Sunday, December 16, 2012

Your Flow is Ridiculous(ly).... by Heather Parker 12/30/2011

Your flow is ridiculous(ly) intelligent fluent like Spanish as your 3rd language fluid like multiple streams leading to one ocean moving my soul to the ebb & flow of you. Your flow is ridiculous(ly) masculine like a gun show in guerilla warfare or sweat "drip-pin'" off the bald-headed dude at the b-ball court testosterone dripping fists pumping chest beating manly stuff Your flow is ridiculous(ly) potent like venom is to a snake bite or your love is to my womb inpregnating minds with testimonies of greater things, paradigmn shifts, and consciousness. Your flow is ridiculous(ly) beautiful expressing all of you the you that drives me & your mama crazy the you that compels others to take a stand the you that causes a thousand other women to exclaim "there's a good man" Your flow is ridiculous(ly) essential. 12/30/2011 hp

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A year in review - briefly, and what's to come (2011)

I read my last post just now and realized just how long a road its been. The backpacking trip mentioned....DONE! WE hiked nearly 20miles (or more) in 2 days. Hiking into the canyon is incredible. Hiking out of it is AMAZING! Additionally, hiking solo during the week became my gift to myself. I realized how much I need to be outside in the sunshine, challenging my body and my mind and opeing my heart and spirit to God and all His beauty. It is reviving, refreshing, and incredible. I always feel better after I've hiked, whether I'm hiking with groups or by myself. It feels good to move my body, to test my limits, and to watch myself grow. My next big feat will be Mt. Whitney. I intend to use this year 2011 to train and get myself ready for a trip in 2012 (God willing). I look forward to summitting Mt Whitney and taking in the breathtaking views from the Sierras. How awesome that will be. :) Meanwhile, another trip to the Grand Canyon is definitely in order, this time, it will be a 5 day trip to include a day of rest at the bottom. New adventures: public speaking, a tattoo (perhaps), learn to ride a motorcycle, learn to mountain bike and to kayak. Hike the local mountain ranges. Grow in my understanding of the LORD and trust His plans for my life. (not always as easy as that sounds). Meet my soulmate, and create a beautiful partnership that leads to wedding vows, a pretty wing, a dress and a celebration. Sounds fun, huh? :) So many other things in store. Happy Chinese New Year. 2011.

with love,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

End of the Year Reflections (2010)

On January 2nd, 2010, a group of 10 or more of us hiked Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades for the first time. It was a new venture for our hiking group, as well as for our leader. He wasn't quite sure we'd follow him to unfamiliar places, and yet to his delight we did (that day and many days to follow). God prepared a marvelous day for us to start anew. The views were magnificent and the trek challenging, yet exciting. The rest of the year became similar. Our hiking group dared new heights, even 14+ miles (round trip) and a backpacking trip into the Grand Canyon. What's possible is amazing! Try something new, dare to live and breathe and dream, because dreams do come true.

Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

with love,
Heather Parker

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Statement of Curriculum Philosophy

Children remind me who I ought to be. They give wholeheartedly, they are sincere, and they stand in awe of life. Every moment is a learning experience, and most children cherish that moment and relish in it. I have tutored at elementary schools, done volunteer work with foster children and I was a live-in nanny of three children for a year. Each experience I have had with children has molded and changed me as well as inspired me. They make my heart smile because they inquire, persevere, trust, and love. I want to be a teacher because of my experience with children and the impact they have on me.

I want to be the best that I can be so that my students are inspired to do the same. W hat does that mean? It means that I need to expect the same things from myself that I expect from my students. It means that what I envision them to be, I need to become as well and as they learn I need to be humble and be willing to learn as well. If I, and other teachers, take the planks out of our eyes, we will be able to see the speck in our student's eyes. We will, like Gail Thompson would say, be able to hear our students hearts not just what they are saying; we will be able to see them as intrinsic beings, rather than a reflection of what they produce on paper or on a test.

