Friday, June 26, 2009

Live Blogging the Willits School Board meeting

Well, not really.  I mean, I’m actually at the Willits School Board meeting blogging, but I’m not really going to blog about the school board meeting.  My wife happens to work for the district, so the less said about the meeting the better. 

Actually, if you want to see what’s happening at Willits, check out the Willits News about the issues with the district.  The interesting thing about little Willits is that it might be a microcosm of what’s happening all over the state.  School districts are being hammered, districts are having to make tough decisions, and labor unions are bringing up questions on which way to move.  Like many districts, my own at Ukiah included, people are starting to point at each other and asking “what are you going to do to cut down spending”.  Certificated salaries take up a massive amount of school budget.  Yes, we are incredibly underpaid, but the reality is that society hasn’t seen teachers as a legitimate priority, so the meager funding that gets to districts is balanced towards the paychecks of teachers.  The other reality is that we are at a point now where neither the administrators nor the districts can cut without seriously impacting students.  So the arguing is fairly pointless, except that both parties need to sacrifice, neither can afford to sacrifice, and in the end students are going to get the short end of the stick.

Watching reaction locally has been discouraging as well.  With the population of California suffering some serious hardships in the current recession, public sentiment is not really in line with the plight of the teacher.  Unions that are sticking to their guns and refusing to make sacrifices are being seen as elitist snobs that are trying to weasel their way out of the general pain shared by everyone in the state.  It is not a good situation.  And while I can’t say that I blame the people’s outrage, I’ll make two points:

1)  Teacher’s sacrifice more than the average worker to start with.  I spend thousands of dollars a year on professional development and supplies that do nothing to raise my pay, but do everything to impact the learning of your children.  I’m not going to have much of a summer vacation this year, as the learning is going to take place week after week (I’m in a classroom seven hours a day this week), and my trips are full of gathering information for classroom use.  I don’t mind hitting all the historical sights and buying all the resources (we collectively bought around $300 worth of materials on the last trip), but don’t bullshit me with the argument that I’m overpaid.  I willingly sacrifice for your children, and I love doing it.  But don’t you dare insult me by acting like I don’t deserve my salary, or more.

2)  Your children are going to suffer the consequences of this recession.  That’s not a threat, that’s a fact.  The rumor at the high school is that the district has ordered the high school to cut spending by 85%.  That’s not a typo.  85%.  A teacher like myself that has been looking to work more efficiently might be able to minimize the blow with the use of technology, but teachers that have been using their form of methods and resources for twenty years are going to have to massively adjust their strategies, and those adjustments are going to be brutal on valuable education time.  I’m all for trimming the fat on bloated spending, but 85% is insane.  Be prepared for some tough conditions.

So I’m going back to half listening to the Willits School Board meeting.  I see administrators, teachers, school board members, CSEA members, and community folk all here listening to the dire news, all reaching for answers, and all waiting for variables that can’t be controlled to come to fruition. 

Get your act together State of California.  We want to work for your kids.  Stop working against us.    

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mr. Silva-Brown's Report Card, Part Three "What were things that Mr. Silva-Brown did well?" 2009 edition

And finally, we end on a good note. These are all the things, word for word, that the students thought that I did well.

