Music Teacher Makes History at the Superbowl

February 8, 2016


I am not a Lady Gaga devotee, but her rendition of the national anthem was simply sublime. It is interesting to note from a teacher’s perspective, that a music teacher was by her side during that stunning performance:


If you are watching the Superbowl Sunday, you will likely see a Westchester music teacher accompanying Lady Gaga as she sings the National Anthem.

Alex Smith, who teaches at Yorktown Heights’ Soundview Preparatory School, will be at the piano with Lady Gaga when game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m., the Journal News said.

Smith can also be heard on Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s album, “Cheek to Cheek.”



Click on the link to read A Profession that Truly Cares

Click on the link to read Connecting With Your Students is the Key to Teaching Them Effectively

Click on the link to read Teachers can Make a Real Difference!

Click on the link to read Meet the College Professor Who Doubles as a Babysitter

Can we Please Leave Transgender Awareness Lessons to Parents

February 7, 2016



If there was a transgender student in your class, you would certainly focus on transgender awareness in the classroom. But aside from this scenario, it is important that these types of conversations should be left to the parents. Teachers are inundated as it is and we need as much time as possible to cover the curriculum.

Sure the outcry of transgender awareness lessons will usually come from religious groups, but spare a thought for stressed out teachers with a very overblown curriculum to cover as it is:


A MOTHER has withdrawn her children from Frankston High School after the introduction of a new program to promote transgender awareness.

Cella White says her 14-year-old son was told he could wear a dress to school and that male-born students who identified as female could use the girls’ change rooms and toilets.

The government-funded program by the Safe Schools Coalition is designed to promote inclusiveness for ‘same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse’ students, but critics say it is indoctrinating children in sexual identity politics under the pretence of a bulling program.

“It was announced in science class that boys could wear school dresses next year,” Ms White said.

“They’re telling my children to call transgender children by their requested pronoun.

“What is the benefit to my son? He’s got a learning disability, he’s struggling with his times tables, he doesn’t need to deal with this.”




Dumb Politicians Shouldn’t be Calling Teachers “Dumb”

February 2, 2016



I haven’t encountered too many dumb teachers, but I have come across plenty of dumb politicians:


THE Andrews Labor Government is intent on raising the bar for teachers in Victoria.

To say this is overdue is to put it mildly. It’s a no-brainer that if you put a thick teacher in front of kids, then they will not achieve.

But that is exactly what happens. Moreover, the cost of necessary remediation because of dumb teaching is high. Yes, it is your tax dollars we are talking about.

No matter. Teaching courses in Victoria set entry requirements for bottom feeders.

I am in my fourth decade of being a secondary teacher and I have seen academic standards decline in teachers.

To be blunt, they do not know enough about their subject.


Click on the link to read The Courageous Valedictorian

Click on the link to read Meet the School They Call “Stinky School”

Click on the link to read Is it Appropriate to Bribe Your Students?

Click on the link to read Keep Politics Out of the Classroom

A Profession that Truly Cares

January 28, 2016


Yes there are heartless ogres in some classrooms, but the underlying reason most of us choose to become teachers and educators is the urge to protect and nurture the next generation.

And when those principles are put to the test, heroes tend to emerge:


An Indianapolis elementary school principal was seen pushing several students out of the way of an oncoming bus before the vehicle fatally struck her, authorities said Tuesday.

Susan Jordan, the principal of Amy Beverland Elementary School on the city’s far northeast side, was killed and two 10-year-old children were hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries when the bus suddenly lurched forward, authorities said.

Buses were lined up outside the school when the accident happened around 2:45 p.m., Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith said.

“At some point, the stationary bus lurched forward and jumped the curb. The bus was not moving at the time directly before it jumped the curb,” Reith said.

The female bus driver told firefighters she was not sure what caused the bus to accelerate, Reith said in a statement Tuesday evening. The driver also said “in the instant that the accident occurred” she saw Jordan push several students out of the way, according to the statement.

The driver and 25 students on the bus were examined by emergency responders but did not require treatment, Reith said.

Jordan, who had been principal of the school for 22 years, was loved by her staff and the school community, Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent Shawn Smith said at a news conference.

“This is a great example of an educational leader in our state and our city. … Just a phenomenal individual that truly cared about children. This is a tragic situation that we have. This loss is going to ripple across our district of 15,000 students,” Smith said.

The district canceled classes at all of its schools Wednesday and said in a statement that four locations, including a transportation center, would be “open for emotional support to our staff and families.”

Indianapolis Police Commander Chris Bailey said the bus driver, whose name was not immediately released, would be given a blood test, a standard procedure in collisions involving fatalities.


Click on the link to read Connecting With Your Students is the Key to Teaching Them Effectively

Click on the link to read Teachers can Make a Real Difference!

