Thursday, May 31, 2012

Last Time

The real estate agent told us she couldn't believe some of the things she found in apartments up for sale. Many were full of photographs, religious items and other personal items. Some of these things had real worth, others sentimental value. She said she found closets full of food. I am finding many of these things as I clean out my parents home. There are clothes that still have tags on them. The cabinets are stocked with enough canned goods to sustain the entire development in case of a disaster. My parents never believed that when they left, they were leaving for the last time. They wanted things ready for their return, a trip that never happened. I filled garbage bag after garbage bag with expired food. I packed up clothes to give to charity. An extra suitcase is filled with momentos I can't bring myself to part with. It is so sad. I watch my purchases now. I wonder what I will be leaving behind for others to clean.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Addiction Continued

Soaked from the pouring rain but I had to get to the clubhouse. It is only place with Wifi.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Married To My Dad

Going through airport security requires a government ID. The TSA agent looked at it and said, "sir, this license is expired.". Just as my husband was about to say impossible, the agent said "this license expired in 1999.". My husband started to panick. He started looking through his wallet and found one that expired at an earlier date. I thought I would be traveling alone. Finally, he found the up to date license. We always make fun of my dad whose wallet holds every license he has ever had since he began driving in 1955. My husband is no different. I've married my dad!

Monday, May 28, 2012


Sitting in Barnes and Nobles. I need my Internet fix.

Steinway Hall

Steinway Hall--a great place to visit, even if you don't know anything about pianos.  Pictures here, on Facebook.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


In Florida cleaning out my dad's apartment. To say this is depressing would be an understatement. And, to top it off there is no Internet on the premises. I'm sitting in a bar, with my beer, and the I-Pad my wonderful husband bought me for Mother's Day. I haven't figured out how to put pictures on with this yet so those will have to wait until I get home. On a plus, the beer is good and the beach was beautiful today.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Money For Schools

Under Bloomberg have teachers scrounging bottles for the nickel refund.  It will be the only way schools will get money for supplies.

Cutie Pie

This poor little guy was wondering what the hold up was as the truck sat in traffic going across 47th St and 6th Ave.  Hope they made their destination before he needed a potty break.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Without Scruples

My poor little special education girl, the girl who came to class every day, went to the learning center for extra help and did homework got her usual grade on the final--a 16.

This girl is a delight.  She participates (although her answers are from outer space), she is friendly and always smiling.  I hope both she and her parents saw her failure coming so the grade will not be a surprise.

The real educationally challenged people are the ones that told this kid, and ones like her to go to college.  I don't know what high school she went to, but, I bet it was one with a supervisor who had to make AYP and got kids like this through by giving them answers. And then made themselves look better by sending these young people off to college, knowing full well that they will never succeed.  They must know that what is in store for the child with the 70 IQ is heartbreak and disappointment.  They've all gone through college and know what is expected to succeed.  I've known administrators who have done this.  These people make me sick.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Steamy Side Of Teaching

When I first started teaching I worked in a wild place.  I'm not talking about the kids (although they were a handful), I'm talking about the teachers.  We were a young, enthusiastic group who gave all for those students, but oh, did this group like to party.

The phys ed AP had a liquor cabinet in his bottom desk draw for after school parties, the drama director hosted the most exciting parties.  He emptied the furniture from his small brownstone apartment and invited the entire school, along with all his acting friends and gay friends from outside the school.  Everyone intermingled.  It was a blast.  The school was full of heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals.  My favorite was O.  He was so sexual nothing breathing was safe in his vicinity but he never forced his interests on anyone else.  There were several husband and wife teachers as well as teachers married to former students.  Everyone stayed away from room 223 in the morning because we all knew the bible teacher was involved in some pretty heavy stuff with the baseball coach.  They were both married to other people.  Special after school parties always involved lots of drinking, most often led by the APO who looked like he walked around with a stick up his butt during school hours.  After, he was a hoot.

None of these activities affected our teaching or our interaction with the students.  In fact,our camaraderie after school hours helped us work together better and in turn we did more for our students.  We ran student-faculty basketball games, put on faculty shows to raise money and were always available to give our students extra help and encouragement.  We worked together and knew what kids were doing in classes outside of our own.

Reading about Mulgrew and the guidance counselor doing it on the work table reminded me of the coach and bible teacher which brought back all the other memories of the school I began teaching in.  I don't know if the story about Mulgrew is true and, unless he sold out the union to protect himself, I don't care.  He didn't do anything countless other individuals have been doing for years.  As for the cushy job at the union for the guidance counselor, almost everyone with a cushy job knew someone or did something to get it.  That's life.  It might not be fair, but it is what it is.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No Pride

As regents week approaches I think of all the regents classes I taught and the anxiety I felt as my students sat for these exams.  The anxiety had nothing to do with statistics or how I would be judged, since no one judged us on statistics when I first started teaching.  The anxiety had to do with the love I had for my students and the desire to see them succeed.

Regents exams used to be challenging.  Passing meant the student mastered material.  I took pride in my results and knew that the kids who succeeded were prepared for future courses.  The foundation I helped lay for them was strong.  I got them to work and  I got them to succeed.

Last year as I worked to get my students through the regents I felt no pride only disappointment in myself.  I was a fraud.  I taught my students to be little robots, to bubble the answer that seemed best.  They learned how to eliminate bad choices.  They needed less than 30 points out of 87 to pass.  And now these poor unprepared kids are struggling in geometry.  Many are failing.  They don't have a strong background in algebra and cannot solve the simplest equations.  They can't factor either.  We taught the bare minimum needed to pass the regents.  We were told not to teach trinomials with the first coefficient other than one.

The only thing that matters now are stats, passing stats.  No one cares that just passing means the kids know nothing.  I feel for the teachers who must commit the frauds to keep their jobs and the poor kids who will sit and struggle through these meaningless exams.

More kids might be graduating now than when I started teaching, but the diplomas mean a whole lot less.  The regents are a scam, a money making machine for the companies who write them and a corrupt way of judging teachers and students.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Speed Learning

Those who know me know patience isn't one of my virtues.  And, although I loved school I was in a hurry to finish and decided to got to summer school freshman year.  At the time it seemed like a good idea.  In just six weeks, I could finish my last term of calculus and then really get into my major.

Summer school was a challenge.  The class met five days a week and things progressed quickly.  Being a studier, I still managed an A.  Unfortunately that A meant nothing in the long scheme of my math education.  The knowledge that was crammed into my head in that short period of time left almost as quickly as it entered.  It wasn't until I retook the course on sabbatical years later that I really learned the material.  This time, the course lasted an entire semester and I had time to digest and practice everything I learned.  I feel confident walking into the math lab and helping any calc 2 or 3 student, something I would have never done after the quickie course.

I was reminded of this experience when I read this article about Olympus HS on Gotham Schools.  More kids are graduating now than before because of thee online courses.  One girl said she likes to go fast and can make up the work in record time.  I won't dispute the work she is doing.  I do question the retention of what she has learned.  Passing a regents is meaningless since passing scores are so low and the marking is so liberal.  Kids graduating from this program will have a diploma but nothing else in the way of preparation for life and college.

Online studies, in conjunction to classroom learning, is a move in the right direction.  Online studies in a vacuum is not.  And speed courses are not the way to teach anything anyone wants to learn.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I got offered different position with more hours at the college tonight.  The chairperson said she wanted me because I AM GREAT!!!!  Great is a term I never heard in reference to me when I taught high school.  In my former AP's eyes the only great thing I did was leave.

I am not accepting the job.  I like sleeping late and being able to play.  But, it feels good to be wanted.

Death To A Career

Mrs V, a NYC public school teacher is an ATR.  She has been an ATR since the program she was involved in was cancelled several years ago.  She received excellent ratings during her first 14 years.  In spite of this, Mrs. V cannot get a permanent assignment and goes from school to school, year after year.

Mrs. V wants to believe there is a school out there for her, a school where she can work her craft and enrich the lives of children she will come in contact with so when she got a call requesting she come in for interview, she readily accepted.

It was a rainy Monday morning, but that did not stop her from putting on a three piece suit and making the long trek to the school.  She was enthusiastic and hoped her resume, experience and professional demeanor would land her the job.

The interview lasted five minutes.  The principal asked her three questions, yawned and then dismissed her.  She couldn't believe it although she experienced the insult first hand.  This principal was all of 28 years old, a leadership academy graduate and had zero teaching experience.  She went home devastated.

The city wants to get rid of teachers without classrooms.  How is this fair?  These teachers never have a chance.  I just read a book about a man in an Iraqi prison.  He never had a chance to defend himself.  While being an ATR isn't a death sentence, the lack of job opportunities is the death of a career, a career ended without reason.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Protest March

The picture is from Prohibition, but I liked the message. 

(From Planting Fields--Coe Hall Exhibition)

More pictures here.

Appreciation and Respect Go A Long Way

Chris, a student from last year's pre-calc class sent me an e-mail begging for some help preparing for his calculus final. He is no longer a student where I work so I had no qualms about tutoring him. I invited him to my home and spent two hours going over the material on his exam. He was appreciative, got a lot out of it and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him.

When I decided to leave Packemin I thought I would be back, helping the kids I knew needed me, the kids who didn't seem to operate the way most did. I knew I could reach them. I succeeded many times in the past. I've since changed my mind and although it hurts to see my babies fail, I won't change my mind. I won't work to fill the pockets of an administrator and I certainly won't work to make my former  AP look good, especially after what he wrote about me. Budgets are tight. Free labor (at least my free labor) would have been available with decent treatment.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Racial Divide In Education

Proctoring a remedial final I look up and see seven black faces, seven Hispanic faces and one from southeast Asia. Hey Bloomberg and Walcott, exactly what is it you did to fix the racial divide in NYC schools? I'm not seeing things too equitably now.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Latest Venture

Kickboxing--If I survive this it will be a miracle!!

Bug Eyes

Posted to fulfill the need.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Not College Material

At 4:48 Ginger sent me an e-mail asking what was going to be on the evenings exam.  The class started at 6:10.  She arrived 10 minutes late.  As soon as she handed in the exam she left.  She missed the review session for next week's final.

Georgia walked in at 6:55 PM.  She was at the hairdresser and the woman took too long.  I told her she only had 20 minutes left.  She missed exam 2 and was late to exam 3.  That time it was car trouble.  She wanted to know what extra credit she could do to raise her grade and was upset when I told her there was none.

And everyone should go to college, right!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Teaching AP Calculus

JD2718 is one of my favorite bloggers and I agree with most things he writes, but not his post on AP calculus.

I taught AP for more than 15 years and found it to be the best course I ever taught.  I never thought of it as a test prep course as it is impossible to prepare for this exam the way kids prepare for regents.  No two questions are ever the same and memorization and rote repetition don't help.  For the first time kids have to learn to not only read the question, but to carefully analyze what is given and what is being asked.  Much like a detective solving a crime, they must use the evidence to arrive at a conclusion.  A student once told me she felt much better about her calculus AP exam than any of the others she took because here she had a chance to apply her knowledge.  If she forgot a particular fact, it wasn't harmful because she could use other clues to find what she needed.

As for the calculator, I happen to feel this gadget adds another dimension to the problems and allows students to find solutions to problems that are unsolvable by hand.  The calculator alone does nothing.  Each problem requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and thought before the calculator can even be touched.

I never did real test prep when I taught AP.  I gave my students AP caliber questions and let them work them out.  At first the success rate was minimal but it got better as time went on.  The kids told me they were able to apply the skills they learned doing these problems to other aspects of academia and real life.

Getting a 4 or a 5 on an AP exam is like licking the icing out of the bowl after your mom has made a cake.  The cake is great on its own without this little extra treat.  The real benefit is in the knowledge obtained and the confidence these kids gain while taking the class.

I'm sorry JD didn't enjoy his experience.  I bet his students did.  I hope he changes his mind and teaches the course again.  No one gets really good at teaching AP until the third time around.  Even then, its a learning experience for everyone involved.  Teaching AP is something I really miss.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Memo 55

Dear Student:

If you did not get a 95 or better in algebra please give up on the notion of ever taking advanced placement calculus.  You just aren't smart enough.  We are trying to build a very elite group of students who will do well in BC and you are not one of them.  We cannot waste school resources by allowing you to double up on math courses in your junior year.  You certainly are not honor material so don't even think about trying to get into one of those sections.  You just aren't worth the money it would take.  Besides, your grade of 92 means you are incapable of succeeding.  And, those of you that got in the 80's, stick to English or history.  Math is not for you.

