This week's Student of the Week is Natasha T (that's her, lurking in the shadows).
I am purposefully making Natasha Student of the Week in the middle of the holiday so we don't need to see each other next week... that could be awkward.
I remember the first time I "met" Natasha. Ms. Ford taught her Math 9 class in my classroom. So, oftentimes, I'd be in the room while the class was taught. Natasha sat by the door and (as far as I can remember) hardly said a word. I remember thinking what an unassuming - meek even - student she was. Then I taught her the following year...
Natasha is NOT unassuming. Natasha is NOT meek. She is an opinionated, bold, and dynamic person! There are so many memories that I have of Natasha. Here's just a few:
10. City and Colour - If I Should Go Before You
Never saw this one coming! I was never a fan of this band. But sometime this year I was driving along Georgia Street and this song came on the radio. It was so good - over nine minutes of guitar driven rock that slowly builds (and builds and builds). I put my previous biases aside and listened to the entire album... and I've listened to it over and over since. So good! Plus, I needed to include this album to have at least one Canadian artist on the list!
9. Björk - Vulnicura
Thank you, Lord, for Björk. She is so eccentric. So unpredictable. So weird even. But she consistently creates some of the most beautiful music on the planet. I heard this in January and said at the time that it would be one of the Top 10 albums of the year. And I was right!
8. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
The first time (first few times even) I heard part of this album, I was like "ugh". And then, at last, I listened to some of the lyrics and I was hooked. This is so not like me. To be honest, I could care less about the lyrics to my music. As long as it sounds good, I'm fine. In fact, often when I DO listen to the lyrics it ruins the song for me: "that song I LOVED is about THAT!! What?!?!". Anyway, Courtney Barnett writes amazing lyrics. They are funny, sad, angry, beautiful, and REAL!! No album this year grew on me more than this one.
7. Julia Holter - Have You in My Wilderness
Unique, adventurous, and very, very beautiful. It's easy to lose yourself for a while in these dreamy, soaring songs...
6. Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
You know your band (Fleet Foxes) is pretty darn talented when your drummer (DRUMMER!!) releases an album like this! Another album that actually had me listening to the lyrics. Funny and heartbreaking (and sometimes in the same song). The only way Sophia R disappointed me this year was not checking Father John Misty out live... and I believe she had TWO opportunities (Sasquatch AND Pemberton). Next time. listen to Father, S.R!! (double meaning right there!!)
5. Jazmine Sullivan - Reality Show
I know, I know, this one is going to surprise you... if not weird you out. It's true, however. Your old, nerdy Math teacher is a sucker for female R&B singers. Aretha Franklin! Mary J. Blige! Erykah Badu! Lauryn Hill! Gladys Knight! I love them all! Well, you can now add Jazmine Sullivan to the list! What a talent! What a voice! I can't STOP listening to this album! Be warned: lots of bad language on this album!
4. Alabama Shakes - Sound and Color
Since Simone was born I don't go to nearly as many concerts as I used to. But I would leave Simone with a pack of wolves to go see these guys in concert (okay, I am exaggerating but you get my point). Brittany Howard is the most electrifying force in rock music today! What a voice! What an album!
3. Jamie XX - In Colour
This song was definitely my "Song of the Summer of 2015". And this album was truly one of the best of the year. I remember seeing The XX a few years ago and paying little to no attention to the guy manning the keyboards. Turns out he's probably the most talented guy in the group!
2. Foals - What Went Down
My vote for most underrated album of the year. NOBODY else seems to have this on their "Best of" lists and I can't figure out why!! Every song is good! It's gloomy. It's atmospheric. It's awesome!
1. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell
One of the saddest albums I have ever heard: a homage to Sufjan's recently deceased mother, who abandoned him when he was only a year old. Also one of the most gorgeous. A true return to form by one of my very favourite artists... and the best album of the year.
New Radiohead is the greatest Christmas gift of all!!
Brand new LCD Soundsystem!! Does this mean they are reforming??! Please!!!!
Apparently people are even more interested in math (#1) than they are in adultery (#2) and football teams (#3).
This week's Student of the Week is Ted W (thanks to his mom for the photo!)
Ted is currently in my PreCalculus 12 class. This is an impressive achievement in itself, seeing as he was in my Foundations 11 class last year. There is no moving (directly) from Foundations 11 to PreCalculus 12 so Ted decided that he would have to take PreCalculus 11 at Summer school last July. His mom recently told me a funny story where Ted signed up for his class and was all geared up for 4 weeks of school, starting at 10am (or something like that) each day. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Well, not until the Monday morning (two weeks before he thought he was starting) at 9:00 in the morning, when Ted received a phone call informing him that he was late for the first class!!
Turns out that the course was actually SIX weeks long and started at 8:30 (!!!) every morning. Yikes! Plus, this put an end to some of Ted's Summer plans with his family. You could forgive Ted if - at this point - he said "forget it" and just dropped out. But he did not, Instead he buckled down, put in the requisite time and effort, and passed PreCalculus 11. Well done, Ted! Happy that you are now in PreCalculus 12!
For the most part Ted is a fairly quiet and unassuming guy. He doesn't draw a lot of attention to himself and he always looks (at best) vaguely interested in what I am teaching. However, my favourite thing about Ted is when someone is telling a funny story. He perks right up in his seat. His eyes are bright. A little sly smile covers his face. He seldom laughs out loud (though it DOES happen from time to time) but you can tell when he has enjoyed a funny joke or story.
This is a guy who obviously has a good sense of humour. And it's no wonder: both his Mom and (awesome former student, Rachel) sister have similar traits. In fact, I can't help but wonder what a fun place the Watson house must be to hang out at. These are all smart, engaging, and very funny people. A nice family, indeed.
It's been great teaching you the past three years, Ted. Congratulations, again, on how far you have come in Math at KG. I know that it has not always been easy and I admire your perseverance during the tough(er) times. Thanks for always being such a friendly and polite student. All the best!
I am your teacher. Obey me.