Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cartoon Credit


I had a dream that I was at a school function, enjoying a very nice meal and having a nice time.  As I got up to get a drink, I crossed paths with the Principal and the AP in charge of student affairs.  She was telling him about a student who needed credits to graduate.  The Principal gave her the okay for giving the boy 10 credits for watching Dora the Explorer.  When they saw me, they got nervous.  They asked me not to post  anything I heard and I agreed.  But, I was concerned.  I tried to think of a way to do this without breaking a promise.  Of course, there was no way and I let the matter drop.

I clearly remembered the dream when I woke up.  And, because it was only a dream, I can certainly post it here.  I post it because while no school administrators give credits for watching cartoons, they give credit for equally ridiculous things, things which have no educational value.  There are credit recovery assignments on line which kids readily admit to getting or paying others to do for them.  I watched an assistant principal doing one students assignment on a smart board while the whole class  and the teacher told him the answers to submit.  I watched a late afternoon teacher bring her class to do credit recovery while they were supposed to be with her making up other subjects.  I've heard of an AP who told kids to come to Saturday gym, sign in and then go do other assignments with tutors.  The lists go on and on.  It is comic, cartoon like, hence the Dora The Explorer dream.

Last week Newsday ran an article on low graduation rates at certain colleges around Long Island.  It was no surprise.  The schools with this extremely low rates took in the kids who graduated with cartoon diplomas and they are just not up to the work.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Picture Day

Free day gave me time to take some great pictures from the Hearst Building.

If you love NY as much as I do, there are more pictures here.

Morale In The Workplace

Newsday ran an article this week saying 98% of Americans have experienced incivility in the workplace.  This behavior leads to profit loss, bad morale and poor productivity. 

Among workers who said they were on the receiving end of incivility:
48% intentionally decreased their work effort
38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work
25% admitted to taking out their frustrations on customers

Teacher morale is at an all time low.  While Principals and assistant Principals can't do anything about salary,  VAM and other things coming from outside the school, they can do things inside to make things better.  For one, they can treat all teachers equally.  They can stop setting up certain teachers to fail and others to be teacher of the year.  They can program fairly.  I have seen countless examples of stacked classes, stacked to make a teacher look good and stacked to make them look bad.  I have seen APs make excuse after excuse for one teacher's lateness and write letters when another is 2 minutes late once in 20 years.  I have seen administrators publicly reprimanding teachers with no regard to who is around.  I've seen administrators take credit for teacher work.

In a school, hurting teachers hurts students.  Yet, nothing is done to help improve it.  I remember sitting at a small meeting where morale improvement was the goal.  One or two members of each department voiced what they considered problems.  The discussion ended as soon as we walked out the door.  Nothing was done.

I remember an AP I once worked for who wanted everyone to come to his end term party.  He thought it was a great morale booster.  Many of us boycotted.  A party did nothing to fix the situation we were in all year round.

(Newsday March 25, 2013 page 41)

(Nail Bird by Madison Square Park)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

In Case You Missed It..

Dept. of Ed.’s ‘trailer’ trash

  • Last Updated: 12:54 AM, March 26, 2013
  • Posted: 12:54 AM, March 26, 2013
The city Department of Education will be required to report on the age and condition of its deteriorating stock of outdoor classroom trailers for the first time, under the proposed state budget.
The city DOE would also have to include a plan by late 2014 to reduce the number of transportable classrooms, under language state lawmakers added to budget bills they’re expected to pass this week.
There are currently more than 8,200 students who are educated in 357 classroom trailers, according to the latest DOE figures.
“Many of [the trailers] are 20 years old and rotting away,” said Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters.

I taught in a trailer with a door that did not close and did not get fixed until I made the Principal pay a visit on a below zero day.  We had a bathroom, but no running water in the sink.  We had exposed electrical outlets, no phone and no access to loud speaker.  The trailer area flooded during rains and one day, when the trailers were evacuated, no one came and told my class.  The roof of the trailer next door leaked and when the snow melted, the teacher had to hold an umbrella over his head to keep dry.  I've heard conditions have gotten better, but they still are not good.  The author of this article toured my trailer and did not bother to report the things he saw.  Hopefully this will get something done to correct these horrendous conditions.

A friend complained that this blog isn't as angry as it used to be.  He realized, correctly, that not being in a high school gives me a lot less to be pissed off about.  I told him not to worry.  I have plenty of old stories I am willing to share.  I just have to be in the mood.

