Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Please continue to monitor the hallways between period-change and teach bell-to-bell.  If you feel that you “finished” teaching a few minutes before the bell, you can ask your students to take out a sheet of paper and work on an Exit problem or a quiz to check and see if EVERYONE learned what they were supposed to have learned.
Since reply to all, I've gotten more copies than ever of the department memos.  This time it was 6, some from unlikely sources.

I'm glad I am gone.  Now everyone must teach bell-to-bell and then run into the hall between classes.  It is a good thing math teachers have super human capabilities.  And that EXIT problem is going to be a real hit with kids itching to get out the door.  It shouldn't be necessary anyway.  An effective teacher should know what they learned. Besides, history has shown that the final exam trumps everything they have done all year.  As for the quiz, what is a little extra paper work for these extraordinary people.

Thanks again to all who forward these memos.  Remember, there is strength in numbers and the readers of this blog are enjoying the education they are being given.
Let’s keep a close eye on the students whose grades are around 55.  With a little help, they can still pass.  All of our students in the required courses will sit for the Regents exams in June.  Keep reminding them that the Regents exams are easier than what we teach in class and that if they pass the Regents exam, they will have opened the door for a discussion about a passing grade, provide they attend class regularly and try to do all the work.  Bear in mind that we are here to help our students move ahead in life.
I especially like the last sentence here.  Helping the kids move ahead in life while telling them the regents exam is easier than anything they have done in class and then passing them on to college where they lack both academic and study skills to succeed.

Uneducated Children Grow Up and Can't Help Their Own Children

The little girl did not do well in school.  She had a concerned mom who made sure she was there every day and handed in all her assignments.  (Mom did many of them for the girl.)  Nothing this mom did got her little girl to learn much.  In the end, the little girl graduated because the teachers in this affluent comunity felt sorry for the mom and passed her along.  They knew high school was the end of her education and didn't give her future much thought.

Today the little girl is all grown up with a little girl of her own.  She wants nothing more than for her little girl to be a success in school.  This little girl wants to be a success too, and unlike her mother is a very good student.  Unfortunately, this girl has some learning difficulties and needs extra help.  While mom sits with her daily, she can't help with things she never learned.  The mom can't multiply or spell very well.  Her reading is also lacking.  She's frustrated and wishes she had paid more attention in school.  She is angry that she got a diploma without knowing much of anything.

I shudder to think of all the future mothers who will not be able to help their children either.  They can thank the Bloomberg administration for the emphasis it placed on statistics rather than education.  The mother in this story was in a minority in her time. The future mothers like her will be the majority of them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Money For Tests If It Will Hurt The Teacher

I'm listening to Leo Casey on Bronx Talk Radio now.  Gee I wish I could just slap him silly.

At 10:23 he's talking about new exams that might be created for fields like art and music--to help determine the value to their teaching.

Last year the state tried to do away with January and August regents to save money.  They did away with exams in Latin and several other languages.

So now there is money for more exams?

Sounds like a lot of bull shit to me.

No Teacher Wants Bad Teachers In The Profession

Let's get one thing straight--NO TEACHER WANTS BAD TEACHERS TEACHING.  Doing clean up, after a child has had one of these is not fun.  It is impossible to teach division if a child can't multiply and you certainly can't teach Shakespeare if the student can't read.  It is painful to listen to kids term after term complain about someone who can't teach when you know that child is correct and you can't say a word in agreement.

The schools don't need a new way to evaluate teachers.  There always was a good method in place.  It is only under the reign of Bloomberg that things like value added data has become important.  Administrators, who used to be required to teach for 10 years before they became assistant principals knew their subject and knew how to teach inexperienced teachers how to teach.  They spent more than 5 minutes in the classroom and were master teachers themselves in the subjects they were in charge of.  When, for example, a math teacher is put in charge of a special education program there is bound to be trouble because the person has no idea what good teaching should entail.  The same goes for the guy who became a principal through the leadership academy or some other back road and knows nothing of academics.

