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Archive for February, 2014

At a news conference at the State Capitol Wednesday evening, Brewer said the bill “could result in unintended and negative consequences. … I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve,” Brewer said. (MSN)

Move over, let me get on my soap-box for two minutes:  For eons, I have been saying that every move is first and foremost a business decision.  Then we deal with morals and integrity and all those fancy scrabble words.   The very first question is: “How is it in my best business interest to make or not make this change?”  Whether it be choosing to go to war, continuing or ending slavery, civil rights, shifting the voting laws, challenging health care, our beloved prison system, current education challenges…  Pick anything.  If you do not think that religion is about money, sit quietly in the pew for a while.  

I do not care how wrong you think any issue is.  You may hold the moral high-ground. I am simply telling you that standing and yelling in a crowded room will do nothing for your movement until you find that spigot!  You must demonstrate…you must convince me that it is either in my best financial interest to make this change, or the cost to not making it will be substantial.  Either this change will make me money, or not making it will cost me huge money.  Then they find morality!   

If you think that Jan Brewer had some moral epiphany, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you!  This is less about Arizona and their current issue and much much more about every social issue you confront.

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file://localhost/Users/alfelice2/Desktop/What%20is%20an%20Exemplary%20Teacher.docx

What is an Exemplary Teacher?

I was recently reading an article titled “What Happens to Bad Teachers?”  The article suggested that “getting rid of problem educators is a lot easier in theory than in practice.”  This got me to thinking, (a) Who hired them in the first place, and (b) What constitutes an exemplary teacher?  My wife has been in the teaching business for the past sixteen (16) years, the last four as a middle-school principal.  Identified as a Title 1 school with over 50% poverty (53.4), she has guided that school to the School of Promise award for three of the four years, and Exemplary School status for 2009.  That level of achievement, over the past four years, with only four years at the helm, in any school – far more a Title 1 school, suggested to me that she may know a bit about teachers and teaching.  So rather than talk about “bad” teachers whom, it is suggested in the article, are hard to dismiss, I elected to focus on the attributes of an exemplary teacher.  My simple question to her was; “What is an exemplary teacher?”

Her response:  “Willing to remove any barrier in the way of that child’s learning – willing to teach that child coping skills to deal with barriers affecting learning.  A teacher who would give up lunch, come in early, or make a home visit at the drop of a hat.”

That got me thinking.  I have no answers to my questions.  I just have a whole lot of questions for you.

  1. How is an exemplary teacher developed?
  2. How is an exemplary teacher nurtured?
  3. How early should “child barrier removal” be initiated?
  4. What are these potential barriers?
  5. Are teachers trained in barrier recognition?
  6. Are teachers trained in barrier removal?
  7. What if a child does not have control over barriers?
  8. Are environmental barriers different from biological or neurological barriers?
  9. Do they require different learning and training?
  10. What is the nurture/nature relationship with barriers and barrier development?
  11. Are barriers more evidenced in certain populations that in others?
  12. Are barriers different relative to social land/or ethnic differences of the populations being served?
  13. If “yes” do we have specialized teacher training in barrier recognition and removal?
  14. Is there remuneration for training specialization?
  15. What schools/colleges/universities are particularly good at training for barrier recognition and removal?

It seems to me that it would do us well to go backward and recognize universities that consistently produce exemplary teachers, and highlight those that do not.

Bad teachers come from somewhere.  Exemplary teachers come from somewhere.  Identify the farm.  Identify the farmer.   Don’t wait until you buy crappy fruit and then blame the fruit.  That just means that you suck at selecting good fruit.

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I’ve been sitting her thinking of something very profound to say.  It is Black History Month after all.  I was looking for things to push up to the sun and celebrate.  I was looking for these great achievements.  And I got more and more sad and stuck. So I thought I’d share my ten top wishes with you

  1. I wish that we as Black adults would apologize to our children for somehow leaving them the impression that we had arrived.
  2. I wish that we as Black people would take responsibility for teaching our children their history, and not leaving it White educators.  Schools have their place.  Do your job. That is why our kids think that the “N” word is cool!
  3. I wish we could truly understand how coupling education with property taxes cripples our children.
  4. I really wish that rappers, entertainers, and athletes with money begin investing in our children’s education.  Open schools!
  5. I wish they’d find me something other than a White savior…one who looks more like me.
  6. I wish we could find more rounded stories of our history to recreate in the form of a movie.  Give me some balance.  There must be other stories you could find.
  7. I wish I could hug the creators of the two biracial advertisements. One is with the cereal. The other is with the swift-duster.
  8. I wish our school choirs and choruses would inject one or two African American songs in their repertoire.  Not the same tired Negro Spirituals.  It just might encourage my kids to join and parents to attend.
  9. I wish we would stop parading ourselves with food and song & dance every February, for some idiots to pat us on the back.  Stop shining shoes!
  10. Did I mention that I wish my Savior looked a bit more like me.  Little dark tan and rounded nose would help.

But I’m not going to hold my breath.  I have not seen evidence of us jogging just yet. We’re still in the walking chair.

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Rude and Unprofessional Worker.

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Dear Dr. Al,

At my internship there is a woman who does all of the intakes.  She also staffs the clients during meetings.  Her tone and ways of responding to people as well as constantly cutting them off is rude and unprofessional.  Do I say something?  I feel she is disrespectful to all.

Concerned Counseling Intern.

 

Dear CCI,

If this is true, the question becomes:  Who will bell the cat?  It is evident, because of the job that she performs, that this woman has been there for a while.

Given that truth, I would suggest that her abrasive posture is/has been well known within the institution.  Given that truth, and given that she is not only still there, but holds that position, it suggests that this behavior is tolerated – encouraged if only because it has not been stopped.

If all this is true – nobody says anything, they are there longer than you, she has not been chastised…..then why would you jeopardize your job, your potential for future employment, and your clients’ access to good treatment by pulling a sword and fighting a windmill???

I understand your emotions, but you need to be in a stronger position before you go fighting windmills.

Dr. Al

 

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