Sunday, July 23, 2006


Forgive me for not writing of this sooner! I meant to, really!

The UFT is doing a new thing: the New Teachers Series. It's starting with this summer's events and I believe will continue in other ways. So far there've been a couple socials, where neophyte teachers (who haven't started yet) come hang out and meet one another and trade stories and/or advice. There was a workshop on money stuff, one on what the union does, and Friday was the 'social' at the Bodies exhibit.

I'm part of this because in the spring, I went to an event called "A Dinner with Randi". She came to the Queens UFT office and there were about a hundred teachers who've been teaching four or fewer years. She asked us what we wanted from the union. Some people gave ideas and advice. Most of the time was spent on venting and complaints about schools, and Randi gave advice and promised to get involved.

One of the staff-type people mentioned something about new teachers specifically, and everyone strongly agreed that newbies are wildly unprepared. So there was an email list started, and that has apparently become the New Teachers Activity Committee. So that's why I'm at these events, helping out and putting in my two cents.

Anyway, today was pretty cool. Everyone got in to the exhibit (it normally costs $24.50!!) and got some snacks, as well as a packet with lesson plans and field trip information from the museum.

The exhibits were really interesting. It was a bit squicky but fascinating. It didn't help that they added fake eyeballs and lips and noses and ears and eyebrows, not to mention toenails and fingernails. And there were a lot of penises; for some reason, more male bodies are donated to science, apparently.

There were spotlit cases of bones and organs. The diseased lungs were really black and deformed! So was the cirrhosissed (?!) liver. Although, with the lungs, they noted some discolorations, from 'normal' pollutants in the air. Interesting.

The circulatory section was quite interesting: they dyed the arteries and then dissolved the rest of the tissue. Thus, there were body-part-shaped masses made of tiny red blood vessels. There was one of the entire trunk, and the kidneys looked like fuzzy balloons, they were so densely packed.

What really got me were the whole bodies: each one was de-constructed to show something off. The muscles and nerves are so intricate! It was really fascinating. On many of them, the big muscles were de-attached so you could see how they're all related. The Achilles tendon just hanging out kinda freaked me out. It made me wince. And the leg and ab muscles! I'm sore today from a workout with Gilad (I rather like FitTV, what about it?), and it was cool to feel where my soreness was and then see a muscle on a body in the same place. Hm, that doesn't make sense. But I could see where I was sore, and how that muscle is connected to the rest of the body. You know?

I've always been in awe of the body: as you learn about each system, you see all the organs and stuff, isolated in pictures. But they all fit together! Whenever I see a really thin and tiny woman, I always wonder how everything fits inside! And do larger people have larger organs? If they lose weight, do the organs shrink?

Anyway, it was a very interesting exhibit. I'm going to talk to my school, and whoever the AP will be, about getting some of the advanced classes there for field trips, especially since the Intrepid will close in October for awhile.

To New York City teachers: I was told that there will be another event at Bodies, this time for all UFT members. Keep an eye out!

If you are an incoming NYC teacher, go check out information on this great series from the New Teachers committee.

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