Friday, December 31, 2010


Last night. We are in the midst of a major downpour. Thankfully it is nothing like the snow NY had. Be jealous anyway. We are having dinner outdoor, under an overhang.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The hotel refunded my $50 but it still sucks with no Internet. Right now I typing on I-touch at an outside mall. We just saw a liquid fireworks show. I have great pics to post when I finally get to use my computer.

ATR Alert

Looking at palm trees and sand now, much better than the white in NY. The news showed parts of Brooklyn that have not been plowed. I heard Bloomberg is sending a bunch of ATRs there to start shoveling. Mulgrew said "they are getting paid so they should work. The contract has nothing in it to prevent this activity."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Going through severe withdrawal. The Internet on the hotel is not working. Right now I posting from the restaurant we are having dinner in.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Do not use your car but make sure to feed the meter.

Mayor Moneybags does not care about the little guy who may have parked his car overnight at the only available spot.

The Only Way To Win

Went to the casino that gave $10 free play.

Won $10.

Pocketed the cash and left a winner.

The $20 paid for lunch today.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Drinking sangria, eating outdoors, using Internet in restaurant. Sorry my NYC friends are snowed in.

Internet Woes

Broke down and paid fifty bucks to use the Internet this week. Too bad it only works sporadically. I was promised a partial refund last night. I'm going to hold them to it.

It could be worse. I could be home in the white blizzard instead of being on the white sands of Aruba.

Internet Woes

Broke down and paid fifty bucks to use the Internet this week. Too bad it only works sporadically. I was promised a partial refund last night. I'm going to hold them to it.

It could be worse. I could be home in the white blizzard instead of being on the white sands of Aruba.

Good Life

Sitting under a shade hut, I am enjoying the Aruba sunshine. We've had a little rain and a lot of Internet trouble but it is all worth it. Posting now from my I Touch and hoping I can still get service later! Lots of pictures go post but I need lap top for those.

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Plan To Improve Schools

Principal Seeks To Replace Entire Student Body

And He Calls Himself The Education Mayor

There was a story on the news tonight about a book with some pretty racy poetry that was given to a group of fifth graders.  When the education mayor was questioned about it, he blew totally it off, making a comment "you are an adult, you can read it."

While no one expects him to know every little detail of the every day going activities  in schools, he should at least be appalled and look into the matter instead of rushing off to his dinner engagement.  The only concern he has is closing schools and firing teachers.

(pictured above is Jamaican sun--tomorrow Aruba sunshine!)


When word came down that school officials would bar the performance of a student play set to perform at Jamaica High School, I was -- as their teacher -- charged with delivering the sad news. Huddled around an old wooden table in the school's library, the young cast reacted with a range of emotions. Some felt despair over the lack of power they seemed to have, others, a deep sense of outrage at not being consulted about the decision.

Read the rest of this post about how far the city will go in trying to hide school inequities and their lust for closing small schools here, eloquently told by Brian Pickett, a teacher at that school.  This is a story that needs to be shared.  Not only is Bloomberg destroying our schools, he is destroying the freedom of free speech.


A Bad AP--worth his weight in test scores.
The teacher who works hard to help the students get these scores--worthless.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

To Cheer Me Up

Please forgive this self promoting post.  I'm feeling kind of down (read why here) about school right now and need to post a few of these to cheer me up.  This is the first time anyone has ever referred to me as the most cutest so I have to go with the third picture down as my favorite. 

From My Math Phobic College Student


Trump card--the thing that gives one person or group power an advantage over the others.

 "The assistant principal will always trump the teacher."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shining Stars

Our annual holiday show was today.  This was the first one I attended without Suit present and that was a wonderful surprise.  (Suit Lover, I know not seeing your hero would have depressed you greatly.)  The real treat was seeing my wonderful students in roles so different than the ones I see them in daily.  My quiet calculus students were playing guitars with the guitar class and key boards with the jazz club.  My hyper active algebra student was strutting her stuff with the dance class and my geometry hating girl from last year was singing her heart out with the chorus.

