Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Hold Over Them

Everyone in my school who manages to learn 30% of the material taught in class passes. Principal Suit changes every failing grade to a passing one.

You can earn a term's work by attending boot camp school for one week. Don't want to work in class during the year? No Big deal.

What is the point of doing any work in class? What hold do teachers have over these kids?

I'm Not Worried But Thanks For The Concern

I am not going to the rubber room. I am not being setup to go to the rubber room. I am not worried. Yesterday's class was just an awful reminder of what happens to my colleagues every day.

I'm lucky. I won't have any lasting problems because of that class. The worst thing will be a few nasty words from Mr. AP. I've decided to agree with everything he says and walk away. He hates when I do that. He loves an argument. He also hates winning in this manner. I've even rehearsed a scenario:

Mr. AP: Ms. POd, you are too nice. That class was walking all over you.

Ms. POd: You are correct.

Mr. AP: You have to change seats.

Ms. POd: I've done that twice. I will do it again.

Mr. AP: You have to call their parents.

Ms. POd: I have called some. I am teaching six classes and have a C-6 assignment. I try to squeeze in a few phone calls between periods.

Mr. AP: Please go watch Ms. Teenie Bopper. She has great control.

Ms. POd: I will be happy to do that only if I can do it during my C-6 assignment.

Mr. AP: This is a different world we are living in. If you don't improve I will be forced to put a letter in your file and give you a U rating.

Ms. POd: I understand. Do what you feel is correct.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rubber Room--I'm Ready

Not really, but after a few more days like today, I am sure I would need my bags packed and my ticket paid for. It really is a good thing that I can walk any minute I want, because I don't think I can survive two of my classes this term.

I'm teaching MG 21 R classes. These are the kids that barely made it out of Math A or Integrated Algebra. A good percentage of them only passed by retaking the course in summer school and many failed but Principal Suit reversed their grades to passing. These are not special education classes but they are classes full of kids who cannot sit in their seats and work an entire period. They cannot start unless I am standing over them and they cannot keep their mouths shut for more than thirty seconds at a time.

Mr. AP paid us a visit today, period 9. The group was more rambunctious than usual. Ditsy was angry because I called his mother about his constant "game boy playing" during class. Trevor was just transferred into the class. I can only imagine why he was taken out of the one he was in. Abe was put in the class special by the AP guidance because she felt I could deal with his nonsense. Rita came back to school two weeks after the term started because the attendance teacher called her home. I could go on and on about the problems in this class, but you get the idea.

Usually kids get nervous when Mr. AP enters the room. They don't like him, don't want to deal with him and just do the right thing so he will leave them alone. Not today, not this group. Today it was business as usual. I chastised them for talking. I stopped teaching and told them I would not continue until they were quiet. Nothing worked. After ten minutes he left.

I'm sure he is going to have some good words to say. It is only a matter of whether he will make the comments to my face or type them in a wonderful memo to share with the department. If the kids have no fear of him and are not be respectful enough to do the right thing while he is in the room, what hope do I have?

Mr. AP is starting to harass us old teachers again. This morning Ms. Timid got a letter from him chastising her for being three minutes late to her period 1 class. Ms. Timid lives an hour from the school and is never late or absent. If she wasn't in her room that day, there probably was a very good reason. Instead of asking, he harasses. He waits three weeks after the event occurs to say something so she cannot even defend herself. She even second guesses herself and she thinks she might have been late that day. A few years ago, Ms Pet of Mr. AP came late every day. Mr. AP excused her, saying that period 1 is early and hard to get to. She only lived ten minutes from the school. Ms. Timid has five more years in the school, she is worried.

Things are getting worse and worse by the day. I really feel for the teachers not in the same position I am in.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


MG 21 R

HW assignment: Students were given a line with points labeled A through G. They were asked to find points on the same side of C, on opposite sides of C, points that were collinear, to name rays beginning with C, etc, nothing extremely difficult or challenging.

The homework assignment was handed it. For the most part, they could not do it.

One girl told me she needs someone to read it to her (she does have a resource room but she is one of 34 in my class).

How are these kids supposed to learn to do geometric proofs? Going slow [If you are teaching ME41, ME43 and MG21D/R/J, it is our mission to slow down enough so that the majority of the students can master enough materials to get at least a grade of 65.] is not the answer. I hope someone out there knows how to help these kids. I see their frustration growing every day and I don't know how to help them.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Comments On The Memo

The majority of the struggling students are very nice and they really never had a good math teacher until now. If you consider yourself to be a good teacher, then you should be able to find a way to reach the struggling students.

