Friday, September 30, 2011


I cna't believe I waited so many years to discover Brooklyn.  What a great place to visit.  Last Sunday,there was a great Art Fair in the DUMBO area.More pictures here.  You really don't have to travel far or spend a lot of money to have a great day in this fantastic city.

Helping The Mold Grow

I had some bread that was moldy. I decided to take the moldy loaf and divide it into a bunch of little pieces and store it with some different bread.  I thought the moldy bread might somehow be edible if it mixed in with a different loaf.  I even tried giving some of this moldy bread to my super young neighbors.

I couldn't believe the results.  Instead of improving, my moldy bread got all the other bread moldy too.  My poor young neighbors were baffled.  They tried everything they knew but more spores kept growing.  Instead of curing the problem, breaking up the load just spread it around.

The same thing happens with schools that are broken up.  The children with the problems will still have the problems only now they will be spreading them to their new schools.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sleepers Who Woke Up

These two kids slept their weight their way through high school, occasionally failing classes and then making them up the following term.  Luckily for them, no one said, "Poor baby.  Do these 75 problems online and you can make up the credit" or "Go to summer school for two weeks, just show up and the credit will be yours."  These kids were forced to take real classes and to do something that would probably be considered capital punishment today--they were forced to show competence in the subjects they failed.

I said these two kids were lucky and they were.  Both sleepers made it through high school and graduated with a diploma that meant something.  Both went on to college.  One is now a doctor, doing her residency at a major hospital in Queens.  The other is an aeronautical engineer, working for NASA.  Both of these kids are close to 30 years old, one of the last generation to get a real high school education.

We might have higher graduation rates today, but the late bloomers, like these kids, will not be so successful.  (Even kids who did the right thing will have a hard time do to the lack of education they received in high school.)  Pursuing a college education without the proper foundation will insure their failure, something I see every day.  How long will it take for the powers that be to realize this?  How many generations will be lost until things change?

Happiness Is Knowing Your Place

 Overheard in the nail salon:

Mr. Retired was one of the best teachers around.  I am so surprised the Principal didn't try to get him to stay around a few years more.  He gave so much to the kids and the school.
The two ladies talking are both still teaching.  I felt sorry for them.  They haven't learned about the lack of value senior teachers possess.  They haven't heard about how their salaries are a drain on the school budget and how their ideas and thoughts often are in conflict with those of the administration.  They will be shocked and hurt when their time comes and no one wants them around either.  Mr. Retired had come to that realization years ago and left with a smile.  Without turning back, he walked straight ahead into a shiny future.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


What gets em the most about this Great Neck SAT cheating scandal is the arrogance and the entitlement of the students caught cheating.  These kids are claiming double jeopardy because the colleges are rescinding acceptances and they still might be criminally prosecuted, how sad.  They got in under false pretenses in the first place.  And how about the sleezeball lawyer who compared paying someone to take a test to looking over a shoulder during an exam?  (I know the lawyer is only doing his job, but come on....this is a ridiculous analogy.)

These kids did something wrong.  Their wrong doings kept a kid who did the right thing from getting a seat in the college they are attending.  They should be apologizing, admitting their guilt and throwing themselves on the mercy of the court instead of whining about the punishment they will possibly be dealt.  They need to learn that silver spoon they were born with does not allow them to do whatever they please.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



Who Hires These Guys?

Moldy cheese is not something I usually use at home, so when I saw that ugly green stuff on a package I just purchased, I brought it back to Waldbaum's.

Me:  I just purchased this cheese and it is moldy.  Here is my receipt.

Customer Service:  Does that mean you don't want it?

Me:  No, I want to share its beauty with you!  (I didn't really say that, just thought it.)

I guess all the smart ones are out running the DOE.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sorry, NYC Ed, I Am One Of Those

I'm one of those teachers that make NYC Educator unhappy because I tell my students to consider any career but one in education.  Don't get me wrong, I chose the path that was right for me but that was a lifetime ago when teachers were allowed to teach.  I taught all levels of math, from remedial arithmetic through calculus.  I taught gifted students and students with IQ's below 50.  I taught them skills they needed for life and I helped them learn to think  I taught them to believe in themselves and I taught them there was nothing wrong with failing, as long as they gave it their best.  I taught them not to give up, but, after failing, to take the course again.  I didn't have to teach algebra to students who had no desire or ability to go to college.

