Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I have a pair of shoes and a pair of slacks that I frequently wear to school (too frequently, actually). A few weeks ago the shoes started falling apart and the pants started to fray. I thought about replacing them, but the school year is so close to being done that I decided to not worry about looking a little shabby. There are only three days left in the school year and I feel very much like my clothes – worn out. It’s been a good year, but I’m really exhausted and I’m ready for reduced-stress summer.

I never planned for this to happen, but a lot of my students read my blog. Apparently it’s seen as a great honor to be mentioned by me on the internet. Occasionally students will come to class saying that I mentioned them on my blog, but unfortunately more than once a student has been mistaken thinking that I was talking about them when I wasn’t. One of the pitfalls of anonymity.

One of my students tells me almost every day to write about her on my blog. One conversation went something like this:
Student: Write about me on your blog!
Me: No.
Student: Why not?!
Me: You have to do something funny or interesting to end up on my blog.
Student: But I am funny and interesting.
Me: That’s true, but you haven’t done anything blog worthy yet.

She later told me a gross story from her childhood hoping that I would think it was funny and put it on my blog. It wasn’t that funny and I won’t be writing about it.

After writing my last post about karaoke in my car I told this student that I had written about her. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey, I wrote about you on my blog.
Student: Really?
Me: Yeah, I wrote about how Asians like karaoke.
Student: That’s a racist stereotype!
Me: Do you like karaoke?
Student: Well, yeah.
Me: I told you, I wrote about you. You’re an Asian who likes karaoke.

I was trying to be annoying and judging from her reaction I was rather successful. Here’s a limerick I just wrote about karaoke:

I don’t like to sing karaoke
I can only sing in a low key
I don’t like to perform
It’s out of my norm
And I’m sure to pick a song that is hokey

I feel like each of my classes likes me progressively less. My first class absolutely adores me and my last class basically hates me. The other two periods fall somewhere in between. If I had a dollar for every time a student in my last class rolled their eyes, told me I was being unfair, or complained about my class I would have enough money for my tuition next year. At the opposite end of the spectrum, students from my first class often try to hug me or squeeze my bicep. It feels weird to be so loved and so despised every day, but that’s my reality. Two girls from my first class made me a huge poster that says “We’ll miss you SeƱor Schilaty” and had everyone in the class sign it. It was really heartwarming and they even spelled Schilaty correctly.

One girl wrote: “You’re great. Just great. I’m going to miss you so much. You are such a great teacher and I learned so much from you! Umm, yeah. Have a good summer in Arizona! Go on Match.com!

I particularly liked the “Umm, yeah.” It's usually not necessary to write pauses like that.

Another girl wrote: “Don’t go to stupid Arizona! Since you are so pale you need to apply a lot of sunscreen like 110 SPF!”

Match.com and pale skin. In the nine months my students have known me it appears that they will remember me as a single albino. They are very perceptive and I’m going to miss them.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Traveling Karaoke

My car isn’t old, but it is aging. It’s so old, in fact, that when I was 15 it became the first car I ever drove. 13 years later it feels like an extension of me. Because of its age, it lacks all those fancy things that new cars have that allow you to plug an iPod into the car speakers. To remedy this, I have a magic cassette tape with a cord. I put the tape in the tape deck, plug the cord into my iPod, and music magically plays through the speakers. It’s worked well for the last seven years – until last week,

I was driving home from work listening to a podcast and suddenly I couldn’t hear anything. I grabbed my iPod and the sound cut in and out so fast it sounded like a telegraph. When I wiggled the jack in the iPod the sound would sometimes play clearly and sometimes it wouldn’t. It was frustrating so I put my iPod away and listened to talk radio for the rest of the drive home.

A few days later I plugged my iPod in again hoping that the problem had magically fixed itself (as electronic problems sometimes do). This time instead of playing a podcast I played a song. My hopes soared as music started playing loud and clear. It really had magically fixed itself. However, when the singing was supposed to start the music continued, but I heard no words. I tried some other songs and the same thing happened – music, but no vocals (except for backup vocals). For some reason my magic tape no longer plays the vocals from my iPod (which makes podcasts much less exciting).

Like most people, I enjoy singing along to songs while I drive. The odd malfunction of my magic tape has turned my car into a traveling karaoke booth. I don’t consider myself to be a good singer so I've never cared for karaoke. To like karaoke you either have to be fairly good at singing or Asian and I am neither of those. But solo karaoke in my car is actually pretty fun. Sometimes I don’t know the lyrics very well and I just mumble a little, but no one else can hear so I don’t care. So if you’re up for some traveling karaoke, feel free to ride along with me in my car. I don’t have the lyrics to the songs available, but you can sing along if you know the words. I have all the good Disney songs and yes, I know all words.