It started with a school assignment...

It started with a school assignment...

And a child's great idea

And a child's great idea

And now here we are.

First, I saw a movie.
Then, I read the novel.
Now I've joined the movement.

My name is Tiffany Woodley and I am a high school English teacher. For the past 6 years I have been lucky enough to teach seniors World Literature which gives me a chance to broaden their horizons with various texts. But, as we all know, seniors at the end of the year are … difficult to focus and (at times) manage.

Thus, I conclude the year with a film. Since I began teaching seniors the film I have chosen has been Pay It Forward because it concludes our year of studies well and because it makes them begin to think about their place in society and their impact upon it. But, I eventually decided to change things up a bit.

Now, once we conclude the study of the film and the possibilities of Trevor's plan, I ask that my students volunteer to be a part of the movement. I ask that they sign up with me and email me their attempts to do THREE big things for three people and (at least for the first one) to email me the story. There is not pressure and no requirement, but if they choose to sign up, I expect that they will email me some day with their experiences.

I will post the lists and the stories as they come in, but thus far only one has... can't wait to read the next one.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Passing the Buck

In the film adaptation of the novel, Mr. Simonet is asked what he ever did to change the world. His response is:

I get a good night’s sleep, I eat a hardy breakfast, I show up – on time – and then I pass the buck to you.

Considering the importance of the PAY IT FORWARD mindset, I am incapable of not practicing what I suggest to my students. So, here are a few times that I have taken a step for the movement.

  1. Driving home at 12:30 at night a car blew by me far too fast and certainly too close. I even said to my friend that the person would probably kill themselves. Within moments of this statement, the car hit the median and flipped over, coming to rest right side up again on the slow lane of the highway. We immediately pulled over and checked if the driver was okay as we called the police. There were plenty of cars that passed by, but only two stopped (ours and one other). We got the keys out of the ignition and waited for help to arrive. Once it did, the girl was taken away unconscious in the ambulance. It was an amazing feeling to help someone in their hour of need even if they'd never know it. A few days later, the girl's father (who was a policeman). Called to let me know that she was okay and that because of our assistance she made it to the hospital quickly and without incident.
  2. In Hoboken, NJ around 3 AM I passed a girl sitting on the steps of a restaurant crying her eyes out. I observed as people walked by her and ignored her struggles. So I sat with her. To this day I don't know her name and never asked what her problems were, but she needed someone and I was able to be there for her without expectation or information. I sat with her for about an hour until she felt composed enough to drive home. I hope that she has passed on the generosity in her own way.
These are only a couple of the ones that I can remember at the moment. But it makes me think about the fact that this concept truly is a state of mind that makes you take action when an opportunity presents itself - it is not a matter of doing your three for three other people, it is engaging with the world around you by becoming a part of the hope that we all wish to have in others. Thus, as a teacher, I feel obligated to pass this on to my students as well.
My family and I were in my aunts house in Washington Heights, Manhattan, NY. We had a family gathering and after I spent enough time with my entire family, I went to chill and post up with my friends on the block. I was with all my home boys and a few of my older cousins. We were having a great time. All of a sudden, my aunt calls my older cousin to go get something from the car that was across the street, and his lazy behind sent his little brother which was chilling with us as well. He is a nice kid that always did what we told him to and this time it was not any different. My aunt had my little cousin in her early 40s so he was a little off, still a cool dude though, thats my blood I love him in any way. So my older cousin Luis told my little cousin Steven "Go get the cups for mami in the trunk of the car, its already open". So my little cousin eager to come back to hear our very intriguing stories about out running cops, he dashed without looking first to see if there was any traffic into the street. We saw him at first running but we thought nothing of it, when I heard a huge bang and my little cousin fly across the street and get hit on the head with the curb, the first thing i did was call 911. My older cousin was stunned and could not believe it, I was appalled also but I knew what i needed to do if i wanted my little cousin alive. I called 911, called all my family down from the apartment, and started asking for information about the driver who just had ran over my little brother. I was in shock and my boys and I were ready to beat up the driver, but it was a woman driver and she had a good argument, it was Stevens fault. But it was really Luis's fault for him sending Steven to do what he was suppose to do. So the ambulance comes asap and the whole family went to the hospital. They did many tests like cat skans and it showed that the hit did not penetrate to the brain, that it just injured the skull and that with time he would of been okay. I was very happy and left home because he needed his sleep and so did i. The next morning i go to his house, he was back home, and i bought him food, a video game and some candy. He was very happy, and i was even happier to see him alive. 
I paid it forward by making moves right after the accident that helped save my cousin Stevens life.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Class of 2012 Inductees

Maritza Zuluaga
Anthony Luppino
Michael Anderson
Jennifer Mata
Frank Aviles
Tabatha Johannemann
Isabel Majano
Gabriela Sanchez
Antonella Sabatini
Sophia Ivezaj
Ingrid Carlos
Cristina Tripodi
Marithza Argueta
Christina Taha
Andres Hermida
Daniel Taveras
Michael Khederlarian
Jennifer Amador