Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Monthly Lunch


Our retired teacher group skipped a meeting in August so when we got together today we had lots to talk about and catch up on.  The most common thread of conversation was how much we missed not meeting in August and how we all look forward to our monthly get togethers.

The one thing we all have in common is that we are all retired women from Packemin H.S.  Packemin is large and many of us did not know each other or had barely said more than hello to one another in all the years we worked at the same address.  Our group includes former teachers, secretaries, school aides, lab assistants, and cafeteria workers.  In retirement our former jobs don't matter.

We started this group several years ago and have gone to many different places but we recently found our "home."  Ben's in Bay Terrace not only has good food and good service but lets us use a private room in the rear of the restaurant where we take advantage of lunch menu, and have the space to walk around, talk to everyone and stay as long as we want.

Any  female retiree's from Packemin are welcome to join us.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

More Than A Test Score


I met the woman pictured above while waiting for the Aquarium to open.  She was holding tight to a little boy, talking to him, questioning him, keeping him engaged and happy.  She seemed like an extraordinary mom to me until we started talking.  She was not his mom, she was his teacher.  She chose to spend the day with him in the aquarium, exposing him to something his parents possibly could not afford to  take him.  She promised him he did not have to go anywhere he wasn't comfortable and she wold not leave his side.  She emphasized how special he was and how she chose to spend the day only with him.

I don't know anything about this teacher's statistics or what her supervisors think of her but I know the day she was spending with this child would stay with him his entire life.   She taught and gave him more than anything she ever learned in an education class. She is a precious gift to the children she teaches.

There are so many teachers like this one out there, men and women who daily do more than teach to the test and deserve recognition.  I don't know her name or where she teaches and she probably will never read this but that doesn't matter.  She represents all that is good with the profession I loved.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Retired Teachers Who Lunch


You might be wondering why I have a photo of potato latkes and apple sauce and especially a picture that is not exceptionally good, but for once there is a relationship between my photo and this post.

Several years ago, several retired teachers from Packemin started meeting for lunch once a month.  The group started at 5 and grew to as many as 20.  We all don't make lunch every month but it doesn't matter.  We are informal and we are fun.  We never discuss school, we talk about vacations, shows, museums and everything else of interest to all.  We are together to enjoy life and to support one another when things don't go well.

Our group is all female.  We were teachers, paras, school aides, secretaries, cafeteria workers and even a former principal has joined us at times.  The only requirement to join our group is that you are female and worked at Packemin.  School is a phony world.  People we were friends with while working are not necessarily the people we choose to be with now and people we barely knew while working have become close friends.

I loved my teaching career and now I love my retirement life.  I am grateful for many of the things I got out of teaching and especially the friendships I have made after that part of my life has gone.

And now for the picture.  Every month we go to Ben's Deli in Bay Terrace.  The manager really likes our group and lets us use a back room for a "private" lunch even if only 8 of us show up.  Today he sent over this plate of latkes to feed us while we socialized and waited for our lunch. A special shout out now to Francesca, our favorite server and managers David and Hal.  We love you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Common Core



I have been away from school for quite a while and not at all familiar with the common core regents so when I was asked to help a friend’s son prepare I hesitated but agreed to tutor with the understanding that my skills were rusty and I might not be able to do all the questions.

Noah arrived for tutoring with a series of questions, some of which made no sense.  We managed to find the regents the examples came from.  Some were copied wrong and some were just indecipherable.  I know I am pretty good at math and should have no problem with a high school topic but some were just impossible.

The worst part of these regents exam was the imbalance of questions.  Most regents would have 5 questions on one topic and one to none on others and there seemed to be no consistently from year to year.  Even a hard working student would have trouble preparing for this exam.

I teach in the local community college and every year I see students coming to class with weaker skills than the year before.  Seeing this test helps explain.  There is no emphasis on skills and almost no teaching of the things they need to know to succeed in college mathematics.

Common core is destroying future math students.  It has destroyed Math education.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

End Cuba Embargo

This is the face of a 27 year old Cuban.  He is bright, articulate in Spanish and English and an expert when it comes to computers.  He has a degree in computer technology.  This is the face of a man who loves his country and is not in any way oppressed or denied freedom.  This is the face of a man who would like to leave his country.

This young professional is stuck.  He is educated but cannot get a good paying job.  He cannot get married and have children because the little money he manages to earn just barely takes care of his own needs.  He would love his own apartment but he is forced to live with his mom and sister as there is no place for him to go.