Those of you who aren't good enough for AP calculus might not meet the requirements for AP statistics either.  Don't bother asking me.  You should know that you don't make the grade.  I don't want to waste my time on you.


I won't waste a signature on you guys.  You probably can't read it either.

Okay, I know the above is a slight exaggeration.  But, it is what I got out of the memo posted below.  You can read it and decide for yourself.  I spent years trying to make the AP classes more accessible to more students.  I see nothing has changed.  Actually, not nothing.  Things might have gotten worse.  Just think what a memo like this would have said to Einstein.

May 14, 2012

Please open the classroom windows during the day. It is very warm in some classrooms and students are dozing off. Fresh air also does the mind good.

Please announce to your students that the Math department final dates will be June 1, 2012 for long questions and June 12, 2012 for short answer and multiple choice questions.

Please spend some time talking to your students as to what math classes they will be taking next year. You already know what we programmed them for.  I have seen many students, particularly from the upper level classes wanting to know if they could take AP Stat, etc. Please make sure you communicate with them so that they do not come here to ask me. They either meet the requirements or not.

Students in ME22 should only be recommended for MR21H if they have a 95 or above average, meaning they will score just as high on the Regents exam, and have an overall average of 95 or higher.  It is my mission to build the AP Cal BC program and these students are certainly good enough to be in that class. If you gave a student a grade lower than 95 in ME22 and their academic average is below 95, there is really no need for the student to double up during his/her junior year.

I have seen a number of teachers regarding the recommendations. In some cases, only two recommendations were changed and it was because the teacher was trying to be nice by giving a grade of 55 instead of 50. In other cases, more than ten changes were. The G.C..s would have programmed these students for the wrong classes. Remember, students were programmed based on the second marking period grades you gave them and if your grades do not fall in within the guidelines, some students will be incorrectly programmed. I recognized a while back that some of the programming errors were caused by math teachers who fail to follow the guidelines. We must work together from this point on and avoid these kinds of issues.

I will meet with the G.C.s tomorrow (maybe).  I would like to give them the recommended program by tomorrow. So, I would greatly appreciate it if you will just look at the students with the very high and very low class grades and make sure my recommendation is correct. I would appreciate it if you could give me everything by tomorrow morning.

If you are not sure what to do or say to your students, please stop by to see me.

Thank you and have a nice week.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Scoop

The story behind this:

The mom complained because there were no text books available for her daughter.

The AP said it was the teacher's responsibility to provide books.

The contract says it is the AP's responsibility to provide books and material.

The AP got nasty and threatened the teacher with a letter to file for not providing books.

The teacher, with the help of a great chapter leader grieved.

The teacher won.

The AP got stopped again!!!!

What I'd like to know is how many times will this AP keep pulling this nonsense?  And why, except for a slap on the wrist this administrator goes unpunished?  Does the principal enjoy spending his time on matters brought up by an incompetent?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chihuaha Boss

Does this resemble anyone you know?  Can't you just hear the yap, yap, yap?

Just Reward

Kicked in the ass.
Knocked down.
Run over by a mack truck.
Face rubbed in dirt.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving administrator.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Subway Ads

Several years ago, a woman in my evening class starting talking to me about her teenage son.  The boy was refusing to go to school and she was at her wits end.  She contacted the school and they were of no help.  Her son eventually dropped out. 

The woman came to me because she knew I taught high school during the day.  I suggested she call the school psychologist.  He was of no help and even got angry about being called.  He said it wasn't his job to deal with former students.  The guidance counselor was also of little use.  In fairness I want to add both of these people have large caseloads and no time to offer any constructive help.

I don't know what happened as the term ended before the problem was resolved.

And now the city is running ads aimed at parents to reduce truancy.  Good idea, but has anything really been done to help the parents who want the help?  If it has, I haven't seen it.