There is so much more to kids than we, as teachers get to see every day.  I'm glad I got to see them shine.

From Department Meeting

Free Orkut and My Space Animated Graphics Glitters

"If you are happier, your kids will do better."   My fault again that so many of them don't do homework and aren't passing.  I've got to learn to be happy.  I wonder what it is exactly that causes the unhappiness.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another Brilliant Idea

Hire an administrator who was thrown out of his/her home school because of incompetence to mentor an even more incompetent newbie administrator who knows absolutely nothing about the subject s/he is in charge of.

I'll Never Forget You

It was the coldest December day in over 50 years.  The temperature hit a record low of -2 and with the wind chill it felt like -30.  As luck would have it, poor Jane's car was out of commission.  She asked her sister Jackie to pick her up when she got out of work and Jackie said, "Of course, I won't forget you."  Jane was a little concerned because Jackie had forgotten her several times in the past but having no other alternative, she put all of her trust in her sister.

Jackie was due to pick Jane up at 5.  Jane called Jackie at 4:30 to remind her.  Jackie again said, "Don't worry, I won't forget you."   At five minutes to 5 Jane bundled up and went the appointed spot to wait for her ride.  After 30 minutes, Jane, frozen stiff, began to worry.  She called again.  "Don't worry.  I didn't forget you" was the answer she got.  Jane jumped around to try to keep warm.  Another hour passed and still no Jackie appeared.  Jane called again and got the same message.

Finally, three hours later Jackie showed up.  By then it was too late.  Jane was on the ground, her body rigid from the hypothermia brought on by the frigid temperature. Jackie started to scream, "Why did you die?  I didn't forget you."  Alas, it was too late. 

RIP Jane.  Now, you will not be forgotten.

It Doesn'tTake A Genius

It doesn't take a genius to know a child not doing well in a self-contained special education class will do a lot worse in a mainstream class of the same subject. 

It doesn't take a genius to know moving the child in December is not a good idea.  There is no way the special education teacher was able to cover the same amount of work the main stream teacher covered.  The child is bound to be far behind.

It doesn't take a genius to know that putting the child in a mainstream class might not be the best move educationally for the child, even if the child says that is what he wants.  Even a person with minimal intelligence might realize that children do not know what is best for them, especially when that child is a child with learning disabilities.

It doesn't take a genius to know that making a move like this now is the equivalent of telling the child he is going to fail anyway so why bother giving him any kind of useful education.

I don't know who came up with the brilliant idea, probably someone who is not very brilliant.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wishful Thinking

A colleague in another department told me the senior teachers in his department always teach the honor classes as they are most qualified because they have the most experience.   My AP used to agree with that sentiment and then I became a senior teacher.  He doesn't agree anymore.  I wish I taught in his department.

Birds Of A Feather....


Happiness is having a husband who knows how to rebuild a laptop.  My old machine is up and running like an athlete in tip top condition.  I'm watching my evening class complete their final and I am as happy as a pig in a pile of mud, blogging away.

Pleasant Surprise

Last Monday I walked into a room that was so clean I could have eaten off the floor.  You should have seen the kids faces when they walked in. I told them I spent the weekend cleaning and they almost believed.  It took less than a day to get back to normal but, it was nice while it lasted.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Department Meetings Tomorrow

Do we go armed, ready for battle?  Will this be enough to thwart the mighty foe?

Will the bashing continue or will there be a temporary truce?

Who will be the next teacher preyed upon?

Winter Banquet

The JROTC Winter Banquet took place this week and I was thrilled to be invited again.  These kids are so fantastic.  They put this event together by themselves.  I got a little teary realizing it would probably be my last one. I wish I could post more pictures, but most show faces too clearly.  Anyone who knows me can find the good ones on my real facebook page.  (You can find it by searching with my real e-mail address-album is open to everyone.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Terrific Students

Just saw this on the class facebook page.  One girl found it and many of the kids are talking about ordering it.