My classroom needs to be warm, inviting, forgiving, patient, curious, challenging, inspiring, and encouraging. It should be a safe place; one that reflects our community and when I say "our" I mean what reflects the children. Nell Noddings would say it is a place where the students and I (the teacher) can interact as whole people. I can be real about who I am, how I feel (with wisdom), what I think and what I do so as to create that safe place for children to be themselves. I believe that children learn the most when they figure out things on their own, whey they are open to making sense of something I offer - like incorporating an idea with their perspective of the world. Aren't I also able to learn from them? The classroom is a place to experiment with ideas, not confine ideas or limit a child's perspective because it does not match with the dominant culture.

Furthermore, I do not believe that children learn from memorizing facts and regurgitating them, because learning is personal. Learning can be great especially when the focus is not on the quantity, but rather the quality. Traditionalists adhere to the idea of rote memorization of facts as "the" way to teach children. Most Traditionalists do not consider whose facts or truths children are learning or why those things are important (if at all). E.D. Hirsch clearly states that there is a culture of power and that children need to know the codes in order to participate in it. Regardless of where the child come from nationally, or what the child experiences culturally, he/she is to learn "our" history. I disagree. Children possess a wealth of knowledge, like Paolo Freire would say, if we just asked. Additionally, one person's perspective and experience is not necessarily better than another student's. E.D. Hirsch, and other Traditionalists like him, argues that students are more like manufactured products than whole people. They look at children as little birds that have to be fed knowledge in order to exist in the world outside school. What E.D. Hirsch and his buddies miss, is that these children experience the world outside school in many ways already. Children in poorer neighborhoods experience crime first hand. They might see a drug dealer on the corner of their street, or sadly, that drug dealer might be a family member. They might hear gunshots ringing and the "ghetto-bird" flying around all night long looking for that "criminal". Children, whose parents immigrated here, might not speak English. Those children lack the "English" and "Euro-centric" code that they apparently need to survive in the United States. All too often we ask students to see the past, present, and future through a Euro-centric lens. Yet Europeans do not make up the world. the world encompasses diverse peoples and cultures. California alone encompasses diverse people. Each group is unique and contributes to the world; I intend on teaching or facilitating in such a way that allows children to learn "other" people's stories in hopes to identify with, empathize with and honor them.

Additionally, multiple studies show children learn differently. Learning styles, child-development, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the like are major contributing factors to how a child learns. Some children are better at one subject than others. Every child is not meant to be a rocket scientist, but for the one that is I want to empower him/her with the tools and knowledge he/she will need to realize his/her dream. I believe it is my job to guide children according to their dreams.

The learning process can be a great motivating force because the attainment of a goal (ex: solving a problem) gives that child the confidence and the faith in themselves to meet the next challenge. With that said, I am not opposed to setting standards, goals, and the like. In fact, standards and goals are absolutely useful guiding forces to personal growth and improvement. Mike Csikeszentmihalyi would say such goals are necessary to complete a task. They allow children to measure their growth. The standards and goals, however, are not panaceas. They do not make education better. They do not make teaching happen. They are not a "one-size-fits-all" solution. Rubrics, testing, and the like are great. They are necessary for guiding instruction and creating tasks for students. However, students need to feel successful at a task to enjoy learning. And isn't the enjoyment of learning a motivating force to continue learning and being the best we can be at something? When children figure out a math problem after working it out for themselves, they are then empowered to go to the next step because they believe they can do it. Without entering that "zone" as Lev Vygotzky would say, children either finish a task quickly because it is too easy or they give up because it is too difficult; however, when a child enters the zone (also known as the Zone of Proximal Development) they accept the challenge, wrestle with it and then conquer it. At that point the fire has been sparked. My role is to fan into flame the desire for learning. I recognize what that means will be different for each child. HOw I assess their learning needs to reflect their differences. Mr. Popham would agree. Testing, as it is currently implemented creates a social divide, rather than assess children's real learning. Testing does not allow for differences, creativity, nor does it show a true understanding of something learned. I would use project-based assignments, group work, and writing to assess their learning. I will use tests to guide my instruction, not to base their worth on results thereof.

