Friday, August 31, 2012

Study: inmates last meals mostly unhealthy

Someone got paid to do a study on inmates last meals and found them to be unhealthy?  Did they expect a person who will be dead in a few hours to worry about his weight or cholesterol?  Can a dying persons eating habits really reflect on the eating habits of an entire population?  A valid study chooses a sample that is representative of the population it is drawing conclusion about.  You can be poor and you can be stressed but if you aren't at death's door, this study does not reflect on you.

(Today's  I know they only give access to subscribers but you might be able to google this useless study.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Respect Gets It Done

Principals have no control over paychecks.  But, they do have control over something important-RESPECT!
It is sad how few of them learned this.  Only today a friend told me about his wife's principal, a man who made his teachers spend every minute in meaningless meetings instead of giving them the time they needed to set up their classrooms.  The worst are the ones who insist on moving teachers from room to room each year, forcing them to pack and unpack every year.  They think nothing of having the teacher spend the last days of their summer break working.  It is no wonder these teachers resent being asked to do anything extra. 
One of the things I love best about the college I now work in is the respect given to the teachers, even the adjuncts, by the people in charge.  We were asked to attend a meeting last week and then thanked several times for showing up.  Those who couldn't make it, where admonished.  Instead, time was made to catch them up on the stuff they missed.  Apologies were offered for the extra work we were asked to do and we were thanked for doing it.  While no one wants to do the extra work, the work is done anyway, and done well. 
Presentation and attitude counts quite a bit.  With school starting next week, I hope Principals realize teachers need time to organize lessons, make copies, and get things in order.  Hopefully they will be able to spend time doing this instead of sitting in meetings looking at data.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gotta Love The Secretary

The secretary explained how to check prerequites in 30 seconds, something that much higher salaried people couldn't do in an hour.  I love this woman!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Preparing For The New School Year

Above is a picture of an elementary school classroom.  In June, the teacher was told she would be moving to a new room which forced her to pack up over 50 boxes.  The boxes had to be board of education approved (wonder who got the contract on this one!) and she had to prepare a detailed list of everything in each box.  This week she is in school unpacking every box and setting up the room for her new class.
Hey public, tell me again what an easy job teachers have?  Who ever new physical labor like this was part of the job?  This makes me happy I never had my own room to deal with.


I love looking at my pictures but don't want to bother anyone else with them, unless of course you are interested  Reykjavic photos on Facebook.

Monday, August 27, 2012

She Got It Right

My Texas niece posted this today as she got her little girl ready for school:

Good morning.  I hope all kids and TEACHERS have a great first day of school and a great year.

She is a lot brighter than the people that actually run the schools.  She emphasized the ones who make it all happen.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What I Learned Teaching Your Kids by Tony Danza

Danza, known from TV's <i>Taxi</i> and <i>Who's the Boss?</i>, teaches 10th-graders in Philadelphia.
THERE ARE AT LEAST two harder jobs than acting-- one is teaching and the other is writing about teaching.  I've now done both, having gone toe-to-to with a class of Philadelphia 10th -graders for an entire year and then written about it.  And, let me tell you, when it comes to teaching, perfection  is elusive.

Read the rest at usaweekend.

Roads Of Iceland

No traffic.  It is weird being able to stop your car in the middle of a major highway and snap a picture.  It is also strange being on gravel roads, especially when the unpaved road is a segment of a major highway.  The only difficult part is watching for the sheep that seem to cross at will with no regard for upcoming cars.  Still, it beats the traffic I was stuck in crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge into the Bronx this afternoon.

More road pictures here, on facebook.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Glacial Lagoon

Just posted some iceberg pictures taken at Jokulsarion, a glacial lagoon.  All I can say is wow!!!

Blue Lagoon pictures posted on Facebook too.

Pot Of Gold Is In The Classroom

I'm not an expert on why teachers leave the classroom, but in my career of over 30 years I have seen many who have left, and believe me, they have not left because their talent has gone unrecognized.

I've seen teachers become librarians so they can avoid marking papers and doing work at home.  I've seen them become guidance counselors because they couldn't control a classroom of 34 students.  I've seen them become administrators for this same reason, and for money and for power.  Often, these were teachers were the most incompetent teachers in the building.

The real talented teachers I know never left the classroom.  They knew the only ones who would ever recognize and appreciate their skills were the children they dealt with every day.  The most they ever hoped for was a little respect from their supervisors.