Just got this e-mail with the subject "Are you available to help me now?"

I'm still not too sure if I can analyze equations proficiently enough
so I decided to do one more problem, number 18 in the blue textbook on
page 204. However its a daunting problem,f(x) will never be negative
which means its first derivative is always positive as well, which I
believe the 2nd derivative will show that f(x) will have a concave up
at some point. I'm not sure how to find the points though, do I need a
calculator in order to do this problem. The question is 8e^(-x) /
(2e^(-x) + 5e^(-1.5x)) if I'm not mistaken.

I'm going to have a hard time giving all of this up.  I love these kids.  They keep me young and strong.

Is Santa For Real?

Report cards came out this week.   I know my calculus kids did well, they always go off the scale with grades.  My algebra kids are a mixed bag, most failing two or more subjects.  I'm not looking at their report cards.  It is a waste of time.  No matter that I griped, I tried going the data route, seeing how they did in the past and how they are doing in my class in comparison to others, but it didn't help.  Statistics up the kazoo do nothing to change reality.

Now the new plan is in school tutoring, done by teachers in the school, with small groups of students.  (Teachers are getting paid extra for this.)  One day many of the kids were told to report to the auditorium for a few minutes. When they came back, I asked, "What was that all about?"  A girl showed me a paper and said, "Now we are being told we are poor and stupid."  She was holding the application for the tutoring program in her hand.

I really didn't think much about this until several weeks later when many of my calculus kids were given letters telling them about this tutoring.  (These kids provide much of the school tutoring, they do not need it.) And then it hit me, if these kids are being offered tutors, maybe my algebra kids, the kids who really need it, are being offered tutors as well.  These are kids that will not readily avail themselves of this service so I set out on a mission to find out exactly which of my students are eligible and how to make sure they took advantage.  Seemed like a good idea, right?  Wrong!  From what I heard, getting this list will be a task itself.  The hours the tutoring is set up now are not ones the my kids can or will be able to use.  (They are either too early or during the time they have other classes.)  Saturday hours are coming.  I hope the kids will use those.  The thing that distressed me the most about the tutoring program was hearing the children are being tested.  YES, TESTED!!!!!!  More tests and more data to see what we already know the kids do not know.  This is probably some federal mandate, thought of by people like Bill Gates who have never stepped foot in a classroom or talked to a struggling teen, but I don't know that for sure.

I'm tired of looking at data and I am tired of enquiries that look good on paper and do nothing to help.  I'm tired of seeing frustration on the faces of kids who are struggling in class and I am tired of the ones who act out to hide their inability to do the work.

Data will fix the problem the same way Santa will deliver the gifts at Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mallard Fillmore

My New Name

Gradist--a person who refuses to give the bathroom pass to a student who scored 36 on the last exam.
(The boy had a 94 average up until that test.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Hate This

I hate indecision. Even a decision against would be better than no decision at all.

ATR Myth The Public Believes

I've said it before, and I will say it again

I was talking to a young substitute in my building today, telling her to hang on, that there were bound to be openings for new hires in September.  She wasn't so sure.  She said, "There are hundreds of "U" rated teachers hanging around who must be given jobs first."  I couldn't believe my ears.  I couldn't believe an intelligent, educated teacher had actually bought into the hype being perpetuated by the media and by certain administrators all so they don't have to hire experienced, expensive teachers.  I know admins are spreading the story as I heard it when they returned from a job fairs yet, my AP managed to find two excellent teachers who were ATRs at one of them. 

ATRs are teachers without classrooms but they are not to blame.  They might have worked at a school that was closed or in a program that was eliminated.  I know master teachers who worked as mentors who are now unemployable due to their salary and their age. 

This substitute looked at me in disbelief when I pointed out the well respected members of our department who would be ATRs should Packemin close.  She looked at me in such a way that told me she knew she had been duped.

