Sunday, September 30, 2012

She Got It


A girl walked out of last week's exam smiling.  I said her homework was beautiful so I was sure she had done well.  She said, "Homework really helps.  The test was just like what you assigned."

Wish others would get her message.

Playing With Camera


Playing with my camera settings, I got some interesting and not so good pictures on the Circle Line cruise from South Street Seaport.  Most probably suck, but I like them so here they are on Facebook.

Trying to get off auto setting

Friday, September 28, 2012

Movie review


Today's Newsday sums up the propaganda (their word, not mine) movie in  the last paragraph of it's review:

Whatever you think about these issues, "Won't Back Down" won't expand your horizons.  It's more likely to harden your position.  That's the opposite of education.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In NY In Motion

View from East River

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Blah, blah, blah.  You teachers are still a bunch of losers.

Got to love the use of please.  It makes the memo much more meaningful and pleasant to read.  Bet everyone reading wishes he could work for an administrator like this one!

September 25, 2012

Please make sure you update your Absentee Lesson Plan folder in the office.  It is YOUR responsibility to PREPARE work and MAKE copies.  I will make sure there is an envelope for everyone.

 Please teach from bell-to-bell – I already saw two classes that finished earlier in my random walking-around.

Please be reminded that if you have sophomores and juniors in your class (ME, MG, MR and maybe even MM3G), you include SAT type of questions in your Do Now.  They will take the PSAT in October.  You should do this until at least after they take the PSAT.

Please stay away from lecturing and tell students what to watch out for when they solve a problem.  Student-centered lessons are more effective.  Students will have to know how to solve problems before they watch out for anything special. Questioning is the best way to teach.

Please make sure there are five rows when giving a math exam. In a small or elongated classroom, please ask you students to turn their desks 90 degrees and make three to four rows. This way, they are far enough from each other. I have noticed that there are more than five rows in some classrooms today. You were given department bulletins 1 to 3 and in one of them, it clearly stated that you are to have five rows when giving an exam. So, either you did not read it, did not understand it, forgot about it or did not really care. None of which is acceptable. We have to work together as a team to achieve new heights.

Attached, please find the format for board work and please follow it. Consistency pays in the long run and if every math teacher gives notes the same way, it makes the transition from one teacher to the next a lot easier.  (Nothing was attached.  Teachers should ask him to please not forget.)

They are students arriving late in math classes. (Got to love the grammar here.)  Please make sure you communicate with their parents after the 1st lateness.  This means you have to mark them late when they come in late.  If you are too busy teaching and you do not wish to get interrupted, then you must use a late log.  I am not concern, just yet, about how you stop lateness.  You must find a way to stop lateness.  It helps change the tone in your classroom as well.

Please be reminded that if you leave the building during the day for any reason, please sign out in room XXX. This is for your protection and ours.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Big Dip


Matt Polazzo recently wrote a guest post at Accountable Talk where, one of the things he talked about was how the 1960  high school diploma could get you a job but that alone wasn't enough in 2012.  While Mr. Talk promised to be good and not rebut the things he said, I did no such thing and put my comments here

I bring this up today because one of the top stories in today's newspaper concerned the drip in SAT college-entrance exam grades since 1972. Critical reading went from 530 to 496.  Writing has only been on the exam since 2006 and that went from 497 to 499.  Since 1972 math scores jumped from 509 to 514.  The calculator has played a big part of that, I am sure.

These results just prove that while more students are graduating, fewer are prepared for college and ultimately lack skills required even for entry level jobs.


Monday, September 24, 2012

What An Atmosphere To Work In


Imagine working in an environment where you are terrified to talk to your supervisor.  As soon as he says the words, "Mr. Y, I'd like to see you in my office", your stomach starts churning and you have an uncontrollable urge to start feeling your morning breakfast coming up in your mouth.

From experience you know these meetings are never pleasant.  He only holds the meetings to berate you and tell you how awful you are and how he can't wait until you leave.  Most of the time almost everything he says is unintelligible and impossible to understand. 

In school I was taught that the supervisor is there to help me become a better teacher and to help me deal with situations I could not deal with on my own.  Imagine having a supervisor like the one described above.  Who in their right mind would go to a person like this for guidance?  No one could become more proficient in a job with Atilla the Hun in charge.  Even if he had something to offer, how could anyone learn a thing while they are trying to keep their guts from exploding all over the place.