Teaching in the 21at century has nothing in common with the teaching I did in the dark ages.  We hand the kids a calculator and throw arithmetic to the wind.  The kids come to college and cannot manipulate simple fractions or signed numbers, skills they need to  move on.  They can't solve a word problem.  They can't do any more than memorize and regurgitate.  The beauty of mathematics is lost as they struggle to perform operations they should have mastered in elementary or junior high school.  And, this emphasis on passing everyone has taught the kids how easy it is to pass without doing any work.  A boy told me he passed math in high school because his teacher added trivia questions to every exam.  They are used to test corrections and credit recovery and everything else that will give a credit for the least amount of work possible. It's not only math teachers who have problems either.  A guy told me recently his law school students couldn't write a decent paper.

I loved teaching.  I loved making my subject come alive and watching the faces of students as they learned math was something they could succeed in.  Teaching is no longer like this.  In addition, there is the constant threat of U ratings and ATR status.  There is the constant complaint of how teachers are responsible for all the ills of education.  There is constant stress from students, parents, administrators, media and politicians.  I loved teaching but if I had to start over again today, I would choose a different career.  I'm happy my children are not teachers. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An Almost True Story About Who Gets To Teach The Honor Classes

Mr. Jones was promised honor classes.  He taught these classes last year and had good results.  When he received his program in September, it was void of these classes.  He went to his supervisor to find out what happened, why the promise was not kept.  The supervisor said, "Mr. Jones, I know you had 100% passing last year but, Mrs. Smith got the classes because we did a study and determined that she used fewer squares of toilet tissue over  the year than you did.  Using less meant she helped keep us within our budget and she had more time to devote to her students.  Mr. Jones, we will be watching and measuring.  Statistics are all that matter.  If you can get your usage down, I will consider giving you a honor class in the future."

Little Mouse--Chapter 12

It was early and Little Mouse was obviously distracted because she looked at me and said, "Good morning."
It felt good to turn my head and walk by, not even acknowledging her presence.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So Much For Wanting To Keep Quality Teachers

This comment, from Burntoutteacher needs its own post.  She's getting her own well deserved rainbow.

I did it P'Oed! Tuesday morning I got up from yet another sleepless night and just could not could not could not face going in to that hostile environment. After 23 years (no way I could last to 25) in the DoE, 21 of them as a well-respected, S rated teacher, mentor, student teacher instructor, I could no longer face the harassment, targeting, evil administration. I put in my papers this week and I am now a retiree! The DoE may have screwed me out of a decent pension, but they will not have my health and happiness!!!!!!!

Job Qualifications

Very, very young
Only a few years of teaching experience
No experience in current field.
A degree that was bought.
Ability to pick the brains of everyone working for you.
Good at getting others to do your work.
Great at shirking responsibility.
Willing to throw others under the bus to protect yourself.
Certification received on a three hour cruise
Nasty disposition and no heart or soul.

The above list was used to choose the person to fill one position.  Will the same qualifications be used to fill this one too? 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Roosevelt Island

I'm a sucker for anything with a water view so when Groupon had a $19 dinner for two available on Roosevelt Island, I bought immediately.  It was my first trip there.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera and had to rely on my point and shoot.  The food was good so we will be going back and I will remember my camera next time.  Most shots of 59th St Bridge (or should I say Koch Bridge --BOO!!).  A few more pictures here.  


1.   Taught one class and hung around to have coffee with a former colleague and always friend.
2.   Early doctor's appointment--home by 10:30
3.   Computer time.
4.   Cinnamon french toast in my own kitchen
5.   Computer time
6.   An hour of television with husband,
7.   More computer time along with a phone call
8.   Two hour nap.
9.   Lunch while on the computer while listening to the rain without having to run to my car between drops.
10. Dinner with friends.

