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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Today was the End of Instruction test for Geometry, one of my classes…

I’ve been begging and pleading for the last three weeks for them to try their best.  Please don’t randomly check answers, try to pass. 

I am the test administrator for my 63 lovely, young, fresh-faced students.  It is an online test.  I manage to get all 63 logged in, read the instructions, and turn them loose.  This part is a 60 minute test, but if they need more time, the test isn’t really timed. 

As I’m wandering up and down I notice, without looking at the test question close enough to read it, that one young lady has been on the first question for 10 minutes.

“Is everything alright with your computer?”  I ask.

“Yup, everything’s fine.”

6 minutes or so later, as I pass by, I notice she’s still on the first question.

“Everything okay?”

“Yes, Mr. W, everything is fine.”

Next pass-by, still on the first question.

“Hey, April, what?” and I shrug my shoulders.

“You’ve been telling us to take our time and do our best, right?  And you told us this test isn’t timed, right?  I’m gonna need some extra time on this Mr. W”


At the 60 minute mark she still hasn’t answered the first question.  My runner hasn’t been by to check if we need anything, I can’t leave or send my monitor for help, I can’t force her to answer the questions, I don’t need this freaking headache that’s forming behind my eyes…

One kid in the middle of the room raises his hand.  I walk over and ask, in a quiet voice, what he needs.

“I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Sorry Johnny, nobody leaves the room until all the tests are completed.”

April is sitting in the front so nearly everyone can see her monitor.  They know who the hold-up is.  Rumblings begin.  April looks around and realizes that she is quickly becoming public enemy number 1.  She starts clicking and finishes the test in about 2 minutes.

Its crap like this that makes these high stakes test so frustrating.  In my state, at least, the students have no consequences for doing bad.  The test doesn’t count on their grade, it makes no difference as to graduation. 

No child left behind, my ass.

Picture it, Sicily, 1978.  A young man is nearing the end of his high school experience.  It is just a few short weeks until graduation.  The father of our young man comes home one day and says, “I’ve been transferred.  We’re moving to Oklahoma.” 

“When, dear father, will this occur?” asks the young man.


“But, father, what about school?  I’m about to graduate.”

Long story short [I know, too late] the high school I was attending in New Jersey agreed to let the new school in Oklahoma send my grades back to them and i would officially ‘graduate’ from New Jersey.  Yeah, it sucked moving that late in my senior year, but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have met a certain young lady, and I wouldn’t have been married to her for 27 years and…    anyway.  So I have a diploma from Cherry Hill High School East.

I now teach in the high school that I moved into for 3 weeks in 1978.

After school today I was in the office of the registrar talking to her [or hiding from the kids who wanted to talk to me about an assignment that was due yesterday] when a kid came in.  He said he had graduated last year and never picked up his diploma and wondered if he could still get it.  Ruth the Registrar went into the vault and gave the kid his diploma.

Now, I have to admit, I’m sorta a smartass.  I know that may be hard to believe, but, there it is.

When Ruth the Registrar came back in her office I said, mockingly, “I graduated in 1978 and never picked up my diploma and I was wondering if I could still get it?”

Ruth the Registrar walked out without saying a word, went to vault and came back not a minute later with a large white envelope with my name on it.  And I’ll be damned, but there was my diploma.  30 years later and it was still on file.

Ruth laughed and said, “Daaaaaaaamn, tell me how good I am”

You’re good Ruth, you’re damn good.

I was walking past the boys bathroom near my room today and noticed a stream of water coming from the door. I went in and found one of the urinals was running constantly and had been clogged up with a wad of papertowels. I promptly notified the front office. The said they would send a janitor immediately.

A few minutes later I noticed a janitor pass my door with a mop bucket.

At the end of the period while on hall duty I again noticed a stream of water coming from the bathroom. I went back to my room and got my camera…


It might be hard to see, but the bucket is full and the floor is again flooded.

Amazingly, none of the young gentlemen of my school had actually used that particular urinal, or bucket…

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant’s foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter couldn’t help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed his stupid ass against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn’t the same elephant.

I was gone Thursday and Friday last week attending the state delegate assembly for my education association.  When I got to school this morning the note from my sub read:

Your classes were great.  Some of the kids kept bringing office supplies though.  They wouldn’t say why

Here’s a pic of the stash as of this morning…

 I think it's getting out of hand.

Now, the big question is, “Which stapler is mine?” As the ancient crusader said to Indy, “Choose wisely.”

I’ll also include a pic of the stapler that started it all…

Isn't she pretty?

The infamous blue stapler

When my dear cousin made reference to my stapler story asking if it was “a red swingline stapler” I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. I was searching Google images for a picture of the stapler in my story when I found the reference she was talking about.

I’ve never seen the movie “Office Space” nor have I seen the TV show. Everybody tells me I would like it. I guess I’ll have to check it out.

In the meantime, here is a picture of the stapler that started the quest (not the actual stapler but it looks just like it).

Salary Theorem: The less you know, the more you make


 Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
 Postulate 2: Time is Money.

As every engineer knows: Power = Work / Time
And since Knowledge = Power and Time = Money
It is therefore true that Knowledge = Work / Money .
Solving for Money, we get:
Money = Work / Knowledge
Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of Work done.

My daughter came by this morning.

She had an ultrasound this week. 

I’ve seen my grandchild’s first picture.

I am completely overwhelmed and can’t even begin to describe the feeling.

Mid-October can’t get here soon enough…

Cleaning out old emails.  Here’s another…

A letter to the editor I sent to the local paper a couple years ago in repsonse to teacher pay raises being debated:

Teachers only work 180 days a year, I say pay them for those days and no other.  No Christmas break, no spring break, and definetly no summer vacation.  180 days thats it.

Everybody knows that public schools teachers today do nothing but baby-sit.  I say, pay them babysitter wages.

When I get a babysitter for my kids I pay $3 per hour per kid.  That’s what I say pay teachers.  They only work what, 7 hours a day?  Class size averages what, 30 kids?  Okay, thats 30 kids times 7 hours times $3 times 180 days.  That comes out to…  wait a minute, there’s something wrong with my calculator.  Let me run those numbers again…  that can’t be right…  that works out to $113,400 per year?

Okay, nevermind.  Go ahead and give them that raise.

An email from a fellow teacher:

Have you heard about the next planned ‘Survivor’ show?

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for 1 school year.  Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum, and a class of 28 – 32 students.

Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.  Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.

In addition, they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and [Code Red] drills for shooting attacks each month.

They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, and attend curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind.  If they are sick or having a bad day they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times.  If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be
held responsible.

The business people will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they may not be able to afford it.  There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to thirty minutes, which is not counted as part of
their work day.  The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.

The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to their job.

Pass this to your friends who think teaching is easy, and to the ones that know it is hard.