The above line is from Mr. AP's latest memo. It is nice to know that he thinks I am such a fantastic teacher and can teach my students, in one semester, what other teachers have not been able to do in eleven years of school. I wish I was as good a teacher as he was giving me credit for being. It's also good to know that being nice is the key to learning. The moral of this must be if you are nice there is nothing you can't do, be it medical school, law school or even President of the United States.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What An Example He Sets

I love the grammar in this memo. I've picked a few key points from Mr. AP's last memo to share.

Our sophomores and juniors will take the PSAT on October 15, 2008. I have a book you can use. You can even spend a period to go over the PSAT if you are teaching sophomores or juniors.

If you are teaching ME41, ME43 and MG21D/R/J, it is our mission to slow down enough so that the majority of the students can master enough materials to get at least a grade of 65.

By now, you should know who is having trouble in your class. It might be a good idea to either pair them up with someone who is doing well so that the good student can help the failing student or put the students who are having trouble together so that you can help them during the time when everyone is working on the application problems. “Survival of the fittest” should not be the motto or model in any math class. If how good a government is judged by how it treats the poor, how good a math teacher should be judged by how effective s/he is in helping the needy. There are times when moving a student to a lower level class is not the solution, particularly it is because you do not want to work with a student who is having trouble. The majority of the struggling students are very nice and they really never had a good math teacher until now. If you consider yourself to be a good teacher, then you should be able to find a way to reach the struggling students.

I am not surprised that some students still can not solve linear equations or factor trinomials. I checked with them only to realize that their math teachers last year did not teach them the way I suggested. It is very important that each and every student should be able to solve a linear equation by transposing terms and that they should be able to find the product of two binomial without using FOIL and be able to factor trinomials. If you insist on doing it your way, I will ask you to come to my office and explain to me why some of your students still could not solve linear equations and/or not being able to factor a trinomial. You are right – I expect you to do your job right and I expect all your students to be able to learn from you.

More comments on his words to follow. The grammatical errors were just too funny not to print.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Addressing The Problem

Principal Suit to Young Ms. Math Teacher: Your lesson was fine. You hit all the good points. But, traditionally about 1/3 of these students fail. I would like you to think about how you will address this problem and get back to me. I don't need an answer today, but I would like one soon.

Ms. Young Math Teacher just shook her head. She has no answer, at least no answer she is willing to give Mr. AP. She is young and needs her job.

Some of the old math teachers had a few answer for him, however.

1. Why not program kids for classes they are capable of passing? Maybe then the results will be better.

2. Why not try getting students into the correct class on the first day of school, instead of the first day of the second marking period? Maybe without all the disruption, they can actually learn something.

3. Why not order a book that actually covers the curriculum instead of that crappy new Geometry book put out by Amsco that has no problems and no explanations?

4. Why not try smaller classes?

5. Why program every second of our day so that we have no time to work individually with students or call a parent?

6. Why don't we just pass them all so the results will be better?

Too bad he won't ask any of us how to address the problem. He's afraid of the answers we'd give him.

Supposedly Principal Suit is leaving on Monday. No one can figure out why he is doing this stuff!

Union Suit Comes A Callin'

Union Suit found his way to Packemin HS today. He found his way to the cafeteria as that is where three of the ATRs and the guy one U rating away from the rubber room, were dining. [These are my favorite lunchtime companions.] Union Suit was smiling and and shaking hands and he could definitely have won the Mr. Congeniality Award.

The ATRs were glad he showed up but were skeptical as to the value of his mission. He first asked to speak to Ms. E privately and they steppped into the hallway. Ms. E returned a few minutes later and said that Union Suit told her she could proceed with her grievance (she received a U rating last year) but the union never wins those grievances so she really shouldn't bother. Next he called Mr. T into the hallway. Mr. T returned and said nothing. I know he didn't hear anything positive about his future. Union Suit made the error of coming back with Mr. T. That was when I opened my mouth:

Pod: What is the union doing about the ATR situation?

Union Suit: Randi tried to make a statement. All the papers would publish was a short paragraph. Here is her entire response. [Handed us a paper with her little speech.]

