Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Real Story Behind Administration Jobs

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

Go to a fly by night college.
Never buy a book.
Never hand in original papers.
No nothing about what you are in charge of.

You've got the job.
Now go tell others what awful teachers they are.
Make education policy.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Latest Department Memo

I just had to share the latest department memo.  I can't believe this person will continue determining who is an effective teacher and who is not one.  Too bad no one evaluates him.

BTW--my husband and I believe I am the teacher he is referring to. No one was ever allowed to question anything.  And, for the record, I only complained about being given the royal screw with a program once.  Thanks to a little work behind his back, I was able to fix part of it.  Guess that still hurts.

Dear all:
Attached, please find the department program for the Fall term. I advice you not to open it if you will complain in any ways or fashion. You are on vacation and so am I. Well, actually, I am still in the office. So, do not check your email if you believe you will find bad news.

I do not mean to be nasty, but a few years ago, a math teacher accused me of behaviors unbecoming of an assistant principal because I harassed her by emailing her in the summer. What happened was that she had the lowest passing percentage on the Regents exam of all the people who taught the course. If you believe you might operate or react the same way as that teacher, I sincerely suggest that you do not open this email or my emails to the department during the months of July and August. I will be sending you the Regents and course grade analysis during the summer.

Have a great summer! I am sorry I had to run out and did not have a chance to say goodbye to everyone individually. But we are a great department because we have great teachers who know how to get students to do the work.
Thank you for your understanding. I believe I am the only AP in our building who has completed the teacher program for next year. I just have to work on rooms.


The Best AP in the city

PS. I do want to know if I give you only four classes, six classes, etc. Those errors I will fix. I will not engage in a conversation about the classes your did not get or someone else got, number of preps., or the session you are on (remember, most people have two preps or one. There is only one person with two and half preps). If you want a different session, then your classes will change. I refuse to make someone else program worse because another person complained.
(Radish picture from Union Square farmer's market.  The radishes represent NYC high school graduates and the education they got under the Bloomberg administration)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Scared Little Chihuahua

Little Chihuahua is sitting at home crying her eyes out.  Her boss and her protector, the Bull Dog has gotten a promotion and will be moving to a new kennel.  He put up with her incompetence.  Heaven only knows why.  She is afraid her new boss will not be so tolerant.  She is afraid she might actually have to work.  And, she is most afraid her lack of knowledge, her inability to get along with others and her stupidity will no longer be tolerated.  She is afraid her hatred of the young pups she is in charge of will come through.

The dogs in the kennel are hopeful that she will not survive.  They want a leader that can do more than yelp and stare blankly at them.  They want a leader with a brain and a heart.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Letter To The Editor

Don’t blame UFT
Bellerose Manor: I am sick of the United Federation of Teachers being blamed for protecting bad teachers. It is the job of the union to protect its members. It is the job of the supervisor to properly document improper behavior and seek discipline. The Daily News and other media should go after the ones who are in charge. Linda Silverman

Read more:

Letter To The Department

Dear Teachers,

I want to thank you all for your hard work.  Many of you are getting close to 100% passing on regents exams and this is good.  Yes, we all know I remove failing and difficult students from the classes of teachers I like, but that is besides the point.  And, I know some kids are hard core failures that no one has ever been able to reach, but if I put them in your class I expect you to be able to teach them.  I don't care what you have to do to succeed, but succeed you must.  And  you teachers on maximum salary better start earning it and get your statistics up.  If you don't, I will be happy to use the Danielson Framework to get rid of you.  (Some of you might have already heard that an AP told her department how easy it will be to get rid of you with the new evaluation system.)

Some of you think you are good teachers.  You are not.  You are garbage and in this school to make me look good and to help me keep getting those big bonuses.

Have a nice summer.   Come back well rested and ready to feel my wrath if you don't live up to my standards.

The Best AP in the City

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Would Have Won

I should have bet.  I knew 5 would be the magic number. 

I'm The Boss So My Lateness and Unpreparedness Does Not Count


It is the last day of classes.  All teachers are told to report to their departments at 12:00 sharp for a department meeting.  It is hot, everyone wants to go home, but they all do what they must and show up on time.  At 12:10, the AP is still not around.  At 12:12 he shows up but runs into his office to run off the attendance sheet he needs for the meeting.  Ten minutes later he walks into the room.  The meeting begins 22 minutes late.  Truthfully, no one inside cares.  They won't understand his incoherent ramblings and are just counting the seconds until they can leave.

