Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a little boy who dreamed about becoming a teacher.  He wasn't too smart of a little boy but he muddled through college and managed to get a teaching job through some back door program.  The problem was the boy was not a very good teacher.  He barely understood the material and was not able to get the material across to his students.  Luckily for this little boy the Principal of the school did not care.  The Principal decided the best way to handle the situation was to make the little boy the assistant principal of that department.  The Principal knew the little boy would not be able to help new teachers (or any teachers) but that did not matter.  The little boy was now in place to do the job the Principal wanted--that of harassing senior teachers and getting them to leave voluntarily or by force.

The little boy had trouble getting the license he needed to keep the position.  It took multiple times for him to pass the exam but, like college, he eventually got through.  Meanwhile he became more and more stressed by the senior teachers in his department.  They knew his was incompetent and inexperienced and he hated anyone seeing the true him.  The little boy started going after these teachers by making sure they had different preps every semester, courses they never taught and had no ready material for.  Then he started writing letters (with grammatical mistakes).  He stacked classes with the most difficult students so these teachers would have poor results and he made nasty comments to them and about them in front of colleagues and students.

The little boy felt loved, not by the students or the teachers, but by the Principal.  He had power.  He was making the lives of others as miserable as he could.  The little boy was very happy.

If this fairy tale ended now, the little boy would be very happy, but alas, that will not happen.  Eventually there will be a new Principal, maybe even one with standards and the little boy will be put in his place.  The teachers being harassed are strong.  They will stay and fight.  They will not let the little boy win.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Principal and The Boy With The Cell Phone

The Principal began his PD address with a story of the day he left his office.

"There was a day I had to leave my office to attend to matters on the third floor.  Since this does not happen very often I lost my way back.  While wandering the halls I came across a young Caucasian man leaning on window sill on a cell phone.  I asked the young man where he belonged and he told me to be quiet.  He was talking to his friend.  I repeated my request and again he told me to wait and asked me if I ever talked to friends.  He then went on to tell me to be respectful.  Finally he got off the phone and we could chat.  I again asked him where he belonged and he told me the class he should have been in.  I walked him back to class and told the teacher to let him in.  I waited at the back door and watched, ready to write the teacher up for not handling the situation properly.  I saw the teacher say something, saw the boy start to cry.I walked away.  Now I must decide whether to write the teacher up for verbal abuse or for not taking proper action or both.  Our students must learn to respect our authority and we must earn it and then demand it.  We as a staff have a long way to go."

I heard the story and wondered why the Principal did not confiscate the phone and take the boy to his office and call a parent.  At the very least I wondered why he did not bring the boy to the dean or guidance.  I wondered why the poor teacher was being dumped on again.  I wonder when the Principal will start earning the respect of the students and the staff.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Overcoming A Disability

The boy was a special education student in high school, a little higher functioning than most, he spent his years in main stream classes team taught by a special education teacher and a main stream teacher. XZ (The special education teacher recognized his ability but her hands were tied by the main stream teacher)  The boy seemed to be off in space but always had the correct answer when the teacher questioned him.

The boy was unique in in this class of low functioning students.  He had a brain that worked well and worked constantly and he liked to solve problems in unconventional ways.  The methods, while correct, were not the ones in the solution manual and the main stream teacher was often confounded.  She couldn't follow his logic and disrespected him and his ingenious methods.  The main stream teacher did not like him because she was intimidated by his creativity.

Low and behold this main stream teacher went on to become chairman of the special education department. She no longer taught inclusion classes because she feared encountering students like this boy again and, as supervisor, she did not have to do this.

The boy, the one the special education supervisor did not like graduated high school and went on to college. He took classes  calculus and physics and Shakespeare and Chinese.  He studied with professors who liked creative thinkers.  He did well.  He is now studying engineering in a very prestigious university and will one day shine in his chose career.

This boy managed to overcome his inferior teacher, the one who never thought he would succeed,  the one who now leads the department whose goal it was to help him succeed.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Courting Votes

It seems Mulgrew is doing what he does best.  That is, he is keeping retired teachers happy.  He wants to make sure when election time comes around they will be in his court and give him their votes.

Mulgrew loves his retired teachers.  They sing his praises at meetings and, since they are not working  they ask nothing in return.  He doesn't have to waste time defending them or answering their questions.

Mulgrew might be in for a rude awakening.  The new bunch of retired teachers don't remember or care about the union Shanker created.  They and their colleagues have long been neglected and abused by the union of today.  They will be smart enough to give their support to union leaders who care about teachers.  No longer will they vote UNITY without any thought to consequences.

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to get my retro money.  I just wish it wasn't on the backs of working teachers.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

The AP wants to send his teachers on vacation feeling good.  Well, actually he wants to feel good, he really doesn't care about them.  He knows he will not have a good week home.  There is no one to celebrate Valentine's Day with and no one except the cashier in Starbucks who is even willing to smile at him.  Being jealous, he will do anything he can to ruin the teacher's time off too.

The AP does not have to think too hard to come up with the best way to ruin every one's vacation.  Armed with his lap top he will pay a visit to as many classes as possible late in the day.  He knows the kids are already on vacation mode and the upcoming day of love is all that is on their teenage minds.

He is now happy.  He feels his manhood swelling at the thought of the hours he will spend writing the reports to ruin their lives.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Chinese Exclusion/Inclusion

The New York Historical Society has a wonderful exhibit now until April 19 on Chinese Exclusion/Inclusion in this country.Although I knew some of this history, the extent of the horrors these people experienced was something I never realized.  The above statements were statements made by those incarcerated on Angel Island.  The young woman pictured is sitting on a bunk watching and reading history.  I watched her for 10 minutes and her only movements were to change screens.  She looked like she was not moving until she saw it all.  The ping pong paddles are from relations between US and China in the Nixon era.

This is an exhibit everyone needs to see to prevent this type of discrimination from happening again.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Worry Free Day

When I retired I worried I had done the wrong thing.  I have to say I worried for nothing.  Looking out the window, at the ice covering my car, I am glad I have no where to go and can play with these photos from the Museum of Natural History, taken yesterday.  We were also able to stop at the New York Historical Society on the way home, no worries about writing lessons and being observed on a Monday full of snow and ice.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Letter To File

The AP is constantly on Mr. Bill's back, constantly threatening him with letters to file.  Mr. Bill has had enough.  After the last threat of counseling letter, Mr. Bill looked the AP in the eye and said,

"Would you like me to proof read that letter and correct the grammar?  Your command of the English  language is atrocious."  The AP shut his mouth and walked away.

(Picture taken today on the High Line-first time I got to see it with snow on the ground.  Unfortunately most of it was closed due to ice.  This part is my favorite in the fall.  It was so nice walking without too many people around.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Poetry and Mathematics

I must have done something right to get this wonderful poem from my daughter.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Why I Keep This Blog

Thanks to Henry for sharing his Facebook page.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Living History

Stepping onto the grounds of Boone Plantation was like a step back in time.  Walking in slave cabins I had the overwhelming feeling of those people grabbing on to me, telling me their stories.  I felt the cold winds blowing through the bricks.  I felt the pain in the fingers of the basket weavers and cotton pickers and saw the hope in the eyes of those listening to the preacher.  Walking into the plantation owner's house I felt the injustice of those people living so well while others suffered.

I've read the books and seen the movies and they moved me but nothing compared to walking in the steps of those who suffered.

History has to be alive.  What kids would learn in a visit to a place like this can't be measured by a test score.  I post this now in honor of Black History month but this history should be honored every month not just the shortest one of the year.

Pictures were taken at Boone Plantation, Charleston, SC