Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Truth Trips Up Administrator

The AP was caught red handed after she manipulated regents grades to improve her schools statistics.  The teachers she expected to come to her defense not only refused to help, they gave evidence to her prosecutors.  It was finally time, after years of abuse, to even the score and all they had to do was tell the truth.

Initially the AP got a slap on the hand and was moved to a better school, typical administrative punishment.  Unfortunately for her the new school didn't work out and she was once again moved, this time to a lower position in a school slated for closure.  Things didn't work out there either and the AP is back in the classroom, going from school to school and taking crap from the people she once considered colleagues, taking crap from the people she used to dish it out too.

So, if you have an AP who has done this, that AP might be under investigation soon too.  You might even get to tell your story and watch the AP fall to the heap s/he belongs in.  And all you will have to do is tell the truth.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Why Even Bother?

The class was given a major take home assignment over spring break.  They were told it would count as an exam and they should work in groups and get help in the lab if necessary. They were also told not to bother handing it in if they did not do a good job on it as it would count as an extra grade, a grade that should help, not hurt their average.

Student One left out 5 out of 15 problems and wanted to hand it in anyway.  When I told her the most she could score was 75 she picked up the paper and walked away in a huff.

Student Two handed in the paper and then tried to take it back so he could fill in more answers. When I told him if he took it back he couldn't resubmit, he took it back anyway.  He did not want a failing grade.

Student Three didn't bother doing it. He said it was too hard.  He then asked me if he should drop the class.  Although he is passing at the moment, I told him he should drop as the take home assignment was also a review for the final.  If he couldn't do it at home, he had no shot of doing it on final day.

I haven't looked at the papers yet and I am guessing I still have other missing papers.

This week I covered a class for a colleague.  Only a handful of students showed up, good conscientious students.  I told them I was impressed.  They told me the "do nothings" didn't bother showing up since their teacher would not be present. They told me he had a lot of patience.

I just don't understand today's college students.  They have every opportunity to get help and improve grades and do nothing about it. They want to pass but are unwilling to put forth any effort to do so.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I called the math department to tell them I would cover a pre-calculus class tonight and Tuesday.  The secretary thanked me.  She said they needed someone strong.

Hearing words like this shouldn't matter, but they do.  Everyone needs validation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

1964 World's fair 50th Anniversary

A unique opportunity to visit the NYS Pavillion from the 1964 World's Fair was available today, the 50th anniversary.  I remember going every week, on the Q44 bus from West Farms with my cousin.  World certainly has changed as I would never have allowed my young children to make that trip.

The lines were huge and we decided to skip it when we met friends who got us tickets.  It was definitely fun to see.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Teacher Evaluations For Promotion

The only place I ever read the Post is in a bar.  A beer makes is the only thing that makes it readable.  Last week it had an editorial berating Farina's back to teacher instead of test evaluations for promotion.  Here are a few answers to that editorial.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Woman Of Valor

Six months ago my closest friend, the friend I call sister, was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Instead of getting into bed and crying she attacked the disease with all her might.  Thinking the chemo would cause her hair to fall out, she found a place that makes wigs for children, cut off her beautiful locks and sent them away.  She spent 6 weeks getting radiation and chemo treatments and her cute short hair grew longer.

Unfortunately the treatment did not work but she did not give up.  She found a new doctor and is bravely going under new treatment and starting to feel good.  Now, as she slowly looses her hair, she smiles as she dons a wig or a cap to keep her head warm.

Today I shaved the remaining hair off her head so she can adjust the wig to make it fit better.  She smiled as we checked the mirror for missed hairs and joked about the money she could now save on shampoo.  She even calls herself Kojak now.

My friend is a wonderful person.  I pray every day for her recovery and pray for the strength of face obstacles with the strength and courage she is facing hers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gotcha Mentality Not Good For Students Or Teachers

Teachers can be observed any day of the week.  But, when an AP chooses to observe a teacher the day before a long vacation something is not right.  Oh the AP might claim she wants to make sure teaching is going on all the time but, if the AP ever bothered to leave her office, she would know the teachers that work and those that don't.  Besides, a walk through the hall with a glance through a window should be enough to let a competent administrator know what is going on.

The AP who is doing this has an agenda and that agenda is "gotcha".  Too bad the gotcha hasn't worked very often because the teachers do what they are supposed to do, TEACH until the very last bell of the day rings.

