Thursday, August 16, 2018

More Than A Test Score


I met the woman pictured above while waiting for the Aquarium to open.  She was holding tight to a little boy, talking to him, questioning him, keeping him engaged and happy.  She seemed like an extraordinary mom to me until we started talking.  She was not his mom, she was his teacher.  She chose to spend the day with him in the aquarium, exposing him to something his parents possibly could not afford to  take him.  She promised him he did not have to go anywhere he wasn't comfortable and she wold not leave his side.  She emphasized how special he was and how she chose to spend the day only with him.

I don't know anything about this teacher's statistics or what her supervisors think of her but I know the day she was spending with this child would stay with him his entire life.   She taught and gave him more than anything she ever learned in an education class. She is a precious gift to the children she teaches.

There are so many teachers like this one out there, men and women who daily do more than teach to the test and deserve recognition.  I don't know her name or where she teaches and she probably will never read this but that doesn't matter.  She represents all that is good with the profession I loved.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Retired Teachers Who Lunch


You might be wondering why I have a photo of potato latkes and apple sauce and especially a picture that is not exceptionally good, but for once there is a relationship between my photo and this post.

Several years ago, several retired teachers from Packemin started meeting for lunch once a month.  The group started at 5 and grew to as many as 20.  We all don't make lunch every month but it doesn't matter.  We are informal and we are fun.  We never discuss school, we talk about vacations, shows, museums and everything else of interest to all.  We are together to enjoy life and to support one another when things don't go well.

Our group is all female.  We were teachers, paras, school aides, secretaries, cafeteria workers and even a former principal has joined us at times.  The only requirement to join our group is that you are female and worked at Packemin.  School is a phony world.  People we were friends with while working are not necessarily the people we choose to be with now and people we barely knew while working have become close friends.

I loved my teaching career and now I love my retirement life.  I am grateful for many of the things I got out of teaching and especially the friendships I have made after that part of my life has gone.

And now for the picture.  Every month we go to Ben's Deli in Bay Terrace.  The manager really likes our group and lets us use a back room for a "private" lunch even if only 8 of us show up.  Today he sent over this plate of latkes to feed us while we socialized and waited for our lunch. A special shout out now to Francesca, our favorite server and managers David and Hal.  We love you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Common Core



I have been away from school for quite a while and not at all familiar with the common core regents so when I was asked to help a friend’s son prepare I hesitated but agreed to tutor with the understanding that my skills were rusty and I might not be able to do all the questions.

Noah arrived for tutoring with a series of questions, some of which made no sense.  We managed to find the regents the examples came from.  Some were copied wrong and some were just indecipherable.  I know I am pretty good at math and should have no problem with a high school topic but some were just impossible.

The worst part of these regents exam was the imbalance of questions.  Most regents would have 5 questions on one topic and one to none on others and there seemed to be no consistently from year to year.  Even a hard working student would have trouble preparing for this exam.

I teach in the local community college and every year I see students coming to class with weaker skills than the year before.  Seeing this test helps explain.  There is no emphasis on skills and almost no teaching of the things they need to know to succeed in college mathematics.

Common core is destroying future math students.  It has destroyed Math education.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

End Cuba Embargo

This is the face of a 27 year old Cuban.  He is bright, articulate in Spanish and English and an expert when it comes to computers.  He has a degree in computer technology.  This is the face of a man who loves his country and is not in any way oppressed or denied freedom.  This is the face of a man who would like to leave his country.

This young professional is stuck.  He is educated but cannot get a good paying job.  He cannot get married and have children because the little money he manages to earn just barely takes care of his own needs.  He would love his own apartment but he is forced to live with his mom and sister as there is no place for him to go.

This is the face of a young man who would like to leave Cuba and go anywhere, not because of the government or because he is denied freedom.  He wants to go where he can get a well paying, decent job and use his education.  He has so much to give and lives in a place that does not have resources to accept.

Cuba is a nation filled with young people like this man.  Nations will not trade with Cuba because they fear the US.  Doctors, nurses and other professionals in Cuba earn barely enough to survive.  Cuba trades doctors and nurses with China and Venezuela for oil and other resources.  We need to end the embargo and let people like this young man obtain decent jobs in their own country or any country they want and any country that will appreciate them.  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Heartbroken



She was brilliant in high school.  I admired her so much.  She traveled to our not so great school in the Bronx from Manhattan because of our honor program and became one of the first females to attend the then, all male Yale.  She held top jobs in the world of finance and had a masters from Harvard.  Her last few years were spent taking photographs, mostly of dance and music.  She was a brilliant, self taught photographer.  Check out her work here.  She introduced me to so much.  I was blessed she let me re-enter her life.  Goodbye Darial.. RIP.  I will never take another photograph, sit at a concert or a dance and not think of you sitting next to me.  You left us way too soon.

Monday, March 05, 2018

This Is Great

I was thrilled to get this as an e-mail today.  Love ❤️ my library.  I think the library should invite Pence!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Teachers and The Gun

When I was still working, my five classes were usually in three different rooms, including several in the trailer.  I usually carried two book bags, my coat and a Delaney book because my overcrowded school had no where to store anything and I never knew what I would need.  Imagine me carrying a gun too?  No way!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Gardener



I met Linus on a recent trip to Saint Lucia.  He works in the landscape department but is more than a strong back with a green thumb.

Linus was the guide on our early morning nature walk.  He enthusiastically talked about all the flowers and his love of beautiful colors.  His faced glowed as he discussed the miracle of watching something he planted come to life.

I asked Linus how he got interested in what he was doing.  He explained that he grew up on a farm.  His mom had died when he was young and he and his siblings were being raised by a grandmother.  He often missed 2 to 3 days of school a week to work on the farm and left school completely at an early age to send his sister to the university.  (She is currently a teacher.)  Linus then showed us a tattered notebook he carries around, where he writes down everything new and explained all he knew was learned on the job and, while he knew a lot, he still had a lot to learn.  He even wrote down things he did not know from the conversation he had with a man on our tour.

The management of Sandal's recognized Linus' talent and sent him to Sandal's University to learn the skills he needs to become a supervisor.  He was due to start his new job the week after we left.

Linus, without book education is a brilliant young man.  Just shows, book learning is not for all but still, I wonder how far this man could have gone if he hadn't been forced to leave school.  I wonder if he would have found his gift if he had been forced to sit in a classroom with books full of things he had no interest in.

Thank Teachers