POd: That isn't good enough. Why doesn't the union take out ads in newspapers and on television to let the public know the truth.

Union Suit: The media won't let us give our side.

POd: You can pay for ads. Spend some of our dues to help fellow teachers. Use Mentor ATR as your poster child. Mentor ATR was one of the highest regarded teachers in the school before Mentor left here.

Union Suit: I'll relay the message to Randi and see what she says.

With that Union Suit tried to make a quick get away. The last ATR, Ms. J, managed to grab his attention and he was forced to acknowledge her existence.

I have a feeling it will be a while before Union Suit returns! Hopefully he will relay the messages, loud and clear.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Are We Training Them To Think Of Themselves as Failures?

Mary is taking geometry this term. She is in a class for kids that have failed before. Math is not a subject she likes, or does well in. She was not happy with Friday's test and wrote "I am a failure" on the top of her exam.

Today's students are tested over and over again. They are made to feel worthless when their scores are not high. Failing a test is not the same as being a failure. This is something we must teach our students.

Mary did not fail this test, although she only squeaked by with a 66. I called her the second I finished marking it to tell her the good news. I could almost see her smile through the phone and I will never forget her words "Thank you for your encouragement and for believing in me. It means a lot to me."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

You Don't Have To Be Around A Long Time To Be Unwanted

Billy appears to be the teacher all schools are looking for. She is a teaching fellow, a 40 something change of career teacher. She is bright and enthusiastic and wants to teach and change the world.

Billy is also an ATR. She had the misfortune to be sent to my school. Mr. AP took one look at her and said "I have no job for you. Leave." [Mr. AP went out on his own and hired three brand new teenie bopper teachers.] Billy was stunned. She had so been looking forward to teaching and was excited to have been placed in Packemin HS as it is reputed to be a good school and it is close to home for her. Billy did not know what to do. Luckily, the ISS department found a spot for her.

Billy is working hard and enjoying every minute of her day. She knows she has a lot to learn and has asked for a mentor. Mr. AP said no! [He provided mentors for the teenie boppers.] A few of us have been trying to help her. She has approached Principal Suit for help in obtaining a mentor. As of Friday, she was still waiting.

The school system has no use for older ATRs. We've all known that for some time. I'm sure the new Teaching Fellows never expected this kind of treatment.

[In case anyone thinks Mr. AP just does not like Teaching Fellows, think again. The Teaching Fellow he hired last year knows very little math. In fact, she was a Spanish major in college. But, she is in her 20's, pretty and belongs to the right ethnic group.]

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Education Mayor At His Best

Here is an example of some of the things you will find in the school I teach in:

Students being handed multiplication tables because they are incapable of multiplying two single digit numbers yet they will be expected to pass Algebra this year and Geometry next year.

Students who never took Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 are being placed in Spanish 3. Their transcripts are being altered to make them appear to have passed a proficiency test in grade.

Students are being placed in the second term of Math B so they can attempt a regents in June although they either never took the first part or failed it with a fifty or less.

A senior who insists on taking an extra year of math is put in an honor pre-calculus class intended for juniors because it is the only class with an available seat.

September 19 and kids are still being moved from Algebra to Geometry and back. No one seems to care these kids missed over two weeks of instruction.

Principals who only care about passing everyone along so they can collect their big performance bonuses.

Bloomberg and Klein--keep up the good work!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mistreatment Continues

Read ATR at Ednotes.

In my school ATRs are not only being given the shaft by the union and the administration, but they are being discriminated against by other teachers as well.

Mr. M has been subbing in the @$%">#@$% department. He needed supplies that the regular teacher has in his desk. Mr. M was told he was not allowed to use them. Mr. M wanted to run off copies of a sheet to go over with the class. Mr. M was told, "you are only a sub, you can't make copies."

I can't fathom any reason why one would treat a colleague so badly, yet it is happening every day. All you evil doers out there better remember that what goes around comes around. You too might be an ATR one day. You will not like being treated like this so stop treating others this way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Push In

I'm getting lots of notices lately concerning number of my students that have resource room. I make sure that they have extended time and try to get exams to their resource room teachers in advance so they can have all the time they are entitled to.

One of my students told me that instead of resource room, her teacher works as a push in during history. I asked how she got help in math and other subjects. The girl didn't know. I asked her what I was supposed to do about giving her extra time. Again, the student had no answer.