It used to be teachers that needed help were given it.  Senior teachers took newbies under their wing, shared lessons, gave guidance.  Now, it is dog eat dog as one teacher's statistics are compared to another.  The teacher with 10% failing will be in trouble when compared to the one with 6% failing although the numbers themselves can't involve more than one child and no one bothers to look at the background of the children that fail.  It used to be that teachers who gave it all, who came in early, stayed late and gave up preps in an effort to help were rewarded and thanked for this effort.  Now, it is thanks for the effort but the numbers count more.  It is more important for a data specialist to help with numbers than it is to help with students.

One of the ways the colleges evaluate their adjuncts and new teachers is with student evaluation forms at the end of each semester.  If 30 students currently in a class say the same negative things about a teacher, maybe they are right.  In contrast, if 25 say good things and 5 say otherwise, that says something as well.  In addition, the teacher is observed by a colleague, a colleague who knows the subject and knows about teaching.  BAD TEACHERS ARE NOT REHIRED.  The college doesn't need a data specialist because it knows the kids come in as a mixed bag.  The college knows the data specialist does nothing to enhance learning.  The teacher can't make students buy the text, do homework or go for help.  The teacher is required to teach and engage, plain and simple.

Plenty has been written and said about that awful idea of grading and releasing teacher numbers so I won't go into it here.  I don't know if the system can even go back to hiring qualified administrators as most of the people qualified are long gone but there has got to be a better way than releasing meaningless numbers, numbers designed to hurt, not help.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Pound Of Flesh

The price of something we want is often so dear we end up paying for it our entire lives.

Think before you acquire one of these items.  Is the cost worth the expense?
Deeds are costly too.  I know someone who will pay an exhorbitant price for something he really should not have done.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Timing Is Everything

Reply to all the last day of a vacation might be a good way to cause maximum stress.

Stay tuned--the e-mail will be posted here in a day or two.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Evil Little Man

The evil little man
With his demented little thoughts
Sits all alone
In a house, but not a home
There is no one to love
Not even a person to shove
Memories of battles he’s fought
As he utters his last groan.

Once he had friends, people who cared
His mean ways chased them all away.
And now he is left
With the ones who are afraid
They know he’ll spew venom
At them any day.
They’ll stick close and pretend to care
So they won’t have a hefty price to pay.

The woman he loved loves him no more
She couldn’t take the abuse
It hurt her to the core.
She left to find a life stress free
For a chance to find love and harmony
A life for her child sweet and smart
A way for him to grow without a hard heart
I’ve heard she’s found the happiness she sought.

The evil little man needs help to mend his mind.
You see he wasn’t born to be this kind.
He used to be nice.
He used to have friends.
Something snapped and his brain has decayed.
Before it is too late
I hope he finds
His inner peace so he won’t die this crazed.

Reply To All

It seems the bonus that Mr. AP has earned will be shared with his department and with the people who have left that he likes.  Alas, I am not one of them.  I wouldn't show up anyway.  I'd probably choke on food I ate looking at him.  

But, Mr. AP shared some private words with the whole department and that is my business.  I am going to carefully choose my words and respond to everyone as well.  And, I will include every single e-mail and leave nothing to private interpretation.

We are gone from each others life but I won't forget the years of harassment and abuse  he put me and others through and he won't forget me either.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Memo_022 Continued

  • Please continue to get familiar with your  students.  I would imagine knowing your students in periods 4-8 are more important since you will likely be observed during these periods.  You may wish to know how many students have an IEP, how many are ESL and how many have free/reduced lunch.  Knowing their 8th grade standardized exam scores in math and English is important.  If you are teaching trigonometry, knowing their MXRE scores will be more important than the 8th grade scores. 
Ah yes, its dog and pony showtime!!!  Screw the kids in the classes that won't be visited.  Appearances are all that count.

Outline Of Your Life

A four hour flight with no Internet gave me lots of time to pursue some creative writing ideas.  No prize winning pieces here, but a few dedicated to the darker sides of life.  I’ll be posting them randomly.