I never understood this gotcha mentality.  Happy teachers are better teachers.  Why would an AP who cares about his charges do this  Why would a Principal who wants to run a good school condone such actions?  Is this because the AP and the Principal care more about making the life of the teacher uncomfortable than they care about the welfare of the students they are in charge of?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Empty Chairs

As I get ready for tonight's seder, I think about all the people the empty seats.

My grandpa who used to check every label to make sure things were kosher.
My grandma who made the world's best potato latkas and was never surprised they were all gone before we sat down to eat.
My father-in-law who didn't like to speak to anyone.
My mother-in-law who love the turkey butt and was always going out to smoke.
My sister-in-law who came in like a tornado and taught my kids how to fling food across the table.
My brother-in-law (he had a stroke and is in rehab) who loved being religious once a year.
My niece who has to work and her husband who doesn't want to come without her.

But mostly I miss my mom and my dad.  The first year without my mom was awful.  She loved the holiday. I still see her sitting at table, glasses on, reading from the Haggadah.  This is the first year without my dad.  I somehow knew last year would be his last.  I still prepared his favorite foods, meatballs, matzhoh balls, latkas from a mix and have the ketchup bottle ready to put on the table.

Two of the empty chairs are being filled by people very special to us, my daughter's special guy and my son's fiance.  But, these two have been around for years.  Still, their presence will make the holiday a little less sad.  Many of our loved ones are gone but our family is growing.

Happy Passover to all who celebrate and an early Happy Easter to others.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Biting The Hand That Feeds Her

He found the cutest, sweetest little dog in the pound.  Although she was dirty and untrained, he took her home.  He cleaned her up.  He set her up in the nicest surroundings anyone canine could ever want.  He spent hours and hours trying to train her to pee on the wee wee pads and to poop outside.  Nothing worked.    She crapped all over the place.  She bit him whenever he went near her.  Still, he never gave up on her.

She is still mean.  And now she bites him whenever he goes near her.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Watching TV and Heard This

I have a little chihuahua.

Small body, big head.

Falls a lot.

(From Friday night's Blue Bloods.)

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Why I Still Write

I'm retired and many say I should enjoy my retirement and leave the schools alone.  Well, I am enjoying my retirement but I haven't forgotten those still working and as long as I can sit at this computer I never will forget them.  I want to be a voice of those still in the trenches, those unable, unwilling or afraid to speak for themselves.  If you happen to be an administrator, or a politician, or anyone else who is a pretty lame excuse for a human being you might want to think about what you are actually doing.  You see, my stories cover schools throughout the city, throughout the country and even schools as far away as England and France.  Chihuahuas are in charge everywhere and it is not right.

My friend from the south just wrote to me about evaluations in her school.  It seems almost every senior teacher is being told their lessons need developing while those straight out of college are always told they are highly effective.  The senior teachers are the ones that kept this school running and succeeding for years.  (The school is one of the top schools in the state.)  Now, they are considered incompetent, incapable of writing a lesson.  To me, this is insane.  To make matters worse, the math and English lessons are being graded by an assistant principal licensed in a totally different subject, an assistant principal who failed licensing exams in his subject and in supervision numerous times.

If you are one of those administrators who cringe when you read this blog, good.  Hopefully, enough people will see you for what you really are and do something.  You are hurting teachers and you are hurting children because you are putting the wrong people in the classroom with them.

(The above picture is from a recent trip to Sarasota, Florida.  In case you are wondering, I have been doing quite a bit of traveling, sight seeing in the city, visiting museums and hanging out with friends.  I will always leave time to write about your incompetence.)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


I've covered classes and stood behind countless teachers who photocopy text book questions and handouts that parallel the wonderful text used in the college because the kids don't buy the books.  I am not one of those.  I understand the books are very expensive, but kids have options.  The texts are available for use in the lab and the library.  The library even lets them copy up to 300 pages free.  They all have phones that could take pictures of problems.  I refuse to baby them.

These college students come in expecting to be spoon fed like they were in high school.  They want everything done for them and want to do nothing for themselves. What are we teaching them if we don't teach them to be responsible adults?  Maybe I am wrong and these other teachers are right.  Maybe I am just getting too old and sinister to be teaching anymore.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


What does the little doggie do locked in the dog house all day?  There is lots of barking and yapping at anyone who dares to knock on the door.