What I would like to know is where is our union?  Why isn't the UFT running ads and putting out PR statements telling the true ATR story?  Why are these myths never answered?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Self Doubt

Hearing over and over again how awful you are can make even the most confident person start doubting themselves and what they do.

I finally had an opportunity to talk to others in my department and guess what?  I am not the only one having difficulties with a few kids, like I was led to believe.

Pretty Scary Story

After Firings Halted, Some Bemoan The State Of Rhode Island School

(Thanks to Mrs. B for sharing this.)


Last year, Kathy did not do well in math.  This year, she turned herself around, has been getting 90's and even helping others in the class.  Her family was thrilled at her progress.  I submitted her name for Student Of The Month as I knew seeing herself on that board would do wonders for her self esteem.

Immediately after her picture went up, her grades started going down.  She not only stopped helping others, she started distracting them with her constant chatter.  I warned her that if she did not change her behavior, I would call home.  All of her sudden, Kathy raised her hand and the following conversation took place.

Kathy: Ms, can I talk to you outside.
Me:  [Thinking Kathy would have a viable excuse for her behavior]:  Sure
Kathy:  Ms, I know you will probably not be here next year and I was reading stuff about getting ready for college, so I wanted to ask you to write my college recommendation now.
Me:  You've got to be kidding.  You've done nothing but disrupt for the past week.  You failed the last test and you aren't doing homework on a regular basis.
Kathy:  So, will you write it?
Me:  Just go back inside and get to work.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Once Again

Published in Huffington Post!!!!!!!


My friend Ricochet is lamenting her students lack of work and the fact that she cares so much more than they do.

I had a similar discussion with my 7th period class a few weeks ago.

Boy 1:  Stop calling my house.
Me:      Nope, I want you to pass and I'll do what I have to in order to get you there.
Boy 2:  Why do you even care?
Boy 3:   She has to care.  If we don't pass, she gets fired!

At least this kid reads the newspaper.

Sickenly Sweet


Monday, December 13, 2010

My Gift

Tonight one of my night class math phobics used the words like and math in the same sentence without any negative words.

Bad One

I got this e-mail a few minutes Sunday evening.  Not only did I say yes, she  had her recommendation Monday morning.  This girl has translated for me and has tutored already, although she doesn't remember.

Hey Ms. POd, do you think you could write a recommendation for st johns pharmacy please! ...i asked one of my teachers a month ago and she still has not done it and I don't think she will anytime soon ...and CJ told me how you were going to tell me about tutoring one of your students 5 th pd
But, I'm the bad one because I tell them when I won't write it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holiday Time In the City

I love the city this time of year.  I took advantage of yesterday's beautiful weather to hit the streets, camera in hand and go in search of my favorite windows.

My first big disappointment was the lack of trains in the Citicorp Building on 51st and Lexington.  That was always one of my favorite stops.  (Still is a good place to go if you need a bathroom in that area.)

Next, it was on to Bloomingdale's where I was again disappointed.  This year, they had LDC screens in the windows, showing various winter scenes and a few holiday messages.  Bloomingdale's always had great ones in the past and was one of the only stores to recognize Chanukah.

Next stop was a good treat--Coldwater Creek on 68th and 3rd.  I thought everything was 25% off but when I got there, I found I was wrong.  The store offered 35% off total purchase.  I managed to score an expensive pair of jeans I've been eying forever and a few other things that were also on sale--all less than the jeans would have cost alone.  They even had platters of fresh fruit and cookies for their customers.

