Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Affair

I just finished watching the last episode of  The Affair.  It took 5 episodes to get me interested and I am glad I stuck with it.  This last episode hit home.

The male lead, Noah, is a NYC high school teacher who ends up in the rubber room for a discretion.  (Won't go into any other details of the show here because they are not relevant to this post.)  Although I have not been to a rubber room, the show portrays all that I have heard about them.  The "inmates" are signed in by an evil looking guard.  They sit quietly at tables, reading, using computers, sleeping and being bored.  One has slumped over and is only noticed by a fellow captive who happens to turn around.  EMT removes him and no one seems concerned as the stretcher is carried passed them.  In order to go to the bathroom, ID must be left and the teacher must be signed out.

Noah is one of the few that succeeds in this hell like room.  He is a writer and finally completes his second novel which ends up being a huge success.

If you can't get into the series, just go to the season finale.  I would like to thank Showtime for portraying this for all to see.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Chaz Got It Right

I just finished reading Chaz's post and was reminded of a meeting I attended at the college several years ago.

The chair people of the college had a lunch meeting with the assistant principals of the math departments of many of the high schools that feed into it.  The college is stressed as students are coming in totally unprepared.  Their arithmetic skills and algebra skills are non existent and they feel a sense of entitlement, an expectation of passing without doing any work.  The point of the meeting was to find a way to work with the high schools to help these students succeed after they receive a diploma.  I remember the college representative telling that students who do not pass the placement exam must take remedial math.  The high school AP was upset about this.  Her students "worked hard" and "succeeded".  She thought it was cruel to make them take remedial.  She did not want to hear that the kids with 75s, who did not pass the placement test were just not ready to go ahead.  She wanted a graduating class that would not take remedial math even if they graduated knowing no math. Other APs started blaming middle and elementary schools.  The idea of the meeting was to fix the problem and not blame anyone.

High Schools could have 100% graduation rate but that would not mean anything if the kids who graduate are not ready to succeed in the world after high school.  I started teaching in the college over 10 years ago.  I've seen a steady decline in the ability of my students.  It is not them.  It is the way they have been taught and the low standards they have been held down to.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Out For The Holiday

This vintage bus was on 34th St, out for all to see.  The guy on the bottom usually stands in front of B&H Photo, taking and posing and of course charging.  I got this one for free as he chatted with bus driver.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Vicinity

Times Square

 30 Rock
 30 Rock

 Rockefeller Center

 St Patrick;s Cathedral

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Macy's 34th St

After many weeks, I finally have a working computer again.  Just posting some pictures from my favorite store at this festive time of year.

Merry Christmas

Rockefeller Center--I never get tired of this display.  It has been the same for years and hope it never changes.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Faith In A Failing Student

Final grades have been entered and the e-mails from the few failures are coming in fast and furious.  Jeff didn't understand why he failed even though he did no homework and failed every test including the final.  He was distraught and wanted to do extra work to pass.  If only he had done work in the first place he might have passed. No extra work for someone who did nothing all semester.

Jeff did have one saving grace.  When I told  him his final grade he stopped asking to pass, took responsibility and promised to work harder when he retakes the course next semester.  My money is on him.  He grew quite a bit (not enough but a lot) in the four months I have known him and I have faith he will continue.  He promised to keep in touch and I told him I am waiting for the letter announcing his success in life.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Best Evaluation Ever

E-mail from a student:

Thank you so much.. I enjoyed your class you are a wonderful professor. . You really care about your students and inspire us all to do well... it was a pleasure being in your class.. I wish you all the best.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Woman Who Could Not Get Tenure

The woman did not understand why, year after year, her boss refused to give her job tenure.  She had done everything to insure the success of her department.  She lied, cheated and forced her underlings to do the same.    She carefully picked the victims who would take the blame whenever she got caught and gleefully threw them under the bus in hopes of getting ahead.  She saw her statistics grow beyond human belief.  She was queen of the world but she could not gain that all important job security.

Could it be her boss sees the truth?  Or perhaps he is waiting to toss her to the wolves and it will be so much easier to do without that nasty thing called tenure.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Respect and Consideration

As I checked messages this morning, I found one from the secretary of the math department asking me if I could cover an exam today.  When I called back she told me the teacher had an emergency and could not be there.  I immediately answered yes and then rearranged my day to help out.

When I picked up the papers I was greeted warmly and thanked profusely.  I told her it was no big deal.  The college treats its teachers with utmost care and consideration and most of us reciprocate and do whatever we can to help.

When I began my teaching career in high school I also did  whatever I could to help as I was treated with respect and consideration.  But, as the years progressed, that treatment got less and less.  In return, I did less and less to help administration out although I never scrimped on the kids.  

Today's admins don't see any reason to be nice or respectful to teachers.  Teachers have to do all to keep jobs.  It is sad they don't see honey catches more flies than vinegar.  They should remember whose backs they are being carried on.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

No Common Core Saves The Day

Judith Scott was a deaf, almost mute woman with Downs Syndrome.  She was pronounced ineducable and sent to live in an institution for the mentally retarded in 1950.  Because she could not here, and because she missed her twin sister dearly, she became a disturbing influence and deemed unworthy of any sort of training.  In 1985 her twin sister, Joyce, moved her to Oakland Ca, where everyone was entitled to an education.  While in Oakland, she attended Creative Growth Center and got interested in creating sculptures by wrapping different objects with yarn, scraps, and anything else available.

Judith Scott now has an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.  She became a world renowned artist.

Judith was one of the lucky ones.  She had a sister who loved her and took care of her.  She got an education in something she had an ability to succeed with.  She didn't suffer in a classroom learning, subjected to Common Core.  Bless the hand on instruction she received and bring it back for all who need it.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

It's That Time Of Year

Love the spirit and lights on this house in Jamaica Estates--sight to behold.  This year there are even a few Chanukah decorations added.