope my students are ready for this newly found energy. Because if they aren’t, they won’t know what hit them.

Come at me, bro.