Here is the first one.  I call it Outline of Your Life

I.  Friends
a.  The ones who fear you and are afraid to not show up at your parties
b.  The ones who know you have the power over them to make their lives easy or hard.  They know being on your good side guarantees they will have the better things offered.
c.  All are 20 – 30 years younger than you.
d.  Even the ones you think like you despise the ground you walk on.

II.  Family
a.  Your spouse has left you. This person was smart enough to cut the losses and move on to a new love.
b.  Your child who adores you now will grow up to see you for what you really are and you will lose this child tooc. 
c.  You should consider getting a cat.  You might need the companionship in your old age.

III.  Career
a.  You’ve reached a dead end.  The promotions given to others, especially those less experienced and much younger will never be yours. 
b.  That other job you want will never be yours either.  The people in charge know you for what you are and they are too smart to ever hire you.

IV.  Reflect
a.  It is too late to change what you have done but you can change your future actions. 
b.  Most people have forgiveness in their hearts.  Seek yours before it is too late.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Next Big Super Star Teacher

In the late '60s I was in love with a Shindig, a television show with lots of rock and roll.  The big thing were the girls, in their mini skirts and go go boots who danced.  I remember one girl who wore big, ugly black glasses and I always wondered why.  A news article about the show said the producers wanted this young woman to stand out and they did this by putting the glasses on her face.  She was going to be this station's next super star.

The next big superstar teacher is being created now too.  The teacher is not wearing big glasses, but the people in charge are doing their darnedest to make this person stand out.  Recently, a fellow teacher watched the department supervisor go through superstar's roster, removing kids who were not doing well and inserting others who are known to excel in the class
 No one will bear witness to this  but I would bet real money it happened.  Just like on television,  the new superstar is born.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Touching The Ball

There are benefits of being old.  My poor friend Rick in Canada is up to his eye balls in test papers.  I'm wandering the city, seeing shows and seeing sites.  I wandered into the Times Square Museum on 46th and Broadway last week and got an up close look at the New Year's Eve Ball an costumes from several shows.  I even got to take pictures in a landmark theater.  (Photos are not permitted in any Broadway theaters.)
Check them out Here, on Facebook.)

Laughing Stock

He should hear how they all laugh at him behind his back. Even the ones he thinks are his friends.  They see him for the nothing he is. They figured out a long time ago that one person knew how to get things done. That person went behind his back and did what was right for those entrusted to to him/her care and that person shared these secrets. He is not the big man he thinks he is. No one respects him or his authority.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I showed two college students how to subtract 48, 157 from 60,000 today.

Congrats Bloomberg.  You did a great job educating these kids and getting them ready for higher education.

War Of Words

In order to survive a war of words an individual needs a good command of the language.  A person in this country over 20 years who can't even write a grammatically correct sentence hasn't got a chance.  It is kind of like sending soldiers into war with only toy guns to attack.  The enemy would wipe them out in no time. 

Any School In NYC

A former teacher recently paid a visit to the old school.  The teacher came home depressed.  No one smiled.  Morale was at an all time low. 

The Quality Review will be there soon and the Principal is waving the whip around. Many have felt the sting of the lash and those that haven't imagine its sting everytime it comes down on the back of a colleague.  They now understand what it is like to be a circus animal, jumping at the crack of that awful thing.

The Principal thinks he is saving the school. The DOE doesn't want the school saved.  It will all be for naught.

The toxic atmosphere combined with the melancholy mood of everyone will be affecting the students soon. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hitting A Raw Nerve

You know that pain you get when an ice cold drink hits a bad nerve in your mouth, you know, for that tooth you keep postponing that badly needed root canal?

Think that pain and then think about me.  I'm going to be that ice cold slushy hitting someone in the mouth.

New Evaluation System and Public Perception

Just got off the phone with a retired teacher, a person who has been out of the system quite a while and only knows what she reads in the papers.  She was under the impression that the new evaluation system was not so bad as only 20% of the evaluation would be based on scores.  We talked about several of the really bad teachers we knew in the past and she thought this would be a way to get them out of the schools. Of course she forgot about the few administrators who actually did their jobs correctly and got the bad ones out.  Most were just too lazy to do the work required.  A system was always in place to remove ineffective teachers.

