Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Another Good Teacher Leaves

I met a wonderful retired teacher in my UFT origami class.  We chatted and she asked me if I am familiar with any blogs and then mentioned Chaz's School Daze.  I told her that not only did I read it, I knew Chaz and thought he is a great guy and fantastic teacher.  I then introduced myself and she said she was a fan of my blog, read it regularly and even said my words helped her make her decision to retire.

Anyway, all this is background.  I knew I met a kindred spirit when she told me about the harassment she received at the hands of a baby Principal, treatment that lead to her decision to leave.  She knew the Principal expected her to leave her room with all its beautiful decorations behind for the teacher taking her place, the teacher who was a good friend of the Principal..  But she stripped the room bare and took everything with her or trashed it.  She told the Principal she knew a new teacher would want to start with a clean slate although she knew in her heart the opposite was true.

This teacher has seen pictures of the new room and it is not very nice.  She says she doesn't care but I know there is a part of her that is gloating.

Another good, older teacher has left the system.  Children are now being deprived of a caring, experienced, competent teacher.  The Principal only cares about the friend she was able to give a job. Education continues its downward slide and no one cares.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Gone and Not Forgotten

Dear Mr. AP,

It has been 5 years since I left Packeminm, and even more since some others have left but you still are talking about us at department conferences.  While I am thrilled to provide you with material for your long, often boring and always useless and incomprehensible meetings, I am impelled to speak to you now, and give you some words of advice.

First off, my fellow retirees and I are gone a very long time and most of the teachers in the department have no idea who we are or why you hate us so much.  But, since we both know many of them read this blog, I will fill them in on all that they are missing.

Mr. AP only likes the young and innocent.  He likes the ones who revere him and call him uncle and who cower and bow when he speaks.  Mr. AP also needs a punching bag and there always will be one of you ready to fulfill that need.  You see, many of us, the ones he talks crap about were once well liked too.  We were the ones who created programs, wrote curriculums and made sure everyone was being educated to the highest level possible. We stayed late and came in early and were responsible for the department's reputation. You think you are safe but you are not.

And now back to advice for Mr. AP. Start conducting meetings that will actually help your teachers and in turn, the students.  Prepare your remarks and make sure they are making sense.  Try to understand, as you once did, that different teachers have different methods just as different students learn differently.   I remember when you told me you didn't understand how I conducted my class, but it worked and I should keep on doing it.  You even entrusted me to teach a class of 28 seniors who had never passed a math class and was more than pleased when 27 out of 28 passed.

Mr. AP, I remember sitting with my colleagues and being bored to death at your conferences.  We counted the seconds until we could leave and walked out making fun of everything you said and suggested we do as most made no educational sense.  I remember being in the math office late one afternoon and was surprised to hear the newbies, the little angels, the teachers you put on pedestals making fun of you too.  Most of them see right through you but humor you to keep their jobs and their good programs.  So, as a final suggestion I suggest you observe other Assistant Principals and learn the proper way to conduct a meeting and treat the teachers who work in your department.

I trust you will take this advice and give up your practice of bad mouthing retired teachers and focus on things that will help the teachers and students under your care, especially if you don't want posts like this to keep appearing.

Sincerely yours,

Gone but not forgotten

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Principal Who Puts Her/his Personal Agenda First

It is hard to fathom what is going on in the mind of this Principal.  I can't believe any Principal, entrusted with the education of thousands of students can make such a lame, self serving decision, but s/he did.  I find it hard to believe s/he can justify this, even to her/himself.

The department I am referring to needs a new Assistant Principal.  There are experienced, competent teachers in the school who hold the appropriate license and want the job.  Instead, a person with zero days in the classroom, zero days as a supervisor and zero experience in this subject has been put in charge.  This person is not familiar with rules and regulations and will be able to offer no guidance to the teachers being supervised.  Yet, this person will be making all the decisions and will be deciding who is effective and who is not.

If this was the plot of a movie or a television show anyone with half a brain would say it was too stupid to be true.  Sadly, it is true.  A pompous ass of a Principal is making a mockery of the system because of a grudge or a favor s/he owes someone.  It  hurts to see so many people being put at risk because one uncaring, unknowing individual is in charge.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Back Better Than Ever

I remember the desolation and the heartbreak after the attack 15 years ago. I love seeing my city rebuilt, strong, better than ever.  I love NY and lower Manhattan is my favorite part of the city.,

 Freedom Tower from Occulus, new transportation hub and shopping center
 Another view from Occulus
 Crowds are back, shopping away

 Liberty Park-elevated park near towers
 View from Liberty Park
 West Side traffic from Liberty Park
 Even the birds of Battery City park are happy

And of course the wonderful events, like Battery City Dance

Thursday, September 08, 2016


My college class will have their first exam next week.  I gave them a list of problems to help them prepare and spent the evening letting them work on problems (which they all did.)

As the class was leaving, I heard a Spanish woman calling across to a Korean male asking him to text her his answers so they could compare.  An African American student sat and worked with a boy from South East  Asia and a Jewish girl and a Pakistani girl in a hijab also exchanged numbers.

I love teaching in Queens.  I love seeing students from such diverse backgrounds bonding together and working to succeed.  Queens is one of the greatest places in the world to live.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Sunset Instead Of A Storm

September 6, 2016-Thank you Hermine for skipping NY and giving us this beautiful sunset

(From Thai Rock-on 92nd St in Rockaway Beach)