Monday, October 31, 2011

Oyster Fest 2011

Oyster Fest--  Took me a while to take them off my camera.  If interested, they are posted here.

Joke


Bayside H.S. is on the list of schools who got A's.  I couldn't believe my eyes and read the article twice, to make sure I was seeing it  right.

Bayside is an A school if you consider a school that does away with a "Smart Program" without parent consultation a good school.  The parents and many several staff members believe this was done on purpose.  Perhaps the powers that be are looking to close Bayside down and are just building up ammunition.  Most of the money Bayside has to spend is being spent on the lower 1/3 of the school and the kids in the middle and top are being left to their own devices. Kids, with holes in their program (why should there be holes?) are shoved into any available class, sometimes even given two gym classes to fill the day. How can  Bayside HS be an A school when the school has no regards for the needs of its middle students?

These ratings are a joke.  Just ask the kids or their parents.  Who needs comedies in the movies and on television when we have these progress reports to keep us entertained?

I'll end here with a quote from someone with first hand information about that school.

Now, these youngsters [new teachers], who seem competent and idealistic, are stuck with this horrible fake system and still have real kids like mine to educate. I’m glad my son has only 2 more years. I feel his academic opportunities are lessened because of Bayside HS and the cuts and where they were made. The A is so fake because the intent is to make this school eventually fail by budget starvation. .. Please do a post/expose of all this diminishing of opportunities for middle class kids. I’m all for it….this A is just so much bullshit.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

His New Title

Dilbert.com

Bloomberg can't fix education and he can't solve the budget crisis but he can blame the education problems on teachers and fix the economy by getting rid of expensive teachers.  I crown him the Hemorrhoid Mayor.  He is a big pain in the ass for the people of NYC.

Stolen From A Facebook Page



Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's Not The Teacher's Fault, No Matter What NCLB Says

Happy To Admit I Was Wrong


Last year I thought I would miss everything about teaching, including parent teacher conferences, especially parent teacher conferences.  I was wrong.

I spent parent-teacher evening covering a class at the college for a friend.  I made lots of $$$ and helped out a good person.

Parent-teacher afternoon was spent at the Discovery Times Square, being a CSI agent, riding the tram (something my husband has wanted to do for years) and ending with dinner at a great place on Roosevelt Island (Groupon special--dinner for 2 $19!).  Even the subway ride home was great.  I met a former calculus student who thanked me for making his class fun and giving so much to them.

Don't mean to rub it in, but I am learning there is plenty of life after retirement.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Memo 108


While in the math office before my college class, I happened to pick up a copy of the latest memo from, you guessed it, Mr. AP.  If you read the entire memo, you would see what a moral builder it is (sarcasm intended here) and how once again, the teachers are being blamed for all the problems in the classroom.  I could, and will, pick apart the entire memo, but for now, let me start with just one little part of one paragraph.

I don't miss these wonderful memos and wish I never saw this one.  When I read them I am so happy I made the decision not to return to Packemin.  If the writer of this memo and the people that allow them to be written believe quality teachers will continue to work under these conditions, they are mistaken.  Who would stay if they have a choice?  I heard a rumor that several more senior teachers are considering leaving this year.  Many of the new ones hired will leave as soon as they get the chance.  Will Packemin be able to keep its "A" as good teachers trip over each other running to the exit? 
By the end of each term, the effective teachers have taken measures to correct all the undesirable behaviors and figured out what students could not do in math. [Yep, the kids who continually disrupt, do no work and cut are still doing so because we have ignored these behaviors.]  We already started to drill them until they learned the concepts/skills. [Every dog can certainly be taught to perform on command.]  We have the final exam also to bail the boarder line students out, [but we are always told to not just pass kids based on one exam and the uniform final makes it around the school so that the later classes have all the answers before they even walk in the room] not to mention we have already moved out the students who really could not do it. [These kids were moved to other classes so the problem is only solved for the original teacher.  Someone will still be teaching the students who could not, so their results will still suck and they will never be considered effective.]