It took less than two minutes to set her straight.  She didn't know that 20% was really two grades of 20% or 40% and she didn't know about he Principal's 60% that could override everything.  And, when I told her the 60% meant nothing if the teacher didn't make the 40%, a light went off.  You see, she retired from the math department at Packemin and remembers all the things Mr. AP did to her.  (This teacher currently teaches at the same college I teach at and is loved by the students and the administration.)  Her comment, "Oh my G-d, he will have a field day getting rid of people."  As for the 40% scores, she said, "Watch how the classes will now be stacked.  He did it before when it meant nothing."

The public has been fed a bunch of false and misleading information, scapegoating teachers for all the ills in society.  The general public has bought into it.  Right now, it is a terrible time to be a teacher and, if I hadn't retired last year, I would be handing in my papers now, instead of writing this.  I discourage young people from entering the profession as it is no longer a career to grow old in and to perfect and it is no longer one that is respected.  Giving 200% of yourself means nothing anymore in the entire scheme of things.  If an individual who has been through the system didn't see through this new evaluation system, how will others not so close get informed correctly?

Times will change and the economy will improve.  As in the past, bright young people will no longer go in for teaching. The city will have to go back to foreign countries to recruit teachers again.  But, no one cares.  A body in front of the room is all the politicians want.  Our kids aren't worthy of quality teachers.  If they were, this system used to determine effectiveness would not be in place.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


There is a lot of power in the written word.


Getting To Know Them

One of the things I don't like about teaching in college is that I only get to be with my classes two days a week.  (I do enjoy only working two days a week.)  It is hard to get to know the students in this short a time and I always find the more I know about them, the better they do in class.  I conjure up a picture to match the name on homework and exams to try to get in the heads of my students to help them better.  I can actually see Kerri smiling as she added the fractions correctly and Rolo's frown as he struggled over each question, knowing he should have paid more attention in class.

I won't reach all my students.  Heck, in this remedial class I will be lucky to reach half but they'll know I gave it my all to get them through.  Even for those who don't make it, I know I will have made a difference and that is something that cannot be measuerd by a test.

I can't make them buy the text book, do homework, or study.  Thankfully, the college does not measure my success as a teacher on the scores my students get on exams.  The college knows what I, and countless other teachers do for our students and that is enough. 

Rate My Teacher Comment

132 comments and still going strong,  This comment needed highlighting.

Steve Smith, Ohio has left a new comment on your post "Rate My Teacher":

Let's face it, teachers. We're in a day when teachers are increasingly seen as public enemy number one. I am a veteran teacher who has earned awards for my work. I have a masters in English and have been approached in public restaurants by former students who have told me how much I meant to them during their developmental high school years. One young man had tears in his eyes, and we embraced then. My wife told me that no one in the private sector knows what that moment is like. She's right. However, this Rate My Teacher has become a sounding board for the underachieving student who feels maligned. If students looking back at say, age 25 (once reflection occurs in the adult), were allowed to post comments that required a name, then the site would have credibility. I personally have two positive comments and two negative comments on my rating. The one comment I know came from a student who was not permitted to turn in a paper late without a penalty, because I stand on the principle that the group and its fair treatment trumps the rights of the individual, no matter how much a student may see his or her treatment as 'unfair.' It's that notion that has seemingly lost popularity in America, a country where at times it appears that raising our young has gone off track. I point at the droves of helicopter parents who interfere with the maturation and seasoning of their children by taking issue with teachers who are teaching them life lessons in addition to an academic ones or skills. Conversely, some parents could care less because they are dealing with their own life issues--substance abuse, broken families, joblessness, etc. The summative effect of all this is that one of the last vestiges of authority--teaching--has become the whipping boy of today's society. Be careful what you wish for. Remember, a vacation from teaching 100 kids everyday is necessary for anyone who's done it. And, for the supporters of the super-rich right, just remember that making $50,000 isn't a sin. Teachers earn it with stress and in some districts, physical danger. Bad teachers exist. Bad lawyers exist. Bad plumbers, pilots, managers, etc. I have witnessed a few in my time, and yes, they were shown the door by concerned administrators doing their job. I will write plainly to close; I am tired of the vilification of teachers. I am currently applying for employment outside the field of teaching. When the value of doing what I do is trumped by wage freezes, pay cuts, invasive politicians, meddling legislation, and lawyer-happy parents, the job loses its appeal. I am confident I am not alone. And when the tipping point is reached and enough talented educators have either left or young aspiring professionals have avoided teaching, the schools may be staffed by mindless goons, like the blogger on this site who hates teachers and remains nameless.