This is the face of a young man who would like to leave Cuba and go anywhere, not because of the government or because he is denied freedom.  He wants to go where he can get a well paying, decent job and use his education.  He has so much to give and lives in a place that does not have resources to accept.

Cuba is a nation filled with young people like this man.  Nations will not trade with Cuba because they fear the US.  Doctors, nurses and other professionals in Cuba earn barely enough to survive.  Cuba trades doctors and nurses with China and Venezuela for oil and other resources.  We need to end the embargo and let people like this young man obtain decent jobs in their own country or any country they want and any country that will appreciate them.  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Heartbroken



She was brilliant in high school.  I admired her so much.  She traveled to our not so great school in the Bronx from Manhattan because of our honor program and became one of the first females to attend the then, all male Yale.  She held top jobs in the world of finance and had a masters from Harvard.  Her last few years were spent taking photographs, mostly of dance and music.  She was a brilliant, self taught photographer.  Check out her work here.  She introduced me to so much.  I was blessed she let me re-enter her life.  Goodbye Darial.. RIP.  I will never take another photograph, sit at a concert or a dance and not think of you sitting next to me.  You left us way too soon.

Monday, March 05, 2018

This Is Great

I was thrilled to get this as an e-mail today.  Love ❤️ my library.  I think the library should invite Pence!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Teachers and The Gun

When I was still working, my five classes were usually in three different rooms, including several in the trailer.  I usually carried two book bags, my coat and a Delaney book because my overcrowded school had no where to store anything and I never knew what I would need.  Imagine me carrying a gun too?  No way!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Gardener



I met Linus on a recent trip to Saint Lucia.  He works in the landscape department but is more than a strong back with a green thumb.

Linus was the guide on our early morning nature walk.  He enthusiastically talked about all the flowers and his love of beautiful colors.  His faced glowed as he discussed the miracle of watching something he planted come to life.

I asked Linus how he got interested in what he was doing.  He explained that he grew up on a farm.  His mom had died when he was young and he and his siblings were being raised by a grandmother.  He often missed 2 to 3 days of school a week to work on the farm and left school completely at an early age to send his sister to the university.  (She is currently a teacher.)  Linus then showed us a tattered notebook he carries around, where he writes down everything new and explained all he knew was learned on the job and, while he knew a lot, he still had a lot to learn.  He even wrote down things he did not know from the conversation he had with a man on our tour.

The management of Sandal's recognized Linus' talent and sent him to Sandal's University to learn the skills he needs to become a supervisor.  He was due to start his new job the week after we left.

Linus, without book education is a brilliant young man.  Just shows, book learning is not for all but still, I wonder how far this man could have gone if he hadn't been forced to leave school.  I wonder if he would have found his gift if he had been forced to sit in a classroom with books full of things he had no interest in.

Thank Teachers


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

She Restored My Faith



A conversation with a fairly young teacher restored my faith in some of those still in the education field.  This woman, a mother of two young children spoke to me from her heart about how she connected to her students as she corrected their long, often illiterate essays.  The marking, though long and laborious was part of the job she said, not with anger or resentment but with pride.  Her eyes told how much she cared about helping these children and how much she wanted them to improve and succeed.

Here was clearly a woman teaching out of love for the students in her care.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ms. It



Yasmin always talked about how awful she felt growing up as she was the girl who was never invited to parties or to the mall or to even sit with others at lunch.  As Yasmin aged, her popularity grew.  I remember sitting with her as she proudly proclaimed her status of now being "the it girl", the one everyone wanted to be with.

Yasmin was thrilled with her new popularity and loved having people wanting to be with her but Yasmin forgot what it was like to be left sitting on the side lines, of being left out and soon began doing to others the exact thing that hurt her the most.

If I live to be 150 I will never understand people like Yasmin and how she can happily hurt others.  I too was the one always left out.  And, while I no longer want anything to do with the "Its" of this world I will never forget the hurt and will never do to others what was so painful when done to me.  One day things might change and Yasmin will lose her "It" status.  I don't wish her harm but I would be lying if I said I did not want to be around to see It.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Goals



This cartoon reminded of a major argument I had about goals with Mr. AP.  He never approved of my passing statistics.  If you just looked at numbers, mine were never good.  But, if you looked further, you would see that they were excellent.  I always taught the students with the worst records and I usually got most of them to pass, never all and never as many as the other people in the department but I did better with these kids than anyone had done in the past.