Feels Good

Just one $50 in an AAA contest.  My third win with them!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Reality Check

Julie didn't do any homework in high school, even though homework counted 20% of her grade.  Her counselor told her she wouldn't graduate unless she did a project consisting of answering 50 questions on line.  She got her best friend to complete the assignment and graduated on time with her class.

Bob didn't like getting all sweaty in gym class.  His counselor told him he could not graduate missing three physical education credits but he could make the credits up by going to a gym.  His brother was an avid gym goer and signed Bob's name whenever he went.  He made up two credits this way and the third credit by signing in for Saturday gym and then sitting in the auditorium.  He also graduated on time with his class.

Beth failed because of her excessive absences.  She made them all up by going to boot camp during spring break.  She too graduated on time.

Mitch has a 30 average in math. Department policy passed all students who passed the regents.  Mitch scored a 65, which meant he got 27 out of 85 points correct.  Mitch passed math and got his diploma.

Mitch, Bob, Julie and Beth are all college students now.  All are failing at least one course.   They are upset because there is nothing they can do to help themselves. The final they must pass is a real test and even that doesn't guarantee a passing grade in the class.  They never thought the college would stick to the policy explained in the beginning of the semester.  High school, aside from not providing an education, did not even provide any basis for survival in real life.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Lifetime Teachers

When teaching is in your blood, it is something that you just can't stop doing.  The best way to handle this is to find a way to keep on doing it and avoid the stress and aggravation that comes with working for the DOE.

A fine group of retired teachers have found just the way by leading UFT classes and seminars for other retired teachers.  These outstanding individuals are using the skills they mastered a life time ago to share their knowledge and love of many things with others.  On any weekday, you can walk into UFT headquarters and find the halls bustling with fun as educators paint, dance, play cards, explore films, learn language and do hundreds of other things.

 I took a one-day class on Lucille Ball.  The instructor, threw away his text books to teach laughter. A former math teacher is teaching Photo Shop    He doesn't worry about doing things pedagogically correct.  He follows the needs and wants of the class.  A film teacher has introduced me to films I would never watch on my own.  He reads us a review of the film before it starts but that is okay.  A supervisor wouldn't approve, but we all love it.

Last year this time I worried about life after retirement.  I worried needlessly.  Life is great.

Pictures taken at Madison Square Park.  It was nice to have time to walk there from 50 Broadway after Lucy seminar.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Thought On AP Classes

I just finished reading this article about AP classes and, for once, found myself in total agreement with something in the media.

AP classes are something I feel qualified to write about.  I began teaching AP calculus at Packemin in 1995 and did so until the day I retired.  I attended week long workshops and day long seminars whenever I could.  While I am not the brightest person around, teaching AP made me a better teacher.  Over the years, I learned how to get my students to not only learn the material, pass the exam but to apply these thinking skills to other academic areas and to real life.

Here are a few things from the article I feel pertinent that I would like to comment on.

If math teacher Jaime Escalante could lead low-income Los Angeles students to AP calculus glory in the story that became the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver," why not others?

This is a sentence I have been saying for years.  True, none of us are going to dedicate our lives like Mr. Escalante did, but we can succeed with more if work with an adminstration ready and willing to help.  Mr. Escante was able to weed out students who were not motivated and did not belong.  Another problem is that we don't start early enough with our students.  I always felt  ninth graders should be nurtured, especially when they come to high school showing some ability to succeed. At Packemin, too many minority students are relegated to four term (slow) algebra classes.  Too many are branded early on because of a placement test that does not accurately show their ability.  Because of this sequence, they never have time to move up to AP level.  These classes are riddled with kids who have behavior problems and severe academic issues.  There are too many kids in classes like these who are held back.  With the proper help they could make it too.

Passing an AP exam means demonstrating college-level skill, so a high failure rate isn't necessarily surprising or alarming. Many educators insist the AP coursework preceding those exams is valuable regardless.

