Sunday, February 28, 2010

Easy Mark?

My first thought, as I saw him pushing his wheel chair along Jericho Turnpike was "Oh no, not him again. He is always looking for a hand out and this time he's not getting one." And then, I looked again and thought "He can barely walk. He's pushing that rickety old chair through the snow so he can get some extra money for his meds or his next meal."

I don't know which thought was correct. All I know is the dollar I handed him is a dollar I will not miss and might have made this day a little easier for him. I'm glad I gave it to him and if he thinks I am an easy mark whenever he sees me, his thinking is on target.

I couldn't live with myself if there was something I could have done to help another human and didn't do it.

I Broke Down

I joined Face Book to have another outlet for sharing my photos. Don't look for any personal information there because you won't find anything more than a picture I consider interesting. Now, to figure out how to upload to that site.

Wave Of The Future

Got his/her administration degree from ...

Sounds about right? The wave of the future.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Advice To NYC Tourists

Snowman right near the glass steps, Times Square--Look close, my friend noticed he's anatomically correct.
Reflections in the sun.

The best advice I can give to any NYC tourists is to look up while walking around the city. Today was beautiful and although we didn't spend that much time walking around it was enough to see things we have missed in the past.

BTW, today's adventure included seeing Rob Becker's Defending The Caveman, a one man show about male-female relations. While it is not the best show I have seen, it is entertaining and well worth the $25 TDF ticket cost.

(I just found out I am running out of room posting pictures here. I am too cheap to pay for extra storage so I guess I will have to go back and delete some of the older shots, that is, if I can figure out how to do it. Meanwhile I am going to keep my shots here to a minimum.)

Contract Demand Discussion

Arthur Goldstein wrote a great piece on contract demands over at Gotham Schools. There is an interesting conversation going on in the comment section. Go over, take a look, and add your own take on the situation. I'm sure he would appreciate your effort.

Tenure and Test Scores

Correct me if I am wrong, but those standardized tests kids take in fourth and eighth grade don't just test what they learned that year, they test all they have been learned up to that point, right? So, when a child does poorly on the exam, if we are going to hold teachers accountable, not only should the current teacher be held accountable, but every previous teacher should be held accountable as well. And, while we are at it, how about the principals and the assistant principals that were satisfied with the work the previous teachers had done. They have got to be at fault as well.

There are problems in education and everyone, teachers included, need to be held accountable for doing their part to help students learn, grow and flourish. Test scores are not the answer.

A Commentary On NCLB

Mallard Fillmore says it all. Sorry, you'll have to click on each one to be able to read them clearly. I couldn't figure out how to post them bigger.

Those statistics we collect are really worth a lot.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Report--Afternoon Update

I really have a problem wasting a day off so when I saw my neighbor shoveling her walk, I went over to help. We talked and then went to shovel the sidewalk of some elderly people on the block. She mentioned needing to go to the post office and I said "how about a walk?" She gave me a strange look as the post office is at least 1.5 miles away but said, "Why not? We can take the bus back." I said, I could always walk with her there and we could separate as I prefer walking. Well, she ended up enjoying the walk and we had a really great time.

The snow was better in some spots and worse in others. There were streets that were perfectly clean and streets that weren't even touched with a plow. Here, the snow report will continue.

My walking partner.

Hopefully no fires will break out.

This road was in severe need of plowing.

The snow makes the park look so pretty. It is still dangerous to be underneath these trees so I stuck to the other side. Good thing schools were closed. The bus stops on this block.

A Mickey Mouse snow man.

Slush is one of my favorite things in the entire world. I love putting on boots and sloshing through it. This brings back memories from my childhood. I had to cross two streets to get to school, streets that were always full of slush after the snow.

One of the sanitation trucks that went by was making really loud banging noises. This chain, we passed in the street, must have been the reason.

We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts. My friend had coupons which were going to expire. I didn't need the donuts but I can't resist a bargain. Hopefully the three mile walk and the shoveling this morning burned off the calories.

No lines in the drug store, no people either.

This guy did what I usually do--came in for one item and did not take a cart.

The parking lot was a mess, parking was available, but I am glad I walked.

A first--no lines in the post office

And the bank was closed.

These people hadn't gotten out yet.
Another rarity--no traffic on the Cross Island.

The sun was actually starting to break through.

Two Feet Of Snow

The Snow Reporter

I tried going back to sleep after the school closing announcement was made but I realized after 30 seconds that I was not going to be able to return to slumber land so I got up and shoveled and then took a walk. I wanted to see for myself how bad conditions were. What I saw was pretty, but not conducive to leaving the house. I kept thinking about why it took Mayor Money bags so long to decide to close schools. I just kept thinking MORON, IDIOT, HEARTLESS, INCONSIDERATE, CLUELESS, BASTARD, SELF CENTERED, CONCEITED... I welcome everyone to add their own descriptive words to the list. I'm sure there are many more that I missed.

I'm not the only one out taking pictures.