When he asked me to set a goal, I said I wanted 100% to pass.  He told me that was impossible and I should be realistic and suggested an 88% passing.  I said, I would set my goal at 12% failing.  He didn't like that.  We ended the meeting without setting any goals.

Poor little Hammie is as frustrated as Mr. AP.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Scary Stuff


I haven't posted here for a while but saw this and could not resist.

Post is dedicated to all those who suffered with the Chihuahua in charge!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Arrogance-Advice to Start the Year


The look to give those no nothing supervisors and Principals who try to intimidate.  Get the upper hand!


(Photo from Congo House at the Bronx Zoo)

Friday, August 04, 2017

Purging


When I first retired I tossed old books and lesson plans, tons of lesson plans in all subjects except for calculus.  I spent so much time preparing and learning that I did not have the heart to get rid of them.  Finally, after six years, I am purging myself of this material too.  All the books I collected at conferences, dragged home on the subway and used diligently are going into a charity box.  I know I will never need them again and hope they will find a good home with a new family.  As for me, I am enjoying my empty shelves.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Start Them Young




I believe in starting kids young and so does my daughter.  Here are the books she bought the twins for their first birthday.  Below is a picture of my granddaughter (sorry-no face) already studying for her AP calculus exam.


Trash Talk

This cartoon reminded me so much of my former supervisor, Mr. AP.  At every department meeting he manages to bring up teachers who have retired and to mention repeatedly how awful they were. These teachers were not awful.  They were well liked by the students and other teachers and went above and beyond their work requirements daily.  They just refused to bow to him and revere him as a God. 

It always strikes me as funny how the comics manage to portray real life so well.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meanest Dog


Who would have guessed the meanest dog breed was a chihuahua?  Maybe too much inbreeding?  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dilbert Explains Again


The reason school's have their heat on in June,

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday, July 07, 2017

Adjuncts


This is so true.  Adjuncts make a great hourly salary.  It is a fantastic way to supplement a paycheck  or a pension but it is a crappy way to have to survive.  I have worked with adjuncts who go from school to school and teach 8 classes.  And, while many adjuncts are better teachers than their full time colleagues, they do their students a major disservice as they are not around for office hours and extra help.

I love being an adjunct but being an adjunct is not a career.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Success



I met Ahmed when he came to my class in the middle of the term.  He was newly arrived from Pakistan and barely spoke English and his bathing habits were not up to our standards.  He was shy and quiet and struggled with the math but he was never absent, never late and worked hard.  This was extremely difficult because the class had a lot of uncontrollable students.

Fast forward to today.  Ahmed and I are Facebook buddies.  The picture above is him, minus the face.  He is a sharp dressing, confident, successful young   I commented how nicely he grew up and how happy I was to see the transformation from the shy young boy to the confident, successful young man.  He replied that he will always remember me as his best teacher ever.

And this is what teaching is all about.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Take That Mr AP

Just got this message. It made my day.

Hello Mrs. POT,  how you've been?

I have news to tell you! I'll be attending XXX Pharmacy school this fall! Thank you for providing me the best education back in Packemin H.S. Thank you for always believing in me and always telling me to never give up. I hope to see you again some day!

Take that Mr AP!  Guess I was better than you thought!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Limbo Rock



Anyone who has ever taught knows that teaching is not a job everyone can do.  My former school had several teaching fellows who knew their subject material inside out but could not handle a classroom.  My cousin, a PhD in physics and the smartest person I know died in a high school classroom.

Unfortunately this practice of hiring teachers who know nothing about education is exactly the method being used to hire school administrators right here in NYC, okay, not in all schools.  Newbies with a minimum amount of time in the classroom are suddenly in charge to say nothing of the Principal Academy which took no educators and made them the supreme leader of many institutions.

No one would ever go to a doctor who just had a degree in anatomy or use an architect with experience with Legos yet these same people have no problem using teachers with zero education experience or credits.

Limbo lower now--how low can you go?

Monday, May 08, 2017

Sorry State of Advanced Placement


How does a school keep its high rating?  Easy.  Designate every senior English class as an AP class.

The school looks good because of all the students taking college level classes.  It costs the school nothing because all students must take English anyway.  The administration does not care how the grades come out as the school is judged only by the number enrolled, not the number passing the advanced placement exam.

Struggling students are not being prepared for what they will need in college.  Parents are being bamboozled and the ones that belong are getting a watered down education.