Friday, February 28, 2014

When Statistics Are All That Count

Mrs. Obsessed was worried about Nat.  The regents exam was just a few days away and she did not feel he was ready.  She asked him to stay late for extra help.  Mrs. Obsessed could not give Nat the undivided attention he needed so she asked Mrs. Kind to help.  Mrs. Kind sat with Nat and showed him different methods, explains fully as she went along.  Mrs. Obsessed overheard and said "don't bother explaining, just give him steps.  Nat is incapable of understanding.  He needs to learn by rote."  Mrs. Obsessed students passed the regents, her results were excellent.  Her statistics failed to show how little they actually knew.

Mrs. Obsessed is now a high school principal.  I fear for all the students in her charge she thinks are incapable of understanding and who are being pushed through without really being educated.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Disposing Of Obsolete Materials

I just read an interesting article containing rules and regulations for disposing of obsolete DOE equipment and books.

Quick summary:

1.  Supervisor must certify that the material is obsolete and can no longer be used.
2.  All equipment, including books, must be inventoried.
3.  All DOE markings must be removed from books and equipment.
4.  Efforts must be made to get rid of the material in a way that is advantageous financially.  A minimum of three advertisements must be placed and the supervisor is responsible for responding to inquiries.

You can read the whole article here.  I am sure the feet pushing the cart to the dumpster belong to custodians.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Evil Grin

The AP was grinning from ear to ear.  Finally, the senior teachers in her department, the ones who taught her the ropes and covered her ass were gone.  She no longer needed, or wanted their advice.  She made them so miserable that those eligible for retirement ran.  (Many had planned on being in the classes for quite a few years longer.)  She knew they had morals and scruples, things that would interfere with her willingness to do anything and everything to look good.  She knew they would not permit her to keep abusing the children she was in charge of.

The department was now full of newbies.  True, many of these youngsters did not know the first thing about teaching but they knew how to bow and scrape.  They knew how to follow her every command.  She knows nothing but these newbies know even less.  She deposed her enemies and that was all that mattered.

(She was also confident that her new boss would protect her at all costs.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What Happens In A Certain NYC HS on Snow Days

E-mail from a teacher.  I am so glad to be away from this nonsense/

The APs  and Principal walked around on Thursday during the snow storm to see who was teaching.  Rumor is from now on teachers will formally be observed since they are entitled to at least 6 pop ins as part of the new evaluation system.  Then you ask why I am going.  It pays to fight the snow, parking and then be harrassed.  Also I wonder if a teacher has a coverage if that teacher can be observed, probably.

Instruction on a snow day
28Q505 | 2/13/2014 1:08:53 PM
On a snow stricken day with a little over 800 students in the building, what should be happening in the classroom?  Choose the best possible answer.
_____       a. One on one time can be utilized with students that are still struggling with skill deficits.
_____       b. Combining classes to promote data-driven tutoring across disciplines so that students can take advantage of the brain bank of one room.
_____       c. "Office Hours" type discussions with students about their goals, College aspirations, scholarship writing and or vocabulary words and key concepts found in exams like the S.A.T and A.C.T
_____       d. All of the above
Thank you for your efforts in making sure that whether there are two students or 34 students that instruction is still being capitalized. 
Respectfully submitted,
Instructional Core Team 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chihuahuas Rampage in Arizona

 Frank Elaridi

Chihuahuas are on the loose in an Arizona neighborhood and flooding animal control offices with reports of the roaming strays.
The short-legged dogs have infested Maryvale, a section of Phoenix.
GTY chihuahuas jef 140217 16x9 608 Chihuahuas Rampage in Arizona
Residents of Maryvale in Phoenix, Ariz. are worried about chihuahuas that are on the loose. Getty Images
Animal control are having a rough time unleashing officers to patrol the area due to the unusually high number of calls, sometimes a dozen at one time.
“We compared the number of calls we got in 2013 from that area to similar areas in town and the calls from Maryvale were three times higher than surrounding areas,” said Melissa Gable with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.  ”Part of it is these animals aren’t spayed or neutered, so they’re out looking for a mate and are having babies, which also contributes to the problem.”
Chihuahuas are one of the most common breeds found in animal shelters, according to animal control.
“If at all possible, if you see a stray, if you can safely contain him in your yard and then call us, that makes a big difference. Because people are calling saying, ‘hey I see a stray’ by the time we get there, it’s gone, it slips under the fence, and we can’t find it. ” Gable said. “Do that, because it’s helping us come out and get the dogs.”
Maricopa Animal Care and Control will spay and neuter dogs at no charge. They also plan to visit Maryvale in the summer to provide the service for residents.

A former colleague who knows how much I love chihuahuas sent me this article.  Too bad we can't call animal control on the ones running around here.  They certainly can use spaying and neutering.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I had to laugh.  A friend told me his AP thinks she is the Chihuahua and all the Chihuahua posts written are about her.  And, the AP was laughing.  Imagine, doing the things the Chihuahua does and being proud to be that dog.

Newsflash:  The Chihuahua is not one person, she is many people.  She is the incompetent AP, she is the evil Principal and she is the squeaky little manager of a bar I like to attend.  She represents teachers I have had, teachers my children have had and teachers I have worked with.  She is the nasty store clerk, the miserable cashier and the bus driver who waves as he leaves people in the street waiting.

Wonder how many others will see themselves in the Chihuahua and go away laughing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Why I Was So Pissed

It wasn't that he opened schools.  I am used to NYC never getting a snow day.

It wasn't that I would have had to take a sick day if I did not go in.  I always felt fortunate to have those to use.

It wouldn't have been for my own kids.  I let them stay home, attendance be damned, when the weather was that bad.

It was the arrogance that pissed me off.  De Blasio and Farina could have said NYC schools stayed open because they felt that was best.  Period.  They didn't have to talk about how wonderful the city was running when, in reality, it wasn't.  Trains and buses were running late and canceled in many places.  Cars were skidding and getting stuck.  Sidewalks were slippery.  It was not a day to be out.  They heard the same weather forecast we all did and chose to ignore it.  They should have said they were in charge, they made a decision and everyone had to accept.  I wouldn't have liked the words but they would have been better than the lines they fed us.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Perfect Attendance Award

I remember Angela coming to school with 103 degree fever.  Her mom insisted she come and truthfully, she wanted to be there too.  She wanted to keep her perfect attendance and get a certificate at graduation.

I wonder how many kids braved the elements this morning, risked getting hit by skidding cars, falling on ice and waiting hours for buses just for that perfect attendance award?

Schools should have been closed today.  I have no sympathy for teachers who wouldn't use a sick day, but I have lots for the kids who went in, not willing to give up that perfect attendance or afraid a day out will hurt their grades.  I know some parents depend on the schools to babysit while they work, but schools are not babysitters.  Perhaps the city needs to set up a babysitting alternative for school days.

My daughter reminded me that there were no snow days when she was growing up.  It was wrong then.  That doesn't make it right now.  I am one who always took public transportation and went it.  But even I would have stayed under the covers this morning.

De Blasio-A Bloomberg Clone?

De Blasio was standing at the podium talking about the state of emergency and telling everyone who did not have to go out to stay home.  After much BS he got to schools.  From what I gathered, in his mind, schools are day care centers for people who need safe places for their children while they work.

CBS news was great.  While he rambled on about how the city was up and operating fine, they kept showing stalled trucks, cars sliding all over the place, parents struggling to get to school and a jackknifed bus on Queens Blvd.

The arrogance he and Farina showed was no better than the arrogance Bloomberg and Walcott showed during their reign of abuse.  If this is any indication of what the next four years will be like, the city is still in trouble.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thank You Sir

To the village pillager:

Thank you for only destroying 3/4 of my crops and letting me give the other 1/4 to the poor.

Thank you for only ripping off 3 of my limbs and for allowing me to use the one that is still attached..

Thank you for only raping 75% of my daughters and for leaving the other 25% pure.

Hope this is the thank you requested.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teachers Uniting To Make A Difference

The teachers were fed up with their young, incompetent AP.  She was not well versed in her subject, she often refused to make decisions, and when she did, they were bad ones.  She never took responsibility for them.  Yet, she had no problem taking credit for the accomplishments of others and she was the queen of barking orders and glaring.  These teachers decided to take matters into their own hands.

The teachers began meeting after school hours in undisclosed locations.  (They were afraid of repercussions before they were ready to present.)  They knew alone they could do nothing but there was power in numbers.  They also knew the rest of the administration would do nothing to help them.  Administrators stick together and defend their own no matter what misdeeds.  They could toss expensive books, promote cheating, harass teachers without reason and it was okay.  Generals always defend their second in command.

The teachers came up with a game plan.  They secretly photographed things going on in the school.  They started sending these pictures, along with detailed letters to local politicians, newspapers and even bloggers.   Since efforts in the building accomplished nothing, they decided to take their fight outside.

I wish them well.  The teachers want to get back to the business of educating students.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

A Celebration Of Life

Many years ago I was asked to speak at the funeral of a para I had worked with.  I loved this woman, respected her and valued the help she gave me during my first years at Packemin.  (I was teaching special education, something I had very little experience with.). I was nervous but  I never thought about refusing.  This was my first experience  in a Black church and at a Baptist service.  I was the only white person.  I will be eternally grateful to my two friends who stayed at my side and encouraged me not to run for the door.  My speech went over well and was appreciated by the family, friends and parishioners.

