Saturday, December 31, 2011

Milk and Cookies Please

Don't be fooled by the innocent little face.  This one, if human, would be the kind of girl that hung around bars and had naive young men buying her drinks, jewelry and anything else her little heart desired.  She'd take what she wanted and then throw these poor suckers to the curve.  She has me wrapped around her little paw and honestly, I don't even like her.

I started letting her lick the left over milk from a bowl of cereal.  This led into her expecting some milk every morning, which I do give her.  (I read that it is okay to give cats a little milk as long as it agrees with them and it certainly agrees with her.)  And now the milk isn't enough.  I have to put treats on the plate.   She eats them first and then washes them down with the milk.  Whoever said cats aren't too bright never met this one.  Without saying a word, she has learned to communicate exactly what she wants and she gets it too.

Blame The Oncologist

The patient had a stage 4 cancer that spread throughout his entire body.  The oncologist did his best, but his best was not good enough and the patient died.  The oncologist got a U rating as was forced out of his job.

This did not happen.  Although the loss was hard, there was nothing the oncologist could do to save this patient.  Similarly, there are students that cannot be saved.  Closing schools and firing teachers will not help them. 

Happy New Year

Welcome 2012

Friday, December 30, 2011

Convincing Him He Is Not Going Blind

My dad had cataract surgery last year.  The doctor prescribed reading glasses and distance glasses.  He tells me he reads fine with the reading glasses but can't see the television when he looks up.  I tell him to change glasses, which he does if I am in the room. He's doing paper work with the reading glasses and looks at the television. Then he complains he can't see it.  I again tell him to change the glasses.  He does and sees fine.

He keeps telling me he is going blind.  He tells me the glasses don't help.  Most of the time they stay in their cases where they don't help at all.

HELP!!!!!! (I am afraid to put him in bifocals.)


Sam Eshaghoff, the man who took SATs for Great Neck Students, will be featured on 60 Minutes and that, in my opinion, is almost as criminal as his deed.  I can't believe this guy will be given national exposure and a chance to justify this behavior.

Eshaghoff has the audacity to claim he gave poor students their lives back.  He claims that students with poor grades in high school will now be able to go on to college.  What he fails to mention is that students without background in high school do not succeed in college either.  The despicable act he has committed has not only hurt innocent students who have lost their place because of this, but  has hurt the ones he is claiming to have helped by putting them in a situation they can't possibly succeed in.

Eshaghoff lawyer claims he is a good hearted guy who just wanted to help others.  The lawyer claims this guy is now becoming the poster child for the cheating that has gone on, undetected for years.  What a sorry defense.  Let's hope the American public doesn't fall for it.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don't Believe All The Discounts You See

Daughter's computer died and she called us up all upset, looking for her brother, the computer engineer, to order her a new one.  We said, don't worry.  He'll order and we'll pay.  (For my kids, I always pay, even though they both earn very good livings.)  Son checked out Dell's website and found a laptop for her.

Being frugal, I remembered Dell offers a 10% discount to teachers.  When I couldn't access the code online, I called and got a very nice young man to help.  I placed the order, my only problem being the computer would not be delivered until Jan 10.

An hour after I placed the order husband got an e-mail from Micro Center offering the same computer for the same amount of money I was paying to Dell.  I called and made sure it was in stock.  I then called Dell and asked them to do something about the price.  After all, buying it directly from them should be cheaper than buying it through a middle man.  They said tough.  If you don't like the price, cancel.  I cancelled.

Daughter is now sitting with her brand new computer, happy to have immediate gratification.

(Today Dell is offering the computer at Micro Center's price.  We could have saved $44 if we bought it today.  But, then she wouldn't have it so I'm not complaining.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pompus Ass

Picture a guy with a starched shirt and a tie, walking around with his stomach sticking out over his belt, acting like he owns the world.  If you can, you are picturing Mr. Bob, the guy that was interim math AP the term I left the special education department to join the math department, the department I am licensed to teach in and taught in for eight years before coming to Packemin.

