Friday, December 30, 2016
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Happy holidays to all!
I grew up in a world where my holidays were never acknowledged. I am enjoying the generic happy holiday greeting. I don't feel slighted by the lack of the word Chanukah and I certainly don't believe there is a war on it because it is not mentioned.
Enjoy whatever you celebrate or just celebrate this wonderful season.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
I loved teaching high school math. I was blessed with a career that brought me happiness. I cried when I retired and still miss it but, it was a job, not a calling.
I worked for that paycheck and if it wasn't there I would have been out the door.
I don't know why the lawyer pictured above is now teaching algebra but I am willing to bet no "higher authority" called him there. He would not be doing it without the bimonthly deposit in his bank account.
(Picture from an ad on the F train)
Friday, December 16, 2016
A STATEMENT FROM CHANCELLOR JAMES B. MILLIKEN
December 14, 2016 | The University
The City University of New York is a national leader in welcoming, supporting and educating immigrants, regardless of status. Today, there is quite understandably heightened concern about the ability of universities across the country to protect and support their undocumented students. Since the presidential election, I have written to the CUNY community to reaffirm our historical commitment to providing education and opportunity to all, with particular emphasis on our fundamental commitment to immigrants. I have stated unequivocally that CUNY will take any steps available under the law to protect and support its undocumented students.
I joined other leading university presidents writing to urge the incoming administration to retain the humane and beneficial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Through our important partnership with TheDream.US, CUNY has the largest number of undocumented students supported by private scholarships in the country, and we will pursue other means to support our students.
We are justifiably proud of our historical leadership in welcoming, supporting, and providing a wide array of services to immigrants. This is true on our campuses and it is true across the city through our outreach programs. We operate the extremely effective “Citizenship Now!” program, at this time more important than ever, which has offices in all five boroughs, providing one-on-one legal services, referrals to needed social services, reviews of legal status and assistance with immigration and visa applications. Our campuses have been providing counseling and other services, and each campus will establish a central point of contact for information and resources for students.
Our commitment to undocumented immigrants at CUNY is not new and has been demonstrated by the resources and attention we devote to these valued members of our community. Over the last month, I have had many discussions with students, faculty and staff at CUNY, and I write today to share more broadly many of the important elements that will continue to be part of CUNY’s pledge to its community. CUNY’s commitment includes the following:
- CUNY will take no action to assist in the enforcement of the immigration laws except as required by law;
- CUNY will protect student record information in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act;
- CUNY will not turn over student information to immigration enforcement authorities except pursuant to court order;
- CUNY will not request or gather information about students’ citizenship or immigration status in the course of providing educational or other services or in connection with public safety activities except as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility;
- CUNY will not permit immigration enforcement officials to enter its campuses except to the extent required by a warrant or court order;
- CUNY will work with city, state and federal leaders in support of immigration reforms that maximize, not diminish, educational opportunities for all students.
We will continue to monitor and assess policies and practices that affect our students and take action, consistent with our obligations under the law, to support and protect our students. CUNY will continue to pursue policies and practices that help ensure that our campuses welcome and value all of our students, regardless of immigration status, race, religion, nationality, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. And we will always condemn acts of violence, hate crimes, and expressions of bigotry and intolerance. In short, CUNY remains the university that, in the words of the first president of our predecessor institution the Free Academy, educates “the people, the whole people.”
James B. Milliken
Anyway, this semester there was a young man in my class who I can say I disliked immensely. I still wish him no harm and do hope he grows up and becomes a successful person in all ways possible. Donny sat in the back of my class and played with his phone or slept. When I tried talking to him (which happened more than once) he got nasty so I stopped trying to reach him. After all, it was his tuition and his time that was being wasted and thankfully, in the college, teachers are not responsible for the students passing. Our supervisors know that the students are a mixed bag, some good and some not so good.
Donny thought coming to class was enough. I guess seat time credit is something he picked up in high school. I know Packemin counted it quite a bit. Not so in the college. Test grades count. Class participation and homework count. I have to admit I enjoyed watching Donny turn all shades of red during the last quiz before the final. I took pleasure in his missing the final and entering a grade of F on his transcript. I also hope he will learn something from his failure and change his attitude for the future.
I am not vindictive. Donny got the grade he earned. But I am also human and delivering it did make me happy.
Monday, December 12, 2016
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
What got me was how he said it was me who got him into engineering and through the first three terms of calculus in college. He said he could not have done it without the things he learned in my class. I am not sure this is true, but it sure felt good to hear it. Needless to say, he made my day.
When I left the high school I doubted myself as a teacher. After all, when someone repeatedly tells you how awful you are, you start to wonder if they are right. Mr. AP did this to me all the time. In fact, I heard he is still talking about me (and not in a nice way) at department meetings. I have no illusions about myself as being G-d's gift to teaching. I know I had my faults but I also know I worked very hard, put in tons of extra hours and put my students first. Looking back, I know I made a difference in many of their lives, a difference that is helping them lead good lives now.
It is no secret that I did not get along with my former AP. At one point he even promised me that I would end up retiring on a very sour note and he did everything possible to insure this would happen. What he could not take, and will never take is the joy of learning I instilled in my students, the respect I gave them and they gave me in return and the love we had for each other. I was not the teacher he wanted me to be but I was the teacher my students wanted and needed. I served them well. Students like the one I met today help me reaffirm my belief that what I did was not only not bad, but that it was pretty good.
(picture-Freedom Tower from St Paul's Church)