The AP is allowed to be late and unprepared.  Heaven help any teacher who does the same.  I'll never forget the verbal abuse that fell on someone who dared to arrive at a meeting late.

Standing outside the room, waiting for the meeting to start, several teachers complained about the fire being missing from the meetings.  Everyone is afraid.  No one will offer an opinion different from the APs.  They don't want to risk their jobs.  They don't want to be on te AP's hit list.

Oh What A Feeling

Showing up in the office of the person who hates you to be greeted warmly by everyone around and watching that person turn red and walk away without even aknowledging your presence.

That person thought his nastiness would keep away the people he hates.  He's wrong.  They were there today and will be there again in the future.  And his attitude just makes them want to show up again and again and again.  He is feeling pretty crappy but they feel great. There will even be a blog post later about something observed concerning the department meeting.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Visiting Success


I paid Packemin a visit last week.  It was the day of the senior barbecue and I was curious to see how the tenth graders I taught there my last term before retirement faired.  And, although I had mixed feelings about the adults I would encounter, I had no such feelings towards the students and to say the trip was rewarding, would be an understatemnt.

I was greeted with hugs and embraces so hard that, 4 days later, I can still feel.  Their words, still bring smiles to my face.  So many thanked me for coming and for being on them early on, as they wondered if they would be graduating now without my help.  (They probably would have made it anyway.)  Several told me they couldn't pass math without me and it broke my heart to hear that many of these kids didn't make it through geometry and trigonometry.  I know, with the right push, they all would have succeeded.  And, while they are graduating, most will be in remedial classes in college, in spite of the pre-trig classes they took in high school.

Mr. AP claimed I had nothing to do with the school's stats and his bonus.  That doesn't matter.  These kids know I played a big part in their education and quite frankly, their opinions matter a whole lot more than the actions of some administrator who judges the quality of a teacher by how high they jump when he issues a command.

Being retired, I can post pictures.  Students all gave permission to be photographed.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

AP Conversation

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

...Said the AP sitting behind her desk, coming out to yelp and snarl at her employees. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quote Of The Day

Regents week blah...we might as well give out answer keys!!!

OSI Came A Callin'

Many years ago, Mutt and Jeff were two special education teachers who, to put it mildly, had a full paying job while on a permanent vacation. Oh, they showed up every day but they didn't teach much.  They told the kids to be good and they would get 90's.  I know this is true, because I heard the story from numerous kids. 

Mutt and Jeff wanted to be loved by every student which is kind of hard to do when the kids can't pass state exams, but they solved this problem by giving out answers during the exams.  This went on for years, people saw but said nothing until Inspector Gadget joined the staff.  Inspector Gadget had problems in the school and knew he would be out of work at the end of June.  He knew that Mutt and Jeff played a major part in his job loss.  As one final act, he called OSI and reported proctoring violations.

When the new school year started in September, OSI sent investigators to the school.  They interviewed teachers and students.  When one student was asked if anyone helped her on the exam, she answered "yes, Ms. POd."  Luckily for me, she quickly clarified her statement with "she helped by being a really good teacher."  Mutt and Jeff got off lucky.  The kids they gave answers to had graduated and were not around for the questioning.

Being investigated is not fun.  I would not wish it on any innocent person.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Better Stock Up On Ambien


Message to the proctors who have been giving their students answers during recent regents exams:

Sleep now.  You won't be doing much of that when OSI comes creeping around investigating these miracle grades.  Don't expect any protection from the administrator who forced suggested you do this. This administrator will self protect.  The bonus and the job protection are the APs only concern.

(This is going on in more schools than anyone would ever imagine.  So, if you see your school here, if you live in  Brooklyn or Buffalo, know you are not alone.  And, change the word regents to state exam and it could be anywhere in the country.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Keeping The Myth Alive

Dear Math Teachers,

Please disregard everything I said all year about how you should only pass students who have learned something and have passed exams and the regents and pass everyone who came to class and sat for the regents.  We all know they didn't have a shot in hell of passing, but that does not matter.  We have to perpetuate the myth that they will graduate and be college ready.  I know many of you know these students are not even ready for high school math, but we have to keep our A rating and keep our school looking good.  The colleges will make them take remedial math, but that is not our problem, it is the problem of the college, something I care nothing about.   Once the kids leave our school, they are not our responsibility anymore.