I just sent the following e-mail to the ISS AP, my AP, AP Guidance and AP Administrative Services. The ball is in their court. They better come up with a solution.

One of my students told me that her resource room teacher is a push-in
teacher in a history class and that she does not have resource in her

I am confused as to how to give her extra time on an
exam. My exam is scheduled for Friday so please advise me as to how to
handle this situation.

I love e-mail. There is no way now for them to accuse me of shortchanging her in the time department.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Security Booth Update

The empty security booth.
No one in sight--inside or outside.
No one near the back doors.

They got me out of the trailers and now they are saving money on security.

I've been watching. The booth is empty. No one is patrolling outside.

The teachers in the trailer will not say a word.

Everyone is happy....That is, unless something goes wrong.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Principal Suitette

Principal Suit walked a Wanna Be Suitette around the building today.

I didn't have the opportunity to meet her, but others did.

Here are some of the comments:

"She's so pretty."

"She dresses well."

"She seems so nice."

The teachers that made these comments are already in love with her and hope she gets the job.

I know I am a cynic. You need more than the three things above to make me think you are qualified for the job. If that is all you need, the guy in the picture can handle the job quite well.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

E-Mail From Mr. AP

Ladies and gentlemen:

Good morning. I would like to let you know that if you are free 4th period, you might get a new class fourth period on Monday, provided you will not have four classes in a row. I should be able to let you know later on today.

Thank you.
1. I guess you guys don't deserve upper case letters like us ladies do!

2. It is now Sunday, 9:38 PM. There is has been no follow up on the e-mail. No one knows which teacher is getting the new class or what subject it will be.

3. I know it can't be me. I already have a fourth period that cannot be touched.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In Suit's Own Words

September 12, 2008

Re: Updated grading policy [from Mr. AP]

For students who have a passing average in your class, the grading policy issued in August stands. For students in Integrated Algebra and Geometry classes who do not have a passing average, the following modifications to our grading policy should be followed and I quote the principal:

“Students who pass the Regents and who have met the state standard in class, and who have met attendance, class work and homework standards should not fail based on the arbitrary and unauthorized department standards. Rather they should pass and move on to a transitional class beyond Math A or Integrated I which prepares them for math B (or Integrated 2)”. [It doesn't matter if the student never passed a test and has a 40 average. As long as a 34% can be gotten on the regents, pass them along. We don't want any child left behind.]

“An alternative would be movement into the next sequence B or integrated 2 class which includes the A or integrated 1 topics not yet mastered, and compensatory support as new topics are taught. (Those students who pass the regents with a higher grade should be placed directly into the next course in the sequence).” [Too bad this is only followed as long as there is room in a class. Right now, kids are being placed anywhere there is an empty seat.]

We must effectively “deal with the high failure rates with proactive intervention and not by programming students into repeater classes which feature the same unsuccessful instructional strategies over and over again.” If we pass students who pass the Regents exam even though they have failing averages (the arbitrary and unauthorized department standards we have been using), we will greatly reduce the high failing rate in the Algebra class and in the Geometry course in June 2009, provided the Regents exam has a generous curve. [No kidding, passing more kids will reduce the failing rate. I bet this was taught in Administrator School.]

Some students who failed MA44 and ME22 in June 2008 were moved into Geometry. They were promoted because they passed the Regents exams. “They will not have extra time to pass Integrated 2 and 3, both of which are required for the Advanced Regents Diploma. Their success in these courses is critical.” Teacher of MG21R and MG21D must monitor your juniors carefully. You are to slow down and make sure the overwhelming majority of your students understand what is going on before moving on to the next topic. Bear in mind that only 30% of the contents will be on the Regents exam. [That's right, pass them if they know less than 30% of the material and help them get an advanced diploma. This is a good way to insure the value of the advanced regents diploma.]

“We must accept this inability of some students to make the right choices for academic success as a given and par of the challenge under which we work. Their inability to learn or parents effectively (ineffectiveness) requires that our classrooms become laboratories for new initiatives and strategies. The large number of students who are behind in meeting diploma requirements in math may be a result of teachers in the department failing to implement the differentiated instructional techniques which have become a part of every other academic department at Lewis, as well as in other similar schools. On the most basic level, we have even opposed varying classroom seating arrangements, a simple initiative which has shown itself to be effective in promoting active engagement and learning.” [Make the right choice and you too can grow up to be a world renowned surgeon.]