Joining 21st Century

My prehistoric phone just died. Forced to get a new one, I decided to join the 21st century and get a smart phone, complete with Internet. My worst fears have come true. I am on it constantly. I've turned into an addict, the very person I feel nothing but disdain for.

I am not totally up to date yet. I still refuse to text or even accept texts.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Truth In A Sitcom

Last year, my husband was watching 'Till Death" where the lead actor, Brad Garrett, played a high school history teacher who, to put it mildly, was not on his Principal's Christmas list.  In one episode, the teachers were going to be evaluated on the basis of their student's grades.  Kids were shuffled around the the deck was stacked against this teacher.  His only hope, was one boy, a brilliant kid who would only perform if his teachers paid him.  The Brad Garrett character refused and the story line with the promise of a lost job was played out.  I don't remember how it ended, although I do know he kept his job. 

This was a comedy show, not intended to mimic real life but that is exactly what it did.  Last year a student told me he knew I needed him to do well if I wanted to keep my job.  (Not true at the time, but true now.)  And, I know classes are stacked.  I've gotten more than my share of the neediest kids in the building.

With 40% of a teacher's evaluation dependent upon test scores, scores gotten by kids who can't or won't do any better and 60% by principal evaluation, principals who can be vindictive and have no idea as to what makes good teaching, the profession is doomed.  I'm glad I was able to get out when I did.  Lots of other good teachers are going to be leaving too.  This new evaluation system will do nothing but hurt the students it is designed to help.

Friday, February 17, 2012




Urban Dictionary: ass kisser
A person who sucks up to people in a position of authority in order to get some kind of reward or perks.

Thanks to H for sharing.

Administration Bonuses

Based on last year's scholarship report, some assistant principals  and principals got big bonuses.  No wonder they rode everyone so hard to make sure the little kiddies got through. 

And slaves teachers, what did you get for your hard work?  Well, I am sure you got the undying gratitude of those whose pockets you helped fill.  You'll also keep feeling the whip to ensure their wallets don't empty.

Kudos to Mr. AP for taking his department out to celebrate and footing the bill.  He knows who got him the extra bucks and is sharing in a caring way.  I hope he remembers the teachers who left, whose hard work got him the extra bucks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Three Sided Story

Mr. AP always went on and on about Ms. JKIP and how wonderful her statistics were.  Ten years after her retirement, he is still praising her up the kazoo.  But, as we all know, there are three sides to every story, the one he tells, the one I will tell and the one in the middle, which I will also try to tell.

Mr. AP's side:  Ms. JKIP was G-d's gift to the teaching profession.  Her statistics were always tops.  No one did better than her when it came to getting kids to pass the regents.  Because of this, she always got the best classes to teach.

My take:  When programs were distributed, a howl sounded throughout the building expressing the agony of the students who found her name on their program card.  A huge line of these students formed outside the guidance office as counselors were bombarded with requests for program changes.  Their phones rang off the hook too, as parent after parent called, requesting program changes.  Only the strong managed to survive Ms. JKIP.  Her screaming, even over the slightest deviation in homework, brought many to tears.  A man who had Ms. JKIP in the '70's still shutters at the sound of her name and remembers vividly the hoops his parents jumped through to get him out of her class when he saw her name on his schedule for a second year.  Ms. JKIP also managed to have students who were failing or even slightly disruptive removed from her classes.  Since these kids ended up elsewhere, it is a no brainer to understand why her stats were always the best.  (Other teachers, just as good or even better, picked up these kids and got many to pass.)  While Ms. JKIP did succeed with many, you have to wonder about the kids she lost along the ways, the ones that could not take her czarist style.  I often think my own daughter would not have pursued a career in math if she had a teacher like this.  Her love of mathematics would have been crushed early on.  Ms. JKIP was late at least three days a week to her period one class, but that was okay as she was the teacher.  But, if a student walked in late, all hell broke loose. 

