Alan Sitomer's Blog – October 2009 Archive (23)

Gonna think and chill...

I wrote thousands of words this week and read thousands and thousands more on this series about "best" teachers and where they ought to teach.



Gonna come back on Monday after digesting all of the ideas -- and all of the Halloween candy -- and try to see what's to be taken from the series.



Certainly had me thinkin' tons... and it feels like my brain, like my stomach, is pretty full right now.



Trick or treat and HAPPY… Continue

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

Why the “best” teachers are needed to teach our "middle level/average" students. (Part IV)

In the fourth part of this series, I am going to chat about Why the “best” teachers are needed to teach our "middle level" students.



NOTE: Part I was, "Which students deserve our school’s best teachers?" Part II was, "Why our "best" students deserve our "best" teachers" and Part III was, "Why our "most challenged" students deserve our "best" teachers." Coming soon Part V: A review of the discussion and a exploration of what I think I’d be forced to do if I…
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Added by Alan Sitomer on October 30, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

Why Our Most Challenged Students Deserve Our Best Teachers (Part III)

In the third part of this series, I am going to chat about Why the “best” teachers are needed to teach our "most challenged" students.



NOTE: This was the question raised in Part I: which students deserve our school’s best teachers?

(I have already made the case in Part II as to why our "best" students deserve our "best" teachers and coming soon, an argument for Part IV: Why the “best” teachers are needed to be teaching the “middle level” students... as…
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Added by Alan Sitomer on October 29, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

Why Our Best Students Deserve Our Best Teachers (Part II)

In the second part of this series, I am going to chat about Why the “best” teachers are needed to teach our “best” students.



NOTE: This was a questions raised in Part I: which students deserve our school’s best teachers?

(Coming soon, an argument for Part III: Why the “best” teachers are needed to be teaching the “middle level” students and an argument for Part IV: Why the “best” teachers are needed to be teaching the “challenged” students as well as…
Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 28, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

The answer as to which students deserve our school’s best teachers? (Part I)

So I am going to try something new and pose a question. Here we go: Which students deserve our school’s best teachers?



Next I am going to answer the question. (One sec.., it’s coming.) And then I am going to explore this question over the course of the next 3 blog posts (it’s too long to dive into in just one post) as I have divided an argument for my answer into 3 parts.



And then, based on the comments, feedback, answers I get, I am going to see if I… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 27, 2009 at 8:01am — No Comments

T.S. Eliot was wrong -- October is the cruelest month, not April.

T.S. Eliot was wrong -- October is the cruelest month, not April -- which he should have known because at one point he was a schoolteacher. And not too be too critical of a Nobel Prize winning poet, but I think if he would have really considered the plight of educators in the month of October, The Waste Land might have gone in a slightly different direction.



As almost all teachers know, October is the part of… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 26, 2009 at 7:56am — No Comments

To Be a Writer You Gotta Trudge Through the Sludge

Some days I am a madman. I can crank out 2,200 pretty-close-to-publishable-words in a day's work and then come right back and do another 2,200 the next day. (Usually in the summer when I am off from teaching.) Without a doubt, when I am in the midst of a novel and it is rolling, let me tell you, it can get rolling!!



And then there are the days when I know that to be a real writer, you gotta trudge through the sludge.



I actually happen to be in that exact phase… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 24, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

Mr. Duncan's oncoming assault on Teacher Training Programs (and it's about time!)

So I gotta hand it to Arne Duncan cause the man is not afraid to use pointed words and ruffle some feathers. His latest spear is aimed at teacher training programs. (BTW, I do not say "spears" in a condescending manner because when you look at the state of education today, you gotta admit, we need some "new stuff" and unless you are willing to break some eggs you're not going to be able to make a new educational omelet -- so a part of me salutes Arne Duncan in a BIG Ol' WAY simply for… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 23, 2009 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

How to Become a Published Author: Time with your Butt in a Chair

So how did I become a published author? I think the first answer I'd offer is, "mathematically".



Here's how I do it nowadays.



I am a full time high school teacher. This means I am up really early and am perpetually over-worked by the demands I face at school. But still, as we all know, so, so many teachers have 2nd jobs to make ends meet. I am no different. My school salary is not nearly enough to meet the financial demands of modern day life -- especially in… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 21, 2009 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

Why I Am Not a Fan of Teaching Tolerance

I am not a fan of the whole idea of "tolerance". I mean, I get the spirit of the campaign but as an English teacher and as a writer, I am just not a fan of the word choice at all.



To me, to "tolerate" someone connotes that I should endure them. That I should "bear" them. That I should recognize that I am superior to that person but, for the sake of not creating conflict, I should shut my trap, bite my tongue and suffer the shortcomings of this person's inferiority and… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 20, 2009 at 3:44pm — 4 Comments

The Writing Process: Perspectives from a Published Author

So I have been getting lots of notes and the such as of late asking me to let a few people backstage, behind the scenes, into the kitchen to see how books get written, vetted, sold, and published.



Yes, I am a regular ol' high school English teacher working at Lynwood High in Los Angeles but I also moonlight as an author having published books with Disney, Scholastic, Recorded Books and, coming soon (I just… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 17, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

My Wife Zapped My Blog

Last night after putting my daughter to sleep, I spent a long time writing a blog for today. Actually, it was too long. I'd spent over 45 minutes on it and knew it needed to be trimmed down or converted into a two-part piece, something like that.



See, I want to start adding in a little more about how I, as an author, write. The process of authoring a book, the ins-n-outs, the behind the scenes, from idea to page to literary agent to sale to publisher to bookstores. Looking… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 15, 2009 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

Free SAT Prep for All and the Undeniable Impact of Having Cash to Prep for this Beast

It's SAT season and if there is one thing about working in a Title 1 school, it's that you get to witness a HUGE disparity when it comes to college test prep.



The fact is, those who can afford to take SAT test prep classes are wise to do so. And the parents of kids in upper-socio-economic communities understand the value of this which is why these test prep programs absolutely thrive. As for the parents in communities such as mine, well... they'd love to be able to offer… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 14, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

The changing calculation of college tuition

The University of California is now mulling charging different rates for different majors. In this article, they cite the example of the engineering student. Because such a kid uses more tangible and costly resources in their field of study, colleges are now mulling the idea of making that student pay more for their schooling. For example, since engineering majors erect 20 foot… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 13, 2009 at 8:19am — 2 Comments

Pot critic wanted: is it a stigma to be a stoner or are they merely cultural connoisseurs?

For those of us with students who don't think they'd ever want to consider a career in writing, this article might be an arrow in your quiver to help inflate a student's sense of why knowing how to properly punctuate a sentence is a skill that they might want to have in their professional, job hunting arsenal.



After all, who's going to… Continue

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

My Freakin' School is Wastin' My Freakin' Time!!!

AAaaaaaaaaarrrgghh!!



I had a school-wide faculty after-school meeting this week on Wednesday afternoon -- one that we were not notified we'd be having until Tuesday afternoon. (As if we don't have actual lives outside of this place.) And why?



Cause there was some really important stuff to go over. Like hall passes.



We literally spent 23 minutes discussing the proper implementation of granting hall passes. Which hall pass to assign. When… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 10, 2009 at 6:30am — 6 Comments

The Letterman Chickens Coming Home to Roost

David Letterman has made a fantastic living ruthlessly roasting people over their foibles. Their issues. Their own personal "affairs".



And now the chickens are coming home to roost for him, aren't they?



Now I am a fan of Dave. Or was. And I don't want to be smarmy or display schadenfreude. I started watching him in 1985 when he was on from 12:30 - 1:30 and used to do bits like… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 9, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

No More Cookie Magazine leads to No More Orwell

I never read Cookie Magazine. Nor Modern Bride or Elegant Bride. I did flip through Gourmet magazing once. Matter of fact, I think I even bought a subscription of it for a holiday gift one year for a friend.



Yet now they will be no more. News just announced by Conde Nast is that the plug is officially being… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 8, 2009 at 6:30am — No Comments

The shadows of fathers.

Today would have been my father's 67th birthday. He passed in 1994.



Never met my wife.

Never met my daughter.

Never saw me win Teacher of the Year for the state of California or publish a book... much less 9 of them (to date).



Died at the age of 51 from diabetes. (He was a juvenile diabetic.)



In many ways the life of my father was an absolute train wreck. And the shadow he cast over my life still colors vast amounts of psychological real… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 7, 2009 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

The Napsterization of Books Freaks Me Out!!

Jim Burke turned me onto this NY Times article about the "Napsterization of Books" and I gotta say, it kinda sends a chill up my spine. Why? Well, because first and foremost, I am an author. I feed my family, pay my house bills and supplement my teaching income working in a high school (because who, in California, can afford to… Continue

Added by Alan Sitomer on October 5, 2009 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

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