We have our work cut off for us. As we discussed during the Department meeting on 8/29/08, we will engage in pair-and-share, incorporate more technology into the lessons (Smart board or Geometer Sketchpad), differentiate instruction both in terms of ability and learning styles and find the most effective way to get every student involved in each and every lesson. Please see me for clarifications. [And now, on top of all our other jobs, we are expected to become magicians. I think I'll see if I can pick up a magic wand with my $150 teacher choice check.]

I don't believe after reading this note that Principal Suit is really going to retire, no matter what he says and no matter how large a party he is being given.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some Teachers Are Idiots

The ATR is taking the job. There really is no choice. Suit will make life miserable if it is turned down. The union told the ATR to accept. There are no jobs out there for teachers the ATR's age.
The thing that disgusts me the most is the attitude of some of my colleagues. They don't see any further than the nose on their face and they see nothing wrong with Suit's attitude. "It's the contract", they say. "All principals are doing this." And, "There is nothing anyone can do."

What happened to the fighting spirit of the 60's and the 70's? We stood up for our rights and our colleagues. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge in protest. We went on strike and suffered Taylor Law consequences.

School gal was right. I work with a bunch of idiots.

These teachers will be the first to complain when this happens to them.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mallard Fillmore and Teacher's union

Suit Is Playing Games

It seems that an ATR with a certain license is needed to teach a certain class. The ATR would be given three classes in the license the ATR holds and two other subjects to teach. The catch: The ATR will still be considered an ATR. Principal Suit told the teacher that if this is mentioned to the union, all deals are off.

Question: Should this threatening to the union be reported? And, if it is, how will this affect the ATR's future in the school?

Question: Should the ATR accept the job under these conditions? What consequences come by taking or not taking for future employment?

Question: How can other teachers, knowing this is going on, go to Suit's retirement party and congratulate him on the good job he has done?

Monday, September 08, 2008

It All Begins Again...

(Also, administrator speak)

It took me a while to understand the latest memo. Parts are still incomprehensible but here are the parts I do understand, with translations.

There is no need for you to stop by my office and ask me what we could do with students in MG21 or MG 21R who failed the class last year. [translation: I don't have a clue what to do with them either.] I expect you to differentiate instruction and to do the best you can to help them. [translation: I don't care if you do have a class of 34, just figure out a way to pass them. I need my performance bonus.] Please do not give a placement exam in MG21 because we already know that most of them don't know any algebra and they have not learned any geometry. [translation: These kids are so dumb that I really don't have much faith in them to be able to accomplish anything.]

On another note, Suit is upset because not enough of our students are going for advanced regents diplomas. He is taking the kids that just finished Math A and putting them into the second term of Math B and plans on giving them the regents in June. The weakest students must take the most challenging regents after only being taught 2/3 of the material. It should be interesting. I'm glad that he thinks no child is being left behind when the kids are being deprived of 1/3 the material. I would hate to be the teacher of these kids. It has got to be a very frustrating experience for them.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

No need to go to Disney to have a wild ride adventure. Instead, try the NYC subways on a stormy night.

Saturday night we had tickets to see Gypsy. My husband was nervous about getting home as the brunt of the storm was due to hit while we were listening to Patti Lupone belt out those fabulous tunes. Getting down was a cinch. We got a parking spot right in front of the subway and the E train came immediately. It didn't matter that the express wasn't running as we were in no big hurry.

The show was sensational but as soon as it was over, we ran to the subway, which was only a half block away. There was no rain and we felt we really lucked out. Lucked out, until we got downstairs and saw all the platforms sopping wet. Well, we got to our platform and waited, and waited and waited. An A train pulled in and that train waited and waited and waited. Finally, we heard "Signal trouble, please find an alternate route." This was no big deal to seasoned subway travelers. We hiked over to the R train, figuring we would get as close as we could to our destination and then walk, if we had to. En route we passed the 7 train, which was waiting and waiting and waiting. We finally got to the R platform only no uptown R trains were running. After 15 minutes we decided to try the downtown R. At 34th St we had choices--the F or the Long Island Rail Road. We had a short wait until an E train showed up. I guess all the Es were diverted to the F track but no one bothered to announce this to passengers. We got to Queens Plaza and the conductor announced "This is an express train. The next stop will be Roosevelt Ave." People scrambled for the exit. He shut the door and announced "This train will be making all local stops to Roosevelt Ave." Too bad he did not open the door to let the poor stranded passengers back in. He repeated the same announcement at Roosevelt Ave and again passengers were left behind on the platform. Although every local stop was made, if you did not move like the speed of light, there was no way you could have made it on or off that train. I pity anyone traveling with luggage, strollers or young children.