Calling Mr. Bob was a pompous ass, would be redundant because pompous ass was what came to mind upon meeting him for the first time.  Mr. Bob got the job when the guy who had it before him moved on to greener pastures in a fancy Long Island school  He probably was the only one in the department with  an administrators license at the time (years ago you actually needed a brain and years of teaching experience to become an assistant principal) so he got the job by default.  The then principal launched a real search to find a permanent replacement.  It was obvious he did not want Mr. Bob to keep the job.

Mr. Bob got to make up programs for that year.  During his first semester he took the very best class for himself and gave good classes to all his friends.  Being new in the department (and unwanted--I'll go into that in another post), I got all the crap.  I didn't say a word, I didn't think I had a right to, although I was pissed.  I threw myself into my classes and did a pretty good job.  When the second semester came around, Mr. Bob programmed the same way, except for one thing.  He gave himself a crappy class.  His rationale was simple.  If he kept the job, he would simply give himself a program change and if someone else was brought it, he wanted them to either suffer or admit they didn't like rough classes and change it.  Mr. Bob lost his job to Mrs. Oola.

Mrs. Oola knew she needed to make a good impression on the department so she kept the class, a class she could not handle (more on this later too.)  But, as I've said before, she was smart and made Mr. Bob pay a price by observing his class and by heaping on some criticism he could not take.  Soon after, Mr. Bob got a job as an assistant principal in another school.  He lasted at that position one year and then went back to the classroom.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Chanukah

With all going on with my dad, I forgot to wish everyone a happy Chanukah.
The eighth candle was lit tonight.

Chihuahau Job Interview

Chihuahua Says...

Said the chihuahau to the people who got her where she is.

High Heels

One day Mrs. Oola decided to pay a surprise visit to Mr. Fish's 5th period class.  I was in the office at the time, with two mutual friends when she made this announcement.  We knew that Mr. Fish was not ready for an observation so two of us tried to stall her while the third went to warn Mr. Fish.  In spite of her ditsy personality, she figured out what we were trying to do and got to him.  Luckily, we got to him first.

Mr. Fish was an interesting character as well and when she tried to enter the room, he blocked her.  She finally agreed to come back another day. 

Meanwhile, the three of us made our way down to the cafeteria. As we sat around eating and laughing, Mrs. Oola walked in. This was especially strange because Mrs. Oola never left the second floor.  Her shoes had the skinniest heels and the little strap that held them on was always flapping loose so walking was difficult.  As soon as she noticed us, she sat down and immediately started lecturing Izzy, her department assistant.  She told us our actions were hurtful and our loyalty should belong to her.  She said her piece and left.  We laughed so hard tears came out our eyes.

Mrs. Oola never ventured downstairs again.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bubble Dancer

Mrs. Oola, the supervisor before Mr. AP was an interesting character too.  Her lipstick was always smeared and her slip was always hanging.  She always looked like she just had a quickie in the book room.  While observing a low level class, a boy yelled out, "Mr. Y, who is that hooker in the back?" because Ms. Oola looked better suited for street walking than school administration.

In spite of her looks, Mrs. Oola was a good teacher.  She was a brilliant mathematician who knew how to teach others to teach, even if she did not know how to teach herself.  I will never forget the day one of my calculus students said "Ms. POd, don't expect me to know anything.  I had Ms. Oola all last year.  She is an embarrassment to all Martians (his nationality)."

Mrs. Oola was in charge of our department when computers were just coming into their own.  She couldn't get the hang of saving what she needed on a disk to be able to work at home so every Friday, her husband would come to school to bring the big desk top computer home for weekend use.

And oh, Mr. Oola.  No one was ever sure what he did for a living because he was always in school.  He used to sit in on department meetings and shoot evil looks at anyone who fell asleep or didn't pay attention.  Every day, at 1:45 sharp, he showed up with cup of coffee for his beloved wife.  One day, at 1:25, the school had a fire and had to be evacuated.  There were thousands of people huddled around the building.  It would have been hard to find anyone.  As Mr. L wondered what Mr. Oola would do with his Starbucks purchase, we turned and saw him pushing his way through the crowd, finding his wife to deliver the afternoon fix.

There is a saying, "Cream rises to the top, but shit also floats" might be a good way to describe past administrators at Packemin.