I saw the flower show at Macy's today.  It was amazing.  And such a better way to spend my time than being angry.  The theme this year is Asia.  It runs until April 7th.  I highly recommend it if you are in the NY area.  Don't let the line scare you.  It is fast moving.  More pictures are posted here


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Workers = Productivity

I turned on my radio this morning as my favorite morning show was saying goodbye to a staff member who, after 5.5 years was moving on to greener pastures.  The hot talked about the success of the show, an claimed it was not due to him, but to the wonderful staff he surrounded himself with.  The member leaving talked about what a happy place it was to work, how she often did not want to wake up early and come, but being there was an enlightened experience.  The atmosphere in this workplace, created by the host and the management was what made the station the great station it is.  The staff was encouraged to do their very best.  The atmosphere promoted this.

I thought about my high school experience as I listened to this.  I thought about the AP and principals who surrounded themselves with good people and then promptly took credit for all the good work they did.  The APs and the principals got the bonuses while the teachers worked on and on.  One AP I know is notorious for taking teacher ideas and then presenting them as her own.  When the teachers got too old, or too bold, the administration would do what they could to push them out the door. The environment was not a warm fuzzy place where people were happy to work hard and work for the good of the whole. 

Good people are now exiting all the time.  Teachers who never thought of retiring are walking out as soon as they hit the magic number that allows them too do so.  Others are actively looking for other positions or staying away for other things as long as possible.

This radio station is a business model that schools should follow.  Too bad they don't.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dividing The Red Sea

I started my career at Packemin in the special education department.  I worked with low functioning and high need students at my previous school and realized I liked this population and I knew I could make a difference in their lives.  Although things were not perfect, I was content until, that is, we got a new chairperson who I shall call Mr. Doofus.

Mr. Doofus did not like me.  I wouldn't care if he did not like me after he got to know me, but he did not like me because of what he heard from the department pets.  (The rest of this is for another post.) Mr. Doofus had issued a directive in the beginning of the year that we should not give out books right away.  After a week, I noticed Mrs. R, a math teacher another pet, distributing books.  I assumed the ban was lifted and gave out books as well.  Mr. Doofus yelled at me for doing so.  I apologized and said, "I thought it was okay as Mrs. R was giving books to her classes."  He looked at me and said, "What is okay for her is not okay for you."  I didn't respond.  But, to this day, 15 years later, I will never forget this blatant favoritism.

It took over ten years for Mrs. R and me to learn to get along.  Mr. Doofus had done a good job of creating a big divide in the department, a split that kept two teachers from working together to help their students.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bloomberg Limits Seder Portions

Bloomberg Limits Seder Portions
 February 19, 2013
NEW YORK—Following his recent ban on soda containers over 16 ounces, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that he now intends to place
 similar limits on wine and matzo consumption at Passover Seders.
 “Everyone knows that Jews struggle with obesity,” the mayor declared
 at a news conference yesterday at Gracie Mansion, “so why aggravate
 the problem by drinking four whole cups of wine and eating three large
 sheets of matzo at a single meal?”
 Noting that the Passover foods are a Jewish tradition dating back
 thousands of years, the mayor said, “That may be so, but look at the
 health problems they create. You eat all that unleavened bread, and
 your system is bound to get backed up. It’s no wonder Moses was
 pleading, ‘Let my people go.’”
 Bloomberg added, “No one needs that much wine at a meal, either. And,
 shamefully, the biggest offender is a Jewish icon—the prophet Elijah.
 On seder night, he goes from house to house drinking. Who does he
 think he is, some frat boy?”
 In a surprising display of erudition in Jewish law, the mayor said he
 was familiar with, and opposed to, the adherence to the strictest
  requirements encouraged by some Torah sages.
 “If you intend to adhere to the shiurim of the Chazzon Ish, or even
 Rabbi Moses Feinstein, take your Seder out of the City,” said a
 defiant Bloomberg.
 He outlined his restrictions as follows:
 For the drinking of the four cups – “3.3. oz. will be the maximum
 permitted under New York City law. You may think 5.3 ounces is a
 saintly amount to drink for each of your 4 cups, but it is overly
 burdensome on the NYPD when they have to haul your machmir tuchus off
 to detox.
 For the Eating of Matzoh – “No more than the size of 1/3 of an egg,
 measured by weight and not volume. You will be subject to citation or
 arrest if you feel the need to stuff half of a ‘Talmudic’ egg in your
 mouth and choking on your high halachic standards.”
 The Mayor then left the press conference angrily, turning only to add,
“Next year in Jerusalem. IF you can fit on the plane!”
 Several Jewish organizations have already filed lawsuits in Brooklyn
 courts, claiming that the mayor’s new proposal infringes upon their
 religious rights. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwieback, legal counsel for Agooda
 Israel and author of the book When Abbada Things Happen to Agooda
 People, said, “Instead of downsizing seder foods, the mayor should be
 increasing them, like donating his nuts to make more charoses

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dividing The Staff--The Things Admins Do The Best

I never knew what a favored or a "pet" teacher was until I came to Packemin.  In my previous school we were all treated the same, miserably.  Our chairperson did not discriminate when it came to handing out programs or granting favors.  We all got four preps which, was illegal but she defended herself by saying there were very few good classes and she wanted everyone to have at least one of these.  We were young and bought into this.  There was no jealousy.  On the first day we all were handed one box of chalk, one eraser, two packs of copy paper, one long and one short, Delaney cards and a composition book.  She told us to never come around.  We were happy to oblige.
This AP did nothing to develop a loyal department but she did wonders for staff camaraderie.  We bonded together and found many ways to survive and even do better than just surviving. 
Today's APs do nothing for staff camaraderie.  They openly favor certain teachers and what is an inexcusable action of one is not even mentioned if done by others.  Today's APs are not the master teachers and confident administrators of the past.  They can only survive with divided staffs and that is one thing they are very good at doing.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Letter I Proudly Display

Jeannie, a quiet little wheel chair girl was turning 18 and she wanted a party more than anything in the world.  But, poor Jeannie's social life ended when she boarded the bus home every day.  Her parents kept their daughter in the apartment, away from other people.  Jeannie's only friends were the ones she had at school.  These included her classmates, the para who took care of her and her teachers.

I knew it was against school policy when I agreed to let Jeannie have her party in class, the last period of the day before spring break, but decided to do it anyway.  I figured the kids could sing happy birthday, eat some cake and candy and keep working. (It was a class of 12 and the kids were really good.)  Jeannie was so excited, she told everyone in the school about it.  Mrs. B brought her class from the third floor to join in.

Ten minutes into the period, the AP of the department made an appearance.  The class was on the second floor.  The AP's office was on the third floor and that was the first time all semester I had seen him more than ten feet from his desk.  He came in, scowled at me, wished Jeannie a happy birthday and left.  Sure enough, there was a letter waiting for me when I returned from vacation.

I don't resent the letter.  I knew what I did was wrong.  But, he did not write one to the other teacher in the room, a teacher who was sitting doing nothing while her students also did nothing.  I didn't say a word because it was not my place to get her in trouble.  And, he knew about the party and had the power and the right to stop it before it even got started.   Instead, he chose to play gotcha and he got me.  I am sure he wanted Jeannie to be happy. That, and getting me made his week.

I'm not sorry for what I did and I would do it again.  Jeannie graduated 15 years ago and I hear that she occasionally goes to some training program but mostly sits in her chair, the television her only companion.  I only hope she thinks back to that 18th birthday and smiles at all her friends celebrating her big day.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vacation Poem

Twas the day before vacation
And all through the school
The APs were cruising
For teachers to bruise.
They began at the top
And strolled every hall
Looking in every room
For the teacher to doom.
In room 304, the kids behaved
So walking in there was nothing they craved.
They passed a few more
And seeing nothing through the door
They went on to another floor.
Then down to floor two
Still searching for something to do
They saw a few kids in the hall
There was a teacher who was now going to fall.
Young men, why aren't you in class?
Is it possible your teacher issued you a pass?
Or are you just roaming the halls?
We'll walk you  back and see how this falls.
They looked in and saw Ms. Bee in the room.
In spite of work on the board, there was a feeling of doom.
Ms. Bee had a lesson and a good plan
But the kids wanted only to play kick the can .
She talked and cajoled.  She continued to scold
But nothing she did could make them care.
Vacation was in the air
And they did not think it was fair
To work so late in the day.
The admins were grinning from ear to ear.
They found what they were looking for, a  teacher to kick in the rear.
They wasted no time
Writing her up for her crime
They claimed that day she did not earn her dime.
And then the bell rang
The kids were sprung
Teachers got a well deserved rest.
Poor Ms. Bee spent her vacation
Because the gotcha squad had done their best.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Better Get Ready


Friday is the last day before vacation and anyone who has taught any length of time knows what that means--the admins will be prowling the halls, I-pads and clip boards (for those not technically savvy) in hand.  They will be paying surprise visits in hopes of finding you teachers goofing off.  Make sure your students are engaged and hard at work.  If it is 4:45 and they are already on vacation mode, it will be your fault.  If they close their books 30 seconds before the bell rings, you will be in hot water as well.

I once tried to explain to a Principal how obnoxious it was to observe on the day before vacations, especially late in the day.  He claimed he needed to observe then, to see who was working.  He thought this was the best way to see what a teacher was really about.  I couldn't believe I was hearing correctly.  A good Principal walks around the building all the time and knows exactly what every teacher in the building does all the time.  And, by walking around the building and glancing in rooms, he can see what is going on without walking in and unnerving the educator in the room.

Advice over.  The gotcha squad is probably lacing up their sneakers as I type.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What Did You Forget To Teach?


Angela was a student of mine in an algebra class several years ago.  She was extremely bright and very hard working.  It was evident from her grades and from observations that she loved school and loved learning.  I had no doubt in my mind that she would do extremely well on the regents.  (At that time the regents was a much more meaningful exam than it is today.)

I remember sitting in the marking room as we passed around papers.  Someone announced the paper presently being marked (Angela's) was perfect with one question to go and then handed me the exam.  The problem Angela chose to do (there were choices in those days) was done perfectly except for one tiny arithmetic mistake.  Angela added 2 + 1 and wrote 4.  It broke my heart, but I dutifully took off the point and put the 99 on top.  I saw Angela several days later and explained her mistake.  She laughed it off and said she was very happy with the 99.  I was happy for her as she had truly mastered the course.

Today things are different.  I remember departmental conferences where the AP ranted at the staff because kids got 98 and 99.  He told the teachers to think about what they had taught and what they had failed to teach because these topics were the ones that prevented more students from getting 100s.  I didn't bother to argue with him.  To me, he sounded too ridiculous to even respond to.

I feel for the teachers still sitting at these department meetings.  I am afraid their ratings will be lowered because of 98s and 99s as long as this nut job is in charge of the department.

Angela was much brighter than this AP.  I don't know what she ended up doing.  I pray she did not become a teacher.  I would hate to see her subjected to this measure of her value.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Class Participation

I'm basically a shy person.  In class, I like to sit in the back and observe.  I grew up thinking I had a stupid sign on my forehead and haven't totally gotten over it.  Participation in class has been something I tried to avoid.

I thought of this today during tai chi.  My picture is on Wikipedia with the article on uncoordination.  Not only do I have zero skills working my feet and my arms, I can't work them together and to make things worse, I can't even remember the steps.  I try to hide in the back.  Don't get me wrong, I love the class and the teacher and am actively trying to do the right thing for the entire class but I don't like to be on display and cringe if I have to demonstrate anything.

When I taught at Packemin, a big part of classroom observations involved getting every student to speak at least once.  If you didn't do that, the person observing was not happy with the way the class was running.  I knew there were always kids around kids like me who were happier blending into the background and were extremely uncomfortable having to speak or go to the board.  That did not mean they weren't participating or learning.  They just did these activities in their own way.  I understand the need to speak in a language class or an ESL class but other classes don't necessarily need this component.

Every student not speaking is not a cause to rate a teacher unsatisfactory.  In fact, letting a child sit quietly might be a better idea if speaking causing he child anxiety.  It is a shame that administrators don't want to know this.  Again, it is a one size fits all education.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Important Memo

I marvel at some of my colleagues who tell me they have a great relationship with their boss/bosses and they socialize with him/her after working hours. I've never been that lucky nor do I want to be. When the "spaghetti hits the fan" and we all have to "cover our assets" I doubt friendship is important at all. Perhaps the rule below only applies to those in the trenches as I keep meeting colleagues who work  in rarefied and privileged work places where everybody gets along and sings "Kumbaya". Not this working class kid!

Knowing His Students


I met up with the professor I covered for last week to give him homework I collected.  I also wanted to tell him about the "winner" who wanted to sign his name and then leave.  Of course I wouldn't let him so he had a friend sign in for him.  He came back 30 minutes later and signed himself in.  While reviewing attendance I noticed two names, almost identical except for the spelling of the first name (one letter difference).  I commented that the teacher must find this confusing when the "winner" announced both names were his and his friend had signed him in.  I told him I would let the professor know about the forgery.  He came up with a lame excuse and I just told him to hold it for the next class.

Anyway, back to my conversation with the professor.  He wasn't at all surprised at what I had told him.  He said "winner" is not even close to passing and has horrendous attendance.  I then told him about the rest of the class, which was wonderful.  The kids participated, were engaged and quite responsive.  He said he knew which students I was referring to.  He said it was the same ones who were responsive all the time.

The college knows this man is a good teacher.  They know he won't reach them all.  Some just don't want to be reached.  They won't judge him because some kids refuse to participate or work.  They will judge him on his own merits and that is the way it should be.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Unhappiness, The Administrative Way To Cleanse Staff

According to Wikipedia, happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.  Intense joy was not always something I felt while teaching, but I know I always felt pleasure while in the classroom and while interacting with my students and my colleagues.  This happiness flowed helped me became what I hoped was a good teacher.

Unhappiness , or depression, is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can have a negative effect on a person's thoughts, behavior, world view, and physical well being.  Depressed people often lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable.  Many of today's teachers are in a state of depression caused by conditions around them.  Many are caused by the administration.  School Principals and Assistant Principals can't control the crap coming from outside, they can't control paychecks but they can control work environments.  They can stop empowering the wrong people, and they can stop putting one teacher above another.  There is a lot they can do to relieve unhappiness, yet they choose to do nothing.  Is it laziness?  Is it apathy?  Or, is it a desire to push out people who have done no wrong and can't be gotten rid of traditional ways?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Bargain

I got into Manhattan early Wednesday so I stopped in Macy's to use the bathroom.  The one on the second floor is brand new and beautiful.
The sink has glowing lights underneath, automatic faucet, soap dispenser and hand blower all in one.

Then, I made the error of walking through the shoe department, which is the entire second floor.  I thought I would just browse until I came across the 75% off section with a sign offering an additional 25% on purchases of two or more pairs.

I fell in love with these funky little flats, so different from anything I ever owned, I just had to have them.

 And then I saw these pumps.  I never where heels, I might never wear them but I just had to own them.  And. of course they are red.  I even have several weddings to attend, so they might even get worn.
And, as I was about to pay, I saw these.  They also had to be mine.
The best part of all this is all three pairs only cost me $32!!!!  I will have the best dressed feet for a little bit of money.  The hardest part was sticking to my rule of getting rid of one thing for every new thing I bring home.  (I cheated and got rid of two sweaters and one pair of shoes although it should have been all shoes to hit the give away bag.)


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Not A Savvy Way To Run Anything


There is a neighborhood bar and pizza place I frequent often.  It is an upscale place with great food and a good selection of beer and other alcoholic drinks.  The bar is always full as people who work in the neighborhood always stop by after work.  One of the big attractions is the friendly bartender, who like Sam from Cheers, knows every one's name.

This place recently got a new owner.  She is intent on making changes, some for the good, others to just irritate her staff.  Her newest move has the bartenders wearing ties and it is making them unhappy.  I for one can't understand this move.  The guys look good with or without these accessories.  No one is coming in, or staying away, because of the ties.  Morale is sinking fast and with it, the quality of work.  This new owner obviously knows nothing about the importance of keeping workers happy, especially when it cost nothing to do this.

All of this brings me to the current state of education.  At Unbelievable HS, teachers are feeling like these bartenders.  They are constantly being demeaned, put down and disrespected.  There are supervisors barely out of diapers, untrained and inexperienced.  The person in charge is either blind to what is going on or, enjoys seeing the staff miserable, or, just doesn't care.  Whatever the reason, education will be the big loser here.

Being kind and respectful to employees should be a no  brainer.  People produce more when they are happy.  Maybe this is all just a ploy to get them all to quit.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

UFT Retirees


I am a UFT retiree.  I pay dues every month.  I want a say in the union!!

Don't jump on me,  working teachers.  I want a say about the things that affect me.  I want to have a choice of classes to take, seminars to attend and trips to go on.  The contract is important, extremely important, but not to me.  I am aware of the crap the city is trying to put on teachers now, I am aware of VAM and I don't like it any more than working teachers, but that doesn't give me the right to have a say on it.  IT DOES NOT AFFECT ME!!!!!!!

I resent Mulgrew's sending UFT reps to a Florida meeting to wine and dine and spread the UNITY gospel.  My money is paying for these excursions and meals.  I am willing to bet most Florida retirees haven't taken time away from their golf games, tennis matches and early bird dinners to follow the news and see what today's teachers are up against.

I am a UFT retiree.  I should not be voting, but, as long as I have the ability, I will be voting with MORE, voting against unity, voting for teachers, which in turn votes for children.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Staff Development Idea


As teachers we sometimes forget how difficult it is to master a new concept.  We see our students following along as we work with them, yet, when told to work on their own, freeze up.  We don't understand why this happens.

My tai chi teacher demonstrated the first three moves today.  She did them with the class multiple times and then told us to do them on our own.  Forty motivated adults stood still, not having a clue as to how to start.  She laughed, we laughed and then she moved with us again.

Instead of spending hours looking at data, and listening to how incompetent teachers are, perhaps they should take a lesson in tai chi, or photo shop or auto repair or something not so easy to learn.  Being on the other side of the desk might help them comprehend why their students struggle so much.  I know it has helped me understand their frustrations with math and it has given me more patience and understanding and an ability to help them better.

(Pictures from Hick's nursery here--editing is a good way to spend a rainy afternoon.)


From a friend's facebook page.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Let's Teach Them The Way They Want Kids To Learn

I have come up with a way to convince Bloomberg and all these other politicians, businessmen and other know it alls that class size matters.

They should sign up for a class in a field they have no aptitude in and no previous knowledge.  It should be a class required to not only pass, but to excel in.  And, I would make sure the class had 40 students in it, each student needy of individual help and some with attention problems.  I would assign a teacher with a reputation of being a master and with VAM to back this up.

Maybe then, would these individuals who know nothing about education realize just how important small classes are to student achievement.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not A Table Filler

Friends 1 through 4 make plans to have dinner with friend 5 who is at odds with friend 6.  (Friend 5 refuses to discuss exactly what the problem is.)  Friend 5 cancels at the last moment.  Friend 1 invites friend 6 to join them, making no mention of friend 5's cancellation.  Friend 6 is unsure of availability.  Friend 3 sends friend 6 an e-mail inviting her along, stating in the e-mail that the original plans included friend 5 who was no longer available so there was a seat at the table for friend 6.

Friend 6 turned down the invite.  Friend 6 wants to be included because of a desire for friend 6's company, not as a seat filler so the group can keep their table for 5 reservation.

People can be friends with anyone they want.  They don't need to lie and pretend there are no plans when there really are.  There is no need to include everyone in every invitation but invitations like this are just plain suck and are quite insulting.  Friend 6 doesn't want or need an invitation like this.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Playing Detective?

A new departmental memo was sent off.  I noticed at least one teacher in the department that was left off.  Could this be a way to find out who is sending me these memos?  Well, if it is, it won't work.  I get them from many sources.

By the way, the rant about transposing equations, the only way to solve them continues.  So, any math teachers reading this, you are worth nothing if you don't transpose.

(Winter pictures posted on Facebook.)

Rate My Teacher Comments

This post, written  in 2010 is still getting plenty of hits.  I loved these last comments.  They deserve a post of their own.


I am a high school graduate and I think Rate my teacher is degrading and to put it bluntly, a medium for bullying teachers. All the people that support RMT with crap like ‘students are entitled to the right to free speech’ you do realize that they aren’t allowed to spread hate speech, right? First off, I’ve had teachers who probably didn’t really care about teaching and only came in everyday because it was their job and absolutely brilliant, dedicated and wonderful teachers who I now visit sometimes on my days off. If I had such an issue with the former, it would be most plausible to go up to them and TALK to them about the issue or go with my parents. NOT be a sissy who vents their feelings anonymously on some stupid site created by a bunch of stupid children. A teacher’s job is hard enough. I’ve seen this first hand…one time I walked into the applied calc class to ask my calculus teacher about our upcoming test and MAN OH MAN was she EVER PATIENT WITH THEM. There was this one girl that decided it was ok to go up to the teacher’s laptop (attached to the projector and go on her YouTube channel, putting on a video of herself laughing) and my teacher just asked her repeatedly to stop in the most restrained voice you can with someone like that…Anyways, a lot of the people that comment on this site are upset parents that cannot deal with the fact that their lazy-ass kid couldn’t get a good grade in the teacher’s class *boo hoo*, the aforementioned lazy-ass kid, or probably even some jerky co-worker. And yes, some reviews may be legitimate but what’s complaining on some site gonna do for you??? GO TALK TO THE TEACHER or report the teacher to the school, that will get you somewhere. Stop degrading these people that work to help YOU GET SOMEWHERE in your life. And there’s a comment here about some dumb ass administrator that decided to hire a teacher based on their RMT rating? ARE YOU DUMB? And why hasn’t anybody sued this website, where did respecting your teachers go? What is wrong with my generation? I hope this site is taken down and the creator gets his pants sued off. What an abhorrent, disgusting thing to have in this day in age, I thought the 21st century was about moving forward, not backwards. And then there’s the sexual comments that are allowed on this site…smh. Oh and at ‘the student’s perspective’ how would you like it if a bunch of people were criticizing your every move, if there was a site called ‘ratemystudent’ and your teachers had the chance to complain about how you didn’t finish an assignment or came late to class or allegedly gave them a dirty look? And all you could do was sit there? Have you ever tried to consider their feelings, because um newsflash, teachers have feelings too. You say some of the reviews are legitimate BUT MANY of them are just hate speech. Like I’ve repeated a thousand times, if you have an issue with a teacher talk to them or someone else that can do something about it.

I am a 9th grade student, and I must say that the site is absolutely vulgar and completely verifiable. Most of the comments are atrocious attempts to vent rage on teachers who are just so happen to take interest in a students progress. And I must admit there are so many IDIOT children who just don't want to learn and they ruin the class for everyone, and children who actually like learning are labelled "nerds", why just because we care about our future?

I do not support this particular site, however they should like any other profession be rated by their customers. Of course I am not very knowledgeable about how this would OBJECTIVELY work, to provide the teachers with constructive criticism, but I know for certain with no other resource to turn to many GOOD students resort to using the site, what alternative is there? Confronting teachers directly can be daunting, especially if the student feels threatened. Of course there are some bad teachers who make no effort, exemplified by this comment: "Don't write to much for your assignment, I'll have to read it" That same teacher also said "Im not really interested in teaching and only do it because I will get paid"

And just to set the record straight I am an A student who cares about my grade and attempts to be objective when discussing teacher performance. And in my above comments I'm being lenient in my opinion, I am really cynical most of the time.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Getting Her Due, Hopefully

E-mail from a friend concerning Bronx High School of Science scandal.  I know this principal did a lot of mean things to lots of people and the teachers there now and long retired are hoping she gets what is coming to her.

I hope my principal gets in trouble concerning knowing about the hazing and sexual incidents happening in the boys' locker room. Evidently she and the coaches were emailed last year (probably because my principal ordered it) by the athletic director, to constantly pop in when the kids were changing in the locker room every pd and lock it up after the last kid left.This was stopped this past Sept. probably due to budget cuts or a lack of teacher aides. The director referred to a Mar 2010 incident too.

Nearly 80% of City Public School Graduates Need Remediation


The headline of this NY Post Article shouldn't surprise anyone.  Teachers have been saying this for years.  The dummying down of the regents means everyone passes and most know nothing because even the brightest have lost out in this quest to send everyone to college.  With emphasis on calculator and guess and check no one is teaching mathematics anymore.  Schools only care about getting lowest level passing to keep their stats up so they won't be closed.  The raised graduation requirements really aren't raised at all because the path to get there has been lowered.  As a CUNY teacher I know standards had to be raised there.  Many incoming freshman know nothing and have zero study skills.  Before NCLB these students wouldn't even be prepared for high school, and now they are supposed to be college ready.

“When you increase the number participating and you hold essentially steady on remediation, that means you’re increasing the number who are passing the bar,” said Josh Thomases, deputy academic chief at the DOE. “That said, I don’t want anyone to go to remediation.”
Thomases doesn't get it.  These students should not be sent on to college!  Last semester I taught a girl with a 70 IQ.  And I've seen other special needs kids sitting in academic classes (this does not go for all special need kids so don't jump on me here) they don't have the mental capacity to succeed in.  They just don't belong in an academic setting.  Our schools have done nothing to prepare them for it.


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Police: 3 charged with felony injury to 7th grader who wanted to use the bathroom

Police: 3 charged with felony injury to 7th grader who wanted to use the bathroom

by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News
Posted on March 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM
HUMBLE, Texas -- Three staffers of a Humble-area charter school are facing felony injury to a child charges after allegedly over-disciplining a seventh grade girl.
"Her arm was bent behind her back in a way that her wrist was up by her shoulder blades pretty high on her back," said Humble Police Department Det. Jackie Blanchard, the lead investigator in the case.
The three staff members at Northwest Preparatory Charter School now facing Felony Injury to a Child charges are 25-year-old Laurence Grigsby, 32-year-old Marcus Mitchell and 36-year-old Aisha Mercer.
Police say it started in a classroom when the 13-year-old female victim asked to go to the restroom. She was told no.
“It was up to the teacher to set the restroom breaks and every time someone would talk in the class he would change the time as a form of punishment. So she was not allowed for a long period of time to go to the restroom. She just finally had to go," said Det. Blanchard.
It was in the hallway that the alleged assaults began; first, by a teacher trying to take the student to the office.
In their statements to police, two of the teachers describe the girl as being "out of control.”
In all, the girl says her arm was bent backwards three different times. She was treated at a local hospital for arm injuries and referred to an orthopedist for additional treatment.
Magdalena Gomez is a parent of three children who attend Northwest Preparatory. She said she is disappointed about the charges, but would still recommend the school.
"I’m really surprised because I came all the time here and we come in without an appointment you know," said Gomez.
One parent told KHOU 11 News that if it was their child, "I would be infuriated. I have a daughter that goes here. That would not be tolerated."
The report actually came to the Humble police from CPS because the agency enrolled the girl in this school. She is living in a group home after being removed from her parents’ care.
The girl is six feet tall and weighs 150 pounds, but police say that should have no impact on how she is to be treated.
Humble police have responded to the school 23 times this year.
The school’s receptionist referred us to a superintendant who did not return our calls.

Chihuahua Does It Again

"It's wonderful... Imagine the little fuck telling someone that I don't know how to do my job! Fucking little bitch who voted her  @@@ of the year!  No wonder she became an administrator."

Rotty  was always known as one of the hardest working, brightest dogs around.  Her bosses loved her and appreciated her loyalty, her ingenuity and the initiative she always showed to make the job run smoother.  They were all smart and appreciated smart workers. 

Several years ago, Rotty's boss decided to retire.  The CEO of the company decided to put a little chihuahua in charge.  The chihuahua was uneducated, inexperienced and quite frankly, dumb.  It had no experience in the field and made decisions by doing whatever it took to get the CEO to give her treats. At first, chihauhua was nice to Rotty.  It knew Rotty had expertise and it needed Rotty to share that expertise.  But, as time went on, chihuahau started to view Rotty's intelligence and morality was a threat.  Chihuahua has done everything possible since to make Rotty's life miserable and to encourage Rotty to leave.

The CEO, enraptured by the cute little chihuahua is blind to the situation and has no problem with what chihuahua is doing.  The CEO does not realize the place will be torn apart by chihuahua's directives.  Or maybe, the CEO just does not care.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Sweep

The school had a real problem with kids in the hall when they should have been in class.  They knew they needed to do something so they waited until the bell rang and then did a sweep, picking up every student not in class.

Max and Mervin, two  good boys got picked up.  These boys tried to go to the library during their breakfast  9:45 lunch period,  but the library was closed.  They were on their way to the cafeteria when they were picked up.  Both boys went along without giving the deans any trouble.  To anyone watching, the school did a great job of getting two troublesome youths out of the hallway.

Charles and Eddie, two not so good boys were also in the hall.  The deans pretended not to see them as they ducked behind a pole and then ran down an empty hallway.  The deans knew these kids were trouble and would not go along easily.  They didn't want the hassle of dealing with bad boys.

When I taught, I always found the AP kids got caught when they were late, which wasn't very often.  The really difficult ones never seemed to feel the bristles of the broom.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Politically Incorrect Post


People who should not attend college:

1.  Anyone who can't correctly multiply 8 x 7 without a calculator.
2.  Anyone who can't write a coherent sentence.
3,  Anyone who can't read above a 5th grade level.
4.  Anyone who thinks attending class in not important.
5.  Anyone who thinks taking exams should be optional.
6.  Anyone who thinks leaving early or arriving late is acceptable.
7.  Anyone who doesn't think it is necessary to use the textbook.
8.  Anyone who refuses to study and/or do homework. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Classes Resume Next Week

I'm taking the semester off from Photo Shop.  I think I just need to practice on my own.

Above pictures taken on Long Beach, Sandy's destruction and the reconstruction of the boardwalk and the dunes.  More pictures on  Facebook.

Jumping To Wrong Conclusions


The man is arrogant and condescending to his peers and his colleagues.  I expected he treated his students the same way and I expected them to dislike him intensely.  Boy, was I wrong.

The students were organized and attentive.  They knew the classroom procedures and followed them exactly.  They told me the teacher was clear in all his explanations and never went ahead until everyone understood.  They told me he was the best teacher they ever had.

Just goes to show, you can't judge a book by its cover.  He might not know how to deal with adults, but he certainly knows how to teach.  I wish I could be half the teacher he is.  The students are lucky to have him as their professor.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Trailer Park

Since I am no longer working in a high school, I no longer have the fun of working in a trailer like my good friend NYC Ed, so I have to entertain myself watching Myrtle Manor, a trailer park on a quest to be the best trailer park in the city.  These guys have a pool.  Our trailers had built in showers.

I so enjoy having time to watch this rubbish on a Sunday night instead of marking papers and writing lessons.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Long Beach After Sandy

The boardwalk is gone.  I couldn't bring myself to see homes destroyed.  Cleanup and reconstruction has begun.  More pics on facebook.


Empty Promises


The man makes promises all the time, promises that are never kept.

Are these promises forgotten?  Are they beyond his ability to fulfill?  Or, are they just made to make him look good at the moment, empty promises?

Friday, March 01, 2013

Fun City Tips

1.  If you love shoes, go to FIT to see Shoe Obsession.  While you might not want to wear these shoes, they are fun to look at.  You have to go, or check out the website, no pictures allowed.  You might want to wait until March 8 as a boot exhibit is opening then, or go twice.  I plan on seeing this exhibit again before it closes in August.
2.  Rubin Museum on 17th and 7th--a place always on my list of museums to visit and I finally got there today.  There is a great collection of Asian art.  This little museum is not crowded and has plenty of docents around to explain some of the art I just could not understand.  Pictured above is the spiral staircase in the middle of the museum.
Ignore the poor quality of picture and see how high teachers are placed in this deity.
3.  A walk on the High Line is always a good way to spend some time. 

I'm looking forward to warmer weather and more city adventures.