Stories like this one, on Gotham Schools, make me sick.  These indivduals are there for themselves, not the kids.  There is nothing wrong with supporting teachers, but the idea that this is needed to keep them in the classroom is wrong.  My guess is a program like this is only a resume builder for those who take it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Anyone Flying Delta?

Play the lucky seat game.  Everyone wins free wifi!   It makes the time fly!   (LOL)


The ride to the airport will be here soon.  It is back to paved roads, six lane highways and driving without looking out for sheep crossing.  No longer will I be able to stop my car in the middle of a major high way, walk out and take a picture.  U-turns on these kinds of roads are also a thing of the past.  But, I will return.  I  want to see Northern lights in the fall.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crazy Chihuahua

To make things easier for my friend I post this video.


Not until tomorrow but we are back in Reykjavik after a 10 day drive around the amazing island.  I never even could have imagined some of the things we've seen could exist.  A friend asked what we could possibly do for 12 days in Iceland.  She would know if she left the import while here.  Can't wait to post pictures. is probably the best company I have ever traveled with.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


By Thursday we will have traveled the entire country of Iceland.  it is amazing but exhausting.  I am getting too old for this.

Right now we are waiting for the sunset over the pseudo craters outside our window.  Iceland is one of the only places to have these amazing geological wonders.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

On Line Non Education

My visiting niece called me to the computer and asked my help with an online assignment.  I didn't realize until the end that it was an exam.  (I would have helped her even if I had known.)

 Several years ago a student told me his aunt got an online college degree for her son who was serving in the army.  He told me his mom was going to do the same for him.

 And this, my friend is the problem with online courses. The professors have no way of knowing who completed the assignment.

Not So Fond Recollection Of Photos and PD

I was just looking at some of the pictures I've taken on this vacation which made me think about our first day back to school several years ago when Principal Suit had us sit through a presentation of his summer trip to Japan (or maybe somewhere else in the Far East.). The auditorium was hot and the hard wood seats are not easy on the behind and we all lost interest fast.  I love my pictures but would never force anyone to look at them.  When I get home I am sure I will post several hundred but no one has to suffer through unless they want to.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An Employer Who Knows

I met a man from Sweden who is in Iceland looking for a good place to hold a conference.  He said the meeting will be hard so he tries to reward his employees with something fun, something to make the job less tedious.  He knows people work better when they are not so stressed.  I was thinking about the first few days of school, days filled with worthless PD.  too bad no one ever thought to mark those days less painful for teachers.  Helping them might actually help kids,  oh, I forgot.  No one in charge really wants to help kids.  Ed reform is just one big bad comedy.

(Sorry for typos.  Still using I-pad and haven't mastered typing on it yet and I still can't get spell check right either.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Smarter Than A First Grader

The third grader was asked to identify the figure and then tell why he chose that answer.

The figure was a rectangle.  The child answered "Anyone in first grade knows it is a rectangle. If you don't know the answer, you shouldn't be taking this test."

I hope the graders gave him full credit.  This kid is smarter than the test writers.

Mosquito Heaven

I understand the lack of air conditioners in Iveland as the country rarely gets above 70 degrees.  But, I don't understand why there are no screens in the windows.   The mosquito population is feasting on human flesh.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In The Air

I am on my way to Iceland.  Delta has Internet!  At first I thought it would be too costly but then I noticed a lucky seat game so I played and won a free pass.  It is no real accomplishment as everyone wins.stil, I wonder how many people either pay or just turn it off because they don't want to spend the money.  Once again, excuse typos.  I am on I-pad.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Not A Rocket Scientist But Who Cares?

The little boy is a sweetie.  He never gives his teachers any trouble. His teachers all have reputations for being outstanding educators.  He pays attention, does all they ask and complete all required assignments.  He goes home and studies.  Both his mom and dad help him daily.  They limit his television and Internet time and make sure he has a quiet place to work.  His room is full of books.  Vacations and weekends are often spent in museums.

With all this, the little boy has difficulties in reading and math.  It is hard for him to decipher new words and remember his multiplication tables.  He has a hard time staying at one activity for any length of time (even fun activities).  He has some (undiagnosed) learning problems.

