Thursday, May 30, 2013
I wonder if the Principal would have a problem sitting for a 3 hour calculus exam, an exam in a subject he knows nothing about. I'm guessing he wouldn't like it one bit and would probably find being forced to sit there, without his I-pad, phone or music would be extremely stressful.
I wonder why this same Principal has no problem making special ed students sit for an exam they have already failed numerous times and have no chance of passing? This exam will do nothing for the student. Is improving the school's ratings worth the torture these young students will be put through? I wouldn't think so, but then again, I am not an administrator or a person looking to boost my resume.
Clarification: Kids who are being told to take these exams have already passed what they need for graduatin. This exam does nothing to help them.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The teacher noticed a discrepancy on the IEP she was writing. Services the child previously had were not listed. He did the only thing a new teacher could do, he went to his supervisor for help. His supervisor snarled and stared and then told him to leave. The teacher, not knowing what else to do, walked out. He still was at a loss as to how to help this student.
Many heard this commotion. One pointed him toward help. Now the whispers have started. The teachers realize the supervisor is not very bright and has no answers. They now realize she covers her ignorance with her nasty disposition.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
My former colleague, in an attempt to show Mr.AP how wrong he was about her, forwarded him this e-mail. He replied saying an effective teacher will be able to move every child forward. She laughed when she read it and wondered if he now considered her effective. I personally don't feel his opinion of her, or of any of us has changed.
To me, his e-mail said "big deal, anyone can do this and if they don't they shouldn't be teaching."
He always was and will always be clueless. There are kids that, for many reasons, no one will ever reach. This says nothing about the effectiveness of the teacher.
I wish he would get his head out of his ass and just do what he does best--keeping the copy machine running. I know she did a great job. Kudos to this professor.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Hi Prof. XXX
Just wanted to say thank you so much for helping me pass math X. Your teaching
style is unbelievable. I hated math all my life and wasn't good at it. You
made me enjoy learning and now I feel confident when doing it. Hopefully, the
Prof for math XX this summer can keep me interested in learning more advanced
math. It was a pleasure meeting you and being your student. I hope we meet
again some day. Thank you again for being by far the BEST prof I've ever had....
Friday, May 24, 2013
My faith in today's high school students is restored.
I spent the afternoon tutoring a wonderful ninth grade student. Her dad called me yesterday and asked if I could fill in as her regular tutor wasn't available and she has a final Thursday. I have watched from afar as she grew from a little girl into a wonderful teenager but I can't even recall one word we ever spoke. At first she was reserved. I worried that the session would be difficult, but that changed immediately as soon as we got to work.
Getting back to the topic. This young student had study sheets with topics to go over. She had index cards with the things she needed to get help with. She had graph paper, a compass and a calculator. She praised the guide her teacher gave them to study with even though she wasn't crazy about the teacher or his tests. Her questions and her responses to certain things showed that she studied hard, did homework and paid attention in class. She reminded me of the kind of student I was in high school.
As I wrote, my faith is restored. There are bright, motivated kids around ready to insure the future of this county.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Final exam night. Bill arrived an hour late. His calculator had dead batteries. His only hope of passing the class is a decent grade on this exam.
He won't make it in college with this work ethic and he certainly won't make it as a plumber either. Just imagine him showing up hours late to fix a leaky faucet and then needing to borrow a wrench because he left his home.
Way to go Bloomberg. Your tenure as education mayor hasn't prepared anyone for a trade or college.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Yesterday, the last day of my retired teacher class, I reminisced about old times with several of the teachers One of my classmates told me she was a former guidance counselor. We talked about the "good old days" when guidance counselors actually knew something about what went on in the classroom. They had to teach for several years before they could apply for the cushy job that gave them an office, a desk and no work to take home.
As we spoke I told her about some of the colorful group fulfilling that job now. I told her of the two who were busy decorating their offices for the holiday and could not be bothered going after the student who sat crying in my class the period before. I told her of the counselor who would call for a student, but, the phone call was as far as she would go. It was too much effort to make the trek from her office to the second floor. I told her how they could send out e-mails, expect immediate answers but were always too busy to answer the ones the teachers sent. I told her about the big group luncheons and the major times during the day the guidance office was uncovered for emergencies and the counselor that was pissed he had to deal with a possible suicide when he was the only one around. I told her about the office used as a hang out for kids who did not want to go to class.
They aren't all as clueless as this group, but too many fall into this category for comfort.
Another bonus of the Bloomberg administration!
Monday, May 20, 2013
Remember those mean kids who had a party and invited everyone in the class except two or three kids? Remember how bad those kids felt, being the only ones left out? Remember wondering how parents could be so insensitive?
The department party is set for Memorial Day weekend. The e-mail invite went out with four or five names left out. The ones invited don't really want to go but some will attend anyway. One told me she is afraid to say no. She is a favorite now and doesn't want to do anything to jeopardize the privileges she receives, even if it means leaving her husband and child alone for a few hours. One told me she didn't care about consequences and it would be a cold day in hell before she attends one of these functions. Still another was invited but everyone knows she never checks e-mail and won't even find out about the party until it has passed.
Supervisors are supposed to judge their employees on the job they do and treat them all equally. Favoritism should not be shown to anyone. Yet, favoritism is alive and wEll in this department and no one seems to care. The ones with the power to stop it must be wearing blinders as they see nothing.
These "invite only" parties caused lots of bad feelings in the department. The blatant favoritism was not good for morale and it took a toll of the staff. Something must have happened because this year's invite just went out and almost the entire department was invited. I did notice at least two names missing, the names of senior teachers. Those who have been around will have to get their Memorial Day hot dogs else where.
(Long Island City and Roosevelt Island pictures here.)
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Now Bloomberg is encouraging high school students to become plumbers instead of going to college. Aside from the hypocrisy of the college readiness programs he has been pushing for years, he should be smart enough to know plumbing, or any trade, requires intelligence, skill and lots of hard work. It is not for everyone, although he might feel anyone who can't make it in college could be a plumber.
If Bloomberg really believes in vocational education, why, in his 11 years as the education mayor has he not initiated one program to help train students in these fields? Why has he continued this asinine testing program which just turns kids off and away from school? Why has he allowed and encouraged programs that graduate everyone regardless of what they have learned or of how often they attended class? Why has he created a generation of children who feel they are entitled to everything yet have done nothing to earn anything? How can people like this be prepared to do the hard physical labor required of plumbers when they have never dirtied their hands for anything.
Bloomberg is right. We need plumbers, electricians, carpenters, hair dressers, cooks, and endless other occupations that do not require college. But, these jobs require education and a work ethic which is something he has cheated 11 years of students out of. Shame on him for throwing out ideas he has refused to support.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
An old friend of mine called me to talk about her fringe friends, the ones who she only talks to a couple of times a year and sees even less. She wants to drop them and worries about how she is going to do this. (She hates to hurt anyone.) She says she wants to concentrate her efforts on real friends.
I told her I don't agree. Maybe it is because I don't have many real friends, but I value everyone who cares enough to keep in contact, even if it is only once in a very long time. You never know who your real friends are until you have to call on them to do something slightly out of the ordinary. And, the people you consider real friends often are only there as long as you are useful to them.
I'm not bitter, just realistic and certain recent events have shown me that some of these "fringe" friends are the real friends, the ones that care the most. I am happy she has lots of friends and can clean out the ones on the edge. As for me, I'm glad my spring cleaning never included the people at the borderline.
Friday, May 17, 2013
My blogging buddy NYC Educator (scroll through the blog, he has several posts) has decided to use my Principal Suit as a representation of all the awful and disgusting Principals and assistant Principals in the system. He's got some really funny stuff over there. Rereading my posts about the original Principal Suit and reading his posts would make anyone wonder how these maroons got the jobs they have. But, anyone who knows anything, knows our idiot education mayor Bloomberg is to blame.
Go read the escapades to Principals Suit. Maybe yours won't seem so bad in comparison.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I covered a class I am unfamiliar with today and was nervous. The teacher did not leave me a topic to teach or work to go over. He said the class was good and they would provide the problems. Still, I picked up the book last night and went through some of it today. When I got to the college, I expressed my concern to the secretary and the chairperson. The seemed to have more confidence in me than I had in myself.
Well, the class went great. The students stayed for most of the two hours, asked lots of questions and some even thanked me when they left. They said I clarified topics that would help them on their final.
While returning the text, I again ran into the chairperson. She asked me how it went and said, "see, they stayed for the entire class." She said I was great but when I contradicted her she said" a great teacher cares and knows how to engage a class". We talked about some of the former Packemin teachers that are currently at the college and how good she thinks they are and how awful the AP at Packemin considers them. She said, no one is perfect, but caring and engaging are what counts. Stats don't mean anything.