Would you believe this car was in motion? This guy has almost no visibility and it has nothing to do with the snow that is coming down at the moment.

This guy was just spinning his wheels trying to get out.

The sweetest person in the entire world was shoveling her snow as I walked by. She worries about her husband's health and makes sure to get up early and do all the shoveling herself before he gets up.

This person will have fun getting out of the house. You can't even see where one step begins and the next one ends. My own front door looked the same.

If a major street looks like this, you can imagine what the side streets look like.

Even the bus had a not in service sign.

You can see the snow is almost above my boots. My coat comes down to just below my butt.

The bus stop. You can see how deep the snow is by observing the garbage can right next to it. The stop on the other side is next to a park with lots of branches hanging low. We've been warned to stay away from parks but it took until 5:30 to decide to close the schools.
Even the taxi driver is taking the day off.
(I just added snow pictures to my facebook page a place I usually never even go to. It gave me another place to bash the mayor.)

Mayor Moron, Mayor Heartless or Mayor Lacks Common Sense

According to NY 1, branches are falling. Visibility is so poor you can't see more than a few inches in front of you. A news reporter showed the snow was up to her knees (and she is 5'4"). Another reporter talked about how the snow is just burning her face. A school bus driver was just interviewed. He said driving conditions were horrible and now he had to turn around and go home. Another bad thing is that if you are standing too close to the curb, you will get bombarded with salt from the trucks. (This happened to me during the last snow storm, but it was my own fault. I insisted on going out to take pictures.) The snow will keep falling all day.

All this, and it took Bloomberg until 5:30 to make his decision to close schools. Maybe he is smart and has some plan I can't figure out but, he has no heart and no common sense.

What I don't understand how we, as New Yorkers will forget this when he decides he wants a fourth term in office?

(We all forgot how he issued tickets to cars who could not be moved after the last ice storm. We forgot how he cancelled school buses on school children. We forgot all the other atrocities he has inflicted on this city in his tenure as mayor.)

311 finally changed their message to state schools are closed.

Just In...

Notification 1 sent 2/26/10 at 5:30 AM. Due to inclement weather conditions, all New York City public schools are closed today.

The sender provided the following contact information.
Sender's Name: Notify NYC
Sender's Email:
Sender's Contact Phone: 2126399675

Of course, when you call 311, the message states all NYC schools are open.

Gotta love this city!

I'm Doing It

I found a Smart Board to practice on and roped a couple of colleagues into helping me get started. I'm in love. I knew I would be because I've used one a few times (just for minutes) at the college. I was worried about writing on it but my friend C, suggested I write with a rubber ball. The ball is easier to maneuver than the pens and it does a great job.

Unfortunately, I don't have a Smart Board in my classroom. The math department only got one, probably do to the technophobia of most. But, the room with the board is open period one so I am moving in for one period. I've haven't been able to download the software yet, but I did put a bunch of stuff on a flash drive so I think (or at least hope) I'm ready. As I make make my way to school tomorrow, instead of focusing on the snow, I will focus on my new toy and how to best use it to to enrich my lessons and help my students achieve.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The feed for Packemin does not work because that blog is only opened to invited readers.

I will post an update here whenever I post something there.

Money Trumps It All

I just got home from my college class. Luckily, we are trusted to do what is right and I was able to let them go a little early tonight. Only about half showed up and I can't say I blame the ones that didn't.

The roads are slick. Even my four wheel drive car was slipping a little. I can only imagine how bad road conditions will be in a few hours.

My husband is sick so I did the shoveling. This has got to be one of the heaviest snows I have ever felt. The rain and slightly warmer temperatures have combined to make ice. It is going to be brutal in the morning. I'm guessing that my car doors will be frozen shut.

Now, I understand that Mayor Moron doesn't care about teachers and truthfully, I am not complaining about having to go to work tomorrow. Most jobs don't give a day off for snow. Teachers have the option of using one of their 10 sick days for such an occasion and believe me, if the buses aren't running, I will be using one. I don't feel sorry for the teachers who live on Long Island or Westchester. either. They chose to live where they live and should be grateful for the opportunity to take the sick day if they can't get in. New York has a good public transportation system and that, combined with a few blocks to walk, make almost every place in the city accessible.

I do have a serious problem with Mayor Moron's lack of regard for the safety and education of our children. They should not have to be forced to endure the weather hardships. And, if teaching goes on, as the mayor suggests, the kids who can't make it in will be behind because of the instruction they missed. Last time it snowed, teachers in my school actually gave exams and wanted to hold absent students accountable. They saw no reason for the children not to be in class. Thankfully, Mr. AP intervened on the students behalf.

I have another proposal as to how the city can handle a snow day. Let them open schools as scheduled (or on a delay) and announce the day will be used for enrichment and tutorials. No new work will be covered and no exams will be given. That way, the city can get their dollars worth of babysitting from the teacher and parents won't stress about whether they should risk sending their child to school or not. The only ones who can possibly lose on a deal like this is the teacher and since the sick day option is always available, no one loses. Oh wait... we will lose state revenue for absent students so maybe my plan is not so good after all. Money trumps safety when it comes to New Yorkers.