His teacher's statistics will be lowered when he takes standardized exams.  His scores are not her fault.  His parents will be blamed but they have done everything humanly possible (except providing smarter DNA) to help him succeed.  He will be called down for his scores but he has worked to capacity.

Some people are not academics.  It doesn't mean he is not smart.  With time, he will discover what he is good at and continue in that field unless of course the system destroys him first by insisting every child is a rocket scientist if they just work harder and have better teachers.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

To The Person Who Needed My Brother-In-Law

Apologies to the person who wrote asking for my brother-in-laws number.  I accidentally deleted your e-mail and couldn't find it in trash bin.

His name is Ed Wolf and his firm's web page is:

Please e-mail me again so I can give you more information.


Read it here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Had To Share

I know this is a pretty crappy picture.  It was raining and I only had my little camera.

This huge blow up bottle of ketchup is a Paul McCartney sculpture in City Hall Park.

Sweet Little Guy

Rottweilers have a bad reputation, but this guy is a mush. I'm in love with this old man who never stopped being a lovable puppy. The doctor thought he had cancer. Thankfully it turned out to be pneumonia and he recovered fully. He looks ferocious, but looks are deceiving. Little chihuahuas are much worse.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Feeling Good

No desire to write or think about school.

College classes start at the end of August and I have two great classes on my schedule.  Both meet only two days a week and are late afternoon into evening, exactly what I wanted.  I can't describe how good it feels to work in a place where I am wanted, where the people in charge appreciate me and try to make me happy.

I've been trying to finish editing and posting Portugal pictures before I have Iceland ones as well.

A few more posted here, on Facebook.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Why Study Math

At a party, a man told me he still remembered the quadratic formula (this must be some sort of status symbol as lots of people brag about remembering it) but he didn't know why he ever had to learn it . He bemoaned the fact that he never uses it in his business.  He the went on to complain about all the math classes he took, time he feels was wasted.

This man was reasonable (probably due to all the math he has taken) and listened to my pro math arguments.  First, I pointed out that studying mathematics is just part of a well rounded education and part of what makes a person educated.  I never used the Shakespeare I was forced to study, never liked it much, but I am happy I was forced to study it.  Now I can intelligently discuss what and why I don't like his works.  Next I pointed out how mathematics teaches reasoning skills.  I teach my students that delving into a math problem and being able to read between the lines will help them in literature, history and everything else. Also, people respect math and the ability to learn it, and learn it well gives an individual an edge in the job market.  I have even heard that medical schools like to pepper their student bodies with math majors.  Finally, young people often don't know what they are interested in and what sort of career to pursue.  If they don't study math, they will never have the opportunity of knowing whether this subject is one that sparks their interest.

At this party I got a strange look because I never read Moby Dick.  Why do people see a problem with missing a piece of literature but no problem with missing entire fields of mathematics.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Those Who Can't Teach

As I read different blogs with posts about the masterbater Lori Wheal's, I think about all the people I know who have left the classroom.  On the surface, they claim they want to make a difference, but that is not the real reason.  These people just can't deal with the classroom.  They don't know how to deal with difficult students.  Many of them are even afraid of the kids they teach.  It is so much easier to stand in front of a group of teachers and present mumbo jumbo theory that doesn't work than it is to work with children.  Adults will be polite, will not interrupt and be non threatening.  This often does not happen in the classroom.


A master teacher who really wanted to help students would not be running from the classroom, but running towards it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Self Pleasuring

I just read Lori Wheal's article in the Post.  This "master" teacher is leaving the profession because her position as a teacher mentor has been discontinued and her career is "stuck in neutral, with no clear path of advancement."

News flash for Ms. Wheal:  Most teachers don't become teachers hoping for advancement.  We become teachers because we enjoy working with children and want to make a difference in their lives.  Except for administration, teaching is not a career that promotes advancement.  If, as she states she really cares about students, she would take her "master" status back to the classroom where it could help students.  Instead, she is intent of going back to school to become a policy maker, one of those people who spout lots of BS that have no real application to the classroom.  Being a "master" teacher she should realize that educational theory and practice have little to nothing in common.

Ms. Wheal considers herself a master teacher.  I taught for over 30 years and have colleagues with even more years and we don't call ourselves master teachers.  We have good points and for the most part have been successful with our students.  Some one who has taught a mere 10 years still has a lot to learn. 

Masturbation might be a better description of Ms. Wheal.  She certainly wrote an article for self pleasuring.