I love this woman and I love the atmosphere in my department at the college. It is nice to be able to do a job without constantly being put down. It is nice not to be told to go observe and learn from the 20 year old teacher with 30 minutes experience. It is nice to know that the job we have been doing has actually been a job considered well done.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Newsflash to Dennis Walcott--in his too long term, Bloomberg has made the level of education in this city an all time low. Walcott should dry his tears and look at the system today and compare it to the one that educated his children and, if he can't see a difference, he needs to go back to school.
Back when Walcott's daughter was a student at Francis Lewis HS, learning mattered. She had to go to class, do homework and pass rigorous regents exams. If she didn't cut it, there were repeater classes and summer school. There was no boot camp and no chances to get her friends or to pay someone to answer online questions for her. She worked and her teachers made sure she worked and learned. I'm not sure, but she might have been in an algebra class of mine. I don't think Walcott would have had any problem with the quality of education she received. And, since she is a success today, that reinforces what I am writing here.
Many kids today graduate without being able to perform simple arithmetic operations, write a coherent paragraph, or even be able to read. Under fear of having their schools closed, Principal's are getting everyone out. Kids are taking 8 regular classes, 2 after school classes, Saturday classes and then doing credit recovery work online. None of this makes any sense. A child who could not do well with 5 classes certainly can't handle a course load like this. My former AP thinks every teacher should be able to have 100% of their classes passing. This is hardly a reasonable goal. I've had kids say to me, "If I don't pass, you can get fired." Teachers have to pass them, whether they deserve to pass or not.
Bloomberg's reign has created an era of entitled students who think showing up half the time is enough. I see this in the college. The secretary told me the tale of students walking in, demanding to see the chairperson because their teacher refuses to give them extra credit to make up the homework they did not hand in, the tests they failed and the classes they missed.
I'm not a teacher worried about my job. I've left the system. I've had enough with the bull that passes for education reform. I've had enough of the bright kids getting mediocre educations so everyone can pass.
Walcott, wake up and listen to those Democratic mayoral candidates. I've been in the system. They know what they are talking about.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Mrs Lui is a kind, caring teacher. She spends hours of her own time helping her students and fighting for them. And, while Mrs. Lui has more than enough years needed to retire, she has been hanging on She worries that when she leaves, no one will fight for "her kids." The AP is young, inexperienced and more concerned with statistics and looking good than with children. The teenie bopper teachers, the ones will go along with everything she says. The support staff which includes guidance, social workers and psychologists are busy covering their own rears and running their outside businesses.
Mrs. Lui has finally decided enough is enough. The school is starting to affect her health. She has been losing weight and has been unable to sleep at night. She worries about the kids but has decided her health must come first. Mrs. Lui will leave in June. Her "lambs" will now be tossed to the wolves. Actually, they have been tossed for a very long time. She only managed to save a few. She can't stand watching the children she loves being abused.
The first year will be hard. She will miss them and feel the guilt of desertion.
Mrs. Lui, I promise you things get easier. You did a great job for many years. It is now time to care for yourself.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
My mom's goal in life was to be a good mother. I never realized how good she was until I became an adult and met people with mothers who didn't do the things she did, the things I never thought about.
My mom loved me unconditionally. She thought I was a genius. She thought I was beautiful. She thought I was the most special thing G-d ever created. I never believed these things about myself but always tried to be the best I could to make her happy.
My mom wasn't perfect but, no one is perfect. But, she was as close as you get to perfection. As a child I didn't appreciate the two hour rides to City College that got me speech therapy. I hated the rummaging around in Alexander's, finding that perfect bargain dress. I hated her forcing me to drink that glass of milk every morning. But, as an adult, I am grateful and thankful for all these things. I've met too many others whose mom's didn't care enough to even try.
I'm not sure I believe she knows what I am saying or thinking now. She died six years ago, but I know. My mom made me who I am today. I only hope my own children think I was, and am, as good a mother to them as she was to me.
(Picture from a Passover Seder. Passover is the time of year I miss her the most.)
Saturday, May 11, 2013
A fellow blogger always writes about the problems in her school, the unequal treatment, the "mean girls" who run the place, and her incompetent supervisor. She is pretty sure her Principal, a person who she she used to think respected her and considered her a good teacher, reads her blog. His door is always open. He too listens, and does nothing.