I have to agree with this one as well.  Former students who did not do well in AP have written to me about their success in college calculus and pre-calculus and credit the AP class they took in high school for their success.  They got "A's" easily and watched classmates who had not taken AP struggle and fail.  The AP class gave them a much needed foundation and prepared them for college, something their other courses failed to do.  So, while the failure rate demonstrates that students are not performing at college level, the course has more than succeeded in preparing them for college level which is, after all, the job of high school.  One teacher wrote that taking AP kept his students out of remedial classes in college.

Sean Martin, who helped start an AP literature program at Heritage High School in Baltimore before moving this year to another school, said some of his AP students read at a seventh-grade level.
"I knew for a lot of them ... it was going to be very difficult to get them even to the level of a 2," he said. Still, he said, simply putting students who want to push themselves together in a class with a goal is valuable.
"We set a higher bar and we could do things a little differently, and really have meaningful class discussions," he said. Classes "take on a different feel when every student in the room is success-oriented."

My sentiments exactly and one of the reasons I fought so hard to let kids who wanted to take the class in, even if their grades were not up to Mr. AP's standards.

"It's kind of an easy reform — plunk in an AP course," said University of Northern Colorado scholar Kristin Klopfenstein, who edited a recent collection of studies on the AP program. But without accompanying steps, it's not clear AP does much good, especially for students scoring 1s and 2s. "What I've observed in a lot of cases is AP programs being helicopter-dropped in with the hope that the high standards themselves would generate results."

Another valid point.  Without the proper background and support system, AP classes are useless.

For many years, Newsweek Magazine used the number of AP exams a school takes as the basis of judging the best American  high schools.  A new formula counts these exams 40 percent for this category.  It costs the schools lots of money to offer AP classes.  Packemin restricted the number of kids eligible to take math because of money.  But, every kid is required to take government and English so it cost nothing to put students in AP classes in these areas whether they were prepared or not and these classes became dumping grounds.

AP classes will help many, but not all.  Kids who can't multiply or can't write a coherent sentence belong in high school readiness classes, not AP classes.  Standards are needed and more kids need access but this alone will not solve the problems many high school graduates are facing today.

Good luck to all students taking AP exams now.  I know their teachers will breath a sigh of relief now that they are over. 

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Reply To All Gone Public

Dear Mr. AP,

I know you don't want any e-mails from me and I can assure you that you will never get one but I have something to say, something I want you and everyone else to know so I will have to put it here.

When I heard about your bonus, I wrote and congratulated you.  I also suggested that you include retirees and people who had left in your dinner plans as we all worked hard to help you earn it.  You wrote back that you did, but didn't include me because the meal wasn't kosher.  When I informed you that I could eat vegetables, you returned a scathing letter, not only to me, but to the entire department. I know my blog causes you pain and I never really expected to be invited.  If you hadn't been so awful to me and others, I would never have written the things I did.  It was the only way to stay sane and cope with you.  You had the power.  

Sent: Sun, Feb 19, 2012 11:53 am 
Subject: FYI -My bonus 
I got an email from POd titled "Your bonus". She demanded to be invited because I got my bonus because of what she did as a teacher. And this was my most recent response to her: I did invite most of the other retirees, those whom I knew would come and have a good time. 
Dear Ms. POd:
I have not received my bonus, yet. And when I do, I, not others, will decide whom I will invite. I am not sure why in your twisted mind, you think you are entitled to MY bonus.
Please stop emailing me and harassing me. You are out of our lives already and let's keep it that way.
Thank you.
Mr. AP
PS As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.

My final response, written but not sent before the above arrived is below. Since he felt it fitting to share his twisted thoughts with the department, I thought it fitting to share mine with the department and with everyone who reads this blog.