A Comment Worthy Of Its Own Post

T
This little, nothing post, Rate My Teacher, written last March has gotten 110 comments.  Most are pretty lame--some trash teachers and some praise them.  Most I just hit publish and ignore.  This one, deserved sharing.  Thanks goes to the anonymous commenter.  I wish I knew your name to give you credit.

  
Yep, that's right folks, teachers are only in it for the HUGE paycheck they get. It's like the easiest job in the word to teach 30+ kids at a time with 60 adults banging on the door everyday just to tell you what a crappy job you're doing. Oh yes, please sign me up for that job! Because you know teachers are in it only for the money and to screw up YOUR child. They wake up just thinking about how they can make your child dumber and how to make your life more miserable by sending home homework. GASP! So yep, I spent over $50,000 in my college tuition and over 5 years in college just so I can sit on my ass and screw up your child. So to be fair, go ahead and rate your teacher, but I think we should have a rate the student and parent. I think a grade for parental support should be on the report card, and a website that rates students should be started. Is this student a pain in the ass? Yes. Argues? Yes. Does homework? Nope. Parent support and follow through? F- Truth hurts doesn't it?

By Anonymous on Rate My Teacher on 10/28/11

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nonsense


If we look at data and see Sammy failed last year should we assume Sammy will follow the pattern and fail again?  If we do, we can keep our statistics consistent and that is what it is all about, isn't it?  Background here.

Like Today's Diploma Continued


I had to fill the backyard swimming pool.  The hose was not working and all I had available for use was the 4 ounce paper cup pictured above.  It wasn't worth very much, it was not better than nothing at all.

Like Today's HS Diploma



The snow was six feet deep.  The only shovel I had was the one pictured above.  It wasn't worth very much, it was not better than nothing at all.

Tools

It is no surprise that kids graduating high school today are not ready for college.  But, when  Clara Hemphill of The New School's Insideschools.org. compares Bloomberg's new schools to the older ones, you've got to wonder what clueless imbeciles are actually working inside these schools today.
 "Those diplomas are probably not worth very much, but it's better than dropping out with a sixth-grade education, which is what was happening before."
There is no denying the drop out rate was higher years ago but there is also no denying that earning a high school diploma meant kids were ready to face the world, be it as a college student or a worker. A diploma meant the acquisition of skills needed for life.  It wasn't a gift.  What is the point of awarding a diploma without any worth? Even the drop outs of yesterday were better off than many of the graduates of today.  These kids learned that life wasn't a free ride and they had to work for what they wanted.  They couldn't get high end jobs but they could get jobs,  support themselves and their families and be productive members of society.  Now, these would be drop outs have the unearned piece of paper and believe life should be full of the same entitlements.

People like Hemphill are tools of the Bloomberg administration.  They are the ones destroying the youth of today and insuring a disastrous future for all.

Maturity


It's a sign of maturity when a kid recognizes early on that college is not for him, at least not for him right now and decides to follow is dream of enlisting.  The boy knows he's smart and eventually he'll return.  He can't see wasting time and money now.

Let's hope Obama really does pull out of Iraq and doesn't involve us in any more wars so this student will be alive and well and able to reap the benefits of the GI bill for his education.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feelings

When you didn't do something you should have done, you might feel bad, but the person this was done to feels a lot worse than you.  Trust me on this one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Look Inside


Progress reports are bogus.  Everyone, even our education mayor must know that and still they continue.  Schools sit on pins and needles waiting for these useless documents to come out, knowing all that matters is that A.  We wonder why our students only care about what is on the test but they only need to look at us and follow the example we are setting, putting such a high value on a meaningless score.

Last year, my "A" school, Packemin, got a B rating.  Supposedly, a couple of ISS students didn't do as well as they were supposed to do and that is what brought us down.  The school then school found a way to get the numbers up and this year, Packemin got the A.

Packemin has and will always be an A school.  The kids are good and so is the staff (except for a few admins and I won't go into that here.)  At any time teachers, guidance counselors, paras, school aides, security guards and cafeteria workers can be found talking to students, helping them work through anything that might be bothering them or just lending an ear.  The school is full of teachers like the one  who spend an inordinate amount of hours working without compensation with the Robotics team, making our team one of the top in the country and giving kids an extraordinary education.  The same can be said about our JROTC instructors and countless other unnamed heroes who work above and beyond without any sort of recognition.