Finally, almost 90 minutes after our start, we exited the subway and found our car, waiting ready to take us home. And, believe it or not, this is not my most exciting subway story. More to come.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Belle Gets An Invitation

After 40 Years

Of Hard Work and Dedication

Please Join Us As

We Celebrate and Congratulate

Principal Suit

On His Retirement

XXX, XX, 2008

I just mailed a copy of this to Belle. I'm sure she would hate (LOL) to miss the fun.

Someone suggested we make Belle a party on this date. When Suit told us to cancel Belle's party, he said we should reschedule the party for some time in the fall. The date above is as good a time as any.

On A More Pleasant Note

Instead of my whines and complaints, here are the morning picks from the garden.

Friday, September 05, 2008

ATR Update

It seems my friend is not the only teacher the system wants to get rid of that has been deemed an ATR this semester. There is at least one other teacher in the school in the same predicament. This problem is not local to my school. I met a guy over the summer who told me he will also be an ATR this semester. He has been teaching for over twenty years in a large school that is NOT being closed down. It did not make any sense to me as to why he would be an ATR until I heard this...today.

So now it seems that schools are taking away programs from teachers they decide are unsatisfactory and turning them into ATRs. I fear this will have a very negative affect on all the good teachers who are ATRs, through no fault of their own.

On another note, the ATR has been covering for a new teacher who is waiting for her finger prints to come through.

(Note: I am not an ATR or in danger of ever becoming one. These stories need to be told.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Misuse of ATR Position

Principal Suit and Mr. AP want to get rid of Mr. T. They have ganged up on him and verbally abused him so badly that he had to take leaves a few times to restore his mental health. Although things seemed to be going better for him last year, he got hit with his second U rating and he is very worried (with cause) about his future. He only needs a few more years and he will make it to 55/25.

This year Mr. T has been removed from his classroom and has been given the title ATR. He doesn't know if this was legal if there are positions in his school in his license area and new teachers have been hired. I always thought the position of ATR was a position given to a teacher whose school was reorganized and whose position was lost through no fault of their own. I never dreamt that the position of ATR could be used for punishment and a quick trip to the rubber room. Although Mr. T filed a grievance, the union does not seem to be doing much to help. Mr. T is fighting. He has a lawyer and is ready to go at them head to head.

All I can say is that if Mr. T is truly a U rated teacher, he should not be in the building under any circumstances. If he is a U rated teacher, there must be a more humane way to prove it. And, will the schools start trying to show all ATRs are unsatisfactory to get rid of them?


Tina taught with me for over twenty years. She loved what she was doing and the kids loved her but Mr. AP didn't share this adoration and went out of his way to make her life miserable, giving her only low level classes, three preps and late session. He made it a point to berate her publicly. When her students did well on the regents he proclaimed it an easy exam.

Tina finally had enough of his baloney and retired. She moved to a beautiful house and could enjoy her morning tea looking at this view daily. (This picture was taken from her back yard.)
Mr. AP still continues to say negative things about her. He doesn't use her name, but we all know the reference.

Tina is teaching two classes at the community college this semester. She cannot believe that there is no one looking over her shoulder checking every breath that comes out of her mouth. No one is telling her how to teach. No one is holding her responsible for the absenteeism in her 8:00 AM class. The chairperson thanks her for doing the job. The secretaries help her with everything she needs help with. She's teaching again, doing the job she loves and she feels like she has died and gone to heaven.

It is too bad that the New York City schools won't treat teachers this way.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Censorship? No Way!

Miracle of miracles--the computers in the library are working.

But, when I went to check out NYCEducator, I got this screen.

And, this one when I tried The Chancellor's New Clothes.

(click on each for a better view)

Could the DOE be censoring our computers? No way! (And, if you believe that, I have a bridge for sale, really cheap.)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Vice In Go-Go Boots?

Vice in Go-Go Boots?
Published: August 31, 2008

The guilty pleasure I miss most when I’m out slogging on the campaign trail is the chance to sprawl on the chaise and watch a vacuously spunky and generically sassy chick flick.

So imagine my delight, my absolute astonishment, when the hokey chick flick came out on the trail, a Cinderella story so preposterous it’s hard to believe it’s not premiering on Lifetime. Instead of going home and watching “Miss Congeniality” with Sandra Bullock, I get to stay here and watch “Miss Congeniality” with Sarah Palin.

Sheer heaven.

It’s easy to see where this movie is going. It begins, of course, with a cute, cool unknown from Alaska who has never even been on “Meet the Press” triumphing over a cute, cool unknowable from Hawaii who has been on “Meet the Press” a lot.

Americans, suspicious that the Obamas have benefited from affirmative action without being properly grateful, and skeptical that Michelle really likes “The Brady Bunch” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” reject the 47-year-old black contender as too uppity and untested.

Instead, they embrace 72-year-old John McCain and 44-year-old Sarah Palin, whose average age is 58, a mere two years older than the average age of the Obama-Biden ticket. Enthusiastic Republicans don’t see the choice of Palin as affirmative action, despite her thin résumé and gaping absence of foreign policy knowledge, because they expect Republicans to put an underqualified “babe,” as Rush Limbaugh calls her, on the ticket. They have a tradition of nominating fun, bantamweight cheerleaders from the West, like the previous Miss Congeniality types Dan Quayle and W., and then letting them learn on the job. So they crash into the globe a few times while they’re learning to drive, what’s the big deal?

Obama may have been president of The Harvard Law Review, but Palin graduated from the University of Idaho with a minor in poli-sci and worked briefly as a TV sports reporter. And she was tougher on the basketball court than the ethereal Obama, earning the nickname “Sarah Barracuda.”

The legacy of Geraldine Ferraro was supposed to be that no one would ever go on a blind date with history again. But that crazy maverick and gambler McCain does it, and conservatives and evangelicals rally around him in admiration of his refreshingly cynical choice of Sarah, an evangelical Protestant and anti-abortion crusader who became a hero when she decided to have her baby, who has Down syndrome, and when she urged schools to debate creationism as well as that stuffy old evolution thing.

Palinistas, as they are called, love Sarah’s spunky, relentlessly quirky “Northern Exposure” story from being a Miss Alaska runner-up, and winning Miss Congeniality, to being mayor and hockey mom in Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of 6,715, to being governor for two years to being the first woman ever to run on a national Republican ticket. (Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It’s a little insulting.)

Sarah is a zealot, but she’s a fun zealot. She has a beehive and sexy shoes, and the day she’s named she goes shopping with McCain in Ohio for a cheerleader outfit for her daughter.

As she once told Vogue, she’s learned the hard way to deal with press comments about her looks. “I wish they’d stick with the issues instead of discussing my black go-go boots,” she said. “A reporter once asked me about it during the campaign, and I assured him I was trying to be as frumpy as I could by wearing my hair on top of my head and these schoolmarm glasses.”

This chick flick, naturally, features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.

The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it’s close to Alaska. “Back off, Commie dude,” she says. “I’m a much better shot than Cheney.”

Then she takes off in her seaplane and lands on the White House lawn, near the new ice fishing hole and hockey rink. The “First Dude,” as she calls the hunky Eskimo in the East Wing, waits on his snowmobile with the kids — Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for “strength.”)

“The P.T.A. is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B.,” President Palin murmurs to Todd, as they kiss in the final scene while she changes Trig’s diaper. “Now that Georgia’s safe, how ’bout I cook you up some caribou hot dogs and moose stew for dinner, babe?”

Out With The Old

I never throw out books. I consider them to be "holy." I had no problem putting this one on top of the trash as I got out the books I am using to teach this year.

For all you cynics who think all people my age never write a new lesson--it is a new prep! And yes, I will be doing all the work to probably teach the course only once.

Help Jenny

Lily Tomlin I know would greatly appreciate it if your blog to bring attention to the plight of Jenny the Elephant who is suffering in the Dallas Zoo. The Tennessee elephant sanctuary is willing to take her, but Dallas officials have not been moved. I have contacted the mayor, city council and the zoo itself along with hundreds of others, and still Jenny suffers.Here is some background information.



Thanks to schoolgal. Please spread this story.