I always think Scott Adams is a fly on the wall at many schools.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Grammar doesn't matter anymore. If it did, how could a person who doesn't know any become a teacher, let alone an administrator. Below are excerpts from a department memo.
Since a lot of students showed up, we need to stagger them so that the teacher is not overwhelmed.
I just spoke to the Principal about the double period classes we intend of offer. I was under the wrong impression. We, as a department, will make a decision together as to how we will proceed. We want to make sure these students were prepared for ...
(Subjects deleted to protect the identity of the memo writer)
(picture from 5/4 Yankee game--more posted here. free tickets, field level courtesy of Delta airlines)
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Unhappy in the field of finance, the man decided to become a teacher.
TFA did not want him so he bit the bullet and paid for the courses he needed to get teaching certification.
After completing the course, he went to the two good schools in the area and applied for a job. He kept on the APs case until a position opened up.
He took his licensing exam and failed.
A kindly older teacher took pity on him and tutored him so he could pass.
He taught 5 classes for a while, crying quickly when a student was difficult.
He taught 7/0 = 0 and thanked the teacher who corrected his mistake. He promised to correct his mistake with the students.
He got tired of being in the classroom and decided to take administration courses.
He became a dean to gain internship hours.
He liked the power of walking the halls and telling everyone what to do.
He got his degree without buying a single book and by using borrowed papers.
He got passed over for an administrative position he wanted and cried.
He became an administrator in a department he knew nothing about
He picked the brains of experienced teachers to learn what he needed to survive.
He has done all he can to make these experienced teachers leave so he can surround himself with newbies who know less than he knows.
He cares nothing for the children he is in charge of.
He has done so many immoral and illegal things to make himself look good that they are impossible to list.
This is one person. How many other administrators out there are like him? Too many, I am sure. Administrators used to be educators. That is a term no one would ever use to describe this guy.
Monday, May 06, 2013
There are a lot sweeter ways for the administration to show appreciation. They can start by stopping the constant walk throughs, especially on half days and days before and right after vacations. If they don't know by now who is doing their job and who isn't, they should not be administrators. They can stop showing favoritism to certain teachers. They can stop the verbal abuse and the screaming and yelling. They should stop insisting every teacher have 100% passing in every class.
In other words, administrators should become humans and start treating teachers they way they want to be treated. Keep the cake and bring on the humanity.
Ah, the joy of being the school pet.
You can come in late. No one will notice as long as someone covers for you. Besides, your own AP is never around early enough to notice.
You can spend half (or more) class time in the hall, talking to your friends.
You can keep your coffee cup full by taking multiple trips to the coffee pot during class time.
You'll be an AP soon, you have all the qualifications and the people that are in power are behind you.
(Paraphrased from a friend's blog. This stuff is actually going on!)
Sunday, May 05, 2013
Saturday, May 04, 2013
The girl was having a rough time. She was not getting along well with the boy she was living with. Her parents disowned her. She got the flu. She wrecked her car. Her grandfather, who she was very close to, died. And then her landlord told her she had to leave the apartment she had been calling home. While searching for a new place to live she lost her text book.
Faced with all these problems, she could not deal with school and took several weeks off. She missed two exams. Her passing grade was now an F.
Her teacher will not be held accountable for this failing grade. The supervisor understands that classes are a mixed bag and there is no way to determine the type of students who end up in them. Sometimes classes end up with motivated, bright students and almost everyone passes and does well, kids with no external problems. Other times, there might only be two or three passing. The supervisor knows the teacher is doing a good job. This supervisor, a real master teacher does not need to rely on statistics to know who is good and who is not good. The supervisor would never send out a memo with a line like this in it:
If you have one of the lowest passing percentages at the end of the 3rd quarter of any Regents courses you taught, please stop by my office so that we can discuss what we can do to improve the performance of your students. Please come with specific ideas. Getting the failing students to Saturday tutoring is a priority.What specific ideas could a teacher possibly have to solve this girl's problems? If the solution is so easy, this supervisor should be able to supply it to the teacher.
Friday, May 03, 2013
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Government waste--at least $890,000 a year on bank fees for bank accounts that have no money in them. All this is due to poor management and lack of attentiveness to detail.
And the Federal Government still can't get a budget together!
(Newsday, April 25 pg. A41)