After spending away, I got treated to hundreds of Santa's pouring out of the 68th and Lex subway station.  They must have been going toSantacon in the park.  I walked over to 61st and Madison to see Barney's windows. This year they featured all the chef's of the Food Network.I also stopped in the NYC Palace.  That place is magnificent.  I can't believe I've walked by it hundreds of times and never went in until now. Then, it was back to 5th to check out Bendel's.  (I saw Bergdorf's, Sak's  and the Rockefeller Center tree last weekend) and then it was back to Park to see the holiday fair and train set up at Grand Central.  (Anyone with kids must go see that model train set up.)  I headed back to 5th to see Lord and Taylor and then down to 34th for the best windows and store displays--Macy's.  These windows actually tell a story.

Enjoy the pictures and go see the sites for yourself if you live in the city.  Don't be lazy.  It is one of the perks of being a New Yorker.

You're A Mean One

Two people retired from the same department on the same day. 

One had been there for over 18 years.  The other, a little over 7 years.

The 7 year teacher had a lot of friends.  The 18 year vet was outspoken but had done a lot of good things for the department.

A party was made for the 7 year teacher while the other one was ignored.  In fact, the other one had no idea that there was even a party until this person called on the day of the party and said the other one should attend.  The other person's feelings were hurt.  After 18 years, the only status left was that of the invisible man. 

What I don't understand is why this person had to say anything?  This person had to know how hurtful the phone call would be.  I've always claimed this person has a mean, spiteful streak and once again I am proven correct.

Message To You Know Who

Thanks to Mrs. Chili

Modern Technology

I love it.  I just checked our class facebook group.  The kids are getting homeworks they missed, posting help pages they have found and talking about the class.

Need A Calculator?

I remember being taught to do math like this in school.  I wonder if it is still done in the elementary schools.  Probably not as it is not on the standardized tests.

Math test: Calculations for travelers

December 10, 2010 by McClatchy-Tribune

Calculating tips, mileage and foreign currency equivalents can make travelers break out in a cold sweat. How much to leave for a tip? How much is that hotel bill in dollars? No time for calculators or paper and pencil. You need to know right now.
Here are five questions to test your Travel Math Anxiety quotient.
The rules: No writing - you have to calculate in your head. Rounding off is allowed. Time yourself on how long it takes you to answer all the questions.

1. Your restaurant tab is $23, you want to leave a 20 percent tip. How much is the tip?
2. The exchange rate in London is 1 pound equals $1.54. If a box of candy costs 5 pounds, about how much is that in dollars?
3. You want to leave a 15 percent tip on a $14.77 tab. How much is the tip?
4. The exchange rate in Mexico is 12.20 pesos equals $1. If you buy a scarf for 95 pesos, about how much is that in dollars?
5. You have to drive 591 miles in four days and want to drive the same distance each day. About how many miles a day do you drive?

1. Figure out a 10 percent tip, $2.30, then double it, $4.60.
2. When calculating foreign exchange, always round off; in this case, use $1.50 instead of $1.54. That means that in dollars, everything is roughly 1 1/2 times the cost in pounds. So 5 pounds times 1.5 is $7.50.
3. Round the bill up to $15. Ten percent $1.50, and 5 percent is half that, 75 cents. Add those to get 15 percent or $2.25.
4. Think of 12.20 as 12. Divide 95 pesos by 12 and you get about $8. If you get confused, make yourself a cheat sheet: $10-122 pesos, $100-1,220 pesos.
5. Estimate: 591 is almost 600. And 600 divided by 4 is easy - 150. So you have to drive a bit less than that each day.

1 minute or less You're a genius - or a math teacher.
3 minutes or less: You should handle the money on vacation.
5 minutes or not at all: Let someone else handle the cash.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rate My Teacher Revisited

I wrote a post a while back about Rate My Teacher.  The post was about something unethical I did by adding a few good ratings for a colleague who was getting dumped on by one disgruntled student.  (It was obvious from the comments that all the posts came from the same person.)  I'm not going to discuss the merits of what I did, because, truth be told, I would do it again in a heartbeat if I knew someone was being unfairly picked on.  Most of the kids I know love this teacher.  Her classes are fun and her results are good.

That being said, I do believe teachers should be rated by their students, but not rated on an anonymous website.  The end of the term in the college brings ratings with it.  This week, my classes were handed a form in which they were able to make real comments about me.  I don't see the comments while they are being written, in fact, I won't see them until May, when the students I now have are a distant memory.  These ratings are used by the college and help the administration decide whether an adjunct should be rehired or not.  When I get them back, I read them carefully, enjoying the praise and appreciating the criticisms because these words are the words that can help me become a better teacher.  There is no ballot stuffing as each student only gets one vote.  The votes are truthful because they come from the people that listened and learned from me all semester, written anonymously, with no fear of repercussions for unflattering comments.  If a student has some negative, or positive things to say that are perhaps, not true, that is fine because these comments are combined with all the others to give a total picture of who I am.

While grading teachers is a good idea, rate my teacher is not.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sports Helps Academics

One of my algebra kids is a basketball player.  Marilyn Shevell, principal of Van Buren wants to do away with sports in an effort to improve grades, but basketball is the one thing helping my student succeed.  What Ms. Shevell doesn't realize that sports are sometimes the key to success.  Without passing grades, my student cannot play so she started working, she's learning and she's passing.  I promised to attend one of her games and today was the day.  Unfortunately, she did not get to play today, but I know she was thrilled to see me there cheering for her team.

A Plea For Help

(Top Of The Rock)
Dear Ms Black,

I know you have no education experience, but you do claim to be a person,  have experience dealing with people and even like little people so I was hoping you would be able to help me with one of my students, Diego.  After all, you are my new supervisor and I was always led to believe that I should be able to go to my supervisor with any problem and that the supervisor would be able to help me find a solution.

Diego is a tenth grader in my regents algebra class.  He does not do class work or home work.  He is always talking to his friends and it is almost impossible to get him to settle down.  I spoke to his mom today and she explained he is having the same problems in all his classes.  Earlier this week she and Diego met with his guidance counselor and his history teacher (a school dean) to discuss his lack of work in that class as well.  The history teacher said the same things I did.  The mother does not  know what to do.  She had the same problems with him last year.  He is immature and unfocused.  She has tried everything to get him to do better in school.  She has refused to buy him fancy sneakers and jeans.  She won't buy him the expensive backpack he wants.  He is the only one in his crowd without a cell phone.  He was told he would get one if he brought home a good report card and he was shown what a good report card meant, but nothing worked.

This boy and his family need help and they need it now.  I know you are planning on helping education by laying off teachers and I am sure that plan will do wonders for the future education of Diego, but that is not an immediate solution for him.

Thank you for your time.  I know I can count on your vast people experience to help these people.

Sincerely yours,

Ms. POd
Packemin HS

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Let's See How We've Gotten Better

Then:  I first started at Packemin HS, everyone was on the same schedule.  The teachers got to talk to each other, compare notes and lessons and in turn were able to better help their students.

Now:  We are on 5 different bell schedules and weeks go by without seeing various members of the department.  There are no more conversations and the kids are suffering.

Then:  With only one schedule, we were able to run homework helper sessions and the kids were able to get real help when they needed it.  The budget had money in it to provide this extra help.

Now:  Not only is there no time for homework helpers, there is no money to pay for it.

Then:  Kids who couldn't read were taught to read.  Kids who couldn't do basic arithmetic were taught arithmetic.  There was career guidance and training.

Now:  Everyone reads Shakespeare (or at least watches the movie) and takes algebra and beyond.  Ready or not everyone goes to college.

Then:  Passing a regents meant the material was mastered.  A 65 meant you knew 65% of the material.  Teachers felt pride when looking at statistics and at their students mastery of the subject.

Now:  Passing a regents might mean you know about 30% of the material or you might know even less.  Passing is easy if you know how to guess correctly.  The only thing that matters with statistics is that we are not at the bottom of the department.

Then:  The schools had real honor classes and Advanced Placement classes.  In the late 80's and early 90's Packemin HS had many AP calculus classes than they have now and they were all double period classes so the kids got plenty of prep time.

Now:  Kids are put wherever there is a spot.  The AP class has been reduced to a single period.

Then:  There were kids that did not want to learn and did what they could to keep others from learning.  If the child misbehaved, it was the child who was called to task.

Now:  There are kids that do not want to learn and do what they can to keep others from learning.  If the children misbehave, the teacher is doing something wrong.

Then:  There were good teachers and there were bad teachers. Administrators, who knew how to teach, knew what made a good teacher  and did their jobs correctly got rid of the bad ones.

Now:  There are good teachers and there are bad teachers.  Administrators who know next to nothing about teaching, who have little to no knowledge of curriculum and would not recognize a good lesson or a good teacher if they saw one have the power to go on witch hunts and destroy the careers of good teachers.

Cathie Black--go on praising your predecessor.  You can see the bang up job of improving schools he's done.  Keep doing the same thing.  You'll complete your mission of creating a society of people only fit to clean your toilets.

"An" or "A"

Saw a sign on the back of a bus telling people not to attack "an uniform".
Should this say a uniform?  The "an" just doesn't sound correct, but grammar is not my forte.

(I never get tired of Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  It was great seeing it a dusk.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Last Night

Tomorrow they get cleaned and put away until next year.   Hope everyone had a good holiday.

Confidentiality Not Guaranteed

I guess I am kind of naive but when a counselor or psychologist asks me to fill out a form evaluating one of my students, I expect that form will not be read to that student or end up in that student's hands.  I found out today that is absolutely not true and that it is common practice for these forms to be discussed and even read from at some conferences.

So, a word of warning to all.  Be careful about what you write.  You never know how a student might react to a comment you may think is harmless.  I know I will choose my words with much more care from now on.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ready For It

The latest memo calls for us to contact the parents of all failing students.  While I don't understand why I should be doing this, since report cards are coming out next week, I decided to not fight City Hall and do it.  I've already contacted the majority of parents of children who are not doing well so a few more won't kill me.

Today, I decided to print out some letters and make a few phone calls.  The computers in the cafeteria were not working (and haven't worked for a month).  I then hit the teachers' work room and found all four being used.  I decided to brave the airless, over crowded math office and I did find one of the two machines available.  The phone was being used by another teacher doing what I wanted to do.  I got out the form and started setting up my letters, but the printer would not work and I didn't know how to fix it.  Not ready to give up, I hit the last room available with computers.  Here I found 3 available ones but there were no chairs and I was not in the mood to stand or kneel on the ground and I just gave up.

I'm ready for the next memo:

There is a teacher of algebra students who did not notify parents that their children were failing.  I think we would all agree that getting in touch with parents is a teacher's responsibility. 

Who will be responsible for providing the means to get in touch with these parents?

(Picture is crowd in front of Rockefeller Center tree, taken on Sunday.)

Monday, December 06, 2010

They Need More

Pep talks and encouragement are good but they won't help the kids learn to read or solve simple equations.
(Swarovrski Star--Rockefeller Center--I never get tired of being there during the holiday season.)

Dear Problem Boy

Dear Problem Boy,

I am truly sorry things did not work out for you at Packemin HS this term.  No matter what you might think of me, please know that I only wanted to help you succeed and to watch you graduate.  I know there is an intelligent young man buried somewhere within you and I hope your new school helps you find him.

You have a wonderful family who loves you deeply.  I know they will do everything they can to help you find yourself and to be happy.

Good luck.

Sincerely yours,

Ms. POd
Math Teacher

(I intend to mail this to him.  Of course I will use his real name, not Problem Boy.)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Holiday Windows

Sak's has some of the coolest windows ever.  What made these especially fun today was the reflections of the 5th Ave buildings in the windows visible behind their displays.  Especially fun was the faces of the families watching.
Rest of the pictures on facebook.