Not minding today's rain at all.

Ruining A Good Piece Of Fruit

"In two years I will have the department I want ", says the worm.

Worms slither around the ground, and often come out from the dirt.  But, if they aren't careful, they get stepped on and the life is squashed out of them.  A good orchard manager does what is necessary to make sure there are no worms to ruin his crop.  He wouldn't last long if all the beautiful fruits had to be tossed in the trash.

Breath Of Fresh Air

I spoke to my supervisor about poor test results.  Instead of hearing, "If you did this and that, the kids would pass.  I can get everyone to pass and get a grade over 80",  I heard "I have the same problem in my class.  Even the kids in my calculus class are getting the simplest factoring expressions wrong.  The chairperson another department said not one of the freshman did the required review assignment. I don't have an answer for you."

Then, the chairperson said,
We then continued the conversation and both agreed that the kids are coming in so ill prepared because of the coddling and special treatment they received in high school where no one was allowed to fail, where credit recovery and creative transcripts were the norm, where disrespect went unpunished, calculators ruled the math class and graduation statistics were all that mattered.

If  European and Asian countries are producing a higher performing high school graduate, it because they aren't giving their students credits for breathing and sitting.  We have to stop this.  A generation has already been lost.  How many more can we afford to lose in this manner.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Made It To The Paper Again

I love seeing my writing in print.  I reposted the letter here for those who don't have access to this paper.

Feast Of San Gennaro

Too many people for my taste, but it did bring back memories.  I don't eat sausages but I love watching them being prepared.  Pictures here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Joy Of Not Teaching High School

Bozo was in a wicked mood and would not stop being disruptive and clowning around.  I said one more outburst and he was gone.  He didn't believe I would follow through, but I did.  I told him to go for a walk and come back when he could control himself.  The class snickered as he left.  Bozo returned five minutes later, head hung low and cooperated for the rest of the class.

Teaching college is great.  There are no teacher penalties for asking someone to leave.  A dean is not necessary and a call home is not even permissible.  Teaching college is great!

Math and Politics

Washington Post

No Statistic Left Behind

With a message like this being sent, of course the dumping will continue.  It's kids last, statistics first, as usual. 

You can make a copy of your class roster and circle the students who should not be in your class.  Bear in mind that you are responsible for the performance of all of your students.  If you are teaching ME21/ME22, I will help you get 85% of your students to get 80 or higher on the MXRE.

I know these things shouldn't bother me anymore, but they do.  I see more and more kids being held back.  And, while I am not making any accusations, I would guess that if you are a member of a certain race the odds of your being held back are high.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sunny Days

The skies might appear gray, but I see only sun.   Spending the morning at breakfast with two good friends instead of worrying about who might blame me when Johnny is caught being 30 seconds late to class is wonderful.  There might be clouds, but I only see a bright day ahead.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Calculators Need To Learn Their Place

It is not their fault.  They enter high school and the teacher puts a calculator in their hands.

Don't know the multiplication tables?  No problem.  Use the calculator.
Can't work with fractions?  No problem.  The calculator has a fraction button.
Can't solve an equation?  No problem.  The Casio will do it for you.  And for the cheap price available, the school has one for everyone to borrow.
Can't work with complex numbers?No problem, the TI 83 has a mode that will work with all the imaginary numbers you want.

Attend a college that does not permit calculators?
Kids are going through school taught to do everything on a calculator.  Passing exams is all that matters and using a calculator correctly will certainly get them through the exams with good grades.  These same kids are now sitting in a college class where calculators are not permitted.  The school has standards and believes everyone should have basic arithmetic skills.  The school believes their diploma should mean something.  Too bad high schools don't have the same values.

What Does Ending LIFO Really Mean?

The worm has no interest in keeping quality teachers, he only cares about keeping the ones who fear him and who will follow his every edict to the letter. 

Senior teacher is not the equivalent to bad teacher.  The senior teacher never got to teach a trig class because, combined with calculus,the program would have been too good and unfair to others in the department.  The senior teacher accepted this (there was no union violation so there was nothing else to do) and taught some of the most difficult kids in the building for years.  The senior teacher is retired and the person teaching calculus now (young) is also teaching pre-calculus.  No troubled kids for this one.  A rough program is one of the many reasons teachers retired in droves this year.  No one cared about keeping them on.

Parents need to realize that ending LIFO doesn't mean getting rid of the bad teachers and keeping good ones.  It means getting rid of the expensive ones and the ones who won't jump through hoops.  It means getting rid of teachers who might actually be able to help their child learn.  Don't get me wrong, LIFO might cause many young teachers to lose their jobs, but that can't be helped.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Broadway On A Saturday Night

I carried the camera all day so I just had to post some of the pictures.

We were waiting to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert--hysterically funny, great music and costumes.  Go see it if you get the chance.  Rest of the pictures on Facebook.

Sign Of Good Management

Good managers retain staff.  Panera Bread gives bonuses and promotions to the managers of stores that have the least number of staff turnovers.  The Bronx High School of Science has had, at one point, 20 out of 22 math teachers leave.  Recently, social studies teachers left in droves.  And still, the DOE keeps the principal Valerie Reidy on.

No matter what the Bloomberg administration claims, the children of New York are the lowest on his priority list.  The only question is, when will the media and others stop buying into his claims?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Interesting Sign

I bet they got some donations, too.  These kids were a lot luckier than  fall 2011 students who need the extra help but won't get it anymore.  Some not so brilliant administrator decided that ICT classes (classes with a main stream and a special education teacher) are the way to go.  Putting 34 low functioning kids in a room, with close to half needing special help and only one extra teacher, is a sure way to doom these kids to failure. 

I Love Me

If I made a mistake, it is only because 10:30 P.M.,  still working to make things better for you.  I am the best, never forget.

Friday, September 16, 2011

ATR Saga Continues

The saga of two ATRs continues...

Man has been sent to the school woman was in last year and wanted to remain in.  It is far from man's home but very close to where woman lives.

Woman has been released from the insane principal but is now in an school that is extremely difficult for her to get to.  This school would be a simple commute for man.

The only purpose any of this serves is to demoralize and make miserable the lives of ATRs.  Shifting them around weekly, or monthly insures they develop no attachment to any school.  Not only are the teachers hurt, the students are being hurt as well. ATRs teach and help students daily but being moved around they will lose the opportunity to bond with kids who need an adult to bond with.  But, what does the union and the city care?  Misery will cause some to leave, and that is the ultimate goal of Bloomberg and company.

Start Your Day With A Smile Dear Friend

  How to Care for a Chihuahua With Fleas
       Savannah Raine
How to Care for a Chihuahua With Fleasthumbnail
Even fussy chihuahuas don't mind topical flea treatments.

Chihuahuas, like all dogs, are susceptible to fleas. Luckily, the chihuahua's tiny stature doesn't preclude the most toxic and effective flea treatments, and the chihuahua is not known for flea allergies or particularly sensitive skin. While numerous flea treatments are available to rid your chihuahua of fleas---topical solutions, sprays, dips, shampoos, powders, collars and oral and injectable products---monthly topical solutions are generally the quickest and most effective. It's a good idea to give your chihuahua a pre-flea-treatment bath to wash off as many fleas as possible, because you won't be able to get him wet after treatment.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Should This Dream Be Squashed?

Worms are sometimes used as a metaphor of putrefaction or corruption; a corpse may be said to be "fed to the worms". Wikepedia

William wants to take trigonometry. True, his track record isn't the greatest, but with much effort he passed both the algebra and the geometry regents.  That advanced diploma is the thing he desires above everything else.  Unfortunately someone is trying to stand in his way.  Not because a failing grade will ruin William's transcript, but because a failing grade will lower the school's statistics.

Will William triumph and take the class?  Will he pass it?  If he fails, will he still have learned valuable material that will help him in college?  Or, will William end up in some low level, non regents class that will not help him at all?  Stay tuned.  I'll post upcoming news as it becomes available.


He has:
1.  A miserable personality.
2.  No skills necessary to be successful in his chosen field.
3.  No real friends, only a few young ones who cow tow because you are the boss.
4.  A failed marriage.
5.  A child who will grow up to hate him.
6.  A ton of people who despise him.
7.  No chance of ever getting that extra job he wants.

You have:
1.  A wonderful personality.
2.  You are good at what you do.
3.  Many friends who love you for who you are.
4.  A successful marriage with a spouse who loves and adores you, as you love and adore back.
5.  A child who loves you.
6.  A ton of people who will always sing your praises.
7.  That job he desires and will never get.

He is a mean bully.  He tries to push you down and to make you doubt your own abilities.  Don't let him.  Look at all you have compared to what he has.  You are the success, Never forget!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Are Screwed If...

This post should be here and it probably will be one day, but for now, it is being locked down.  For the moment, all I'll say publicly is that nothing changes and quite frankly, I don't know if anything will ever change.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Saga Of Two ATRs

In 2008, both teachers were ATRs at school A.

Woman was an ATR because her school was closed down. Somewhere, not in the real world, politicians and businessmen decided the very special population this school serviced no longer needed special services.

Man was an ATR because his position as a mentor teacher dried up. He only got the position as a mentor because he was deemed an outstanding teacher. Now he can't get a teaching position anywhere.

In 2009 man and woman found jobs at school B, where the principal is known to have a few screws loose. But, they worked hard. Woman got satisfactory observations from her AP, but nut job principal U rated her anyway. She was forced to find a new job in September. They just didn't click. Man got along well with loony bin principal but June came and he was told to hit the road. He knew he could stay and grieve but crazy principal promised him a U rating if he stayed. He decided it would be best for him to leave.

Now comes 2010, both have jobs in schools that like them and they like. They are sure they have found homes. Woman gets passed over for an appointed position in January but is recruited by another school with promises of a real teaching job. Man is also recruited by a school and also promised a permanent position. June came and both were excessed again.

It is now 2011. Both woman and man are back with the principal who belongs in a straight jacket. Principal let them know loud and clear they weren't wanted. They went to the union, begging and pleading to get into another school, any other school. Woman got out. Man is stuck.

Why is it so hard for anyone outside of education to see how impossible it is for ATRs to get jobs back in the classroom? Why isn't it obvious that the city is doing everything possible to get rid of them?

Waiting And Worrying

Not a good day to spend one of the last good days of the summer.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Out With The Old And The New

The system is broken and the glue being used to fix it is not only not holding, it is making things worse.  The sweet little children hired to be the new teachers won't cut it.  They are young and idealistic with no true idea as to what they will be facing.  Their supervisors won't want to be bothered helping them.  It is just easier to write them up, U-rate them and get them out.  After all, there is another new batch waiting in the wings for their jobs. 

Even though I teach math, I am not good with tedious numbers and never balance my checking account. When things get out of hand,I just open a new account.  It is easier.  These new teachers will be like that bank account I no longer need, tossed out for a new one, a fresh start.  The new one won't be any better because the history that caused the first one to be chucked will repeat itself.  And, the ease of replacement is still there.

Little Mouse--Chapter 11

Little Mouse burrowed deeper and deeper into the hole she called home. No one has seen or heard from her in months.  Her friends aren't worried.  They know she will emerge in a few days, when her work vacation has ended.  She will come out in some new style outfit, something that should only be worn by someone 30 years younger than her.  They know she will have a new set of issues to go on about.  No one misses her.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Shouldn't Be Laughing

Bipolar Mood Swing by Spyder
Being bipolar is a serious disorder, one that should not be made fun of. 

That being said, I laughed so hard when I heard a group of people describe their boss as a bipolar bitch. It is sad when everyone notices a person's shortcomings except for that person and the one who put that person in charge.  I know I shouldn't have laughed.  This person can't help being disabled but one wonders how a person with this severe disability (without obvious any meds being taken to correct the behavior) can be put in charge of  anything.

I Hope They Were Wrong

I heard a story about an AP that gave the experienced English teacher math classes  and the math teacher English classes.

Please let this story be false.  Let it be lies or exaggerations.  Please, don't let anybody responsible for the education of our children be this incompetent.

(Pictured above is a piece of the Berlin Wall.  It came down and so can these no nothing administrators.)

Friday, September 09, 2011


Greenhorns-slang for an inexperienced person.
Story here.

Question: Where is the justice?

The XXX department of a certain high school has at least five new hires this term.  Many are brand new teachers, straight out of college.

What happened to placing ATRs before new teachers were hired?

Can these youngsters, still wet behind the ears be so superior to every ATR out there?

Will the media keep berating ATRs because they haven't found classrooms when in truth, no one will even give them a chance?

Answer:  There is none.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

On Being Back

Today was my first day back at Packemin.  In case you are wondering, I didn't rescind my retirement.  The community college gives a course to high school students on the Packemin campus (campus in the loosest sense of the word possible) and I have been teaching it for years.  Since change is not something I am good at, I figured keeping the class would be a good way to ease out gradually.

I had mixed feelings walking into the building today.  A couple of people were surprised to see me so I had to explain why I was back.   I loved my class, but I always love that class.  Walcott should  know, but won't admit that part of its success is its cap at 25 students.  The kids, while motivated, are not always the brightest and some have to be prodded to make it on time to period 1.  But, with 25, it is easy to keep tabs on all of them.  And, since we don't have any uniform exams, it is easy to let the kids lead the way, spend more time on the things that interest them and just let them enjoy learning the math.  It is always a class in which fun and learning go hand in hand.

Last year's dysfunctional algebra kids, surprised to see me, gave me the warmest greeting ever.  K, who did not pass hugged me so hard I thought I would break.  (Last year, she let no one touch her.)  A proudly told me he is taking intermediate algebra.  I was so proud of him for working hard and overcoming his math deficiencies and I told him the new class would help prepare him for college.  T came by to bitch, something she does well, and to hear my latest comments on her recent weave.  (Last year I let her know every time it was tacky.)  H told me about her new sister.  I lived through her mom's pregnancy and was happy to hear all went well and the baby was female, as H had more brothers than she wanted.

The best part of the day was saying goodbye at 8:30 when the class ended and leaving for the day.  I don't have to carrying the world on my back anymore.  I don't have to worry about statistics or behavior problems or administrators peering in my room.  I don't have to listen to someone who doesn't know the first thing about teaching telling me how to teach.

I have a feeling I am going to really enjoy being back in this way.

No Sign Needed

In medieval schools, children who misbehaved often had to walk around carrying the ass, a symbol that they had acted inappropriately.  The person who couldn't be bothered answering an e-mail, telling the teacher where the class would meet doesn't need such a sign.  The words and actions of this individual say it all.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


No one could understand why little chihuahua got her job.  She couldn't stand on her own two feet and needed the man to hold her up and carry her everywhere.  But, as you can see, she is kind of cute and I guess cuteness goes a long way when it comes to getting ahead in a field you know nothing about.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Okay, I'm Gloating

Today was the first official day of retirement.  Sorry to rub it in, but, when I woke up and saw 7:50 on the clock, I smiled from ear to ear.  I knew the staff at Packemin was already at work, possibly lined up for small bagels and coffee   When I rolled out of bed, I had a leisurely cup of coffee, read the paper and spoke to a few friends, finalizing our plans for the day.

Instead of the coffee line, I opted for a great breakfast at SaraBeth's on 92nd and Madison. 

 My Green Scrambled Eggs and Cream Cheese
 Friend #1's Garden Omelet
Friend # 2 Granola and Yogurt 

Instead of a hard cafeteria bench, we had soft cushions to wait on and a bathroom with toilet paper that actually rolled.

After a sumptuous meal, we headed over to the Jewish Museum.  Instead of looking at data, we looked at this Matisse

If I had any doubts about retirement being the right thing to do, those doubts were squashed today.  I just got off the phone with one of my former colleagues who told me of the endless data discussions, of Mr. APs continued bashing, how only stats matter and how if the kids don't pass it is because the teacher did not teach transposing. Programs are being e-mailed tonight giving everyone lots  no time to prepare