I cancelled my scheduled exams for tomorrow. I have my metro card and boots ready. I'll be in school to greet the handful that show up.

Hey Boys and Girls..

In case you haven't signed up for the city updates, I thought I would share mine...

School Notification 1 issued on 02/25/2010 at 2:08 PM. Due to snow conditions, today's parent-teacher conferences are cancelled. After school and PSAL programs are on. NYC public schools are scheduled be open tomorrow 2/26.

The sender provided the following contact information.
Sender's Name: Notify NYC
Sender's Email:
Sender's Contact Phone: 2126399675

Isn't it great how they already know how safe and easy it will be for the children to get to school tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl

The little girl was upset. She ran up to her father and cried, "Daddy, daddy, that mean old man is picking on me again."

Daddy had heard this story too many times before. He had no hankies left to dry her tears. "Child", he said, with disgust in his voice, "You want to be treated like an adult, you must start acting like one. Stop crying to me about every little thing. Learn to handle your own problems. Learn to listen to what others have to say. Start treating people with respect and they will treat you the same way. If you can't do this, I will be happy to treat you like a baby once again."


Wilbur is difficult, really difficult. The guidance counselor told Mr. AP that his mom has no control over him.

Right before the break, on Wilbur's first day in class, he was disruptive and I had to have him removed from class. He was not supposed to return until his mom showed up, which she didn't d do. I have to admit that I forgot about this when he walked in and just concentrated on trying to get him to work. Monday, while not great, was not awful either. Tuesday, I told him that I got in trouble because I let him back without seeing his mom. I told him I believed in him and I knew he could do what he was supposed to. Surprisingly, he worked for most of the period. Anyone watching him could see how restless he was and how hard it was for him to sit still. We made a deal. If he completed 8 problems he could take a stroll around the room. I helped him with a few and he did a few on his own. I told him I knew he didn't like school or math and he just smiled. I promised to try to make the class as painless as possible for him. He smiled again.

I gambled when I let him stay in class but, working with kids like Wilbur means working with a whole different set of rules. If the old ones worked for him, he wouldn't be in the shape he is in now. I don't know if my way will help him either, but it is worth a try.

Tuesday, Wilbur and I had a successful day. Today was successful as well. Even his two friends who usually do nothing worked. Who knows what tomorrow will hold. I'm not willing to make any bets on a repeat performance, but I an hope. I'll just have to wait and see.

Math Humor

This one will make you laugh. This comes from 2 math teachers with a combined total of 70 years experience.

This is a strictly mathematical goes like this:

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?
Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than
100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to
give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions if:


is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%



1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%



2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.


1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Once upon a time, a young girl left the world of...

E-mail From A Parent

Joe has not been an easy child to deal with. Thank goodness he has parents who care and are doing their best to help him and to help me in dealing with him. We've been e-mailing each other. Yesterday I got the following e-mail from mom.

Thank you Ms. Pod,

He came home and told me that he apologized. I was happy to hear that, because I wanted to see if he said he was sorry on his own. I did not coax him. It hurts me to see him disrespect any teacher and it really hurts me that he disrespected you more than once. I hope this is the end of his bad behavior. I will call the school regarding his anger problem, which is not a major problem in his life, since he is a pretty mellow kid. The problem is that when he does expose his anger it seems like he loses control. That is a problem.

I will try to help him study for the exam this Friday. Joe does not always want me to help him with his studying, but I will try. Thanks so much for your patience in dealing with him. Thank you for your interest in helping him succeed and thank you for contacting me.

F.Y.I., Joe's sister dropped out in the 9th grade(she is 23 now) and he knows this. I am trying to help him through the 9th grade because I feel if he makes it through he will most likely stay in school for the remaining years. I see the same frustration in him as I saw in her and that scares me. Thanks for seeing the potential in Joe.

And, this letter is one of the things that keeps me going.
(Picture from the Atlanta airport which is celebrating African art)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The 27% Woman

One year, many years ago, I taught three geometry classes. My passing percentages were 27%, 53% and 92%. What does this say about me? Did I not teach the class with the lowest number of passing students? Did I teach only half the time in the second class? Did I only teach the third class? Is there something wrong with these numbers?

Luckily for me, passing percentages weren't used way back then to judge a teacher. And, if they had been used, the fact that I taught three different groups of the same subject probably would have saved me. Imagine if I only had the class with the 27% passing rate? Would I have been out of a job? Would I be the teacher without merit? Would I now be known as the 27% woman instead of the 60% woman?

I need a drink!

Quote From A Friend

The other day we were talking about incompetent and evil supervisors. My friend said that hers was so evil, the woman smelled evil. (I am not exactly sure what evil smells like but I have seen incompetence in action and have witnessed plenty of evil.)

And then, this was in today's Newsday. Scott Adams must know my friend's boss.