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Rants from a Former Teacher

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Something on one of my teams prompted me to write this rant.

I'm on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to schools. As a former teacher of 25+ years I can see the teacher's points of view and as a mother and not a grandmother of children who have gone through or are going through the system today I can see the parents' points of view. I have seen the stupidity of some teacher ans many have the mentality that it all has to be their way and their point of view or not at all. Example:

My oldest granddaughter at 13 loves reading and English. This year she has an absolutely terrible teacher. I taught with this teacher a few years ago and know a little of her teaching style and she is not "A Teacher". She and my granddaughter have gone round and round. Our GD has been taught to be a free thinker and bless her, she stands her ground on some things she believes is right. This GD has good character and can read people pretty well. She tells her mother or me everything that goes on at school and she does not lie and even hates liars. But she speaks her mind just like all the women in our family. She is stuggling this year mainly with just this teacher because this teacher won't give an inch.

The middle granddaughter has been blest this year with a man teacher who is one of the best I've seen. (heavens forbid..he doesn't give homework) But he is a hands on teacher and this GD loves everything about school this year. These two teachers are as far apart as night and day.

Teachers today "teach to the test" rather than giving the kids real learning experiences. They are so busy teaching the test and testing shills (which are important but not everything) that the kids are feeling the stress from this. They have no spare time to just be kids. There recess time has been cut back to maybe 30 minutes a day and that is usually at noon. Then they come home to so much homework that after they work on their home work they have little time but to eat and bath and go to bed. And the schools wonder why kids act out so much. They need an outlet. Then on the other hand, many parents like to occupy their kids time so much with activities (think so they don't have to have interaction them) that it is no wonder kids are so stressed out. We also wonder why our kids are getting fatter and fatter. Stress, no exercise and in such a rush that families have to get take out so much. Kids today just do not have the time or energy to just be a kid anymore. I can remember riding my bike for hours or roller skating on the sidewalks. I can remember our sons spending hours on the trampoline or riding their bikes or building forts or treehouses. Today I don't see that with kids. Whose fault is it. Both!!! We need to give kids more time to be kids and time to enjoy the school experiences. Think of the experiences you remember in school. They were either the worst experience in life or the most fun. Today they only remember the worst. Let's let kids be kids awhile.
On another note, while teaching I had a long talk with my principal and he said today high schools are now designed as a preparation for college. There are so many who fall through the cracks because they aren't given a training for when they leave school. Not all kids are college material but yet we don't provide any training that they can take with them when they leave...something that they can use. Tell me how many of you have used algebra or trig or chemistry. Sure there are those scientist who have used these but everyday joes....
Enough rant!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARLI_MAE 9/9/2008 12:46PM

    Keep on keepin' on, Barb! And why are teachers teaching for the numbers on the standardized tests? I'm guessing because they are forced to do it by the superintendents and beyond them, the local mayors & state governors who want to be able to take credit for scores improving when it comes to re-election time.

I also wonder if the "new" educational theorists who began writing when we were beginning to study to become certified teachers messed around with something that wasn't broken to begin with, and now those theories have had many years to grow and take over.

I had an argument with a neighbor who thought that I would support some of them regarding a referendum that failed here for funds to tear down a perfectly good school building so they could re-build it (I suppose because of my backround). Well she was very disappointed when I asked her hadn't she noticed that 90% of our property taxes already go to the schools in this district, and that all these years of pumping more & more money in and seeing less and less in return, that maybe SOME problems we have with our schools today are problems that no amount of money can fix?

It occurred to me later that -- oh, duh -- her and her husband live free of charge in that house, because her father bought it for them, they've never paid him back, and he's also paying the property taxes on the place while they are merrily running it into the ground & not even doing basic cleaning. They and their children would be healthier and cleaner living in a pig sty (& I do mean that very literally -- yecch)!

Ooooppps ... now I am ranting emoticon But you are right ... something is way off, and it's more than just one thing.


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WATOGA17 9/9/2008 9:12AM

    Our system is clearly "broken". It truly has become about the test and not about the student. It is a sad thing.


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ANYALEA 9/7/2008 3:18PM

    I am a sub teacher and totally agree with you so RANT ON. We need more teachers and parents to rant on this subject more often.

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Why Women Should Vote

Friday, September 05, 2008

Regardless of your party affiliation get out and vote...


This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and g asping for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

HBO's has a new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that we could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have our say. Are we ashamed to say we need the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration should still be our passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal and more rote. Frankly,voting often feels more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it is inconvenient.

. 'One thought should come to us 'What would those women think of the way we use, or don't use, our right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.'
HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.
We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

History is being made.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATOGA17 9/6/2008 9:21AM

    Oh Barbara, you are amazing!

As I began reading your blog, I thought, "I have to respond to this by telling everyone to rent the movie IRON-JAWED ANGELS". Then there it was, suggested by you! I own that movie. It is a must-see for all women of all ages.

You are absolutely right. Voting is not just a privilege, it is a responsibility to ourselves, our children, our predecessors, our country.



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CARLI_MAE 9/5/2008 11:52PM

    Yahoo! Hey, Barb ... I edited it a bit and posted it on our team ... did I do good? It's also been posted on 2 other teams. Lots of folks say they're going to try to rent or buy the dvd.

Like that old Joni Mitchell song ... 'Yellow Taxi' ... "don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?" ... when we don't put our rights to use, we endanger them! emoticon fantastic find! emoticon

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ANYALEA 9/5/2008 11:05PM

    AMEN!!! Thank you so much for reminding us that we should vote. We the women do make a difference as long as we take a vote. Thanks.

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After Gustov

Thursday, September 04, 2008

We were finally able to really get out and view the river and all. Our road was washed out at the far end. But not much traffic there anyway and most can detour around on another road. The river was up to the bottom of the bridge but I've seen it over the bridge at times. Sonny got out yesterday in his muck boots and dug out the drainage culvert that the road crews had accidentally filled in this summer in their side of the road grading. It drained the bottom of the garden out. But today no rain, but no sun either. I'm ready for some sun!!!

Today was our annual dentist visit. And like I thought I'm going to have a cap done Oct 10th. I really need 2 but one hits a hole in the pocket book so will have to wait on the other until next year. I knew there was a weak tooth there but didn't realize there were 2 cracked ones. Usually they don't give me problems until they break off. I told him I needed a matching set. He just attributed it to getting cavities filled in the 1960's in that they put huge ones in then that weakened the teeth. Also he said jaw breakers didn't help much chomping on them and ice as a kid...of which I did both growing up as he did too. I really like my dentist. I don't like having the work done but like him as a person.
After this wild week, I'm hoping for a calm restful day tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATOGA17 9/6/2008 9:42AM


What a photo! Mother nature is an amazing thing!

Good luck with that cap.


Comment edited on: 9/6/2008 9:39:50 AM

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Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm not doing well on the walking lately. I think with storms that are coming, I'm just so achy. The joints are really acting up. I go to the rhummy tomorrow for my annual visit. Also new daughter-in-law Carmen is having her ultra sound tomorrow as well. We plan to meet them somewhere tomorrow.

Other dil Jackie called and was in terrible mood. She had a friend over and they were talking dieting. Her friend is good at getting her started on diets and exercise but then in a week quits on her. Jackie doesn't get on the internet much so she is not really into doing sparkpeopl. Also youngest granddaughter got bit by neighbor's dog and I don't think the dog has had a rabis shot. I told her she better call the vet and city tomorrow to come pick up the dog and have it tested. She just brushed it off like it was nothing. She doesn't want to upset the neighbors as she is home alone with the girls for a month at a stretch while the son works on an off shore drillling rig off coast of Brazil. She practically bit my head off when I asked her what was more important...upsetting her neighbors or her daughter getting rabis.

Well Sonny cleaned the garden plot up more. Got the dead tomato vines pulled. I helped pick okra and peppers. This is all we have left. After the rains end we plan to plant turnip greens. I'm still wanting an cold frame built to grow lettuce and carrots this winter.

I also bathed 3 dogs and have been doing laundry all day so it has been a productive Labor Day. Labor on Labor day is my motto.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARMIZC 9/4/2008 2:17PM

    Am late on catching up on this Barb: what kind of dogs do you have? Mine( don't know if I mentioned it in passing) is a Golden/Collie mix named Zushie Girl..Am anticipating the newest hurricane coming up the coast because I am on the achy train today!

All the best, friend!

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Another great day

Friday, August 29, 2008

I had a great day today. My daughter-in-law Jackie and I went shopping. We haven't done this in a few months and it was such fun. We visited Hobby Lobby and then ate at Olive Garden and then to the Dollar Tree and Walmarts. This is the first year she hasn't had one child along for almost 13 years so it was a real treat for us both.

Then after we got home, Sonny and I drove back over to town and went to our new step grandson's football game. Jackie and her girls met us. We sat with the youngest son and his new wife. He works on an off-shore drilling ship which is located in the Gulf. He was to leave out this Monday but with Hurricane Gustoff he will be delayed and won't go in until Wednesday or Thursday. Carmen (his wife) and I are both happy. She has her ultra-sound this Tuesday and they should tell what the sex is. She and I are wanting a girl and don't think it matters to the son.

But had a good day and got over 4 miles of walking in. And stuck to my calorie count.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATOGA17 9/1/2008 8:39AM


What a great day and 4 miles of walking! Way to go!


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