Additionally, it is important for me to be involved with the community and more importantly with the families of my students, due to the cultural, economic and other variances within my classroom. It is my goal to bridge the gap between school and home. I want parents to feel included in their child's education, whether they speak English or not. Next to them, I will be spending a large portion of the day every week, all year long with their kids. Rather than fighting each other, we need to work together for the good of their children...our children. It really does take a village to raise a child. I need to be available for parents to help them understand what we are doing. I also need to make sure parents are aware of the many resources, within the school and outside the school, to assist them in. Parents play a magnificent role in their children's lives.

Finally, as a teacher I want to inspire children to learn and encourage their individual desire to learn. I want to facilitate growth by offering opportunities to solve problems and think critically about their lives and their world. I will not shy away from anti-"non-white" sentiments, from current issues, from family issues and issues that are not clearly discussed in textbooks. Children contain the ability to achieve great things. Great things come in different shapes, sizes, styles and genres. I believe a teacher's job is to recognize the greatness in children and give them opportunities to realize that greatness too. I want every child to walk away from my class having learned something about themselves, the world and someone else. I hope to show them the endless possibilities that await them.

Originally written November 26, 2008
for one of my Master's classes at CSULA
with Doctor Eichenger.

Monday, December 22, 2008

End of the year

I finished another quarter towards my Masters Degree in Education a few weeks ago. The class invigorated my heart and mind as I realized the huge goliath of social injustices that plague our soceity, even our schools. I think my Dad would call me a mush-head. I know I am thinking critically and want to continue living in a conscious state of mind, not ruled by habit or comfortability. It's the struggle.
I made a goal to connect emotionally with a man of interest because I want to marry an amazing man with integrity, heart, style, personality, height, and faith. I am becoming a butterfly, waiting to take flight in freedom to live my life now. No living on the sidelines or watching other people live their life on reality t.v. I have a lot to do while I'm here.

I have so many wonderful parts to my life - family, friends, nature, my doggy, my car, a job, reasonable health, great roommates. Even still, my heart aches for my life partner....the man I can share a sunset with or make funny noises with. I think I am weary, not of waiting or anything like that...just in general. Running a business stretches me like I was silly-puddy. I am working harder than I ever thought possible. I recently learned that the person I fear committing to the most is me. God has presented me with many wonderful opportunities for growth in life, in thought, in love, in understanding. I get to be around children that love me - which always blows me away and fills my heart at the same time. I get to run a company when I studied to teach. I have been trusted with much. I have a mom that adores me and supports me and we have a working relationship today. I have a brother who gives me a hard time, but also loves me. He's actually really cool. I have roommates, one of which I am adopting because she is the little sister I don't have - but I do now! I live in an amazing apartment with wonderful landlords. I have friendships that go deeper than what is visible to the naked eye. I have so much support and love around me - nothing I deserve. So I am thankful. Thank you everyone for loving and supporting me and believing in me and helping me be the best me today. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The Word of the Lord is called Food, Water, always something related to physical sustenance. God knows for me I am constantly looking for something to make a connection to or with. I relate to needing water; being so thirsty my mouth gets dry - I think this is called parched. So now relate that to your spiritual thirst, the thing your soul longs for but hasn't been quenched - like drinking something salty when you are "parched" - your still thirsty. What's more incredible! Jesus, God's own Son, tells us that this water doesn't satisfy, but the water He provides quenches all thirst - you will never be thirsty again! (look at the gospels - the woman at the well) God allowed the singles in my church to congregate in Scotsdale Arizona this past weekend. It's our SouthWest Singles Conference for the churches in the southwest - from Nevada, Colorado, Mid-Cali (go middle earth!), to Southern Cali, to New Mexico and Arizona. It was a sweet taste of heaven. My heart is so full with the love that God has for me. He considers me special. He says I am worth finding. He makes me great. Come and see that the LORD is good. He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. The one true God. Unlike any other.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer-time random thoughts

It's the middle of summer.....the temperature rose to extreme levels, gas prices are high, rent is high, tuition is high - can I get a witness?

I don't know what to think of the people running the State of California. Is it like this in other states? Who is Antonio Villaraigosa? What are his credentials? How is his ex-wife holding up? Is he still seeing his friend from Univision?

I'd like to make a bumper sticker that reads....."Money does not make up for lack of character."

Do children or adults know what adds up to character today?