(She was also referred to as a bubble dancer.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Neighbor's Balls

Sorry if you looked under false pretenses.  I am bored and went out to take pictures of the balls on my neighbor's tree.  More here.

Christmas Eve

Not my family, in fact, I don't even know these people, but I loved watching them and everyone else posing for pictures in front of this wonderful house in Whitestone on Christmas eve.  More pictures here.

Whitestone Christmas House

This house is really special. We saw it on tv and had to pay a visit. More pictures later.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

Not usually home this time of year so I took advantage and took my camera for a stroll through the neighborhood, checking out what is really behind all those pretty decorations.  More pictures here.

Happy Christmas to all who celebrate.

Friday, December 23, 2011

No Wonder They Are So Bad

From my page a day calendar:

After finding no qualified candidates for the position of principal, the school department is extremely pleased to announce the appointment of David Steele to the post.

Barrington, Rhode Island, school superintendent Philip Streifer
This guy probably didn't mean the words to come out this way but it certainly is the way the people like Meryl Tisch on the Board of Regents and NYC administrators are chosen.  Let us not forget the former superintendent Cathy Black and  current one Dennis Walcott.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Teachers: You Better Not Accept Those Gifts

Teachers are warned not to accept gifts that have any value.  Pearson does it with NYS officials.

Gotcha Day

Since tomorrow is the last day before vacation and the kids might be slightly wacko and unwilling to work, make sure you work them anyway, or give a test.  There is bound to be an administrator lurking around with a computer, just itching to do an observation.  The day before a holiday is their favorite time.  And, the later in the day your class meets, the better your chances are of getting this unexpected visit.

Admins don't think there is any problem with doing this.  One said he liked to observe this time to see what stuff teachers are really made of.  I said, if he doesn't know he is not much of an administrator.

Have a great vacation and good luck tomorrow.  I know from experience it will be rough.

Trained Chinchilla

I misread the title and thought this video was a trained chihuahua.  But, I should have known better.  You can't train chihuahuas.

Rate My Teacher Revisited

It still amazes me that this post, written on March 28, 2010 is still getting hits.  I wanted to share #119
Ok. After I posted my last comment, I started to get curious about WHO runs RMT? Interesting that it is anonymous, yes? Here is the link to the info I found on its IP address - - but no info on who actually owns the site. (Yes, I used to be a public librarian and now I'm VERY curious). Why don't they name themselves? And how do we find out who runs it? (You know they're in it for the advertising money). Anyone else want to investigate?
and #120
Personally, I have a hard time taking RMT seriously. I actually think it fits in perfectly with the Neo-Con agenda of undermining civil servants and wouldn't be surprised if it were sponsored by folks who support the privatization of education (and everything else for that matter) and reducing teachers to clerical staff rather than trained professionals. For a good laugh, read those anonymous comments from teenagers whose frontal lobes are not fully developed (according to the brain research I've read) and who reside in a state of narcissism and are therefore somewhat incapable of contextualizing their educational experiences or taking FULL responsibility for their own contribution to their learning (and no, I was no different at their age, but I am from a different generation where my parents reminded me of my responsibility rather than believing and enabling all of my self centred adolescent narrative). The comments say as much about the writers themselves as their teachers.
On another note, I've emailed the RMT people 4times to get my name removed (I no longer teach at the school I'm listed at and have in fact changed my teaching area) and have had no response. Does anyone actually work there? Has anyone been able to delist themselves? (The school I was at now lists Principal Skinner and Chuck Norris among others as illustrious instructors - it's a very well taken care of website!! ;)
I know what #120 means.  Several months ago I found myself lumped together with a secretary and a language teacher.   It is obvious to me, from reading the comments many belong to the others.  I've written to RMT to make the change, but they did nothing.  No one should take this site seriously but sensitive people can't help but be hurt by some of the comments.  There has got to be a better way.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The boy who didn't take three exams because he didn't feel ready for them, who got grades of 77 and 74 on the two exams he took and got a 59 on the final informed me that he registered for pre-calculus during the winter session.  He needs it to be able to graduate on time.

I think this kid needs more than that.  I wonder if he will be surprised when he sees his F.

I Had To Be Disloyal

My second best friend because I don't have my best friend around.  (Sorry, Mrs. Tsouris but right now you are third on the list.)


I felt like a thief, walking quickly past the people at the door and making my way to the room in the corner. I knew it was near an exit and down a hallway not taken by many.  I wanted to fill out the recommendation and get out before anyone saw me.

I got lucky.  The class was being taught by someone new, someone I don't know and who doesn't know me.  Except for a few kids, I got in and out, unnoticed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Overworked and Underpaid

Yesterday, on his way to the post office, my dad fell.  Thankfully, he is living in Co-op City, one of the best places in the city, and people were around immediately to help him.  A security guard called me twice, once to tell me what happened and that he called an ambulance and a second time to give me the name of the hospital.  The construction workers around stopped what they were doing to care for him.  The Bronx, and particularly places like Co-op City, aren't touted as good places to live, but as long as my dad can live alone, I wouldn't want him anywhere else.

The ambulance took him to Einstein Hospital, the hospital I credit with finding his cancer and saving his life.  And, while I will say thank you to the doctors for fixing him up, I will say BAH HUMBUG when it came to patient care.  We waited hours to see a doctor and even longer (almost two hours) for the nurse to bring the pain killer he ordered.  There was a machine behind my dad that beeped non stop and no one bothered to turn it off for more than a few minutes at a time.  Before we left a patient advocate let us know all we had to do was hit a yellow button and it was a shame we weren't told this.  My dad missed his turn at x-ray because no one came to pick him up and even when we were told we could leave, it took another hour and a half to get tubes removed and papers signed.

I had a long conversation with the patient advocate as we waited to depart and let her know all my concerns.  She listened, upset at what I told her and said to say something earlier next time.  The truth of the matter is I would have except I watched the poor staff run around, like chickens without heads, doing their best to take care of everyone.  No one was sitting around shooting the breeze or having a leisurely cup of coffee.  These nurses, techs and aids were providing the best care they could.  There just was not enough personnel to handle the patient load.  The PA that took care of my dad was a fine young man who was running in a hundred directions at once.  By the end of the night, I wanted to tell him to lay down in the bed my dad was vacating. (He looked like he needed it.)

ER's take care of sick people.  They save lives.  The people that work their deserve decent paychecks and the utmost respect from everyone.  Hospital administrators need to see how overworked and overwhelmed these people get and they need to do something to alleviate these working conditions because, unless these conditions are improved, lives will be lost.  But hey, ERs like this take care of us 99%ers and the people in charge don't much care.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I am only a writer in my own mind, but still, I got a letter posted in the paper again today.  Link is here for those who have access to the other blog.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


It finally hit me.  I don't have to worry Sunday about what I will do on Monday.  There are no lessons to write, no papers to mark, FREEDOM!!!!!!

To celebrate, I decided to visit the Jewish Museum today.  The Radical Camera:  New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 is my kind of exhibit.  These wonderful photographers were really photo journalist from the era mentioned until the Communist witch hunts of the 1950's put many on black lists and ultimately led to the demise of this institution.  Anyone interested in history will love this exhibit.  Anyone following OWS will frown at the same issues photographed in the 30'.  No photo are allowed in the exhibit so you'll just have to go see it yourself.  (I did see lots of similar subjects to the kind I usually take.  Who knows, maybe one day I can have an exhibit somewhere as well.--my bathroom walls!)   In addition to this exhibit, there is one on Ezra Jack Keats.  I learned that he was the first to illustrate a book with an African American child, a child like any other who just happened to be Black.  He didn't see why race should enter into a book about a child and he never mentioned race.  His art work is exceptional and this exhibit alone would have made the trip worth while.    There is also a great menorah exhibit, menorahs picked out by Maurice Sendak.

In the past, a Sunday afternoon excursion would have ended early, but not today and not ever again.  I then headed to the Guggenheim to see the Maurizio Cattelan exhibit.  The line to get in wrapped around the block, but thanks to my husband's previous employer's sponsorship, I got in immediately and at no cost.  Time Out NY didn't particularly like this exhibit, but I did.  These strange sculptures, from Kennedy in a coffin, to the Pope being struck by a meteorite, hang from the ceiling and as you walk around the rotunda and get a close up look, you will not be sorry you came here.  Cameras were allowed and I was glad I had mine.  Pictures here. 

The day was cold but sunny.  Still, in no great hurry, I walked through Central Park and ended up at 57th and 6th.  I saw parts of the park I never saw before. 

Yeah!!!!  No more weekends spent getting ready for the week to come!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shoe Making Is A worthy Occupation

It is impossible for colleges to teach in one semester what should have been taught in  12  previous years of  school.  Anyone who things otherwise, is kidding themselves.

Oh, it might seem like the student is grasping the information, and he might be able to regurgitate some of it on an exam, but usually there is no retention and little understanding.

Remediation corrects something bad or defective.  It can't take the place of a missing life time of learning.

More kids might be graduating high school than ever before but their lack of knowledge is greater than anything anyone has ever seen.  A college professor I recently spoke to had no idea that an 80 on a regents exam meant the child barely got 64% of the exam correct.

I don't have answers, but I sometimes knowing something is wrong is the first step in finding a solution.  Sending students to college who cannot do arithmetic, simple algebra, read or write is wrong.  They won't get it in one term and they won't get it by repeating this one term over and over again.  We are wasting their time, their money (and ours if they are in school on tax payer supported financial aid) and we are destroying their self esteem. 

I recently finished reading Songs For The Butcher's Daughter by Peter Manseau and one paragraph stood out:"
Kishinev needs cobblers as well as scholars," the teacher would say as he sent the expelled boys to his cousin the shoemaker. "soon we will all leave here, and without proper soles beneath us where Will  the Torah be?"
Not everyone is meant for college.  Those who have the desire and the latent ability will find a way.

A Bronx Student Thanks Mayor Bloomberg For The Education He Has Received

Friday, December 16, 2011


(It doesn't do much for education either.)

Thanks to my friend at etc, etc, etc.

Washington Square Park

Never Ending Phone Call

A problem using my Continental vouchers online led to a two and a half hour phone call to straighten out the problem.  With so many airlines merging and going under, consumers have fewer and fewer choices.  The airlines can heap on abuse that cannot be avoided.

My head hurts, but I finally got my tickets.  The woman I dealt with was wonderful.  The problem was with their Internet support.  I would complain to the airline but I would hate to do anything that will reflect poorly on her.

Sign Of Appreciation

I decided I didn't want to work so hard and told one of the colleges I won't be back in the spring.  I was only there one semester and still, I got this e-mail:

Dear POd,

Thank you for the  XX file, your service to our department this semester, and also for the gifts for Bette and her daughter.

If I don't see you... happy Hanukkah and happy 2012!  It was a pleasure having you as a colleague.  Please keep in touch and let us know if you wish to teach again at YYY College in the future.

Take Care - Dept Supervisor

I left Packemin after 27 years and got this:

Don't see anything?  Neither do I.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No More Alarm Clocks

It is 6:00 AM.  I roll over, look at he clock and close my eyes again.  Now it is 7:00 and the activity repeats.  In fact it repeats over and over until the mood hits and I decide to start my day. 

I think I might actually enjoy not working.

To Talk To A Real Person


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Use Money To Help Keep Tuition Affordable

James and Marilyn Simon just gave Stonybrook University a gift of $150,000,000 but one of the conditions of the gift is increased tuition.  (I heard them say this on the news,but it wasn't in the article online.)

Many students today cannot pay the increased costs.  How about using some of this grant to help them?  These two got their starts because of a relatively inexpensive education, an education they now want to deprive others of.

Stop Cuny-Suny Tuition Hikes

Shout Out To Bloomberg

Lydia spends 2 hours a week in the math lab getting extra help but her tests don't show this at all.  I couldn't understand why someone who seemingly put in so much got so little in return so I asked her how many hours a week she studies at home. 
"Ms, I don't do anything at home.  I can't do this stuff alone and I shouldn't have to.  Sometimes I look at it in my car."
Lydia is a recent graduate from a NYC high school. 
"Mr. Education Mayor, you did a great job here.  Keep up the good work!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Greatest Card Trick Ever

Boycott Lowe's

One of the things I loved the best about teaching in Queens was getting to know people of different cultures, nationalities and religions.  I learned to experience the world from my own backyard.  Because of this experience, I have learned to see people as they are, flesh and blood, with mothers, fathers, children and with hopes and dreams no different than mine or the ones I was brought up with.

Okay, the reason for this post.  Several weeks ago, The Learning Channel starting airing The All American Muslim.  Out of curiosity, I began watching and found I really liked the show.  I loved listening to the little conversations between the participants and seeing how people, even those who observed differently got along.  I found, what I knew, I was watching people just like the ones I grew up with and are neighbors and friends with now, living their daily lives.

Here is the thing I found disturbing.  It is hard to understand why, in the twenty first century, we need a show to portray one religion as being just as American as every other one.  I don't understand why anyone would think a woman with a hijab is dangerous or not as good a person as a Christian or any other person.  But, listening to people around me, people I thought were open minded, I get it, but I still don't like it.

And now, Lowe's is withdrawing as a sponsor of this great television show because of pressure from an Evangelistic Christian Group.  The group is claiming the show is just propaganda and is forcing religion down the throats of viewers which is baloney.  Anyone who watched would see this is far from the purpose of the show.  And talking about religion and television, it is impossible to turn on the set without seeing a Christmas theme right now.  I wouldn't expect non-Christians to start a petition for sponsors to drop these shows.  Seeing a Christmas tree does not make me want to convert to Christianity and I don't think the writers and actors expect me to.  Religious freedom belongs to all, even Muslims (note the sarcasm here!) 

Lowe's bowed to pressure and pulled their advertisements.  I am joining the group who will now boycott Lowe's.   We cannot allow a bigoted group like this stop a show because they don't like Muslims.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pelham Parkway Decorations

The most amazing Christmas house I have ever seen is on Pelham Parkway, in the Bronx.  If it wasn't for TLC and Invasion of the Christmas Light Shows, I would never have known to go look.  It is amazing what lengths some people will go to in order to share the things they love.

If you live anywhere near, go look.  It is on Pelham Parkway, just east of Eastchester Rd.  If you can't, I put some more pictures here.  Unfortunately, the fence got in the way of many.

There Are Lies, Damn Lies and Then There Are Statistics--Mark Twain

While waiting on line to eat, my dad struck up a conversation with the mom behind us.  My dad tells everyone that I am a math teacher (fatherly pride) and the woman told me how happy she was that her son got a 75 on his algebra regents.  It hurt, but I had to do it.  I told her that the 75 meant the child only had about 42 out of 87 problems correct, which was less than 50% of the exam.  She looked crushed.  She had no idea the grade was so meaningless.

These inflated grades are hurting children, giving parents a  false sense of what their child knows and leaving them totally unprepared for college.  My students, some who got A's in high school, can barely squeak through an algebra-trig class in college.  They only want to do multiple choice questions, where guess and check is a skill they have perfected.  They only know how to regurgitate exactly what they have been taught, that which requires no thinking.

I don't know why I even bother writing this stuff.  No one seems to care enough to change anything.  When the kids don't do well, the test is just given again with more test prep and less teaching.  As Zulma just said: 
The relationship of course grades to regents scores is obvious to everyone except the principals, who want to keep their jobs, and the students who think that they have acquired the necessary skills. When they get to college, they see that their diploma can be used as scrap paper. Reparation from this damage will take longer than the damage from the 1974/75 lay off of 15,000 teachers.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

And This Graduated High School

It took four sides to write up answers to the review sheets I gave my students to help them study for the final.  I accidentally put them in the scanner upside down and didn't bother to rotate them before I put them in an e-mail figuring when printed orientation wouldn't matter.

I just got this e-mail:  The pictures all all upside down.

I give up!

My Kind Of News Show

I get a lot of my news from Jon Stewart on the Daily Show so when a friend got tickets, I jumped at the opportunity to see him live.  I was not disappointed.

Growing up in NYC, I used to go to taping of television game shows all the time.  It was a cheap (free) way to spend an afternoon and see celebrities.  I even got to a dress rehearsal of the Ed Sullivan Show once.  As a child, I got to be on Bozo the Clown and Wonderama.  My own children were on Romper Room.  (I know all you youngsters reading this have no idea what shows I am talking about.)  Not working gives me time again to enjoy the activity I used to love.  It was fun seeing how computers have changed the way these shows are produced. 

Now, to get tickets to see my second love, Stephen Colbert.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Just Pass Me So I Can Get On With My Life

Mitchell has been failing the class all semester.  He did a some homework, paid little attention and was quite nasty at times.  He doesn't want to be in school and plans on leaving to join the armed forces.  But, he wants to leave with a passing grade so when he returns to college he will never need a math class again. 

Out of the goodness of my heart, I told him if he manages to get a C+ on the final, I will pass him.  He doesn't think this is possible (neither do I, but I didn't tell him) and sent an e-mail asking what else he can do to pass.  I am ignoring this request. Hopefully he will get the message.

He probably graduated high school because teachers granted him extra favors.  What a generation we have created!  By the time anyone wakes up and sees what has been done, it will be to late to save the thousands, just  like Mitchell.

Another College Supervisor Speaks

I got this in answer to e-mail I sent supervisor #2.
Mr AP's email was very interesting.  I assume that he realizes that students need to complete three years of regents level math through Integrated Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry in addition to getting an 80 on one of the three regent exams.
He seems to think an 80 on one regents is enough.  It is only enough to help him.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Under Pressure To Perform

How will chihuahua be able to do it?  Everyone knows she is full of the stuff that doggie owners put in those little green baggies.  Will the pressure cause her to make a mess in front of everyone?  Will she yelp in fear?

Explaining To Colleges Why Johnny Can't Add

I forwarded Mr. AP's last memo here and here to the supervisors in both colleges I work in.  I thought they should see first hand why the kids come in knowing nothing.

Supervisor I saw nothing wrong with kids getting 80's until I forwarded him the regents conversion chart.  His comment: 
geez ... now I see ...
When we spoke today he was appalled at the percentage of the exams that were multiple choice.  He said, not me, that kids can figure out the answers without knowing any math. 

More From Memo 121

I have asked many times but I have not seen the exams of some teachers.  Please make sure I see your exams before you give it to your students.  We have talked about not putting 40 points of worth of long problems where students could receive partial credits.  I saw at least two exams with that.  Please make sure the part II/III of your exam contains no more than 32 points worth of questions so that we are on the same grade scale.
Teachers are supposed to do item analysis after every exam to see which questions students are still struggling with.  It is so much better to actually see the work they did.  This way, their strengths and deficiencies are obvious.  Marking a  geometry exam, for example, an incorrect multiple choice response will not show whether the problem was conceptual or algebraic and will do nothing to help the teacher correct the mistake.

The bottom line is that knowledge doesn't count, only exam grades.  The kids have got to get those 80's or the school will not look good.

(There is something inherently wrong with having to show your supervisor every exam you give. Teachers are professionals and should be treated as such.  Just because an exam is typed, or neatly done as a cut and paste job does not mean it is a good exam.  The math department has over 30 teachers.  Mr. AP will not be able to go over every example on every teacher's exam to make sure the questions are good ones and some of the tests he will be passing off on will be barely satisfactory or unsatisfactory, so what is the point?)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Look at this lady - Let us never forget!
The world hasn't just become's always been wicked. The
prize doesn't always go to the most deserving.
Irena Sendler
12 May 2008 (aged 98)Warsaw, Poland
During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a
Plumbing/Sewer specialist.
She had an 'ulterior motive'.
She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German).
Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried
and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger
She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi
soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.
The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the
barking covered the kids/infants noises.
During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500
She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her
Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and
kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.
After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived
it and reunited the family.
Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster
family homes or adopted.
Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.
She was not selected.
President Obama won one year before becoming President for his work as
a community organizer for ACORN
Al Gore won also --- for a slide show on Global Warming.
I'm doing my small part by forwarding this message.
I hope you'll consider doing the same..
It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe
This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six
million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900
Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved
and humiliated!
Now, more than ever, with Iran , and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to
be 'a myth'.
It's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are
others who would like to do it again.
This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide!
Join us and be a link in the memorial chain and help us distribute it
around the world..
Please send this e-mail to people you know and ask them to continue the
memorial chain.
Please don't just delete it.
It will only take you a minute to pass this along..