Resources for new teachers, change provocateurs

June 22, 2007

New teachers, especially teachers from alternative certification programs, have all sorts of stories about people who observe and supervise their training and work.

There is the guy whose district bought laptops for every high school student and insisted teachers use the computers daily, but whose principal refused to look at the on-line courses he had developed to meet the district’s guidelines (and whom the principal subsequently rated down for not having the lesson plans the principal refused to look at).  There is the drama coach whose supervisor complained the students shouldn’t have been out of school for the state competition, which they won.  There is the mathematician from the telecommunications industry whose supervisor didn’t know geometry, or algebra, or calculus, and insisted the teacher should be offering multiplication table timed quizzes to advanced math classes.  The guy whose principal thought history documentaries selected from the school’s libraries were just Hollywood movies, and therefore inappropriate for history classes.

More than enough horror stories to go around.

One teacher tells a few horror stories from his student teaching days, but tells us he went on to get his school’s distinguished alumnus award.  And so, he shares some of his best material, here:  Horace Mann Educated Financial Solutions, “Reach Every Child.”

Go make change.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Car Family, which is really the same guy.

Happy birthday, Lady Justice

June 22, 2007

Today is the 137th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Department of Justice, June 22nd, 1870.

Then-AG John Ashcroft with Lady Justice - unknown photo source

Among other interesting points:

  • The post of Attorney General was created in 1789; who did the serious work until 1870? There is no evidence the Attorney General personally presided over illegal torture or illegal firings of federal employees before 1870 — nor before February 2005.
  • Edmund Randolph was the first Attorney General
  • None of the 80 Attorneys General served as president, either before or after serving as AG
  • The motto of the Justice Department comes from the Seal of the Attorney General: Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur. No one knows what the motto means, exactly, or when the seal was created. The Latin of the seal is archaic, and can’t be translated well. Among the better guesses of what the motto is supposed to mean is this: “The Attorney General, who prosecutes on behalf of Lady Justice.”

Lady Justice, against the sun

Image of Lady Justice against a sunset; FBI photo; hope remains, since no body has been found. Photo is not from a current investigation.  Image at top: Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in front of The Spirit of Justice, sculpted by Paul Jennewein in 1933; photo in the lobby of the Department of Justice.  Source not listed — probably a news photo.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Utah Policy Daily

In a world of electronics, why we still learn the map and compass

June 22, 2007

Why do we bother to teach map reading still, since “everyone” has a GPS?

Wholly apart from plotting the Sweet Tea Line, there is this: Batteries die. Wonderful post at the secret life of a teacher.

While you’re there, gander at his proposals for Alaska’s death-defying fishercrabmen, and a response, and a redirect. When I read it, I thought it had to be the result of a classroom exercise. What could your kids design, if you gave them a dangerous situation somewhere in the world affecting some culture, and asked them to come up with a solution?

New word invented

June 22, 2007

I’m staking my claim here: I’ve invented a new word. You can see the usage here, at Reclaiming Space.


OED? I’m ready for my closeup.

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