Alan Sitomer's Blog – August 2009 Archive (24)

He who makes the tests, makes the rules! (So be spooked.)

Time to be spooked. Parents should be spooked. Teachers should be spooked. The national workforce should be spooked. And kids (who are going to be on the wrong end of this stuff) ought to be very, very very spooked.



I mean, is this the wave that is inevitably going to wash over us all?



Really, how long before all of us -- and by all of us, I mean ALL of us -- are being mandated to… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 31, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

How are the textbooks accepting accountability for their shortcomings?

I just read a line from a teacher who said this (and oh, it's so telling)...



I love my school, but this year I'm trying real hard to be positive. I've taught novels the past two years and am now being told I must adhere to the textbook curriculum because of low test scores. Wow! Boring textbook anthology and worksheets are going to help my students do better on a bubble test? ARGH!



For me, I wonder where the data is to prove that sticking to the "textbook… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 29, 2009 at 6:00am — 3 Comments

Is there a way to force public schools to be as good as private schools are apparently forced to be?

I wonder if I would send my child to private school if I could easily afford to do so. And I bring it up because, for the parents who can afford it in America today, private school is where they (for the most part) are generally sending their kids.



Even if the local public school is good.



And why? Because if the local public school is good, I am assuming the private school is forced to be better if they are going to be able to charge the crazy fees that they do.… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 28, 2009 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

In too many ways, August can be the tail that wags the dog.

One of the biggest problems I have with our current national assessment system is that they have almost mastered the art of shaming and belittling those who do not make the cut while doing an exceptionally poor job of of recognizing those who have made strides in a positive direction or really give an exceptional effort at doing more with less. It's as if under-performing the task of meeting their objectives deserves a SHOUTING DOWN FROM THE ROOFTOPS while those that make gains,… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 27, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

The "If Only" Chip I'd Gladly Cash In: KIds Coming in as Blank Slates

There are a lot of "if only" type scenarios when it comes to reaching teen readers -- especially reluctant teens readers -- but I'd say if there was one "if only" chip I could be given to cash in and nevermore be able to moan about how difficult the task can sometimes be to get kids to read books, I'd say that I'd lay claim to the "If only our students came to us as blank slates" chip, take my winnings and shut my trap.



Because the truth is students don't come to our… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 26, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

Don't Do Stupid Things... But if You Do, Don't Get Famous for Them or Post Pics of It on the Internet

So everyone realizes that virtually every Human Resources person worth their salt at almost any decent-sized organization in this country checks the internet as a means of doing a background check on potential future employees, right? I mean this is something I talk about with my high schoolers. Putting pics of yourself doing beer bongs, smoking out of real bongs, taking off your clothes or being absolutely SMASHED out of you mind on the internet is a bad idea. (Note: I am not naive… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 25, 2009 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

TSA, LAX and My Low-Cut Shimmery Underwear on Security’s Conveyor Belt

Walking through the airport to go do some PD for a school in Texas this week (BTW, I’ve been on the road WAY too much this summer) I found myself, as all of us inevitably do when we travel, in a security line.



A security line that was going absolutely nowhere.



Goodness, I said to myself, don’t we all just love how efficient airports are these days? And with nothing to do other than to contemplate the inner machinations of brilliance on display and try to take a… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 22, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

A few laughs: who don't they help through the week?

Do we need a longer school year filled with more intensive learning for our nation's children? How in the world can you not vote yes when you see some of the products of our current system?





And if you need more proof, here's another 4 minutes worth of goodies...…



Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 21, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

The Real Test of a Highly Qualified School Administrator Is...

So how do we create stronger bonds in our schools? I mean relationships are everything, right? Without camaraderie, without trust, without believing truly in the heart, soul, and good intentions of the people for whom we work, how can a school really be expected to function?



So I have a proposal. I say the only people who should be allowed to work as administrator in public education must pass the test of the wife as seen in this clip.



You wanna be principal of… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 20, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

Smashing Through Our Problems Head Through Glass First

This is interesting... an engineering student (yes, a graduate student in engineering) not understanding the concept of an automatic sliding glass door.



And so he SMASHES THROUGH THE THING HEAD FIRST!!





Now at first, I thought, well, the guy is just an idiot. Except, then I realized, don't we often try to solve a lot of our problems in schools in much the same manner -- especially in the realm of NCLB. I mean when they don't know the… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 19, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

The true sundial of my life.