The Third Side:  Ms. JKIP was an excellent teacher.  She spent hours preparing lessons and agonized over every question she put on her exams to make sure they tested exactly what was taught.  She knew how to explain topics and to get across her points.  She ruled her classes with an iron hand and had absolutely no discipline problems.  From a technical point of view, she was a master teacher.

Ms. JKIP had her good side as well as her bad.  Did her good compensate for her bad?  Are the comparisons fair?  Would the kids who passed with her have passed with other teachers as well?  If all teachers were like Ms. JKIP, what would happen to those who just can't follow the rules to the letter?

From Memo-022

In case you have not heard, Ms. SDRD was able to get 93.75% of the students in her MR33 to pass the MXRT Regents this past January.  That broke the old record set by Ms. JKIP (91.5% passing off-track).  Congratulations to her and her students.

A teacher of a class similar to these --no accusation, just commenting on something observed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Who's Monitoring The Teachers

Korean and Chinese teachers stood in the room while the students took the regents exam.  The exam was not given in either of these languages and the AP didn't want the kids to do poorly because of language. 

One of the exams was given in the native language but the AP decided the translation was misleading, so once again he had a teacher standing in the room explaining what was being asked.

Everyone in the department knew that these teachers did a lot more than translate.  They reworded the questions so their students would understand what was being asked.  Many native American speakers didn't understand the words either and could also have benefited from the translation (even English needs to be translated into words these kids can understand) but no one was permitted to answer their questions.  I remember the teacher asking for a good explanation of the word ishkabible (real word would give away the subject) for the students in her room, since there is no word for that in her language.  It is a word they had been taught, if the curriculum was followed.  Just as many native English speakers had trouble with that word too.

When the regents results were tabulated, the students in the rooms with the translators had either 100% or close to 100% passing, with most grades over 80.  Their results were significantly better than those who did not have this benefit.  No one could have monitored the translators without being fluent in the language they were speaking.  When the teacher went over to privately talk to the student, answers could have been given and no one would have been the wiser.

And now the state is raising standards and everyone is aiming for that 80 on a regents exam.  Teachers will be judged on their students exams.  No wonder the teachers of these non English speakers come out on top.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

City Day

Last weekend was a city day.  The Lower East Side is a neighborhood I have neglected, but a little blurb in Time Out NY got me to visit a gallery on Freeman Alley, an actual Alley off Rivington St, near the Bowery. It only took three phone calls to find it as it is not on any map I could find.

Freeman Alley reminded me of some of the ones I saw in East Germany.  The walls are graffiti covered.  It holds two galleries and a really great "revolutionary war" restaurant.

There were two highlights to the day.  One was seeing this old synagogue on Rivington St.
And the other was the Jon Kessler exhibit in Salon 94 Gallery on Bowery and Stanton.  Live-like cutouts of people were everywhere and of course everything had some blue in it.  Live cameras rotated the room projecting interchanging videos on many different screens.
Walking around after, (I think this was on Prince St) was this building with painted windows and a few real ones in between.
So many good, fun things to do in NYC and you don't have to spend more than subway fare to do them.

More pictures here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

From A Former Packemin Student (Not One Of Mine)

Blame The City

Two ATRs--both good teachers who became ATRs through no fault of their own.

Both went on hundreds of interviews and even got jobs.  Unfortunately for the students, these jobs only lasted one year before they were excessed and then replaced with either no one or another ATR, often an ATR out of license,

This went on for years. the teachers went from school to school filling vacancies, not starting until well into the semester.  Both got rave reviews from their supervisors before they were placed back in the ATR pool.

