Sunday, March 30, 2014

Truth In Fiction

Reading about DeBlasio, Avella and others change of heart concerning charter schools makes me wonder how much of House of Cards, the fictionalized Netflix series about evil, corrupt politicians is actually true.

Something big must be going on that the public is not being made aware of, something sinister.

Friday, March 28, 2014


The best way to evaluate a teacher is to ask their students, the ones who spend multiple hours with them weekly.  They have been with this person on good days and bad days.  They sat through wonderful lessons and lessons that bombed.  They know which teachers get a point across, or do whatever is necessary to get that point across a second or third or tenth time and know which teachers are impossible to learn from.  Students know these things.  Standardized tests don't.  APs, even those who have been at their jobs for more than 5 minutes often miss the point too and those not even trained in the subject they are supervising are clueless.

I just opened an envelope with 27 forms like the one posted above.  This time they happened to be all good, but they aren't always as complimentary.  Still, mix in a few not so nice ones and anyone can see the type of teacher I am.  And yes, there were students in this group who were not passing so the evaluations had nothing to do with ease of grading.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ah Chihuahau

Does the little Chihuahau have the big dog on a leash? 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Common Core

I will not defend Common Core.  I know little to nothing about what it entails.  What I do know is that kids today are not getting a real education.

Boo hoo to the failing scores.  This country needs a wake up call.  We have been failing our kids for years.  There might be problems with Common Core but kids not passing are not the problem.

I used to sit with my calculus students after the AP exam and help the foreign born ones with English assignments.  All had passed the regents.  All had passed out of ESL classes.  None were able to write coherent paragraphs.  Reading their work was painful.  All had to take ESL classes in college and couldn't understand why since they had done so well in high school.

Common core might be awful, but passing students who know nothing is probably worse.  There has got to be a better way.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

You Would Think

You would think a Principal with a strong education background, one with years of experience both teaching and in supervision, would care about keeping the quality of education up.  You would think that a man or woman like this would want people under them who were quality teachers and who recognize quality teachers.  You would think a Principal like this would not empower an assistant who had no clue when it comes to the subject that assistant is in charge of.  You would think the Principal would stop the assistant from pushing experienced, valued teachers out the door while rewarding and commending newbies.

You would think all this if you have not been around NYC schools lately, but those who have been there know that the Principal cares about statistics and nothing else.  Empowering an assistant who knows nothing does not matter as long as that assistant is willing to do anything and everything to keep the statistics up.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pleasure In Suffering

I got a perverse pleasure watching Billy take tonight's exam.

He found the exam difficult because he never bothered to do the review problems that were assigned.  He didn't even know how to use his calculator although that was gone over many times.  I enjoyed seeing his face turn red as he had no idea how to fix his graphing window and get out of his error message.

Billy is bright.  He wants A's.  Hopefully this test was a wake up call and he will realize he is not in high school anymore.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I Don't Blame The Kids

Billy was obnoxious Tuesday evening.  I was taking questions from the set of review problems I gave   the class the previous week to help them prepare for an upcoming exam.  Several students asked me to do all the problems.  I refused.  So many had not even looked at the study guide.  A few expected to be retaught the entire chapter. One student even had the nerve to tell me he wasn't getting his money worth for the course he paid for.

I don't blame these kids.  The worst offender, the boy who wasn't getting what he paid for, is a recent high school graduate.  He attended a fairly good high school in Queens.  Being bright, he was able to get by there with no work.  Everyone had to pass to keep the schools stats up so he grew up expecting to do nothing to achieve decent grades.  He doesn't understand why this is not happening in college.  He gets angry when I won't assign take home tests and when test answers cannot be found by plugging numbers in a calculator.  He has a brain but it hadn't been used.  Thinking is a skill he did not develop in high school.

I don't blame the students.  A Principal once told me we had to give diplomas to everyone as the diploma was the key to their futures.  If he saw some of my students he would change his tune.  He would see the diploma we give today is worse than no diploma at all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crazy: If I Did Not See It, I Would Not Believe It

Charles missed three classes, came back and scored 32 on his first exam.

He then missed 4 more classes.

I just opened an e-mail him with a medical note attached.  Unfortunately, the medical note is for his cousin and makes no mention of him.

I told him to drop the class.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Vacation Pics

Retirement is good.  We spent last weekend in Sarasota with another retired math teacher and her husband. 

Above are some photos of the beautiful wild life.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

No Wonder They Fail

Student 1 "had" to go to leave the country to attend his aunt's wedding. He "had" to be gone for two weeks. He knew he was missing an exam.  He did not bring his book along or even think about school the time he was gone.  He's back now, lost.

Student 2 left the country to go to his grandfather's funeral.  He was gone a week and a half and missed an exam.  He didn't bring the text along and is now back and lost.

Is it me, or is it them?  The kids I know outside of this college did not miss school for anything.  My son missed his aunt's wedding because he had a three hour class.  A friend's daughter missed her grandmother's funeral because of a 5-hour grad class.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Minimal Punishment

Once again she lied and the man protected her.  She did wrong, the evidence was there.  There were pictures of what she had done.  He probably slapped her tush and she most definitely cried.  There was no lasting pain, nothing to stop her from doing it again.