It is time to end these progress reports.  They show nothing and should mean nothing.  It's not the wrapping of the package, but what is inside that counts.  

Real Photos and Mine


There is a fantastic photo exhibit by Andrew Moore at the Queens Museum.  So, if you like photography, go see it.  Here is a great, little museum in my own back yard.

I really enjoyed his photos and was thrilled to see many of my subjects are his as well.  I only wish mine could be half as good.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Get Your Money's Worth


Before spending hard earned money and a child's time on SAT prep course, find out:

1.  If the students are grouped according to ability.  I taught several SAT courses for prestigious places and this was not true.  When a student taking algebra is lumped into the same class as one taking trigonometry, learning cannot take place.  The group is just too diversified and the child aiming for 800 has very different needs than the one aiming for 500.

2.  If class size is small.  You are spending quite a bit of money so be sure your child is getting plenty of attention.  Make sure the people running the group will not just fill the room to capacity.

3.  What materials will be used.  Make sure the teacher is not just going to do the same stuff your child can do on his own.  I taught for a school once that just photocopied Barron's problems and passed them off as their own work.

4.  Consider hiring a private tutor instead.  You will pay more per hour but will probably be able to accomplish more in less time, making the cost the same and the gain significantly higher.

5.  And lastly, make sure your child wants to take the course.  I have seen too many kids sitting in these classes, bored to tears and fiddling with phones, waiting for the time to pass.  You can't force someone to learn.

Every Child Left Behind

Every school is leaving them behind.  Thanks to NCLB no one is getting a real education anymore.  As much as I hate Bloomberg, he is not alone in causing this problem.

(NY Times link here.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Letter From TRS


Dear POd Teacher:

TRS apologizes for the delay in processing your retirement allowance.  We have been unable to finalize your allowance because of the following issue(s)
We are experiencing temporary processing delays.
Once the issue(s) is resolved, TRS will be able to complete the processing of your retirement allowance.

Due to this delay, TRS will increase your current advance payments by 10%, effective on the 10/31/2011.  [note:  My three payments have all been different so I have no idea as to what a 10% increase will even mean.]

Please be assured that we are making every effort to finalize your retirement allowance.

Little Mouse Chapter 13

I walked past Little Mouse's classroom several weeks.  She was still running around as if she had on the roller skates she loves so much.  She was not wearing all black, but was just as witch like as ever.  Anyone watching her dysfunctional mannerism would see what I mean.

I heard Little Mouse retired.  The system she worked for is probably happy to see her gone.  They were trying to get rid of her for years.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do You Know Know Your Rights As An ATR?

There seems to be some confusion on what the rights of the ATRs are. Most schools appear to be using the ATRs appropriately as teachers in a classroom or doing circular six duties that other teachers do. However, some schools are making ATRs do the work of school aids or doing clerical work which violates the teacher contract.
Read the rest here, Chaz spells it out good and clear.

Nothing To Brag About


Johnny was so proud of finally getting A's on his report card.  He knew how important that grade was.  His parents had told him over and over again that if he got a B again, or heaven forbid a C, the house would be split up and the children would all be sent separate places to live.  Johnny did not want to leave his family and he knew, as the oldest, a placement for him would not easily be found.  He pictured himself spending the rest of his childhood moving from here to there, spending at most a month in any one location.  He knew things would be better for his younger siblings.  They didn't eat much and were cheap to raise.  Besides, they were cute.  Someone would pick them up immediately.

Johnny also knew he didn't really have the right stuff to get the A's he so needed.  Desperate times called for desperate actions and Johnny did just that.  Instead of taking real courses, he took online courses and got his smart friends to do all the work.  He handed in a portfolio to make up an art credit, but that too was done by someone else.  He also took some late afternoon courses, courses that passed students for showing up and even rewarded them with pizza and trips just because.  He managed to fulfill his math requirements this way as he knew he could never master even the simplest topics on his own.  In addition to all this, Johnny still needed Saturday gym and credit recovery history.  Overwhelmed and ready to give it all up, a kindly AP solved that problem by telling him to sign into Saturday gym (no one would look for him after he signed) and then go to the computer room where tutors were waiting to do the credit recovery for with him.

Johnny got his A and his family home was saved.  His parents sent e-mails to all their friends and family, bragging about Johnny's accomplishment.  But, Johnny knew the truth.  He knew he didn't deserve the A.  He lived in constant fear of being exposed.  He knew he had nothing to boast about.

Friday, October 21, 2011

There Are Even Shitheads In College


Yes, I know it is hard to believe but even the best colleges have a lowlife or two as part of their student body and lucky me managed to get one in my class.

Shithead is a good looking well built freshman.  His blonde hair and blue eyes have probably taken care of lots of his problems.  When this doesn't happen, he can get quite agitated.

Last week Shithead missed an exam and then missed the day after.  He waltzed into class the following day and demanded a makeup.  For the day of the exam, he offered a legitimate excuse but no documentation to back it up.  The day after was, "on him".  He insisted I check out his excuse and walked out in a huff when I refused.  The next day he came in with that same crappy attitude and then got really nasty as I refused to deal with him.

At Packemin, I would have been responsible for documenting, calling parents and ultimately, Mr. AP would have accused me of causing the problem.  Not so now.  I reported the incident to the chairman of the department who was appalled at Shithead's behavior and insisted no teacher put up with it.  She then gave me the name of the Dean in charge of such incidences.  I couldn't reach him by phone so I sent an e-mail, detailing the behavior.  Long story short, I didn't have to do anything else. Shithead was brought up on charges.  He sent an apology e-mail, apologized in person and he knows that another incident like this means he is out of this school.

There shouldn't be kids like Shithead in college but there are.  At least the only Shitheads in the school I work in now are the students.  It is good not to be working for the Shitheads running schools anymore.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crazier Every Day


Someone I know and once liked is headed in this direction.  Wanna guess whose face should be photoshopped on this picture?

Quote Of The Day

"Why did we go to high school anyway?  It didn't prepare us for anything.  They made us use calculators for everything."
The boy who made this comment is a graduate of one of the schools Bloomberg is closing down.  A bright kid who got no education thanks to his Principal's desire to try to keep the school afloat.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Who Would Have Thought This Could Be A Good Experience?


What a pleasure--being observed by someone who actually knows math and knows how to teach.

The lesson went well, but there were some very valid points made by the observer and I learned a lot from his comments.

There was no "gotcha."  When he explained how he would have presented something differently than I did, I was able to explain why I did things my way and he listened. Even when he didn't necessarily agree, he got my reasons.  I also saw his point and will definitely try things his way next time.

There was no comment about the boy who fell asleep or the girl whose cell phone I took.  I didn't get reprimanded because a student walked in late and mostly I didn't get accused of not knowing my students because several did not volunteer answers during class.  The blinds were not even and the observer did not say a word.  And, the paper on the floor wasn't my fault either.  The observation focused on what I taught, and what the kids learned.

I didn't mind the criticisms because I gained from this observation and in the long run, that is all that matters.. 

Fear


He walked the halls, going from room to room looking to admonish the teacher who had a student or students walking in late.  There was glee in his eyes as he saw one enter the room of the person he is out to get.

I am no longer a part of it, but it still bothers me.  How can anyone work in an environment like this?  How can anyone concentrate on helping their students when they are constantly afraid for their jobs?  Fear is the predominant feeling of the classroom teacher today.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Being Prepared For College Should Mean:

1.  You have the ability to perform simple arithmetic operations without a calculator.
2.  You can  read and comprehend on at least a 12th grade level.
3.  You can sit for a two hour class without receiving a text or checking your Facebook status.
4.  You utilize tutoring and help facilities when you need them.
5.  You bring documentation to class for excused absences.  You know it is not the professor's job to chase your down the reason for your absence and you know better than to offer lame excuses.
5.  You don't use the excuse of a bad instructor when you haven't done well on an exam.  You know how to compensate for bad teachers.