-posted grades
-showing movies and the homework was pertinent to our learning
-powerpoint slides were well done and useful for the AP
-Uses projector effectively and rehearses everything until everyone understood it.
-I like the news
-explained well and power points
-shout, wear a tie, and teach
-lecture, but not in a monotone
-kept our attention and knew what information was important and what wasn't
-makes certain things stay in your head
-No bookwork, no busy work, easy going class, straight and to the point
-teach
-I love the projected stuff on the board. Easy to take notes. Explaining things and drilling them into my head
-Weekly quizzes make you remember stuff better
-Jeopardy
-Songs on power point made me pay attention
-Makes teaching fun and interesting. Does a good job getting and keeping you focused.
-Loved the powerpoints. Movie clips, songs/stories were interesting and enjoyable.
-Very good slideshows and never wasted time in class
-I liked the youtube videos and the footage
-powerpoints
-most everything
-go over stuff
-powerpoints and explanations, actually making me enjoy history
-makes me remember things and makes it fun to learn history
-making sure we understood things we needed to know
-powerpoints and the lack of group work
-I enjoyed the power points
-The powerpoint/note thing was really good and I learned well that way
-Jeopardy
-powerpoints, jeopardy, songs and video
-very well organized and teaching things that were needed, and Jeopardy
-explained things well and the powerpoints were good
-speeches, explanations, power points
-slide shows, explaining things, use of speeches and projections, confidence
-entertaining class
-kept class going and entertained
-power points, comfortable, funny, on task, enjoyed it
-presenting the info and having them understand it
-explained big events in history. I loved the 1950's.
-Answered and explained things well, power points
-teach
-power points and explaining information
-very organized and had everything set up, practically never gone
-power points make you want to watch and listen to see what happens next
-explaining things and making it engraved in our heads
-explained things in intricate detail and that was very helpful. Helped if we needed extra assistance
-taught well and power points were great. Joked around and that made the subject much easier.
-Adores his subject and is serious about it
-good at taking insults
-finding interesting videos and Jeopardy, but make teams more even
-news
-easy to read slideshows, light on homework, always there to answer questions, well organized
-powerpoints, movies and media clips
-always available to ask a question in person or via e-mail
-slideshows, news, subject was very interesting
-teaching and getting ideas across with great effort, very enthusiastic about subject
-current events
-teaching things that were on AP
-teaching with the slides
-powerpoint presentations and repetition of certain areas
-briefing papers help with what we just read, and explaining certain aspects of countries which are complicated at first
-organized, lots of teaching with visuals (movies, powerpoints, news)
-starting my day with your booming voice
-Talking loudly, presentations, good knowledge of the subject, great class if you were nicer
-Everything!
-Powerpoints, speak
-powerpoints, made class fun, barely any homework
-powerpoints, news explaining information, no busy work, online grades, student-teacher communication on multiple levels, final exemption
-powerpoints, no busy work, news, making things relevant, video clips and music, always positive
-good job teaching, except for his jokes
-good technology and power points
-power points and discussions, video and music clips and the visuals
-Talking loud, but that's good because it gets everyone's attention. It's obvious that you are interested in the subject.
-talking notes is helpful for me to learn, especially the power points.
-no book work and info is clearly presented
-I really benefited from the powerpoints
-You are an excellent teacher.
-lectures/powerpoints
-present slides well, give good information, prepared you for tests
-lectures were amazing
-I really enjoyed the news and you make history interesting
-powerpoints and videos
-Gave multiple sources of information, especially during comp gov
-enjoyed the powerpoints and the multiple examples that made me understand more
-Enjoyed the incorporation of multimedia and the cultural/societal examples of the subject matter. I was able to make connections.
-showing clips on certain countries, going over notes on powerpoints
-breaking things down
-Jeopardy helped a lot, the music/video clips. Quizzes focused on the lectures that we did that day.
-slide show notes were great. I was able to retain a lot of information.
-Got information to stick and stay there, not only taught but made jokes and stuff
-Enthusiastic and kept the energy up
-Liked the videos, all the multimedia really helps me understand
-made the class interesting and didn't just focus on the book. Liked the quizzes without all the homework
-getting info to us and makes it relate
-group work and slides
-explained in detail
-asking everyone if they understood and asking if anybody if they had questions
-powerpoints were awesome and you do a great job explaining things
-he goes over things from the test, and I loved Jeopardy
-Really liked the news every day, and lots of visuals, good job of teaching and good effort
-Made information interesting without a lot of homework
-spoke loud and clear, helped us understand with a fun approach
-Teaching terms and making them easy to remember, class was never dull, never had busy work
-great speaking
-gave good life advice
-kept the classes attention with exaggeration and loudness
-facilitating controversial conversations
-connecting international events/themes with class work
-encouraging meaningful work
-made everyone enthusiastic about what the class was doing with fun and educational projects
-course was fun and intriguing
-kept our attention and not too uptight
-lots of things in his room to look at when he goes off on who knows what
-activities with countries were good
-get info across without boring the hell out of us, plus made tests and quizzes easy
-got everyone interested with movie clips and songs, or an activity
-slide shows were great way to present information
-made sure we understood about the notes
-yelled
-kept class on task but made it fun and light
-I understood a lot as certain things made me remember. You discussed topics well. It was a fun atmosphere
-slide shows, videos, discussion
-organized, information, presentations
-powerpoints were my favorite. I learned faster and more from them than anything
-got info to us well
-got our attention and incorporated humor
-explained, yeah
-let us speak without adding in his opinion
-news, let students debate, lack of political positions, fun and interactive
-fun activities
-teach
-Drove?
-Class simulations were fun, especially MUN
-Knew the topics and taught well
-used movies, music, and powerpoints
-Jeopardy
-kept things organized and helped us with things a lot
-explained things in depth, great presentations, made it fun, caught my attention when he speaks and with the way he acts

and there you have it.

Mr. Silva-Brown's Report Card, Part Two "What recommendations would you give Mr. Silva-Brown" 2009 edition

Here are all my recommendations, live and uncut, from my students. I'm leaving none out, however some students did not fill out every category, which is why the numbers will not be the same. My comments are in italics.

-more Model UN's
-don't care about what people are wearing. If they're wearing it, they like it. (I had a bit of a battle at the end of the year with women letting it all hang out. For the most part they would find a sweater, but they would wear it again and again).
-more simulations
-don't be so harsh on those that go on once-in-a-lifetime trips
-nothing specific
-more class discussions
-more issues and more discussions
-get over the dress code. It's the 21st century.
-keep the class going
-stop trying to be funny
-stop being so touchy
-keep giving constant quizzes. They really helped me on tests.
-more fun activities
-go over things more
-I have none
-eliminate group projects. They are a waste of valuable time and student's don't consume student presented information (I'm becoming less and less of a fan of student presented group information. I don't mind group work with a goal, but to have students research and present was counter productive).
-just keep with what you are doing
-you performed well
-don't fool around so much. People don't listen afterwards.
-none
-none
-lighter cell phone punishment (another bone of contention, the damn cell phone.)
-more simulations
-let us eat
-not so strict on cell phones
-give your opinion
-more activities
-keep the pace up
-more Model UN
-make students feel more comfortable so they can have a positive learning environment
-don't favor "favorites" (something I noticed in my Advanced Placement class was the term "favorites" being bantered around. After talking to other teachers, I came to the realization that I focused on those students paying attention, and didn't try to engage those students that didn't seem to care. It wasn't like college prep where I had to bring the unengaged up. I expected you to already be "up". )
-watch Van Damn movies before you say he sucks (he still sucks)
-change food and cell phone policies
-keep up good work
-post homework on the wall or something
-work on your singing voice
-spell things correctly and work on your "r's"
-teach the state capitals
-be a little more open and less aggressive so quieter people can participate more
-offer extra credit
-interact a few more
-none
-more homework
-more jeopardy
-little more lenient on late work and stuff.
-more activities and less notes. Most people copy them down and never look at them again.
-flashcards?
-Change eating and cell phone policy
-talk louder
-more group work
-less notes, more "work-work", and more class projects
-get singing lessons
-loosen up
-Less sidetracked and cover more material. More homework.
-I couldn't hear the announcements
-Don't stress, you're doing great
-less talking before tests and hand them out sooner
-don't have any
-Not much, except get grades online quicker
-More flexibility in rules
-stop yelling
-be more open to the possibility that some of the questions have multiple answers
-teach lessons quicker in the beginning so the end of the year is not rushed
-create a study guide for the AP's.
-supply paper for all your quizzes
-more homework
-let us eat in class
-none
-I recommend that you let us eat in class
-turn off AC
-I don't know
-teach AI next year
-NA
-don't hate short people
-??
-Update online grades more.
-little more homework
-buy a Dodgers hat
-Nothing that I could thing of
-Don't be such a college style professor, we are high school students after all (don't take AP level classes if you don't like the college approach)
-more info online
-less loud powerpoints
-making hasty generalizations makes an ass out of everyone
-teach U.S. after the AP test
-give your students old tests to study for the AP test
-if most of the class gets a problem wrong, you might be wrong.
-stock project was not graded fairly
-too long for grades to get online
-more organization
-less loud voice
-be more understanding of student struggles
-be more approachable and don't turn everything into a joke
-be more understanding and not penalizing for scholarship interviews and they cannot make up a test on a particular day (ok, one thing we don't do well in our schools is to make kids deal with time management. I would never penalize a kid for a scholarship interview, but the student needs to follow the policies of making up work. I give flexibility in dealing with school, but making my classwork the last priority is unrealistic. Even if some event happens in my life, I'm still going to have come back and do my job.)
-recognize that you give special treatment to certain students and that does affect those that don't
-Get a new Comp Gov book. Ours is boring.
-More time on review.
-keep showing news
-more doughnuts and give extra credit movies
-get a nice smile and stop lowering grades when students are talking or eating. It just pisses people off.
-Space out homework more. You would give lots of work, then go a week without it.
-phrase your questions better so we can give you a clear answer
-Don't be so uptight about deadlines. I walked in a few minutes late and you wouldn't accept my stock project.
-explain projects better
-none
-Be nicer to the underclassmen
-a better barber
-Let kids decide the time to make up the quiz during the next day
-more about World War One
-more students involved, less power points
-not so many quizzes, more homework
-ummmm dunno
-stop shaving your head
-explain things more
-more lax on the cell phone thing
-stay the same
-nothing
-did great
-change desks around
-helpful games
-Keep working on improving power points
-More homework will boost student grades
-keep doing it
-Don't alienate students with your sense of humor
-more friendly
-give more homework
-more homework
-create a year outline and stick to it
-Don't cut your hair short ever again
-less social life stories, nobody cares
-Set up Jeopardy before class so we don't have to waste time
-Keep putting weekly agenda on the blog
-None
-Don't take cell phones for so long
-Keep doing what you are doing
-power points are boring, more hands on things
-Ah?
-Nothing
-It's good
-Yelling does not get your point across
-stop trying to actively bring down people's grades
-Let students eat in class. We had food celebrations in ********'s class and they were more understanding.
-Be more flexible with answers. The class got it wrong and it isn't their fault.
-You have a grading bias towards people that like you. Even the "goofballs" are here to learn and pass the AP test.
-Watch the sarcasm. It can come off as mean.

And there you have the student recommendations.

Mr. Silva-Brown's Report Card, Part One "Ratings Game", 2009 edition

Like previous years, it is time to check out the reviews of Mr. Silva-Brown, live and uncut.

I present to you, part one of a three part series that looks at the "graded" Mr. Silva-Brown. At the end of each year I give out a report card with about 15 questions about my performance during the year.
The questions are:
-One a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being excellent), rate Mr. Silva-Brown's teaching this semester.
-Was I well organized?
-Did you understand what was going on?
-Do you think I have improved since September?
-Did you feel safe?
-Were students treated equally with respect?
-Describe your overall experience in the class
-What did I do well?
-What recommendations can you give?
-Give one piece of advice for next years students.

Today, I'll give you the numbers rating. The rating is first, followed by how many students rated me at that level.

Here it is:

Ten- 38
Nine- 45
Eight- 33
Seven- 10
Six- 1
Five- 1
Four-0
Three-1
Two- 1

My average is an 8.7, a high B. Up from an 8.3 a year ago, though not my highest from two years ago (8.9). Note, the two and three came from the same class.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Breaking News!!!

Marijuana smoke causes cancer

Kids have told me that this isn't the case because "marijuana smoke is greener, and cleaner", and that "water from the bong filters the bad stuff out of the smoke". 

Sure, spend millions on getting people to stop smoking.......then legalize marijuana. 

Welcome to California.

Live! From Baltimore, Maryland

So I've been East Coasting for awhile.

After taking in a Giants game last Friday, my wife and I hopped on an Oakland-Washington JetBlue flight to begin our vacation.  It will be a very busy summer.  Some observations.

-First, school is done.

-Our flight from Oakland to Washington was fine until we reached the plains of Wyoming.  It was then that I had my first experience with "moderate turbulence".  I've had turbulence in the past and I've never had a problem.  This was different.  This was the plane bobbing up and down, seeming to slip side to side in a motion that felt horridly unnatural.  Mix in to that the lightening strikes off on the horizon and it made about 40 minutes of the trip quite the nightmare.  I know, planes don't fall out of the air and turbulence doesn't cause crashes.  Still, it was more than unnerving and it distracted me from my podcast of Prime Minister's Questions.

-Our trip included three days in Washington, two days in Philadelphia, two days in Baltimore.  We are beginning the last leg of our journey that has included some wonderful weather.  The humidity has been very light, and Philadelphia was down right chilly.  We spent Tuesday night at Citizen's Bank Ballpark to watch a Phillies game and experienced AT&T park 60 degree temperatures.  It's a tad bit more muggy here in Baltimore, but still mild nonetheless.  Oh, and while California is suffering from lack of water, the people of the East Coast are begging for it to stop.  Apparently the number of sunny days in Baltimore is so limited that people have started to wonder if the large star in the sky actually exists.  It has rained for over a month here, with thunderstorms almost daily and the locals are tired of it.  Bummer.  Bring that water back to Ukiah where mandatory rationing has now been put into effect.

-Note to Californians, everyone knows about our economic situation.......and nobody cares.  When mentioning that we are from California, people nod, smile, and then insist that the federal government not bail-out the state.  It's almost like we are the spoiled brats of the country and we are getting what's coming to us.

