Friday, September 26, 2003

Thomas Sowell writes about the barriers to entering the teaching profession. I'd have to say after reading it that I tend to somewhat agree with the first few paragraphs.

I took some of the most ridiculous classes in graduate school for my M.Ed. My most memorable was the certification-required Exceptional Children course (EXC 2010). The gist of the course was "memorize all of these retarded laws for special ed students so you can dumb everything down to be compliant." Please notice I said the laws are retarded, not the students. I'd say that about 80% of my classes fit into the "not meeting my expectations for graduate school" category. The other 20% consisted of the part where I paid to be a teacher (student teaching) and two courses I had with a good instructor.

I also had difficulty arranging my own interviews despite having what I would selfishly call an impressive resume with a degree in polymer chemistry and a minor in geochemistry from a respected engineering school and graduating at the top of my graduate school class. I went through the dance and applied with the county office before sending a letter and resume to my then top choice school. I tried calling the principal, I tried calling the department head, I e-mailed, I re-sent a resume. About two months after I accepted a position at another school in the system I finally got a letter in the mail from the principal stating that I would need to apply with the county first. I tend to forget that government works with extreme, unbridled efficiency.

I haven't read the book recommended in the article, nor do I have any intentions to do so, but reading the article reminds me that I have long professed that pretty much anything can be proven with statistics. With the right manipulation, the same set of data can be made to justify or refute any claim. It just depends on how you phrase your conclusions.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

We have this ridiculous woman that runs a free (to the students) tutoring service at my school that gets on the horn almost every morning and afternoon and tries to speak ghetto/hip-hop slang announcing times and such for the tutoring sessions. I guess the kids talked her into doing it and apparently it met with decent results last year because she keeps on doing it day after day, like some type of Pavlovian response of sorts. It's quite annoying, but often times humorous, at least when the kids have convinced her to say something that has subtextual connotations that she obviously doesn't understand. For example, last year, she became infamous for the phrase, "we got you covered like a jimmy hat." I was in the hall when I heard it so I couldn't tell if I heard what I thought I had. Then, the uproars of laughter from throughout the halls confirmed my suspicions. I suppose her message wasn't too inappropriate. I would have been racked to figure out a way to encourage seeking help with studies while increasing safe sex awareness in the same sentence.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

I'm taking the advice of a good friend and started a new "blog" dedicated to providing my personal insight into the high school education system, world events, and of course, the random neural meandering.

To introduce myself and without being too specific, I am a high school science teacher in the lagerst metropolitan area of Georgia. I teach pretty much anything that isn't life science. Never had much personal interest in living organisms beyond the essential hands-on anatomy lessons, and I mean essential!! I'm married and have no kids of my own. I must claim about 80 children that don't belong to me every semester and that seems to be more than enough for me. I'm in my mid-20's and genetics has already started getting me back for not studying it more seriously by deciding which mamallian features I can retain upon my increasingly reflective cranium, but it isn't too bad yet. I received a real degree from an engineering school before obtaining a Masters degree in Education, one of the biggest shams of my entire life. Let's just say that getting a 4.0 in graduate school was cake compared to the work I had to do to earn a 3.5 in undergraduate studies. For an idea, from 15 hours per lab report per week to one 10 hour "project" all semester. Now I've been teaching in a public high school for about 3 years and I've probably experienced most of what it has to offer, especially the glass ceiling that's reached after just one year. And I just love my 14-hour work days. Luckily, the wife travels for work so I don't have to sleep on the couch.

I try to keep up with current events, mostly from the Internet because I don't have cable and the system at school only provides obviously left-leaning media sources, not to mention those constant idiotic "polls" and Wolf Blitzer's ability to make even the word "sex" sound boring and uninteresting.

Obviously, I have my own opinions about pretty much everything. I don't claim to have the right answer every time but I am willing to do a little research to figure things out. In person, I'm seem boring at first because I think too much before speaking but those that really know me know better. I have the personality quirks that make us all interesting people. I relate well with the guy on Curb Your Enthusiasm with all of his "rules," but I never really liked Seinfeld that much. I am horrendous at keeping up with old friends and even worse at returning phone calls. I probably have ADD as a result of growing up in the Nintendo and MTV generation but I manage to cope without prescription drugs. I claim to be Libertarian but still tend to do things like vote for maintaining an increased sales tax rate that will hopefully keep my property and ad valorem taxes decently low.

Hopefully, that's enough of an introduction. I'll add comments and links as soon as I don't have a lab to prep when it's already almost 9 PM.