I want to thank everyone for all the time they spent tutoring students.  But, please do not let this go to your head.  The slightest little thing you do that displeases me will cause my memory to go blank on these good deeds.  I will not hesitate to throw you under the bus.  For those of you who are new, just ask some of the older teachers about how I handled Ms. Pissed Off.  She always did everything and more than I could ever want from a teacher, but, when she disagreed with me, well, you don't want to know what I did and what I tried to do.

You have no idea how grateful I am to be surrounded by people who are afraid of their own shadows and do everything I ask

Monday, June 17, 2013

World Peace--One Couple At A Time

He fell for her smile the minute he walked into the room.  He loved the way she handled the youths she worked with.  All 5 ft of her made him grin from ear to ear.

She took immediate notice of the hot guy in the police uniform.  Every guy she ever dated or looked at was now a distant memory.

They fell in love, she got pregnant and they got married.  Both families rejoiced and came together to celebrate the joyous occasion.

He is a Muslim and she is a Jew.  He broke the glass and she covered her arms in henna and donned a

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day 2013

My dad worked two jobs so my mom could stay at home and make sure his two children were always supervised.  Mondays and Thursdays we never saw him as he didn't arrive home until after 10, way past our bedtime.  I remember lying in bed, trying to stay awake until I heard the door open.  Mostly I remember the trying, not the succeeding.  He worked Saturdays too.  My mom used to dress us up and then take us to Macy's where he worked, selling children's shoes.  I will never forget the light in his eyes as he introduced us around and showed us off.  We loved those trips.  It was a special way to connect to the father we had limited access too.

One thing about my dad was he made all his time with us meaningful.  Sundays were family outing days.  I can still smell the elephants from those trips to the zoo and taste the ice cream from Carvel.  The Friday night fireworks we watched from the outskirts of Freedomland still light up my thoughts.  And, no matter how tired he was, he always managed to take me to the distant library when I needed to go or to carry those prized hula hoops on the subway during rush hour.

My dad retired from his first job right before my son was born.  They have the same birthday.  He always says that boy (man now) is the greatest gift he ever got, even when he was stuck changing dirty diapers during weekly babysitting duty.

When my mom got sick, dad retired from the job he loved to take care of her. He never worried about his own comfort as he ran from doctor to doctor, held her hand while she cried during the innumerable blood transfusion, cleaned her incontinence and everything else.  He cared and took care, never complaining, until the bitter end.

After mom died, dad lost his will to live.  I worried that I would soon be parentless, something I didn't want to deal with and couldn't deal with, but slowly, after years of tears, he regained his will to live.  He is stubborn, set in his ways and a general pain in the ass now, but I cherish every minute I have with him.  Life without him is impossible to imagine.

Over the past few years he has had several health scares.  He beat cancer.  He survived a bad fall, although it did age him many years.  Last week he fell several times (luckily he did not get hurt).  His aide called and we ended up in the emergency room at Einstein Hospital in the Bronx.  I won't go into it here, but the ER treatment left much to be desired.  After many hours he was transferred to the 9th floor (room 938) where he got the most terrific, unbelievably good treatment ever.  I can't say enough good things about Mrs. Hall, the head nurse, Macrina, his nurse, and especially Venetta, the unit secretary and everyone else on the floor.  Dad was delusional and unstable, but they gently cared for him and helped him come back.  It was heartbreaking to see this once strong, vibrant man suffering and psychotic.  Dad is home now, with Effie, his wonderful companion and care giver and doing better.

Sorry for the rambling.  Father's Day is here and I pray my dad will be around for many, many more. He will be 89 in a few weeks.  I know dad doesn't read this blog, but I still want to say it here.  Happy Father's Day to one of the best.  I love you.

(Pictured above is dad with his health aide Effie and Jessie, the man assigned to watch him in the hospital.)

Tribute to the fine people who cared for him in the hope of it getting back to the people in charge at the hospital)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Have Money--Get A High School Diploma

A friend of mine teaches in a very expensive yeshiva in the Five Towns area.  Parents pay heavy duty tuition.  Many make hefty duty donations.  These kids have private drivers and tutors.  Everything they want they get.

In this Yeshiva, no one fails.  Kids used to be given packets to complete to improve grades.  This was a snap for them.  Mommy and daddy hired tutors to complete the assignments.  Now, instead of these packets, the kids must take make up exams, usually the same exam they failed in the first place. They have plenty of time to get help and to memorize answers.

Dov did not show up when he was supposed to and missed his makeup.  When he finally showed up, he badgered the teacher for permission to do the exam at home.  She refused.  He finally took the exam, scored an 85 and passed the class, knowing nothing.