All Important Chihuahua

The click click click of shoes as she scurries around the hallway, yapping as she goes.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Human Right

Sick pay should be a human right.  Everyone should be entitled to it.

The woman who cleans my house hurt her back.  She is getting better, but the recovery is slow.  I told her not to rush back to work, but she said she needs the money.  Her landlord wants the rent.  I immediately sent her a check and told her to rest at home.  I hope her other clients do the same.  She is a good, honorable woman.  She never lets anyone down.  It is time for those she helps to step up and help her.  I pray for her speedy recovery.  Back pain is what kept me down for a month and I don't wish it on anyone.  (She is one of Romney's 47%)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crazy Chihuahua Productions

Crazy Chihuahua productions is up and running.  The only problem is Crazy Chihuahua has no idea what she is doing.  She yaps and screeches and shows her teeth.  She manages to scare the young and stupid.  Unfortunately, she also manages to cause real damage to those around her.  Bull Dog is actually the CEO, but lets Crazy Chihuahua run around unleashed and unmuzzled.  Pity those working for her.

Support For Chicago's Teachers

Letter: Chicago strike's over real needs

September 17, 2012
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is asking a state court
A letter writer says that teachers should not be allowed to strike since they are critical civil service workers ["Prevent teachers from striking," Sept. 16].
Teachers are people too, with families to support. The writer should examine exactly what these teachers have now, and why these pay increases are so imperative to them.
Does the writer think that any college graduate can teach? If so, it is obvious he hasn't been inside a classroom. It takes years to perfect the skills a teacher needs.
Also, the strike hasn't only been about money. It's about working conditions that affect children's education. The writer should try being in a room overfilled with 6-year-olds, and then see if he feels the same way. Or, try working in a room with 40-plus bodies when the temperature is over 100 degrees, and there is no air conditioner in sight.

Teachers are public servants, but they are not slaves. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not bargain in good faith. The teachers did the only thing they could. The cost of the strike has been high, but it's necessary for the future of education in Chicago.

Linda Silverman, Bellerose Manor
Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher from Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Unions Help Everyone

Let's face it.  The union's job is to protect its members.  That is the reason we fork over those big bucks paycheck after paycheck.  But, union protection is something teachers need to be able to help their students and do what is best for them.

First and foremost, while most outsiders like to forget, TEACHERS ARE PEOPLE!!!  They want the same things out of life that everyone else want:  decent homes, nice clothes, occasional meals out, vacations, etc, Teachers are parents, people who need to earn a good living to provide for their own children.  How can teachers be expected to take care of others when their own families aren't being taken care of?

Secondly, and probably most important to the general public, people who don't care that teachers are people, is that teachers can't do their jobs right without some sort of protection.  And, here is where I will make this post personal.

Being on the front line I often saw things about my students that the people in charge did not.  For example, there was an incoming ninth grader who did not score well on her placement exam.  She was relegated to a remedial class.  I quickly realized she did not belong there.  When my assistant principal refused to move her, I went behind his back, convinced another teacher and a guidance counselor to change her program.  (She went on to successfully complete AP calculus.)  Without job protection, no one would have helped this girl.  If my supervisor had found out what we did, and had the power, our jobs might have been in jeopardy.  Another term, I was told to fail a student because of his attendance.  Unfortunately, the young man's father was dying at the time and was under a lot of stress.  The AP let me pass the boy, after a fight, but told me he would hold me accountable for the regents grade in the next class.  While I had faith in what the boy knew, I had no clue as to what the next term would hold but agreed.  I knew there was not a thing he could do to me if the boy didn't succeed.

Everyone should be entitled to due process before losing a job.  The union's job is to guarantee this happens.  It is the job of the supervisor to offer proof of incompetence, not the unions.

I walked the picket line in the 70's, lost 2 days pay for every day I was out.  I missed many days of school during the '68 strike.  I know the strikes helped me and  helped future generations of teachers and it helped students.  The gains we got kept quality teachers in the classroom and encouraged others to join the profession.  Kudos to the Chicago teachers.  Their sacrifice is for the children as well as for themselves.