Click on the link to read Meet the College Professor Who Doubles as a Babysitter

Click on the link to read I Love Teachers Who Go The Extra Mile


Not Giving Homework May be a Bigger Waste

January 27, 2016



Whilst we would all love to believe that a homework free child will use the extra time to play imaginatively. get some physical exercise in the back yard and contribute to the running of the household, this is clearly not the norm.

I am not an advocate for giving homework, but at the same time, I realise that revising the skills learned in class over the course of the week may be more beneficial than giving children the extra time to waste in front of a screen.

It seems my colleagues are split when it comes to the benefits of homework:


STUDENTS love to complain about it, and only half of teachers feel homework is “critically important” to children’s development.

But just 32 per cent of primary teachers believe their students have too much work after hours, compared with 22 per cent of high school teachers.

Catholic primary educators were the most concerned about the workload, with 40 per cent thinking it is too high.

One in five state secondary principals felt students did too much homework, compared with 31 per cent at independent schools and 30 per cent at Catholic.

Mill Park Heights Primary principal Deborah Patterson said she was more interested in students learning creatively at home, like helping with the cooking, cleaning and shopping, and playing outdoors.

“Research is showing kids should be more active, out there playing and doing as much as they can,” she said.


Click on the link to read Stop Giving Kids Useless Homework

Click on the link to read Cats vs Homework. What Could Help Children More?

Click on the link to read New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

Click on the link to read What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

Questions to Improve Your Teaching Performance

January 24, 2016


Courtesy of


  • What gets you excited about going to work at school every day?
  • How do you question old educational standards?
  • How do you make changes based on your educational beliefs?
  • When was the last time you taught a concept without using the textbook?
  • What excuses have you used to not make changes to your teaching or classroom?
  • What have you learned about yourself this past school year?
  • What changes in your teaching are you going to make based on what you learned from last year?
  • What would you do differently in your teaching if you had no state mandated accountability?
  • Can you remember a school lesson from your past?
  • Why do you remember that lesson so vividly?
  • Have you had a recent lesson that you think your students will never forget?
  • Is there any such thing as the perfect lesson?
  • How often do you make educational decisions purely with the students in mind?
  • Should you just do what is right for the students in your class regardless of consequences?
  • If you could mandate a book to be read by all teachers, what would it be?
  • Can you describe your teaching style in one small sentence?
  • What is your best teaching quality?
  • What are your personal teaching goals?
  • How would you describe educational freedom?
  • Do you love to teach? Why?



Click on the link to read Tricks That Work For Some Teachers But Don’t for Others (Video)

Click on the link to read Tips For Less Talking and Better Teaching

Click on the link to read What Type of Teacher Are You?

Click on the link to read The Making of a Great Teacher

Good Intentions Doesn’t Equate to Good Teaching

January 21, 2016


Most teachers gain their inspiration from the desire to give back to the community and invest in the potential of youth. But this is just the starting point. Noble intentions aren’t nearly enough.

You can’t just announce yourself as the saviour of impressionable children and expect it all to fall into place. You have to have the patience, dynamism, determination and communication skills that great teachers have. You have to overcome bad lessons, days, weeks and terms and move on. You’ve got to innovate, because your students are already sick of the “norm”, they need and expect more from a teacher they are going to appreciate.

And you can’t expect them to respect you just because you see more in them than they do in themselves. Kids don’t like being told they are wasting their life any more than adults do. Being preached to by somebody that professes to know you and thinks you are wasting your potential doesn’t always inspire. Sometimes it does the opposite.

I haven’t read Ed Boland’s book yet, but I predict that whilst its sarcasm against the public school system is perceptive and enlightening, it will be light on self criticism:


IN 2008, Ed Boland, a well-off New Yorker who had spent 20 years as an executive at a non-profit, had a midlife epiphany: He should leave his white-glove world, the galas at the Waldorf and drinks at the Yale Club, and go work with the city’s neediest children.

The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School is Boland’s memoir of his brief, harrowing tenure as a public-schoolteacher, and it’s riveting.

There’s nothing dry or academic here. It’s tragedy and farce, an economic and societal indictment of a system that seems broken beyond repair.

The book is certain to be controversial. There’s something dilettante-ish, if not cynical, about a well-off, middle-aged white man stepping ever so briefly into this maelstrom of poverty, abuse, homelessness and violence and emerging with a book deal.

What Boland has to share, however, makes his motives irrelevant.

Names and identifying details have been changed, but the school Boland calls Union Street is, according to clues and public records, the Henry Street School of International Studies on the Lower East Side.

Boland opens the book with a typical morning in freshman history class.

A teenage girl named Chantay sits on top of her desk, thong peeking out of her pants, leading a ringside gossip session. Work sheets have been distributed and ignored.

“Chantay, sit in your seat and get to work — now!” Boland says.

A calculator goes flying across the room, smashing into the blackboard. Two boys begin physically fighting over a computer. Two girls share an iPod, singing along. Another girl is immersed in a book called Thug Life 2.

Chantay is the one that aggravates Boland the most. If he can get control of her, he thinks, he can get control of the class.