I thought about that service today as we gathered to pay our final respects to my sister-in-law, a woman who died too young, only 66 years on this earth.  The Baptist funeral was a celebration of life.  People marched in singing, dressed in white.  It was a magnificent tribute to a woman of virtue.  Today the funeral officiant began by saying we were not brought there by a death, but by a life.  We were there to celebrate my sister-in-law's life.  Everyone who knew my sister-in-law knew she didn't operate like anyone else.  She was funny and crude and oh so smart .  Her tongue was quick and the words it spoke were often not very nice.  But, her words masked her true self and her deeds were not reflected by what she said.  Many people spoke.  We reminisced and we laughed.  No one had ever seen a service quite like the one we had today.  We think she would have really enjoyed it and would have been sitting on the side lines laughing and making fun of everyone,  The officiant said she had never been to a service like this one and I am willing to bet she will never be at one like it again.  She was sorry she never got to meet this funny, smart, caring woman.

My sister-in-law died too young but she died the way she lived, on her own terms.  She got up to get something, collapsed at home, called her daughter and then died.  She touched many lives.  She will be missed.

Her hands were hiding her multiple chins (something she always joked about and did) and her fingers are saying her favorite expression.  I will leave that to your imagination.

Friday, February 07, 2014

50 Years Ago

(sorry, I did not have my good camera)

 Paul's guitar
 George's guitar
 John's guitar

Check out the prices in 1964

 I took a drum lesson from Ringo on these drums--really cool
 John's glasses

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Only Thinking About What Is Good For The Person In Charge

The AP was still tossing books, books that could be used by students in the school, books that could be sent to other schools, books still in wrappers.  The book company was even willing to pay postage to have the books returned to them.  The AP preferred dumping them.

The AP doesn't care.  The books could have been recycled, but that might have helped some students and teachers.  Recycling day was coming but the books hit the dumpster today (recycling day is later in the week) thrown in by students, very low functioning students.  Who knew they were permitted to be out of the building, doing work like this, without teacher supervision?

The Principal is not much better than the AP.  The Principal must have had knowledge of what was going on, but looked aside.  Makes one wonder how much this Principal cares about educating students especially when so much time is being spent taking them out of the classroom and valuable resources are being tossed aside.  He probably doesn't care much for the environment either.

Pictured above are the books on the cart and the legs of the students who dumped them.

Not A Good Principal

A good Principal works to create a pleasant environment for students and teachers.  Everyone does better when they are happy.  Teachers who are taken care of take better care of their students.  Yet, not all believe this.

When a Principal and an AP join forces to undermine the teachers in the school, they are working together to destroy morale and to bring the school down.  I never got to know the Principal of my first school, the one who came on board while I was on child care leave.   He realized the tenured 25-year AP was U-rating some good teachers and making life unbearable for others.  He joined forces with our UFT chapter leader and took control. He stopped the detrimental behavior instead of feeding into it.

And that my friends, is one of the things a good Principal does.  Too bad there are almost none of these around anymore.

Here is to another snowy day in paradise.  It is so good to not be a part of that craziness anymore.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


My sister-in-law was truly one of a kind.  She left a lasing impression on everyone who ever met her. Inside her gruff, uncouth exterior was a heart of gold.  She brought laughter and love to the darkest situations.  Her passing left a hole in every one's life.  She will be missed by all who ever came in contact with her.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Snow Cancels My Class

The college did not cancel classes tonight but I canceled mine.  I didn't want to go out in this weather. While we are lucky and our block gets plowed often, we are not so lucky because all the snow ends up in front of my driveway and I had my doubts about ever getting back in.  I did consider the bus, but it will be even colder and very icy later.  Some of my students live quite a distance and attendance would have been light.  I don't know how much teaching would have been done and I didn't feel right risking the safety of the die-hards who never stay home.

Working in the college is a delight.  A one-click system let me notify all my students and a secretary cheerfully answered the phone when I called in and told me I made a wise decision.

I am so happy not to be dealing with the DOE anymore. 

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Least Intelligent Canine

Yesterday, a friend who is very knowledgeable about dogs, especially chihuahua,s sent me a message that Yahoo news listed the five least intelligent dogs and the number one least intelligent one was a chihuahua.

The friend who sent this has quite a bit of chihuahua experience.  She is familiar with the yapping.  She has spent hours cleaning up yellow puddles and brown packages the chihuahua leaves all over the place.  The chihuahua has not gotten the hang of doing her business the the correct place. She knows this survey is quite accurate.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Fun Day Not To Work

I'm not a football fan, I didn't even know which teams play in the Super Bowl but I didn't want to miss the action on Broadway.  It was mobbed but worth seeing.  I am sure Saturday was even worse.

Here are a few photos: