Thursday, November 27, 2014


My Thanksgiving is now perfect.

I just opened an e-mail from Mulgrew thanking me for all that I do.

His sweet message mentions nothing about the $$$ I was supposed to receive by Thanksgiving but his good wishes mean so much more than a few bucks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I sit here today, listening to the rain and watching the ice form on my windshield grateful for the job that  I not only loved but a job that has permitted me to retire and live a comfortable life.

I complained plenty while working at Packemin but never for one minute forgot how lucky I was to be there.  I was blessed with teaching the top students who also taught me different ways of doing things and for teaching the weakest kids who helped me learn tolerance and understanding and many street lessons.  I am thankful that the admins I never cared for and did not particularly like me never went after my job.  Only once, in my long career, did an AP ever try putting a letter in file and was unsuccessful.  I knew I could go to work every day, do what I felt was best and the only repercussion would be negative words from my supervisor.

Teaching was  a career I entered because I knew no other I was prepared for.  It was the best decision of my life and I give thanks for it daily.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Birth of School Administrator

How else can the people in charge be explained?  Or, more importantly, the people that put the people in charge?  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

E-mail From A Working Teacher

We have a teacher in the building, a 12 year-old math teacher who is a nephew of one of the men working in the guidance office.   He was hired last year when there was a supposed freeze on teacher hiring!  He had one music class which he did not have a license for.  One of the teachers is working with him in the math department and told me today that he is working on his masters.  We also have Sue in the building.  She is a wonderful person, GREAT teacher...the kids and her co-teachers think she is WONDERFUL, however she is overweight, over 50 and is paid too high.  I guess no one can look beyond all that because she has been an ATR for the past  5 years.  Question:  Why would this building be allowed to hire a newbie that is not tenured or fully certified but have an ATR who is working day to day?  Do I really have  to pay union dues to a union that closes it's eyes on its own members?
I am getting a bad taste in my mouth for the UFT...AFT and every union out there!  HELP!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hating The Place That Should Be Loved

I opened up my Facebook page this morning and saw a post from a former colleague at Packemin.  He said the one place in the world he didn't want to go today was work.  I felt awful for him.

This guy always loved teaching.  He loved helping students and rejoiced in their success.  He came in early, stayed late and gave up prep and lunch periods to help them.  He worked summers and after school programs for the money but never thought of this as work.  It was a labor of love.  He never takes a day off and has over 200 sick days in his bank.

Until recently, every administrator this teacher worked under valued his teaching skills and his dedication.  He mentored new teachers.  The Principal and APs even asked and took his advice on many matters.  Things are different now.  The AP is an incompetent bimbo who rules by terror and belittles good teachers as a way of trying to push them out.  Their competence only emphasizes the AP's lack of ability. The Principal always takes the APs side.

Years ago I worked for a Principal who knew the best way to get teachers to work for the students was to respect them.  Too bad individuals like this no longer exist.  Too bad the only thing that matters are statistics. Lack of respect is the norm.  No wonder the teachers that can are leaving and the others are dreading going in every day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Today's School

The teacher was writing on the board when he heard a loud bang.  He turned around and saw a boy kicking over furniture and throwing books on the floor.  The boys eyes were cold and the teacher felt if he had a gun, someone (probably him) would be dead.  Security was called, the boy was restrained and taken away.

The school gave the boy a one day suspension and sent him back to class.  The teacher filed a restraining order and the boy is now no longer allowed anywhere around him.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I am a Mother-In-Law

November 9, 2014

My new daughter is terrific.  So happy my son found the perfect life mate.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A Year Already

I can't believe a year has passed already since my dad has died.  The English date was October 16 but the Jewish calendar marks tonight to end the year.

I go to say my last Kaddish tonight.  I couldn't handle going twice a day and I only managed to get to temple 4 days a week, but still, I am glad I went.  I decided to go when my mom died.  I know people like me often pay more religious people to say the prayer for them but paying someone to do my praying just did not seem right.  My mom and her family were religious and while there is no obligation for women to say Kaddish, I felt it was my obligation as there was no one else available to do it.  Besides, I never bought into the idea of women being less than men and wanted to do my part. My dad wasn't as religious but he said Kaddish weekly for my mom (his temple did not have daily services) and I wanted to honor him the way I honored her.  I started for them but ended up doing it for me.  While I am not sure what I believe, I know being in the presence of people who do believe and were committed to what they believed felt good.  Every night I was welcomed and made to feel a part of the community.  It felt good to be "10" (10 people are needed for a minyon, the number of people needed for prayer).  Orthodox only count men.  My temple counts everyone.

Two weeks ago an elderly temple member lost his wife.  His daughter brings him every evening.  They walk in together, her arm around him.  She gently helps him remove his coat and open his book to the correct page.  She helps him stand and sit and assists him up the stairs when the service is over.  Seeing them warms my heart and reminds me of the days I did this with my dad.

My son is getting married Sunday.  There is nothing my dad (and mom) wanted more than to see him walk down the aisle.  My dad loved his wife to be.  He won't be there but I know he would be happy and thrilled to see her wearing my mom's ring.

I've lit his candle and leave in a little while.  (This will be posted later this evening.)  I've gotten so much from the daily service and intend to stay a part of it, although not daily.

A year has gone by.  I don't know if there is any after life and I am not even sure what I believe happens after death.  But if there is something, I hope it is a world filled with happiness and my parents found each other and are getting ready to celebrate their upcoming anniversary together.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Crock Of BS

Van Buren HS is teaming up with Syracuse University to give students an opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school.  Courses will be $100 a credit as opposed to $60,000  year tuition at the school.

Van Buren claims the kids will get a great experience and opportunity.  I say BS!  They will be sitting in glorified high school classes with teachers who are forced to lower standards to pass them.  No AP tests might mean a grade doesn't depend on one class but no AP exam also means no standards.

The colleges get lots of $$$$ when high school kids take their classes off campus.  The high schools get some prestige and get to be written up in the newspaper.  The kids get a whole lot of nothing.

(source:  Queens Chronicle October 30, 2014)

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Divide and Conquer

The overwhelmed overworked teacher spoke up at the faculty meeting.  He was told the forum was inappropriate and offered another opportunity to air his grievance.  He sat down.  Another overwhelmed over worked teacher spoke up and then added some additional fuel to the fire.  He refused to stop.  Others knew he was right and in their hearts agreed even though they knew his actions might be inappropriate at the moment.  They secretly cheered him on for having the courage to say and do what they only felt.  Eventually, with no support, the teacher sat down and the meeting resumed.

The next day the Principal asked teachers to write statements that would be used against the overwhelmed overworked frustrated teacher.  While they sympathized they did as the Principal requested.  They feared for their jobs and for their tenure.  They claimed to dislike the overwhelmed overworked teacher even though he was one of them and his winning would only help them.

The Principal wants a staff divided and distrustful of each other.  He wants total control and for some insane reason believes this is the best way to gain it.  I wonder where the union is on all this?