Why We Need A Union


1. Teachers each day will fill lamps and clean chimneys.
2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.
3. Make your pens carefully you may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly
5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
6 Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society
8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barbershop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty
9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.

Rules for Teacher, Early 1900's in the United States

1) To keep the school room neat and clean, you must:
a) Sweep the floor at least once daily
b) Scrub the floor at least once a week with hot, soapy water
c) Clean the blackboards at least once a day
d) Start the fire at 7 AM so the room will be warm by 8 AM

2) You will not marry during the term of your contract.
3) You are not to keep company with men.
4) You must be home between the hours of 8 PM and 6AM unless attending a school function.
5) You may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores
6) You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have the permission of the chairman of the board.
7) You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
8) You may not smoke cigarettes.
9) You may not dress in bright colors.
10) You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
11) You must wear at least two petticoats.
12) Your dresses must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Smallest Dog

Little Chihuahau (actually, only half a chihuahau) is not big enough to stand on her own.  She is probably the smallest dog in her community.  But, her teeth are sharp and she is always ready to bite.  Let's hope she doesn't bite the hand that is holding her up.

Bloomberg's Latest

His gang doesn't walk.  They take limos everywhere so they won't be hit with this fee.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Administrators are allowed to make mistakes.  The memo that should have come out Friday, came out today. But, the e-mail began with an "I an sorry" so I guess that makes it okay.

Memo_091 is a list of demands and things that all teachers must do.  Many are common sense and the wording in the memo is demeaning. I do understand that some people never follow directions, but, there has got to be a better way to get a point across.

Here is the memo.  My commentaries are in red.  Not one of the funnier memos, but it still gives a giggle in several places.

September 12, 2012

Please make sure you give out Rules and Regulations in all your classes, particularly to the new students. 

All MEF81 teachers should finishing teach lessons 1 – 31 in the AMAPS curriculum by January 2013.  Please take your time and prepare students to learn and to learn the arithmetic first.  [To learn arithmetic?  Teachers will do in a semester what others haven't done in 8 previous years of education. ] They must come to class everyday with their 3-ring binder.  [Where is the advice on how to get kids to do this?]  They must learn to come on time and sit in their assigned seats everyday or regularly, etc. [Once a month, on a Tuesday is regular.  is this regular enough?]  Clearly, you have to slow down and not teach a lesson a day! 

 There is a grade-leader assigned to each course.  Please make sure you check with him/her on the pacing. 

All teachers must follow the AMAPS curricula if one is available.  Please speak to me if you have trouble locating it online.  There should be curriculum for Integrated Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus.  If you are teaching Pre-Calculus honors and regular, please make sure you proceed at the same pace and cover the same materials.  All students in Pre-Calculus should take the same final exam.  After all, we are putting some students form Pre-Calculus regular into AP Calculus.

Please check the Delinquent Book list before you give out textbooks. We must check and make sure we retrieve all the textbooks first.  I have emailed a copy to you.  Please verify that all your students have returned their textbook before you issue another to him/her.  Please do not issue another textbook to such students and ask them to make sure return their textbooks.  It is easier for you, but one of your colleagues might need the textbook the student already has at home.  You may issue textbooks to freshmen starting from Monday.  But do not give a textbook to a sophomore in the same class.[This will be fun, books to freshman only.]   Everyone else can issue textbooks once you check the delinquent book list.
If you have students arriving late to your class, please take some time to explain to them how to get to your class on time.  Most of the new students do not know how to get to your classroom quickly from where they are.  Please communicate with their parents about the lateness and log your phone calls.  Please make sure you tell the parents that they will have to come in if you call them about the same issue. [You teachers have nothing else to do but call and meet with parents and so what if they have jobs and need to pay rent?]

Students are complaining about certain teachers already.  Please make sure you teach every lesson by ASKSING [spelling]  QUESTIONS.  Long monologue is hard for student to take. [grammar] Please do not threaten your students with failure, either.  We must find ways to engage every student and reminding them what to do when solving a math problem is not the most effective way to get every student involved. [What does he suggest?]   For those of you who enjoy monologues, the question you should ask every other minute is:  [Don't think the kids will learn from this question.] “Am I teaching through questions?”  And I hope the answer is yes.

 There should be a mailbox for each teacher – please check it regularly.  Unless you have 30 years in the system, please take only one mailbox.  [The royal treatment given to senior teachers has left the department devoid of senior teachers.] 
Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beginners Only

The new semester has started and the parties are in full swing, but only if you are young and obedient.   Only these teachers are invited to participate in the event run by their assistant principal.  He isn't doing anything illegal as the parties are not on school time or school property.  And, he is allowed to invite anyone he wants to his home.  Still, in a system that claims to want to hold on to experienced teachers, this does not bode well.  The favoritism is blatant.  Older teachers are being marginalized.  They are given the worst programs while the party goers have the most coveted classes.

Ms.Eyre wrote about being surrounded by wonderful jazz and concert musicians, her reference to experienced teachers who can do it all.  But, the treatment at this school, by this administrator, is pushing the most accomplished out the door.  The school will soon be left with beginners orchestra only and that seems to be all the administration wants.  If it wasn't, something would be done to stop this activity that clearly favors one group over all others.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Truth In Comics

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

Saw this Dilbert cartoon last Sunday and thought of all their moronic reforms and of all those principal's who don't want older teachers around.  I just had to share.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Greeting For New (And All) Teachers

Leadership academy principals and many others are probably not as bright as Bobo.  But, they are all puppets having their strings pulled by politicians and with hands up their asses manipulating their every move.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sunday Evening

No lessons to write.  No papers to grade.  No worrying about who will walk into my classroom tomorrow. 

Just sitting here at the computer, playing Words With Friends and editing some more Iceland pictures (some of which I put here on Facebook.)

I should send a thank you note to the person who helped me make the decision to leave.  Retirement is good.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Millionares' Magician

I never advertise for anyone who contacts me, whether their link is of utmost importance or they are offering me money, but I am plugging for Steve Cohen, The Millionaires' Magician, who I saw last night at the Waldorf Towers.  He does not advertising, just word of mouth and very seat was taken.  The feats of magic he performed seemed impossible but we sat inches away and witnessed first hand the unimaginable being performed. 

Tickets are pricey--$100 for first row (which I treated my husband to) and $75 for everywhere else.  But, the entertainment can't be beat!  

The venue is an intimate room, simulating a living room, the one he learned magic in, from an uncle trained by Houdini.

The 35th floor of the Towers is the floor president's stay on when in New York and this room is used as the meeting room.

This is the door to the Presidential Suite

The Waldorf Lobby.--Even with all my trips to city, I never stopped here.

And of course, what no post would be complete without, the bathroom.  It is a great place to use facilities.  Each booth has a private sink, thick paper towels, and is spotless thanks to the attendant on duty.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Then And Now

Mr. Talk posted anti-union teacher Matt Polazzo e-mail  response to the article Accountable Talk wrote blasting Polazzo for the things he wrote in the News and for the coveted spot he got his daughter in a desirable Eva Moskowitz charter school.  Mr. Talk promised to be "good" and he was.  Polazzo claims he won't read or respond to any comments but I find that hard to believe.  He might not admit to it, but I am willing to bet he is following through on all commentaries.

I won't bother with most of the rubbish.  Mr. Talk has handled that stuff extremely well in a previous posting, but I take exception to this:

Things weren't as bad in 1960 when a high school diploma could still get you a fairly decent gig. But globalization and automation have ended the era of low wage manufacturing jobs. The only reliable path out of impoverishment is education. I agree that parents are often the main issue here--I used to walk down 182nd Street at 11pm on a weeknight and all my sixth grade kids were hanging out. Their parents were good people who really did value education, but only in the abstract. Still, at school the kids who had good teachers were still capable of achieving great things. But the ones in the class with the teacher who called them "a bunch of disgusting animals" failed to thrive.
No teacher should ever call kids "a bunch of disgusting animals" and I don't believe this happened very often.   But the important thing he is missing is that in 1960 a high school diploma meant something.  Graudation meant being in school and passing exams.  There was no seat time or credit recovery classes.  Failure was a real option.  Kids who failed could repeat a class or they could drop out.  But the ones that stuck with it, even if they only ended up with a general diploma were prepared for life.  They knew how to read and do basic arithmetic.  They could wrtie a check and pay a bill.  They knew the proper way to dress for work and they knew that if they wanted a paycheck to keep coming they had to show up every day and do what the boss wanted them to do.  They got this discipline in school.  Sure there might not be many manufacturing jobs around now, but not everyone is meant to go to college.  Society still needs car emchanics and coffee makers and street cleaners.  Today's diploma, that piece of paper that every principal looks for ways to give away prepares kids for nothing and that is the reason things weren't as bad in 1960.

(Iceland and West Point photos added here, on Facebook.)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Message To A Supervisor

Some of those miserable, disgusting administrators who push senior teachers out actually do them a favor.

 I had a hard time letting go of the job I did for over 30 years.  Teaching was my identity, it was who I was.  I loved the excitement of the first day of school, meeting new students and reconnecting with old ones.  The warm greetings and the hugs were something I thought I couldn't live without.  I was wrong.  If my hand hadn't been forced, I would have been in the school today, waiting on line for a cold bagel and a cup of coffee and listening to endless PD.

There are lots of ways administrators get teachers they don't want to leave.  When they are teachers who are well liked, get good results and don't do things wrong, they have to use more subtle techniques.  Programs are one of the things they use.  They can, within the contract, give teachers multiple rooms, three preps they have never taught and sessions that are not convenient.  They will do this even when it means other teachers will be hurt.  They talk in innuendos about certain teachers but do it so well everyone in the room knows who is being discussed.  When all else fails, they use the cold shoulder approach.  No one likes being frozen out and marginalized.

There has been a lot of hype in the news lately about retaining irreplaceable teachers.  While no teacher is irreplaceable, experience matters.  Teaching is something learned on the job and I know I learned quite a bit from the educators I worked with.  Today's young teachers won't have that opportunity.

I spent my second year of not having to report the first day:
1.  Staying in bed late, listening to Z100 phone tap and checking e-mail.
2.  Having a leisurely cup of coffee on patio with plenty of time to read the newspaper.
3.  Visiting a museum and having lunch with friends.
4.  Relaxing at home, on patio with a glass of wine and husband,  blogging and watching tv.
5.  Not being aggravated by Mr. AP's memos and words and a program I don't like.

Thank you, for making me so unhappy.  Thank you for giving me the push I needed to get on with my life.  Thank you for pushing me to see the benefits of my pension, the fruits of my labor for all those years.

Great Line

"You have an excellent mind.  It just isn't apparent to an outside observer."
George Carlin
Brain Droppings

Sunday, September 02, 2012

I Hate Car Dealers

I was all set to say goodbye to my old friend and get a new one.  As much as I love this one, the speedometer and odometer stopped working months ago, the brakes are being nursed along and the body is so rusty the engine can drop out at any minute so it needs to go.  We emptied 13 years of accumulated car registrations, insurance cards and toys.  I got behind the well for what I thought was the last time and drove to the Nissan dealer in Franklin Square.  We met with this dealer last week and he gave us a great price which included no interest and no down payment financing.  It took until today to decide this was the car I was willing to give up my friend for.

We arrived and was greeted by enthusiastically by the salesman.  He showed us the car.  We filled out the paperwork so he could check our credit.  We discussed the price and he even agreed to with the amount of money we would be paying monthly.  Everything seemed to be going great and then the manager showed up.  I knew this meant trouble.  He then went over financing and told us we could have 0% financing or a $1500, not both.  He promised both Wednesday and the salesman agreed to both today.  He told us we were mistaken.  We ended up walking out and driving my old friend home.

I need a new car but I can wait a few months.  I can't deal with car dealers now.  I won't go back to this dealer.  I'd rather pay someone else more, someone who will be honest up front.  I'm not even sure I will still consider the Rogue I wanted.  The Rav 4 is starting to look better and the Mazda CX 5 is also a possibility. 

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Blue Moon

Got to see a blue moon while having dinner on the terrace at the Thayer Hotel on the grounds of West Point.  Seeing it over the Hudson was magnificent.

Got a great groupon bargain--$157 which included the night at hotel, a $50 dinner credit and buffet breakfast.  Pictures posted soon.