Friday, February 28, 2014

Washington D.C. and Tenure

Image courtesy of CNN, School of Thoughts
Recently my parents and I got talking about tenure and the not-so-recent-but-still-relevant Washington D.C. bill. As far as I'm concerned, the creator of this bill is a genius. I don't know all the ins and outs of the bill, but from what I understand it gives teachers two career paths: a lower salary and tenure or a much higher salary (based on student performance) and no tenure. Tenure basically makes it impossible to fire a teacher unless they either sexually abuse multiple students turn into Jack the Ripper. Both of those are high unlikely, making it, like I said, almost impossible to fire a tenured teacher.

Tenure is an issue for two reasons: first, because it makes teachers on tenure feel like they can get away with anything, and secondly, because it means that when budgets get cut, tenured teachers are kept around, and better teachers are cut. Case in point: one of my favorite teachers this year is fairly new. (S)he teaches us a lot, and is decently nice. However, if it came down to it s(he) would get fired before another teacher who has a history of verbal abuse with students. The only reason for this is tenure. 

Another case in point: a couple years ago I had a teacher who wore very inappropriate clothing to  school. Every day she would come to school in mini skirts and low cut tops. Not only that, but she had a poster up in her room about weight loss. Weight loss.  At the time I was fairly young, so didn’t pay much attention to it, but thinking back on it, that poster could’ve been bad for many young girls self esteem. I don’t know if it has since disappeared from her room, but I can’t believe that no one mentioned it earlier, and discussed it with her. 

I like the Washington D.C. proposal because it prevents teachers from striking by not getting rid of tenure completely, and solves the issue of teachers enot getting paid enough. Because honestly, fifty-thousand dollars a year is nothing for the job teachers have. Many bright intellectuals would love to become teachers, but avoid the job because it doesn’t pay as much as it should. 

Anyways, those are just my thoughts on the topic. Feel free to sound off in the comments! 

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Thursday, February 13, 2014


As I'm sure I've said before, I've loved books ever since I was a little girl. I haven't done a full post on my favorite books yet, so I figured I might as well do one today. 

The Grisha Trilogy 

Image courtesy of Alexa Loves Books
I love how creepy cool these books are. You never know if a character is good or bad, even the main character (Alina). The basic summary of these books are that there are people with magical powers called Grisha. There are a couple types of Grisha, each with different abilities. Alina, however, is special because she's a Sun Summoner, the only one who can get rid of a horrible area called the Fold that's been separating the kingdom for years. Of course, things don't go as planned, and Alina deals with some evil people. 

Image courtesy of Mundie Kids
This was the last book I read in 2013, and it was one of my favorites. The story is very cute, and although it's not worthy of a Book Oscar (is there such a thing?), it does make for a really fun read. The book follows two girls, Elara and Princess Wilha. While Elara is a orphaned servant, Princess Wilha is born into royalty. However, Princess Wilha is always forced to wear a mask, and many whisper it's due to her unbearable ugliness, which she can't see when she looks in the mirror. I can't say too much without giving it away, but there's lots of mystery, political intrigue, and fancy masks. 

Image courtesy of Laurdes

The best way to describe these books is futuristic fairy tales. The series follows the story of Cinder, a cyborg living in New Beijing. In New Beijing, and all over the planet, there has been an outbreak of letumosis, a disease no one has survived. While this horrible disease is going on, Earthen leaders (who work together) have been trying to stop war against the Lunars, and their horrible queen Levana. Each book focuses on a new heroine, while still focusing on Cinder's story. The next book is due out winter of 2015. 

I hope you enjoyed learning about my favorite books, and hopefully, you'll decide to read one yourself!
* Links (on titles) go to author websites! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Growing Up

As most of you know, I grew up in a small rural town called Hong Kong (population: 7,000,000). I left fairly young, but I've still managed to remember a lot about the experience. So here I am, finally writing a post about it. I figure the best way to talk about this is in tidbits. Here it goes:

A Bit of Background
When I tell most people where I was born I usually get two responses: "Why you no look Asian?" and "Do yah speak China?". As far as the first question is concerned, I don't look Asian because my parents were Caucasian expats from England and Australia. So, as genetics would tell you, I came out looking Caucasian, not Asian. Although, my mum did once mistake an Asian baby for me, but that's another story. As far as the second question is concerned, no I don't speak Chinese. Since Hong Kong was a British colony until the end of the twentieth century, most people I grew up around spoke English, not Chinese, causing my inability to speak "China"

Me and my Filipino amah (nanny)

No Chinese In School
I attended two schools in Hong Kong: an Australian one (to satisfy dear old Dad) and a British one (to satisfy my proper tea-drinking mother). Because the British school wanted the Chinese students to learn English, they weren't allowed to speak Chinese. Although Hong Kong isn't Communist like the rest of China, this strikes me as a very Communist thing to do, and, not to sound patriotic, makes me appreciate the freedom of speech rights I have in America.

Me flying first class on Cathay Pacific, an HK airline my dad flys for

Banana Trees
While China seems to have a knack for eradicating nature, it's still apparent when you visit that it is a beautiful country. Growing up, I remember being surrounded by banana trees, roosters, and lush gardens. I also remember the beautiful cobblestone markets and the occasional breathtaking beach (although, if you plan on going to Hong Kong, don't plan it as a beach vacation. Most of the beaches are disgusting, as it is custom in China to throw all your trash, sewage, and shopping carts into the sea. Nothing against the Chinese, but most of urban China is like this.) Point is, China can be a beautiful place, if you know where to look.

Image courtesy of Garden of Eden

Pacific Place
Pacific Place: a giant mall filled with every store imagined. I consider it responsible for my existence, as my parents met in a taxi que outside of Pacific Place. Also, I consider the bookstore there responsible for my love of books, as I spent a lot of time there buying Rainbow Magic books.

Me kissing my baby brother

There you have it: a snapshot into my life in Hong Kong. My friend Liz also lived in Hong Kong when she was older, so if you want to see what it was like for her click  here.