“Chantay,” he says, louder, “sit down immediately, or there will be serious consequences.”

The classroom freezes. Then, as Boland writes, “she laughed and cocked her head up at the ceiling. Then she slid her hand down the outside of her jeans to her upper thigh, formed a long cylinder between her thumb and forefinger, and shook it. She looked me right in the eye and screamed, ‘SUCK MY F***IN’ D***, MISTER.’”



Click on the link to read Teachers Have to Maintain Their Self-Control

Click on the link to read Teachers Confess Their Sins

Click on the link to read Sometimes You Don’t Even Realise That You Have Impacted a Student

Click on the link to read Teachers Should be Able to File a Complaint Against Complaint Addicted Parents

It’s Never a Good Idea to Chase a Student with a Ruler

January 14, 2016



Whether it was done in jest or seriously it is never a good idea to chase a student. Especially in the age of mobile devices.


Click on the link to read Another Brutal Corporal Punishment Incident (Video)

Click on the link to read If My School Approved of Corporal Punishment I Would Resign Instantly

Click on the link to read A Message to Those that Advocate Corporal Punishment

Click on the link to read YouTube Clip of High School Student Getting Slapped by Teacher

Click on the link to read 19 US States Still Allow Corporal Punishment in their Classrooms

Does Sex Education ‘Rape Children Of Their Innocence’?

January 10, 2016



The parent that declared that sex education “rapes children of their innocence” is entitled to her opinion, but I disagree.

Nice use of hyperbole but off the mark in a big way.

Still, I am not in favour of compulsory sex education in schools. Below are the reasons I come to this unpopular conclusion.


It adds to a ridiculously over-crowded curriculum – People sometimes forget that teachers have a job, and that job is to cover the curriculum, with a focus on the fundamentals. By adding programs, which sound good on the surface, such as anti-gambling, gender issues, drug education, anti-smoking, resilience and diversity, we are being hamstrung in covering the very material we are specifically charged to teach.

You do realise they are learning this stuff at school? – All the programs that are mentioned above and others such as anti-bullying as cyber safety are wonderful programs, but do they work at school level? My experience has been – no. One of the reasons I have taken such an interest in the How to UnMake a Bully series is its ability to transcend a classroom preachiness and get students to make healthier choices without it feeling like a school subject. But this series is in the minority. Most programs are preachy, condescending and written by academics with no real insight into how children really think and feel. Most are full of classroom exercises, which may as well be code for “tune out activities” as far as school students are concerned. What you are left with, for all its good intentions, is a train wreck. Kids approach these lessons with either sarcasm or boredom. It may as well be another mindless trigonometry lesson as far as they are concerned. Whilst the intentions of these programs are sound, we should judge these initiatives by the results not its intentions.

Let’s expect more from parents – Let’s not make our teachers pseudo parents.  Let’s be a society that expects our parents to, well, actually “parent”. It is not the job of the teacher to educate the students in this area. That is the job for the parent. Parents are entitled to hold views about sex that are unique and unpopular, and they are similarly entitled to hold their children to those views, until the children can form their own beliefs. It’s not the job of the teacher to interfere in these matters. I realise that some parents choose to forgo their duties and omit these important discussions, but that is where society should step in. Instead of enabling them to be so lax, they should be reminding them about the need to address these issues with their children. If they don’t, it’s simply not good enough. Telling parents that if they don’t do it someone else will enables them to be mediocre. Do we really want to encourage our parents to be mediocre?


Click on the link to read Sex Education is the Job of Parents Not Teachers

Click on the link to read It’s Time to Scrap Sex Ed in Schools

Click on the link to read Teacher Takes Class on a Field Trip to a Sex Shop

Click on the link to read The Five Day School Trip that Resulted in 7 Students Getting Pregnant

High School Coach Headbutts a Referee (Video)

January 6, 2016


Our sports stars may argue that they are not rolemodels but athletes, but our high school basketball coaches cannot mount such an argument. How they model behaviour during good times and bad, reacting to poor referee decisions as well as good ones, is crucial to nuturing fine young sportspeople with the right type of values.

The teacher in the above clip seems to have failed that test.


A high school basketball game in Pennsylvania took an ugly turn at the end as video appears to show one coach headbutting a referee with so much force it knocked the official to the ground.

Video of the game, between Pennsbury High School and Neshaminy High School, two schools outside of Philadelphia, was obtained by the blog, City of Basketball Love.

According to the report (via Deadspin), the incident came with less than 30 seconds left in the game when a Neshaminy player was called for a charge. Neshaminy head coach Jerry Devine argues the call with one ref when a second official comes up and appears to call a technical foul on Devine. That’s when things got ugly.


Click on the link to read The Teacher as Rolemodel

Click on the link to read Kids and Celebrities: A Reality Check

Click on the link to read Athletes Can Set a Better Example for Our Kids

Click on the link to read Classroom Resources for Teaching About the Life of Nelson Mandela


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,451 other followers

%d bloggers like this: