Archive for September, 2007

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Off (as in track)

September 29, 2007

If you read the sole comment to my (immediate previous post, you’ll notice that I’m off track.  Commenter “Syb” sez so.

She doesn’t really explain why or how so… my contention is that (at least here in Calgary) in our classes, teaching is  relegated to the lowest common denominator.  My time is spent (inordinantly) dealing with the lowest 20% who are neither able nor willing to keep up with academic work.

They should be elsewhere, but alas, we have no elsewhere to send them.

Now, admittedly,  our public schools may not be as bad as those in the US.  And thank the fucking Goods we have no such animal as NCLB, or else I think I should shoot myself right here and now.  But what we do have, well, I’m notto fond of it.  I’ve told my friends who have kids that I’d be saving right now to send mine to private school.

There is, of course, lots more to be said about this issue.  Later, children.  Later.

But in the meantime, I’ve discovered Syb’s Website, No Moron Left Behind. You should too.

It’s where I learned that the US is now outsourcing teachers?  WTF?  From India. And here’s what they (Indian teachers)  expect:

 • Students who feel privileged to be in school.

• Students who show respect by standing when the teacher enters the classroom.

• Students who behave because it is expected of them, and they don’t have to be told twice.

• Students who do the math with paper and pencil, showing the work.

• Students who cram into class and endure boring chalk-and-slate presentations.

• Students who write a page or two when a paragraph would suffice.

• Students who wear uniforms to school.

I should expect so much.

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Dull

September 27, 2007

Dull. As in dull kids. And what to do with them.

From Jerry Pournelle’s blog (the original blog, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!) (Go to Friday):

Rich families can send their kids to good schools. That means that even bright normal kids from wealthy families have a chance to learn more than the basic minimums.

Really bright kids from less wealthy families have to go to public schools so they get to pay a horrible tax: they are put into classrooms where the teacher is far more concerned with getting the very dull, dull, and dull normal kids to pass a test than in teaching bright kids anything at all. The bright ones won’t be left behind.

So the bright kids put up with discipline problems, disruptions, special ed kids who have been mainstreamed, and a general lack of teacher time; in exchange they get all the benefits of diversity. Odd, but most of those who can escape diversity choose to do so.

But I am sure that this is a dangerous way to talk. It will not be all that long before there is a movement to jail Diversity Deniers.

In 1983 Glenn T. Seaborg as Chair of the National Commission on Education concluded that if a foreign government had imposed our system of public education on the United States we would rightly consider it an act of war.

It has not become better since then; and No Child Left Behind has made it even worse. Diversity and Mainstreaming are disastrous. Yes, yes: it’s probably better for at least some of the very dull, dull, and handicapped kids to be mainstreamed. But the cost of that is to neglect the bright ones.

Wealth and private schools have given us some reprieves here. Teachers understand the situation and send their kids to private schools when possible. But any bright normal kid born to a poor family is pretty well doomed to learn diversity without learning a lot more.

Whether we can sustain a First World economy with an education system indistinguishable from an act of war against the people of the United States is a very interesting experiment; but haven’t we run it long enough?

Couldn’t agree more. If I had kids, I’d do my damndest to send them to private school.

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Evolve?

September 24, 2007

Hot off the press; Teacher fired for telling students that the Bible isn’t literal.

A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.

Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class Tuesday. He said he was fired Thursday.

I wonder if the CBE would fire me if it knew that I’ve said the very same thing. I’ve even said worse, like “humas and ape are descended from a common ancestor”. Or that we share 98% of the DNA of some common mammals.

Couldn’t happen in Canada, eh?

And this, from This Modern World:

Mind you… as a scientist, I’m rather partial to theories.

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Stoopid

September 19, 2007

The world is getting stupider every day. Trouble is, we teachers need to deal with the parents who sit at home and watch this shit.

Is the Earth flat? What the fuck?

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Help?

September 17, 2007

[Parent, to four year old child, when asked for math help]: Go call someone for help.

What you gonna do?

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Teacher. Singer.

September 10, 2007

Pavarotti is dead. He was amazing, and in so many ways. Few know, however, that he was first an elementary teacher. Problem was, he and the kids didn’t really get along, and he considered himself to be a failure so far as teaching was.

He turned his efforts to his real love, though, for which we should all be very very grateful.

Here’s a YouTube video of his last public performance at the Turin Olympics, last year. I watched it, and it was beautiful. Although I’m not a big opera fan, I will miss him.

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Busy?

September 6, 2007

First day of school today, and yes, I am busy.  Thanks for asking.  Serves me right to ask for a new assignment.

But this continues to be a problem, no matter where I teach …

Redy for school

In case you’re looking for one of those over-the-top girl tees, here’s one place to shop.  I especially like the “Miss Bitch” option; I’ve had more than a few of those kinds of students, and would actually appreciate the heads up.

Here are some other good ones: