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Showing posts from January, 2008

No Going Back

I don't think I can go back to teaching. At a ski retreat (I don't ski, but I had fun staying in the warm cabin), I was doing work on my laptop and enjoying myself. As I was about to leave, I realized I had forgotten my computer. I went back in, saying, "Almost forgot my computer," and a friend said, "If you forget it, you'll have to go back to teaching!"

That was enough to strike fear into my heart. Everyone else thought it was funny, but I didn't so much.

Another Possible Strike?

The Tribune reporter has a blog about what is going on in the district - another strike possible. You can read my comment under the name "Former Oakland Teacher."

Also, someone postulated that the reason that teachers in this district quit at the beginning of the year is so they can have no gap in their health insurance (comment #3). I was a little irritated. Sure, a few of them do stupid things like that, but first of all your health care goes through late August anyway, so quitting in late August gives you exactly the same amount of health care as you would have if you had quit in June. People should learn what they're talking about.

Second, (I'm comment #4 and 12 on the list) there are AMPLE reasons to quit at the beginning of the year. The district greatly misrepresents things. I'm not at all for quitting any time before the end of the school year, but then (as evidenced by the fact that I spent 8 years in this district) I might be more of a masochist tha…

Changing Times: Cell Phones

When I was in college, I took a physiology class (1995 maybe? it's so long ago that I gt confused!) Actually, it wasn't that long ago - definitely not earlier than 1995 - but no one I knew had cell phones. The first person I knew who got a cell phone was my friend who moved away from the immediate area when he graduated and got this horrible analog phone... but it was better than what anyone else had, which was nothing.

Anyway, I was in this physiology class, and someone's cell phone ring. It was the first time I had ever heard a cell phone ring during class and the professor just pointed toward the door and said, "OUT!" It was a 500+ person class and everyone watched as the disgraced student left.

Not even 15 years ago.

Last week, as I was subbing in kindergarten, two out of the 15 kids had cell phones. Two kids might not seem like many, but remember, these kids are 5 years old. They don't all know how to write their names yet. They don't know all t…

Jesus and Politics

In college, someone asked me - with much sincerity - how I could be a Christian and vote against Proposition 187. For those of you who may not have been in California or paying attention at the time, Prop 187 was an initiative that was meant to deny social services, health care, and public education to illegal immigrants. Health care workers and teachers were also supposed to report suspected illegal immigrants, I believe. The proposition passed, but was later overturned by a federal court.

Aside from the disturbing consequences that might come from having the illegal portion of our population denied vaccinations and education (anyone really think that's going to help us out as a state? Whether or not you agree with undocumented workers being here, I would think we'd all want to make sure their children didn't get polio, even if it's only for the selfish reason that we don't want another polio epidemic!), I was confused about the assumption that Jesus would obv…

Lou Dobbs

I have a lot of other things to write about soon, when I get over this cold and feel better, but right now I want to point out something I think is kind of funny.

If you have read my blog, you probably know my feelings about Lou Dobbs. Lou Dobbs is a CNN anchor and also has his own show. The thing that he may be best known for is his stance on immigration - anti-amnesty, pro-border fences and the Minuteman Project, outspoken about any flag being flown in the US other than the American flag, even at cultural events and demonstration (all of a sudden, I really want to go get me a Mexican flag and fly it!), and thinks that immigrants should assimilate, describing illegal immigration as an "invasion." (I personally think that he puts the "ass" in "assimilate.")

Anyway, guess whose billboards are all over East Oakland right now - especially in the Latino parts (where there are many many illegal immigrants - and I'm not saying that because they speak Spani…

A Moral Dilemma

A friend of mine was waiting for an appointment in the office of our church, with a lot of other people. She didn't know any of them - it's a big church - but a father caught her attention because he was berating his child. I wasn't there, but it sounded like his little son dropped or knocked over a piece of paper that was directing people and my friend went to help him pick it up. The dad starting in telling the kid that people were counting on him, he had ruined this, look how stupid he is, etc. Then the mom came in from the other room and the dad started telling her how stupid their son is, look what he did, he ruined this, he's so stupid. For dropping a piece of paper.

So, my question is: what does an observer do? I don't know what I would do in that situation but I'm not sure I'd keep my mouth shut. I don't know if it would help to say anything, but - especially if it was a member of my own church community - I would feel some kind of respons…

Horace Mann (Mystery Solved!)

OK, probably nobody else cares who Horace Mann is, but I finally found out! Read the article, he's halfway down it, but it's really not that exciting.

The exciting thing is that I've wondered for the last 8 years who Horace Mann is. This is because there is a school in my district called Horace Mann School. It's interesting that you can tell which schools are old and which ones are the "new small schools" because the old schools have names of people that are dead. Some are obvious: Martin Luther King, Jr. School, Lincoln School, etc. Others, like Horace Mann and John Swett, not so obvious. I student taught, in a different city, at Fern Bacon School and I always felt bad for anyone named Fern Bacon.

The new schools are all called very inspiring names like Think College Now and Futures (sounds like an item on the stock market - its sister school could be Commodities). Or else they have really long names with acronyms.

Anyway, the reason I remember Horace Man…

The Nutcracker! (or: Men in Tights)

Happy New Year! If you can't read his headgear, the dog is also wishing you a happy New Year.

I chaperoned a field trip right before Christmas - we took the kids to the Nutcracker. I was thrilled to not be the person actually in charge, so it was a fun day for me! Trips are much more fun when I'm not the one in charge of figuring out how we're going to get there, pay for it, not kill each other, and get home with everyone still in the group.

The principal started off by being his charming self. Mrs. Dwyer set up the field trip and got people to donate the tickets as well as their time - she actually got enough drivers to take the whole class downtown. The teacher was very organized about getting everyone into the correct cars and keeping track of everyone. Mine was the second to last car to leave. As we were getting into my car, I saw the principal come over and talk to the teacher. Apparently he told her that he hadn't approved the field trip. Good timing, dude…