Next year Dov will be a college freshman, expecting the same things.  Poor Dov is in for a rude awakening.  My friend gave up the job.  She just couldn't take the low standards anymore.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Miracle Worker

It is regents week and the AP has all her obedient little teachers in the rooms giving out answers proctoring.  Since she took the job, this department's statistics have made a remarkable improvement. Kids who only 4 years ago could barely read and do arithmetic are now getting regents diplomas and going on to college.  She is a real miracle worker.

I feel for these kids.  In college no one proctors exams this way.  There is no coaching through exams.  Too bad diplomas can't be recalled like defective cars.  An extra screw won't fix the problem these kids have.  Their education has prepared them for the junk yard.

On the bright side, the AP is doing her part to keep the school's A rating.  I hope everyone involved feels real proud of themselves.  It is funny how things change.  The people committing these atrocities came into teaching because they "liked" children.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Said The AP Who Picked Brains

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

She didn't know much, still doesn't, but got where she is by taking credit for work of others.

Monday, June 10, 2013

15 Minutes

Years ago, a Principal told me that the AP must write things like barely satisfactory and minimally satisfactory in an observation report so that the final one could show improvement and the AP could justify his job as a teacher mentor.  I resented that at the time and thought it was a pretty crappy thing to do.

In retrospect, maybe it wasn't so bad.  No one lost their jobs or even were threatened with an ineffective or "U" rating.  The only thing bruised were egos and, in truth, many of the recommendations were right on target.  They came from a full period observation done by a person that knew curriculum and had teaching skills.

Today's 15 minute observations do nothing.  There is no insight into how the lesson was developed.  There is no way to see how it flowed from the motivation, to the meat and then to the summary.  There is no way 15 minutes can show what has gone on in the class.  Often the person doing the observing is not even a very good teacher or has expertise in the subject.  There is no way a teacher can get help or even complimented on what they have done.

The 15 minute observation allows the observer to move quickly from room to room.  After all, six observations per teacher per year takes lots of time, time not available if a full period was spent in every class being watched.

It makes me sick thinking about a union that would sign off on a policy like this, a policy that makes it easy to get rid of anyone the administration does not like, a policy that will hurt kids like the one pictured above.  It makes me embarrassed to say I am a UFT member.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Judging Management

One of the things Panera Bread uses to judge their managers is employee retention.  The company feels a big turnover in staff implies there is something wrong with the people in charge.

Six (maybe seven) are retiring from one department this semester.  Many of these employees thought they would never leave.  Some higher up needs to see if something is wrong with the AP in charge.


Bloomberg Education Mantra

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

Also shared by education deformers

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Why I Never Wanted To Be An Administrator

I like kids. Unlike others,  I never wanted to hurt them by taking a job I knew I would not be good at.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Thursday, June 06, 2013

More On Evaluations

As a retired teacher, I have nothing to gain or lose from this new system, but our students have plenty to lose. This system does nothing to help teachers hone their craft, but does plenty to get rid of fine ones.
If the state cares about quality, it needs to go back to the days when administrators were master teachers. Their observations and evaluations meant something, and they taught my generation to become master teachers. Today they have barely been in the classroom and cannot help a teacher when they don’t know the subject matter themselves.
This evaluation system is only a way to stick it to teachers. It has nothing to do with helping students or creating better teachers.Linda Silverman
Today's NY Post

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

From Today's Daily News-More On Evaluations

Add real value
Bellerose Manor: As a retired teacher, I have nothing to gain or lose from this new evaluation system. But our students have plenty to lose. This system does nothing to help teachers hone their craft — but it does plenty to get rid of many fine ones. If the state really cares about quality, it needs to go back to the days when administrators were master teachers. Their observations and their evaluations meant something and taught my generation to become master teachers. Today’s administrators have barely been in the classroom. Linda Silverman

Monday, June 03, 2013

Hurtful Blow


Science teachers are worried, and rightly so. Students who don't complete the required number of labs are not permitted to take the regents. This missing labs cause a zero to be averaged into a teacher's statistics and might cause an effective teacher to be rated ineffective.

The state is saying the teachers have it wrong.   If students miss labs through no fault of the teacher, the teacher will not be penalized.  Each case will be judged on an individual basis by the teacher's supervisor.

I say teachers really need to be worried.  I know a supervisor who held teachers accountable for student's attendance.  Recently, a teacher in that department had issues with a boy's attendance.  Although she called the home numerous times and reported the issue to guidance, he did not show up.  In fact, he missed most classes.  The AP wanted to put a letter in her file condemning her failure to get him to attend class.  Luckily a good chapter leader intervened and this did not happen. 

Hopefully some court will decide these evaluations are illegal and should be struck down.

(article in Newsday--sorry, I can't post article, Newsday doesn't share with non subscribers)

Sunday, June 02, 2013


This whole teacher evaluation system and the "idea" that it is going to make better teachers is such a load of BS.  It makes me sick when I think about all the people that went into teaching to help children and now will spend all their time watching their backs to make sure they keep their jobs.

Evaluations like these do nothing to help a teacher become better.  These evaluations and observations do nothing to help.  All they do is emphasize what is not being done in some meaningless rubic.

If the state really cares about creating more effective teachers, they need to start with effective leaders.  When I first started teaching, my AP was a real nasty bitch but she did what the APs today cannot do--she knew how to teach and she knew how to teach teachers how to teach.  I started in that school at 20 years old, straight out of college.  I took a full series of math education courses, including student teaching at CCNY under the tutelage of Professor Posamentier, one of the all time great math educators.  But, nothing prepared me for being the sole person in a room full of 34 needy kids.  This AP observed three times a semester, always unannounced.  She stayed from bell to bell and wrote detailed notes on everything that transpired in the lesson.  The day after, we met and went over her findings.  While the meetings were not always comfortable for me, they were productive.  I learned classroom management, questioning skills, methodology and content.  This AP was ruthless.  In spite of her harsh demeanor, she loved the kids and would not tolerate a teacher who she did not feel was any good and she went after those with a vengeance.  I can honestly say our school, one of the first schools in the city to be closed down, had one of the best math staffs in the city.  Everyone went on to better schools, better because of location, parking and level of students.  Several became administrators, one a principal.  Everyone ended their careers teaching advanced classes and helping young teachers learn the ropes.  This AP did it all without a meaningless evaluation system.

Today's administrators have barely gotten their toes wet in the classroom.  Many are not experts in the field they are in charge of and teachers have no where to go with questions.  A special education AP I know taught math for several years before taking the job.  What can she possibly know about effective teaching in this field when she has almost no experience teaching it?  We had a math chairperson several years ago who could barely pass algebra.  When he observed my calculus class, a boy said, "that guy doesn't know much, does he?"

The media and everyone else ought to open their eyes and see these evaluations for what they really are, the thing an AP recently told her department at a conference--an easy way to get rid of teachers.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

I Don't Get It


Some things that are going on in schools today, I just don't get.  Principal's claim to care about students.  Many claim they take the job to help as many students as possible, yet the things that go on under their watch make this claim impossible to believe.  Even though I don't like it, I get why they have to graduate everyone.  If they can't keep their stats up, the school will be closed and everyone will be hurt.

Here's what I don't get and it has nothing to do with statistics.

1.  I don't get why they hire assistant principals with no experience in the subjects they are in charge of, in administration, or even in teaching.  Why do they think a drive through degree qualifies these numb nuts to be in charge and make decisions that affect day to day education?  Can't they see that some of these imbeciles don't even like children?  It is obvious to everyone, why not them?  And, why do they keep these people on and give them tenure when it would be so easy to replace them with more qualified candidates

2.  I don't get why teachers who have given their lives to education, who are knowledgeable and caring are now marginalized and pushed to the curb.  They've always known what is best and done what is best and now they are being treated like dirt, told they have a foot out the door, so why should anyone bother with them.  My last year had me teaching very at risk students.  I worked harder than I ever did and had very good passing statistics.  I am not the only one in this category either.

3.  I don't get why they don't know who is arriving 25 minutes late to first period classes every day and why they have never caught Ms. Teacher who leaves every class to refill her coffee mug or to chat with friends in the hall.  How can they not know which teachers arrive early every day and give up all their preps and lunch periods to help students?  How can they be so clueless as to what goes on around them.

4.  I don't get blatant favoritism.  Why allow parties on school time that exclude some?  Why not discourage administrators from having private gatherings with a handful of the chosen? 

5.  I don't get why mentors chosen to help new teachers are new teachers themselves?  It takes several years to learn the ropes yet mentors are chosen with only a year under their belt.

6.  I don't get why administrators are permitted to bad mouth teachers all over the building and to practice age discrimination.

Principals come and go.  I hope the new ones coming in will think about what is best for the students and not is best for them.  I hope the new ones coming in really care about helping many and are not just throwing out words or trying to build resumes.