Let's be honest here.  The reason you didn't invite me has nothing to do with my being Kosher. G and B are much more religious than I am and you invited them.   You didn't invite me because you don't like me and you don't have to.   Just remember, I helped you get that bonus.   I was the one who thought of adding the extra AP class, letting 30 more kids in, and increasing the school's rating in that category.  I was the one who stayed late and worked weekends to make up the extra time these kids needed.   I worked like a dog to get the kids you put in ME 43 and ME 44 through the regents even though most of them didn't even have a teacher the year before and they only passed because they passed the final, an exam that went around the school periods before they took they took it, an exam they were all able to get the answers to in advance.  I was one of the teachers who stayed late helping you finish grading more times than you can count and I came in over the weekend to make sure papers were finished in June.  You always promised me good programs my last years of teaching, so I could end my career they way you let others end theirs.  You didn't keep you word.  Each term, you managed to give me preps I never taught, each one more difficult than the one before.  You used the AP class as an excuse but had no problem giving AP calculus and pre-calculus to my successor.  You even tried to take the AP class from me.  We both know you did these things to encourage my leaving.  I don't like the way you treated me and treated others in my position, but I don't hate you.  I feel sorry for you.   I never wished you any harm but when reason didn't work I struck back any way I could.  With you. it was always a fight for survival, both of myself, my colleagues and the students.  Enjoy your dinner and your bonus.   The work I did was for the kids and for the teachers in the department.  I know they appreciated it even if you didn't.
You are right, no good deed goes unpunished.   I have been punished for mine.
Please learn the difference between a suggestion and a demand.  And, two or three e-mails is not harassment.  Don't worry, you will never get one from me again. 

It was all over until he sent out this, deliberately excluding me.  He tried to embarrass me so I thought I would return the favor with this post.   I can't help but think of the close to 60 kids that passed because of my work, kids whose failure would have prevented him from getting that bonus.

I would like to make Wednesday, May 16, 2012 the tentative date to go out and celebrate our success last year. The restaurant opens at 5:30 pm for dinner and we will be there as soon as they open. I personally would appreciate it if everyone can attend.  After all, it is our collective efforts that got us there. One person already told me she could not make it. Please let me know if you are not going because I have to make a reservation. If that date is not good for you, please speak up now and we will see what we can do. Once we agree on the date, I can notify the retirees and people who left us to pursue other things they enjoy.

I wouldn't go to his dinner.  I am willing to bet most of the people that do attend will do so out of fear, rather than desire.  I personally think the department needs to attend.  He holds their careers in his hands.  Crossing him will not bode well.  I just hope take plenty of bicarbonate before they go.  Sharing a meal with him can't be good for the digestive system.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Little Mouse Is Having A Party

Little Mouse has gotten together with Sponge Bob to plan her retirement party.  It is not surprising that she didn't call Mickey and Minnie, or even Goofy and Pluto even though these were the ones she was closest with for years, because she barely speaks to any of them anymore.

Little Mouse is delusional and has decided that these once friends are friends no more and have committed acts of tyranny towards her behind her back.  Sponge Bob, an acquaintance she never dealt much with in the past hasn't been apart of her life enough to be part of these atrocities.

Little Mouse plans on going out in style.  She is having Sponge Bob contact most of the old gang to ask them to show up anyway.  She wants their accolades and gifts.  Little Mouse is intent on getting a good return on the money she gifted to others over the years.

Friday, May 04, 2012

And He Calls Himself A Reporter

Poor little Yoav Gonan of the NY Post is all upset and I do apologize.  I thought he had quoted me in an article but I was mistaken.  I guess I have been spending too much time reading rags like the Post and I followed their lead by not checking my facts before I wrote them. 

I hope Mr. Gonan realizes that the apology is for that and nothing else.  Mr. Gonan picks and chooses what he presents in his articles to elicit the responses he and his bosses so desire.  When I called him on his article he must have said what I wrote.  I know I didn't pull his comment out of the air. 

Gonan, in the comment he left on Ednotes, justifies his article by pointed out the sentence he wrote about Mulgrew.  Wow, he gave a whole sentence to the union's side.  Let's hear it for this fair guy. He said he didn't make it clear where he got his information from.  Isn't that a good reporter's job. He also takes no responsibility for the headline, blaming the editor's for its sensationalism  I reread the article and personally think the editor's did a great job when they chose that headline for his article.  It fit exactly what he wrote to the tee.

From Wikipedia:

Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.[1] Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.[1] By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.[2]

Mr. Gonan, your article was yellow journalism.  If there was a data report for journalists, you would get an F.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Vanderbilt Mansion

A trip to the Vanderbilt Mansion at Eagle's Nest.  Photos here.  Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the mansion.

Yellow Journalism

A guy handed me a copy of the Post as I walked off the subway this morning.  It seems this rag is trying to increase readership by bombarding pedestrians in lower Manhattan with free copies.