-Pandas are cool.  I want one.  I watched a couple at the National Zoo tear apart bamboo branches like they were toothpicks.  That makes me want one even more.  I can hug and cuddle it, then bring it to school and let it loose on misbehaving students.  Box it and ship it...now!

-The Philadelphia Museum of Art is incredibly huge.  We had planned on two hours for the mammoth building, only to find that it's actually a smaller version of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and at least a half day is needed to really appreciate it.  Actually, if you are an art fan you need to come to Philly.  Not only is the Museum of Art good, but there is also the Barnes Foundation out in Merion, about a 30 minute bus trip outside the city center.  In residential neighborhood, the museum is a Gilded Age home with the largest collection of Renoir paintings in the world.  It quite a treat.

So to recap:

Friday:  Giants game

Saturday:  Golf, Oakland to Washington D.C. (red-eye)

Sunday:  Ford's Theater, National Archives (excellent), Dupont Circle Farmer's Market, Phillips Collection (Jacob Lawrence work a must for U.S. History teachers).

Monday:  National Zoo, Supreme Court, Library of Congress (said "hello" to Justice Scalia), tour of Adams Morgan neighborhood

Tuesday:  Train to Philadelphia, City Hall and Broad Street, Redding Terminal Market, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, Phillies Game at Citizen's Bank (good park, but not AT&T), Fox and Hound Pub to watch the Giants game.

Wednesday:  Philadelphia Mint, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Liberty Bell, Barnes Foundation.

Thursday:  Train to Baltimore, Inner Harbor, Orioles game (walk off win, and better than Citizen's Bank, but not better than AT&T).

Friday:  Fort McHenry (a gem and a must see if you are near Baltimore), Walter Art Museum, Maryland Historical Society, Light Rail to Hunt Valley

Saturday:  Home

Oh, and the fact that California doesn't have a rail system like here in the East is an embarrassment. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Mom who gets it

Darren at "Right on the Left Coast" (check my blogroll) points to this very inspiring story of a parent who understands that a child needs to learn the value of education, and that choosing to fail has consequences.  It would be an understatement to call it refreshing.

Students are going to fail my class this year.  Most don't seem to really care.  It's not that they don't show up, they just do little or nothing.  When they take quizzes they fail them, when they test they bomb those as well, then they whine that there is not enough homework during the year to boost grades.  Part of the reason that they fail is because the safety net is so large for them to fall into.  At Ukiah High we have Cyber High, Anytime School, and the traditional Summer School, all methods of recovering credits because of poor grades in past classes.  Credit recovery programs have been a major theme of late for two reasons; keeping students moving forward in their progress, and acquiring funding by putting butts in seats.  This is nice on the shallow end, but the depths of the problem come about when we start watching students shrug shoulders and say, "I'll just do Anytime" or Summer school, or whatever else.  Of course, maybe they enjoy coming in because they have nothing to do with their time.

And maybe it would really be a teachable moment to make them pay for a course the second time around.    

Monday, June 08, 2009

It is going to be bad

I spoke with a couple of teachers today and next year's financial outlook is just plain bad. 

And it isn't just us.

Willits School District (about 25 minutes north on Hwy 101) is looking at millions of dollars in cuts.  In a school district that has only a few hundred students at their local high school, facing a multi-million dollar deficit is pretty insane.  And where to cut?  Well, I can tell you that Special Education and Transportation do an excellent job at eating up budgets in this neck of the woods (meaning Mendocino County).  You can dump busing, but realize that a huge population of students are being bused in from many miles away, and simply walking a couple of blocks to school doesn't exist in Northern California.  Mendocino County has an incredibly high Special Education population that is ever demanding of resources, and everything that a school doesn't get accomplished with Special Ed leaves the district up for some kind of lawsuit.  Parents don't really care about cuts, they want that IEP followed to the letter, even if it can't really get done economically.  Oh, and there's another example of the glories of a legalized pot society.  Increased numbers of Special Ed students in the pot capital of the nation.  Coincidence?   

In Ukiah the situation is much the same.  The rumor going around is that massive spending cuts are coming to the high school.  What kind of cuts?  Well, as you know I'm a huge proponent of making every institution become efficient.  I'm all for spending wisely and using resources to their maximum.  When I heard the percentage cut from our budget, I shook my head and said, "That can't be done".  Yeah, it's going to get really ugly. 

Get ready for three things:

1)  Labor issues.  The word "furlough" is now creeping into the lexicon of high school teachers everywhere.  However, it is being used in and "either/or" sort of way.  Either take a three/five day furlough, or lose "x" teachers.  I understood the three, might have managed the five, but now I'm even hearing two week furloughs, and I need to seriously consider my own mortgage and standard of living.  With budget cuts coming, I'm going to spend more money on my classroom (I'm spending over $2,000 of my own money this summer on conferences) and my employer taking it away isn't going to make my morale much better.  When hard decisions are put to a vote, I'm going to have to seriously consider my own situation as well.  And I consider that small compared to rumors of other districts asking for permanent 5% wage cuts, plus additional health care costs.  Note to teachers, it is almost impossible to gain back permanent wage cuts.  I highly recommend against it.

2)  Grievances and lawsuits.  I have to be honest, if I had one or two students over my contract limit in my classroom after the mandated date, I could give a shit.  The difference between 25-32 is a significant.  The difference of two students is overblown, yet I know that some colleagues would throw a tantrum if some of the slightest transgressions take place against the contract.  And that's not the half if it.  With all the cuts, we are looking at serious issues impeding the education of our students using beneficial practices.  Some teachers will not shell out hundreds of dollars out of their paycheck to supply classrooms with necessary essentials that should be paid for by the state, and I don't blame really blame them either.  Regardless, some parent will be ready to pounce on some lawsuit that does nothing but exacerbate an already bad situation.  It only takes one.   

3)    Supplies will be low, morale will be low, extra-curriculars will be cut.  Yuck.  Teachers will be that much more pressured to do more with less, in a situation that will be less than ideal, and with the knowledge that the have no support from society.  Now, teachers with more technical savvy might be able to get away with doing more with less (blogs instead of essays, online quizzes), but those that have been doing it a certain way for years are going to have serious problems totally changing their teaching style.  It could get messy. 

 

Bottom line is this, next year is going to be very bad for public education.  If I saw some bright spot down the road, even something as simple as social appreciation for education, or increased parental responsibility, then I'd be optimistic.  I don't see it happening.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

They saved the world

image

While D-Day might be considered one of the greatest assaults of all time on a clearly evil enemy, I feel that it is more appropriate to pay respect to all those that fought against a power looking to dominate the Earth.  Those that stormed the beaches at Normandy lead the final charge into Nazi Germany, signifying the beginning of the end of that which was truly villainous.  All those that met the call-to-arms against the Axis powers in World War 2 should be thanked, not only on this day, but every day.   You saved the world.

Thank you.

Another successful FED trip, and other musings

For the fourth time I took a group of students down to the Federal Reserve Bank and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

Believe it or not, it wasn’t a full trip. 

For $15, students would have the opportunity to get out of the classroom to head down to the City by the Bay and spend a sunny afternoon observing things that they might not ever see.  Unfortunately, I went to the city with only 22 students and myself with another chaperone.  I’m still trying to figure it out, but regardless it was a success.  Students  enjoyed the Federal Reserve, the walk down Market Street, and the completely bizarre visions at the SF MOMA.  Once again, I would say the 90 minute tour at the FED is a tops at a list of field trips for Economics classes.  If you have the opportunity, sign up for the tour.

In terms of my high school, I don’t know if this is a cost beneficial trip anymore.  In fact, I don’t know if transportation anywhere is cost beneficial.  Either someone is screwing the school or transportation has become so insanely expensive that trips of any kind using school buses won’t be practical any more.  Cost of a yellow limo to San Francisco?  $1,100.  Yep.  Pretty ridiculous.  That means that a bus load to Santa Rosa for every athletic event is costing around $500.  More insanity.  The only reason that this year’s trip was possible was a Target Field Trip Grant for $800.  Otherwise, it wasn’t happening. 

My classes are pretty set for next year.  Looks like I have two classes of AP Comparative Government, one class of International Studies, one class of Government/Economics, and one class of AP U.S. History.  Any advice at all on AP U.S. History would be kindly accepted.  The opinions on this end are that the workload on the instructor is immense.  However, I’ve been looking at other teacher’s class sites and finding that the issue is the same as with other new classes, it will be tough the first year to build curriculum, then it gets easier.

I’m almost finished with this year, but I’m busy constantly throughout the summer.  We’ll see how that works.    

Friday, June 05, 2009

Tank Man from a different angle

image

This was released today.

This photo is of the Tank Man, the lone figure that dared stand in front of a line of tanks after the Tiananmen Square massacre.  This brings an interesting new perspective on the situation, mainly from the standpoint that the Tank Man did not make his decision totally “off the cuff”.  There he is, on the left, waiting as the tanks approach from down the street. 

One wonders what was on his mind when this photo was taken.

View the story at the New York Times.