Wednesday, December 13, 2017

She Restored My Faith

A conversation with a fairly young teacher restored my faith in some of those still in the education field.  This woman, a mother of two young children spoke to me from her heart about how she connected to her students as she corrected their long, often illiterate essays.  The marking, though long and laborious was part of the job she said, not with anger or resentment but with pride.  Her eyes told how much she cared about helping these children and how much she wanted them to improve and succeed.

Here was clearly a woman teaching out of love for the students in her care.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ms. It

Yasmin always talked about how awful she felt growing up as she was the girl who was never invited to parties or to the mall or to even sit with others at lunch.  As Yasmin aged, her popularity grew.  I remember sitting with her as she proudly proclaimed her status of now being "the it girl", the one everyone wanted to be with.

Yasmin was thrilled with her new popularity and loved having people wanting to be with her but Yasmin forgot what it was like to be left sitting on the side lines, of being left out and soon began doing to others the exact thing that hurt her the most.

If I live to be 150 I will never understand people like Yasmin and how she can happily hurt others.  I too was the one always left out.  And, while I no longer want anything to do with the "Its" of this world I will never forget the hurt and will never do to others what was so painful when done to me.  One day things might change and Yasmin will lose her "It" status.  I don't wish her harm but I would be lying if I said I did not want to be around to see It.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


This cartoon reminded of a major argument I had about goals with Mr. AP.  He never approved of my passing statistics.  If you just looked at numbers, mine were never good.  But, if you looked further, you would see that they were excellent.  I always taught the students with the worst records and I usually got most of them to pass, never all and never as many as the other people in the department but I did better with these kids than anyone had done in the past.

When he asked me to set a goal, I said I wanted 100% to pass.  He told me that was impossible and I should be realistic and suggested an 88% passing.  I said, I would set my goal at 12% failing.  He didn't like that.  We ended the meeting without setting any goals.

Poor little Hammie is as frustrated as Mr. AP.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Scary Stuff

I haven't posted here for a while but saw this and could not resist.

Post is dedicated to all those who suffered with the Chihuahua in charge!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Arrogance-Advice to Start the Year

The look to give those no nothing supervisors and Principals who try to intimidate.  Get the upper hand!

(Photo from Congo House at the Bronx Zoo)

Friday, August 04, 2017


When I first retired I tossed old books and lesson plans, tons of lesson plans in all subjects except for calculus.  I spent so much time preparing and learning that I did not have the heart to get rid of them.  Finally, after six years, I am purging myself of this material too.  All the books I collected at conferences, dragged home on the subway and used diligently are going into a charity box.  I know I will never need them again and hope they will find a good home with a new family.  As for me, I am enjoying my empty shelves.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Start Them Young

I believe in starting kids young and so does my daughter.  Here are the books she bought the twins for their first birthday.  Below is a picture of my granddaughter (sorry-no face) already studying for her AP calculus exam.

Trash Talk

This cartoon reminded me so much of my former supervisor, Mr. AP.  At every department meeting he manages to bring up teachers who have retired and to mention repeatedly how awful they were. These teachers were not awful.  They were well liked by the students and other teachers and went above and beyond their work requirements daily.  They just refused to bow to him and revere him as a God. 

It always strikes me as funny how the comics manage to portray real life so well.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meanest Dog

Who would have guessed the meanest dog breed was a chihuahua?  Maybe too much inbreeding?  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dilbert Explains Again

The reason school's have their heat on in June,

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday, July 07, 2017


This is so true.  Adjuncts make a great hourly salary.  It is a fantastic way to supplement a paycheck  or a pension but it is a crappy way to have to survive.  I have worked with adjuncts who go from school to school and teach 8 classes.  And, while many adjuncts are better teachers than their full time colleagues, they do their students a major disservice as they are not around for office hours and extra help.

I love being an adjunct but being an adjunct is not a career.

Friday, June 23, 2017


I met Ahmed when he came to my class in the middle of the term.  He was newly arrived from Pakistan and barely spoke English and his bathing habits were not up to our standards.  He was shy and quiet and struggled with the math but he was never absent, never late and worked hard.  This was extremely difficult because the class had a lot of uncontrollable students.