I took one, stuck it in my bag and opened it up on the way home.  The headline AUDIT SHOWS TEACHERS REGULARLY WORK LESS THAN THEIR CONTRACT REQUIRES almost knocked me out of my seat.  How dare he write teachers don't work enough?  Teachers are programmed by administrators and administrators suck every ounce of blood out of them.  If the teacher is not in the classroom, the teacher is performing some other duty, a duty that requires sometimes possibly twice the amount of time that would have been spent in the classroom.  I have seen the work teachers with comp time jobs do and, for that reason I never took one.  And, as for after school jobs, he clearly forgets to mention the adminstrators that are paid to sit around and supervise each and every per session activity, supervisors that barely leave their offices except perhaps to go out for coffee or to go home early.

Yoav Gonan is a shill of the system.  Several years ago he interviewed me.  He was doing a story on the overcrowding and trailer conditions at Packemin.  I gave him a tour of the trailer, pointed out holes in the walls, esposed outlets and sinks and thermostats that did not work.  I remember him asking me why I still taught in the trailer since conditions were so bad.  I told him that it beat working in the noisy building.  He wrote something to the effect "teacher likes working in trailer" and ignored everything else I said.  He called me again several months later with questions about something else.  I refused to speak to him.

The Post only cares about selling papers.  This headline is just another part of the yellow journalism they use to do it.  Next time, I am turning down their free paper.  It is not even fit to line a bird cage.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

My Feelings Exactly


No commentary from me this time--enjoyit all on your own.

The 2nd marking period of this term will end soon.  I would like remind everyone of the following:

1.         Please use comment 10 if you teach a course which terminates in the Regents exam, particularly if a student is boarder-line passing/failing. If you have seniors in trig, you can give them a grade of 55 and comment 10.  This way, you have the flexibility to change the grade to a passing grade once the seniors sit for the Regents exam. Please try to give them a grade of 65 or CR when they sit for the Regents exam.

2.         A student should not be given a passing grade in June if he/she has more than 15 absences for the entire term.  Therefore, if a student has been absent (not excused absences) from your class more than ten times during the first and second marking period, he or she is to receive a grade no higher than 60.  You can always give the student his/her true average at the end if the cutting stops.

3.         The difference between 55 and 60 is that a grade of 55 may take the student out of the sequence and a grade of 60 now promotes the student into the next level math class. A grade of 55 puts a student in summer school. In either case, you should use the comment “10” for courses that terminate in the Regents exam. We are doing the programming and you need to decide which grade will make the student work harder.

4.         Use your judgment when you intend to give a grade higher than 90 in a regular class or lower than 88 in an honor class.  It promotes/removes students from regular to honor and vice versa.  I do not want to spend time arguing with a student as to why we are not putting him/her in an honor class even though you give them the honor grade. Students in ME44/R/MG22R will not be promoted into honors.

5.         Please make sure you give at least one comment to each student.  You must give a comment to any student whose grade is lower than 65.  Please take this opportunity to communicate with parents.

6.         Please make sure you contact the parents of all the students who failed this past marking period.  The best way is for you to make a phone call and log the phone call.  If you cannot reach the parents, please send a citizenship report.

7.         For courses that terminate in the Regents exam in June - Please make sure the grades you give your students are similar to what they will get on the final exam and Regents exam.  You won’t be right all the time, but you should come close to the majority of your students.  A student with a grade of 90 or above in the course should do a great deal better than an 84 on the Regents exam.

8.         ME22 students who receive a grade of 65 to 70 iff when they pass the Regents exam should be programmed for ME43/ME44. Others should either go to MG21R or MG22. If you feel strongly that a student should go from ME22 to ME43, please start talking and convincing the students now.

9.         Students in ME44 who receive grades lower than 55 is an indication that they should be programmed for ME41 next year.

If you can think of anything that I left out, please let me know.  Please try to give more realistic grades since we will use your grades as commendations for next term’s math class.  Please make sure you check the Regents scores before you recommend a student for an honor class or an elective.

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Math Humor

by George Takei, courtesy of Pissed Off Son