New Year's Eve is -- and always has been -- one of the most over-rated holidays on the calendar for me. Perpetual disappointment. (Actually, is it even an official holiday or is it just riding the coattails of Christmas in some way?) And while I am totally a night owl and will happily stay up chatting about most anything with folks until 3:00 a.m. if the topic/company warrants it -- yep, been know to do it on school nights, too -- getting obliterated, counting backwards from 10 to 1… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 18, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

Is it Mr. Danza or will he be, "Yo, Mr. D!"?

So I see that former TV star Tony Danza is thinking about starring in a reality show called TEACH. That's right, a reality show. Currently, according to highly placed sources at some internet tabloid drivel I ran across while mindlessly surfing the web, I came across this story.



Yep, the guy from Who's The Boss is gonna tackle the classroom. An inner city high school classroom… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 17, 2009 at 9:00am — No Comments

How I Dislike Agreeing with Someone With Whom I Usually Do Not Agree

Look, I am a small, petty person prone to grudges and outbursts against the follies of people who I believe are negatively affecting the quality of life for others -- especially when I believe they could be doing better (if only their intention was to do so).



Therefore, as a teacher, it's hard to like the job Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing as the governor of California in terms of the way he is captaining our educational agenda. It just doesn't seem to me as if he values… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 15, 2009 at 6:00am — 1 Comment

What Will The Teacher Fairy Put Under My Pillow?

I think there is an interesting parallel to be drawn between this recent TIME Magazine article titled, "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin" and a longer school day and year.



Don't really have a clue as to what it is, but hey, I gotta type something right now, don't I? I mean if a blogger blogs in the forest and no one is there to comment... aw, forget it, I am WAY off… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 13, 2009 at 6:30am — 3 Comments

Walk a mile in a real teacher's moccasins!

I often make my way through this world as a consumer looking up and wondering, "Does the CEO of this company actually know that this is how his/her business is running right now?"



I mean do they fly commercial on their own airplanes like regular schmoes (I mean folks) like me do without warnings being sent to the flight crew that the big kahuna is on board so they better look sharp? Do they roll through their own drive-thru hungry for some dinner, have cable schedule… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 12, 2009 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

Hard to get an old dog... MY ASS!

Here's a story about one of my best friend's in the world.



He got a parking ticket. And didn't pay it. And then another. And didn't pay that either. And then a few more. Never paid any of them.



So the other day, he was in a rush -- had to get a package off to Fed Ex to meet a HUGE business deadline, the kind that causes cold sweats when big deals are on the line.



And he rushed to his car after getting the final documents notarized and poof! his… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 11, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

Thank Goodness for "Bad" Teachers!

Before I lay me down to sleep this evening, I am going to say a prayer of gratitude for all the crappy teachers I've had and known. That's right -- for the really stinky ones. Why? Because, if you pay attention, you can learn as much from a poor teacher as you can from a strong one... at least in a few very specific ways.



Through being treated like a just another factory widget by some of my cynical, jaded, been at this job way-too-long type of teachers back when I was in… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 10, 2009 at 8:44am — No Comments

Before School Starts Up Again...

Before School Starts Up Again...



I want to make sure I take back with me a sense of optimism about the upcoming year. I know it's gonna be more challenging in many ways due to these absolutely BONKER budget cuts. However, just because we have less money to spend on our kids than ever (at least as long as I've been a teacher) does not mean that we automatically have to provide less of an education to our kids than ever.



And I believe they way to ensure that this… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 8, 2009 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

A Time of Educational Opposites

We are living and working in a time of educational opposites.



*Our class sizes are growing as our teacher ranks are shrinking.

*Our students' needs are expanding as our professional development time is diminishing.

*The public's confidence in our professional abilities is lessening while the public's distaste for supporting public education is broadening.



These opposites are not good. However, there's a bright side as well.



*Socioeconomic… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 7, 2009 at 10:00am — No Comments

Like Mom always said: Why? Because I said so, that's why!

How in the world can we expect all students to show the same amount of enthusiasm for all subject areas on their schedule? I am not sure we can.



And if you agree we can't -- read on. (If you think we can, then this post is probably not for you.)



I think about my own experience in school. For me, science class was always something I endured more than I enjoyed whereas creative writing was an after school club for me that I choose to join which had me up til… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on August 6, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

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