Fast forward to today.  Ahmed and I are Facebook buddies.  The picture above is him, minus the face.  He is a sharp dressing, confident, successful young   I commented how nicely he grew up and how happy I was to see the transformation from the shy young boy to the confident, successful young man.  He replied that he will always remember me as his best teacher ever.

And this is what teaching is all about.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Take That Mr AP

Just got this message. It made my day.

Hello Mrs. POT,  how you've been?

I have news to tell you! I'll be attending XXX Pharmacy school this fall! Thank you for providing me the best education back in Packemin H.S. Thank you for always believing in me and always telling me to never give up. I hope to see you again some day!

Take that Mr AP!  Guess I was better than you thought!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Limbo Rock

Anyone who has ever taught knows that teaching is not a job everyone can do.  My former school had several teaching fellows who knew their subject material inside out but could not handle a classroom.  My cousin, a PhD in physics and the smartest person I know died in a high school classroom.

Unfortunately this practice of hiring teachers who know nothing about education is exactly the method being used to hire school administrators right here in NYC, okay, not in all schools.  Newbies with a minimum amount of time in the classroom are suddenly in charge to say nothing of the Principal Academy which took no educators and made them the supreme leader of many institutions.

No one would ever go to a doctor who just had a degree in anatomy or use an architect with experience with Legos yet these same people have no problem using teachers with zero education experience or credits.

Limbo lower now--how low can you go?

Monday, May 08, 2017

Sorry State of Advanced Placement

How does a school keep its high rating?  Easy.  Designate every senior English class as an AP class.

The school looks good because of all the students taking college level classes.  It costs the school nothing because all students must take English anyway.  The administration does not care how the grades come out as the school is judged only by the number enrolled, not the number passing the advanced placement exam.

Struggling students are not being prepared for what they will need in college.  Parents are being bamboozled and the ones that belong are getting a watered down education.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hatred Relived

I saw this letter in today's Newsday and decided to share it here.

Several years ago a young man in one of my classes wanted to know if I would dance if he threw pennies at me.  I reported him immediately to Mr. AP and asked to have him removed due to blatant anti-semitism.  Mr. AP refused and vehemently repeated that the remark was not related to anti-semitism.  We got into a heated fight.  Thankfully the Principal took my side with both the boy and the Mr. AP.

Not experiencing something first hand does not mean it does not exist.  This letter brought back painful memories.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bringing Back Memories

Reminds me of my great days teaching AP calculus at Packemin.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Words of Martin Luther King Jr

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

Martin Luther King Jr, "Where Do We Go From Here?"  (1967)

Friday, February 17, 2017


I know Mr. AP is happy that I am gone and most of the senior teachers are also gone but I know the teachers like me made a big difference.  It is messages like this that make me, and all of us feel special and know that the work we did made a difference.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Snow Day

Thankful for all the hard working men and women working to get our streets clean.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Alternative Math Facts

My daughter, a mathematician posted this on Facebook.  Too bad most people don't even realize it is alternative math

Saturday, February 04, 2017

A Math Teacher's Lament

I love my new watch but I wouldn't have bought it if I had looked closer.  The "9" really bothers me.  I spend hours explaining that pi is not 3.14.  Pi is an irrational number that goes on forever.  



used above would not represent 9 exactly.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dilbert Does It Again

Dedicated to all the teachers who are still sitting through hours of meaningless professional development run by people who know nothing about what they are saying.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Why We Need Unions

The man pictured above works five 12 hour days every week.  He doesn't have to do this.  He could choose to work six 8 hour days instead.  What a choice?  He needs the job to support his family and it is one of the most coveted jobs on the island of Jamaica.

He doesn't complain about the long hours or the almost 2 hour commute he has each day on public transportation.  He reports to work daily with a smile and seems to always be so upbeat.  He hides the hardships of his life well.

Too bad there are no unions here.  The hotel owners get rich while the workers get by.  Not fair.