One still believed in the system and wanted a real teaching job.  She took one in a school that will be closed down.  While other teachers in the department had 25 -29 in a class, her classes had 34 each.  Ten minute teachers roamed the halls, entered her classroom and told her what she was doing wrong.  She was threatened by the students.  There was no discipline.  She couldn't believe she ended up in this place and vowed, when she re-enters the ATR pool to never take a job like this again.

The second one got smarter, earlier.  She finally realized that she can collect her full paycheck without the work and aggravation.  She has resigned herself to being a very highly paid hall monitor and concentrates on meeting interesting people as she roams from school to school every two weeks.  She has vowed not to take a job unless it is permanent and not in a school threatened with closure.  She misses teaching but she wants to remain safe and to keep the paycheck coming.

Two great teachers being kept from the students, permanently disillusioned by a system that failed them and the children they love.  A big loss to everyone. Like the felled tree, the teachers have been deemed useless.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Real Progress

Rebuilding the twin towers.

Taken from Prince St and Broadway

Bragging A Bit, But My Ego Needs It

Hey professor, this is Vanessa from last term's math class, I was just
wondering if you were teaching pre-calculus at all this term because I registered for a class at the same time and day that I thought you would be teaching, and my teacher is a nice guy, but I really wanted to take your class if you have one, between you and me, you are a much better teacher. Thanks

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Home health care workers.
Bless the women (and men) who spend hours caring for the sick, disbled and elderly.
Bless their patience and their talent.

The woman who takes care of my dad is a saint.  She knows how to make him happy while doing everything in her power to take good care of him.  Even with the fractured shoulder he looks better now than he has in a long time.  He even seems happy.

I don't know this woman's education background.  I am guessing she is not a Harvard graduate because you don't usually find Ivy Leaguers doing this kind of work.  But, she is just as smart and talented as any of them.  My dad is lucky she pursued this career and lucky to have found her.  People who do the work she does need to be respected and paid well.  They provide a much needed service.  (She is also making a lot of money to send to her family, much better than many college grads.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

This, I Will Miss

A trip to the libary reminded me that this is Black History month. 

Not working, I will miss one of my favorite activities of the year--the assembly celebrating this month.  I'll especially miss the Step team.  I hope my favorite female, Taylor, is performing this year. 

I am sure it will be as remarkable as ever and envy those who will get to enjoy it this year.

My Son Didn't Grow Up To Be A Serial Killer

When my children were little, I tried to be one of those parents that did everything right.  (Son and daughter can now comment and tell me what a crappy parent I was and still am.) I  It was especially important to keep them away from toy guns as I didn't want them exposed to any sort of violence.

I soon learned this was impossible to do.  As I waited for my two-year old's pre-school teacher to arrive, I watched little boys remove their bananas from their lunch and pick up pieces of string and pretend to shoot one another.  At that point, I decided he might as well have the real thing like his best friend on the block had.  (This boy came from a wonderful intact family with no history of violence or criminal behavior.)  The toy pistol had no detrimental effect on his development or on the development of the boy on the corner (or any of his older siblings who I assume also grew up playing with guns.) I proudly say that all these young people lead exemplary lives.  They have never robbed or killed anyone.

I just heard about parents in Queens who are upset about their 5-year old daughter having a homework sheet containing the words GUN and ROB.  They feel it is inappropriate to teach little children such violent words and they are afraid these words will teach their daughter that these behaviors are acceptable.  I have to wonder what is wrong with parents like this?  If their child will be corrupted by these three letter words, I wonder what they are teaching this little girl at home?  And, to have a teacher apologize for using them?  How ridiculous!  These are words kids here every day.  The teacher didn't tell the children to take the gun and rob the convenience store.  She told them to practice writing. 

So now, because of these two parents who chose to make a big deal about nothing, this teacher will have all her work monitored by her supervisor.  These parents are lucky that a couple of words are the only thing to get them upset.