Tag Archives: Emily West

Reasons why I can’t be an elementary school teacher

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For six weeks I have walked the blue and gold hallways of my old elementary school with 40 or so kids trying to keep them entertained and from killing each other. My goal was simple. I wanted to be a friend to every kid who walked through the door.

Never have I ever worked with kids in such a close capacity. Sure, I have babysat, worked with kids at church, and kept my fair share of the nursery. However, I never had to continue working with the same kids for such a long duration.

I walked in my first day staring at several little faces not knowing a single kid. All sorts of kids stared back. Little kids, big kids, medium-sized kids, kids with broken hearts, kids with troubled family lives, mean kids, nice kids, and kids who possessed more imagination than I ever thought possible.

Not much effort is required to tug at my heart-strings, and anything can fall out of kid’s mouth. I’ve heard more sad stories about twisted family trees, pets dying, apathetic parents, and the list continues. I’ve tried to always be a friend to even the worst acting kids. I wonder what some of my kids go home to, and how happy they are, which is my primary reason for never wanting to yell at children.

Yes, all of my kids have pushed my buttons this summer. They’ve all left messes, climbed the wrong things, talked too loudly, don’t listen, and pretend I am not there when telling them sit down. I truly hate jumping their case, but everyone needs correction now and then. I just never want to yell or lose my cool with a kid.

I remember what it was like to be a sensitive little kid. I would cry when I had to pull my yellow card for a warning much less get called out in front of all the others. For the most part, my job consists of hanging out with kids. Even though I am charge of them, I’d rather be a friend than a dictator. I would never want anything I said to destroy a kid, which is why I never yell. Call me a pushover if you must. I am not the best disciplinarian, and I hate sending kids to timeout or making them sit alone for punishment.

As these long, hot days dwindled by, I played endless games of four square, Super Mario Brothers, and Uno. I swam and splashed kids in the pool with 100 degree weather beating down. I gave piggy back rides and played intense soccer games with older kids, cutting my knees and realizing I am not in shape like they are.

More often and not, I would rather watch then play with kids because they always cheat and get angry when I beat them. Just because they are in the fifth grade doesn’t entitle them to always win, you know. I liked to sit from my blue bench or the wooden picnic table in the shade and watch. I truly forgot what it was like to have such an active, deep imagination. I watched my kids fight zombies, aliens, perform plays, gymnastics, and try to dig to China.

Tomorrow ends my days of watching kids for eight or nine hours a day. During our time together, I have developed relationships with most and enjoyed getting to be apart of their life for this short time. I knew I would become attached to some of these kids, some I will probably never see again. I worry for some of them, and I wonder what kind of people they will become. More than anything, I want these kids to be happy like I was when I was their age.

I could never teach kids 180 days of the year. I wouldn’t want to keep a classroom environment all day, and you probably never want me to teach your kid math anyways. Even though I could make them the coolest grammar guru ever, I would rather hang out with them. Talk to them. Discover what’s going on behind the faces with a few teeth missing. Most importantly, I just want to make them smile and let them have fun being young while they can.

Some days, I watch my kids and think about badly I want to be a kid again. No responsibilities, endless possibilities.

Day three of ‘Roo concludes with Cooper show

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Alice Cooper playing in That Tent on Day 3.

I found myself on a music high leaving That Tent at 2 a.m. after watching a 63-year-old Alice Cooper jam on stage to some of the best classic rock at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Being raised on vinyl records of all the greats like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Journey and Bob Seger, I fell in love with Alice Cooper at an early age. I consider him to be one of the artists that jump-started other popular genres we have now such as alternative, punk and metal. How can you not respect a guy like that?

The crowd for Alice became massive, and for once being short had its advantages. After much begging and finding my way in front of all the tall people, I found my way in the fourth row. I could see Alice’s face paint, and apparently he was up to his old tricks.

Alice and his doll.

Recently I read an article that the first 20 rows would find themselves covered in blood. Thankfully, Alice didn’t bite the heads off of anything, and I came away blood free. However, he did come out with a gigantic snake, a life-sized doll and what looked to be a massive zombie.

For such an old man, he could definitely rock. Lots of people in the crowd were older, and an older man beside me started to cry during one of his slower songs. Alice had a larger fan base than I anticipated.

Toward the end of the set, he threw his dancing cane off stage, and I had my hand but a bigger guy took it away. Being little in the pit doesn’t always have the best advantages.

Before Alice’s performance, the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on at 10:00 on the main stage. I’ve always like the Chili Peppers, but I am no die-hard fan by any means. They did play two of my favorites “Dani California” and “Californication” which made my evening even more incredible.

For me there was a music lull before the evening really began, so the same friend that dragged me out to see Yelawolf made me go watch Puscifer. Of all the songs to play before an alternative rock show, salsa music continued to blare through the That Tent speakers before they performed at 5 p.m. Puscifer didn’t come on stage until 5:30, making them a half an hour late.

I never like waiting on music, and I am sure I am not the only one. While this band was totally unfamiliar to me, I know one of their

The Alice Cooper looking zombie.

members is from Tool, who I liked in the past. Puscifer didn’t leave the best impression. I even fell asleep on the grass during the set. Perhaps I should start listening to Puscifer on nights I feel restless.

Today is going to be rainy day at the Roo. While my community needs rain in the worst way, no one likes a muddy farm with 80,000 plus people. The fourth day is always my least favorite, but I have to go hear the Beach Boys. For me, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity considering I don’t know how many more tours this oldies band is going to have.

Day Two of the Roo: Hanging out in the Dust

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Foster the People at the Which Stage

The majority of my day two of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival consisted of my hands being in the air and the myriad of lights from the stage flashing over my face while listening to some of the best music.

Three of my favorite bands played, but I only really got to see and experience Foster the People, who is really all I cared about seeing for most of the festival. However, I managed to sit and listen to the Avett Brothers show for half an hour, and they put on a

The Avett Brothers playing at the main stage of Day 2.

great set. Had it not been for Mumford & Sons, I probably would have never fell in love with the Avett Brothers. I guess I did the whole hipster music scene in the wrong order.

I also got hear a little bit of the Ludacris show at This Tent, but the portion I heard was nothing but him singing Top 40 hits and none of his own music. More people showed out for him than I ever imagined, and the crowd went as far back as one of the vendor rows, which was impressive.The best show I saw all night by far was Foster the People with the atmosphere instantly changing as soon as the band played the first note. I cannot remember the exact order of the setlist, but they performed more of their popular hits from the Torches album like “Call It What You Want,” “Helena Beat,” “Warrant” and “Don’t Stop.”

By far the best song and stage performance came when the band began the opening notes to “Pumped Up Kicks,” which is the most popular song off the Torches album and a Top 40 hit. The crowd went crazy, and so did I. Confetti showered down us, and huge inflatables began popping up on the stage. Most if not all the crowd loudly sang the lyrics, making the concert even better.

Foster the People’s Mark Foster and Mark Pontius perform their song “Call It What You Want”

However, fans of Foster were also Raidohead fans. The final note of “Pumped Up Kicks” seemed to activate a massive herd of people all trying to reach the main stage to catch the set. Radiohead brought out thousands of fans, and there was no place to even sit or stand.

Trying to listen to them presented a challenge because of all the people, but I did learn a tidbit of news for all you Radiohead and Jack White fans.During the show, Radiohead gave out a huge thank you to Jack White, but wouldn’t tell us why. I am not sure what’s going on, but I’ve heard murmurs of a collaboration between the two from some of the die-hard fans that talked to me. We will just have to see.

I am not sure what is on tap for today. I hope to hear Alice Cooper and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s going to be a good day ladies and gentlemen. There is too much music in my little town for it not to be.

Day 1 of Bonnaroo lets the smaller acts shine

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Waiting on Yelawolf to take the That Stage.

The moon is full, and the music is coming from all angles on a 700-acre farm in my hometown of Manchester, Tenn., where four days out of the year my town becomes the hub of one of the largest musical festivals in the world.

Bonnaroo got the party started tonight with a variety of smaller artists lighting up the tents and the smaller stages while all the festival-goers continued to trickle through the gates. As of late this afternoon, Bonnaroo finally sold out for the eleventh year of the festival.

Being a local, I highly anticipate this time of year. To kick the festival off, I found my way over to the This Tent to watch Yelawolf, a white rapper from Alabama. I had never heard of him until recently and knew only of his song “Let’s Roll” that featured Kid Rock.

Out of no disrespect to him, he wasn’t exactly on my see list. However, one of my friends raved on and on for weeks before Bonnaroo even started, and blared his music anytime we were together.

Before Yelawolf even took the stage, I heard a few songs from artist Danny Brown, who is rapper from Detroit, Mich. I had never heard of this performer, but that is the fun and part of the point of going to a music festival. I am not going to know every act or heard of every band, and I definitely enjoy getting to hear new music and maybe even becoming a fan if they suit my eclectic tastes.

Finally around 8:30, Yelawolf started to play, but I was so far back from the stage Yelwolf was nothing but a dot on a straight line. Being short has no advantages at Bonnaroo unless someone taller than you allows you to sit on their shoulders. Otherwise, you can only dance and listen from where you are standing.

In simple terms, Yelwolf put on a fun show. He burst music from different genres. Being a southern Alabama boy, I guess he couldn’t totally ignore his roots as he sang a little Johnny Cash and Lynyrd Skynyrd. What’s a good concert in the south without a few chords from “Freebird”? Yelawolf finally started playing his own beats again, but not before he contributed the rest of his show to the Beastie Boys.

The rest of my evening was tame as I listened to some mellow music by Soja at That Tent around 10 o’clock. I had only heard of Soja because this band occassionally popped up on my Pandora radio. They have grown on me in the past couple of months with their folksy, yet reggae sound to songs. Their newest album “Strength to Survive” is fairly good, and I got to hear some of their new music sitting on the wet grass with tons of other listeners.

Something about their music must have made people want to dance because all sorts of people were on their feet moving to the music. A couple of different girls asked my friends and I to dance. That’s another perk of Bonnaroo: everyone is so nice. I can’t say I danced the night away or anything, but I bobbed my head from my seat on the ground.

Tomorrow is what I cannot wait to hear. I’m not sure how I will be able to sit through nine hours of work. Between Feist, Foster the People and Radiohead back-to-back, I will be all over place listening to some of the best acts the line up has to offer.

Drowning in the moonlight

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I always enjoy when the moon comes out to play. It lights up the ground before me, but I get shadows to explore and watch the bright stars above.

Full moons and the ocean make me think more than anything else . I am not sure what is, but both cause me to be still, which is something I rarely am. Being still allows me to try to listen to God since he ordered us to do that almost everywhere in the Bible.

I am downright horrible at staying at rest. You know what they say about bodies in motion and bodies at rest. I never like mine to be not moving. Right now, I feel like my life is in limbo. I am not really sure what my purpose for being home this summer is. I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing.

As of the past couple of weeks, I feel like I am walking outside on a night like tonight. Occasionally I am in the light and can see where I am going, but often times I find myself stumbling in the dark among the scary branches and the deep shadows.

I wish understood how to truly relax. How to truly become at ease. Hopefully, this summer can teach me how to do that. Perhaps, people are one extreme or the other because I certainly haven’t found a happy medium yet. For some reason, I feel like I must be the Energizer bunny who never quits moving. For those of us that are emotionally incompetent, downtime to lay around and simply think is never easy, and probably making us want to move even more.

Thoughts of my planner trickle by along with dates and deadlines, not to mention the emotions and thoughts I just never want to really handle or confront. Behind every facade and face is a person with thoughts and feelings we probably never realized he or she had. The most composed people always surprise me when adversity strikes. Maybe being composed isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

My mind is restless like it is every night. The noise of my fan and curtains rustling against the blinds aren’t the lullaby that will put me to sleep tonight. Not even the Golden Girls can silence this pensive mood that is weighing down my thoughts.

I don’t what I am supposed to do this summer or what I need to see. I want to learn what it’s like to not microanalyze every decision and thought. Traveling this path probably won’t be easy. It’s sorta like the moonlight. The moonlight only takes you so far and the journey has to be slow.

Front Porch Fumblings

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The air is pretty still in Manchester, Tennessee, with nothing really happening but the occasional thunderstorm to settle the dust. The corn continues to grow taller and more brown. Here I sit, daydreaming my days away and doing a lot of nothing.

The month of May has proven to be a pretty exciting though as I have been able to cover a high-profile murder trial for six days, and I turned 19. However, the rest of my days lasted long, and I barely stirred around the house. Without work, I wasn’t really sure what to do. That’s the problem with being a workaholic.

I have finally found the inspiration to get up and write something more than a hard news lead. For the past ten months, the majority of all my words have circulated around school and news story after news story. I love writing news, and sometimes I even liked writing papers for school. All my personal thoughts and otherwise have just sat suppressed inside me without much of a place to go.

Now sitting before me, I have three months of summer and a day job that I started today. I will work with kids all summer being an ESP worker at my former elementary school. I opened the glass doors this morning to what looked like a new school but still the same. The smell of those places never leave no matter how many times they change the carpet or the ceiling tiles.

I look forward to my summer. I want to get back to being healthy or at least running . I want to lay in the sun and let its rays encompass me. But really, I just want a tan.  I want my callouses to come back on my fingers, and get back to playing the guitar. More than anything, I want to write for me. Yeah, I will have to write for my newspaper occasionally, and I will have to work on my college ministry’s blog.

The selfish part of me wants my writing to be more for me. I’m sure I’ll collect a summer’s worth of tales to blog about. I’m not excited about the summer. I am not sad either. Rather, I am content. I am fairly flexible with what happens, and I have set few goals.

Perhaps, it is okay every once in a while to go lax with goals and visions. I think I want to let my mind wander and go where it may.

Sweet summertime

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I am ready to be done. Stick a fork in me and let’s put this one in the books. I am ready for the next seven days to fly by. Well, sorta that is. To put it in simple terms, finals are coming up. We all know what that means.

I have been a horrible blogger. I even forgot my blog existed for a short while as all I have done for the past month and half has revolved homework, tests, reading, hitting deadline, missing deadline, and writing more stories than I remember.

Don’t get me wrong. I love college. Sometimes, I feel like my life goes faster than I can. This is the first time I have sat down and written for myself in I don’t know how long. While some many good things and blessings keep popping up in my life, I feel like I am slowly spiraling out of control. Yet, I don’t want anything to stop.

I am ready to be home for the summer. I am ready to sleep in my bed and have my own bathroom again. I am definitely ready for someone to cook me dinner every night, and I cannot wait to catch up on ten months worth of TV that I missed.

However, doing all these things means making yet again another transition. Another change. I am not fond of change. I love college so much. I love all the friends I have made while being at MTSU. I don’t want them to leave, and I don’t want to leave them. I enjoy having an office to be in every day. Not every college student has an office. I love studying and learning more about writing. Not mention, I simply love work. I never dread it.

But the long days of summer are approaching. I am ready but not. I am making the most of my summer at home as I want to learn to cook the pastry my grandmother always made. More importantly, I want to learn how to cook real food, so I don’t starve next semester. I want to paint, and I want to write, write, write, and write. And did I mention write? I want to read as well. You really should see the reading list I have. It’s huge. It would probably make you think I am the world’s largest nerd. Heck, maybe I am.

I want to camping with my best friends, watch endless episodes of our favorite TV shows, and have long nights laughing on my porch swing. I cannot be at college and home. The two worlds simply don’t mesh. Maybe there not supposed to do that. In fact, I might not love college if they did.

At least while I am home making the most of the time I have, I can begin to get excited about school again. I can even fall more in love with my job as a journalist if that is possible. I am looking forward to the summer. I want to spend time with friends I have barely got to spend time with these past two semesters. I cannot wait to see what my college friends do with their summers. I am excited about the summer and already excited to begin my second year.

But before I do any of that, two finals, one paper, and one presentation stand in my way. May 3 at 3:30 cannot come soon enough.