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On Thu, 6/5/08, Jerry Becker wrote:
From: Jerry Becker
Subject: Teachers cannot teach if students refuse to learn
Date: Thursday, June 5, 2008, 12:29 PM
From the Rochester [NY] Democrat and Chronicle,
Wednesday, June 4, 2008.
See Frontpage. Our thanks to Victor Steinbok for bringing this article to our attention.

Teachers cannot teach if students refuse to learn


By Latoya Manon [Guest essayist]

Seemingly, many people who are not teachers think they could do a better job than most teachers.

Everyone has gone to school and has had teachers, so how hard could it be to teach? Well, I would like to give you an opportunity to walk in our shoes by posing some questions that we teachers often deal with:

  • What would you do if all you have ever wanted to do is teach, but you find yourself doing mostly test prep?
  • What would you do if you had to dip into your personal budget to buy school supplies for students who refused to come to class with those supplies? Never mind that their brand-new shoes probably cost more than your entire outfit.
  • What would you do if you had planned a wonderful lesson, but more than half of your class failed to show up for no particular reason at all? Do you teach that lesson to those in class and then teach it over and over so the other kids get caught up? (Remember, you don't want to leave anyone behind.)
  • What would do if you held after-school and/or Saturday extra-help sessions and no one showed up even after you called homes, sent letters and offered extra credit for those attending? Remember, you have to get as many students as you can to pass the Regents exams or New York state will say you're an ineffective teacher.
  • What would you do if you had a student on the verge of dropping out or refusing to do any work because he felt that his teacher didn't care about him, and refused to see that his lack of effort and his disrespect for people and rules were actually the issue? "My teacher doesn't like me" was an unacceptable excuse for failure in my home.
  • What would you do if sports became more important to your students than reading, writing or thinking?
  • What would you do if you called parents to notify them of their child's belligerent behavior and they responded, "Well, you must have done something to him because Sam doesn't just cuss people out for no reason"?
  • What would you do if parents told you not to call them anymore about their children, or even hung up on you?
  • How do you teach pupils who want to learn while making sure that you don't leave behind those who don't want to learn?
  • How do you teach students to be respectful and responsible adults and positive contributors to society when bureaucracy has made it acceptable to be less than that? You can't hold students accountable for lost books, missed assignments or bad behavior because, as some would say, "They are poor; they don't know any better."
  • What would you do if a student often slept in your class because she had to watch siblings or her own children all night, or maybe just hung out and went to bed very late? Remember, detention is not an option because students may play a sport after school or they might have more important things to do than stay for detention.
  • What would you do if you knew students were graduating without being ready for college or having any alternative plan?
  • What would you do if a student threatened you with bodily harm but suspension was no longer an option because the district was trying to keep a lid on suspension numbers?
  • What would you do if you wanted to spend time with your family but you had to plan lessons, grade papers, assist in school events, etc.? Your day doesn't end when the bell rings.

    Many of you may have the answers to these questions - and I challenge the community, corporations and parents to take a more active role in the schools and in the lives of children and young adult students. Everyone has something to offer that may change the life of a child or young adult.

    I am a graduate of the City School District where I now teach, and I am also a parent of a ninth-grader in the CSD - and it is obvious that something has gone terribly wrong. Our kids are learning how to shortchange themselves from a flawed system that refuses to make them accountable and promotes mediocrity. How can we expect young people to become productive contributors to society if we refuse to give them the basic tools they need?

    Parenting doesn't stop once your child goes to school. However, the sad part is that even if the community, schools and parents work together, if the student refuses to see that he or she has to take an active role in learning, then change will be difficult. Whether they believe it or not, students have to be vested in their own education. They have to want to learn and to better themselves.

    ------------------

    Manon is a teacher in the City School District.

    ------------------

    Jerry P. Becker
    Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
    Southern Illinois University
    625 Wham Drive
    Mail Code 4610
    Carbondale, IL 62901-4610

    E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



    --- On Sat, 8/16/08 ---
    Subject: an article from HoustonChronicle.com
    To
    Date: Saturday, August 16, 2008, 10:59 PM

    You've got to send this to your fellow teachers. If they had this here, some of them would end up in prison for using the gun on their students! www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5945430.

    North Texas school district will let teachers carry guns

    HARROLD, Texas -- A tiny Texas school district may be the first in the nation to allow teachers and staff to pack guns for protection when classes begin later this month, a newspaper reported.

    Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting teachers follow certain requirements.In order for teachers and staff to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and have to use ammunition that is designed to minimize therisk of ricochet in school halls.

    Superintendent David Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff's office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district's lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target.

    "When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that's when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can't defend themselves? That's like saying 'sic 'em' to a dog," Thweatt said in Friday's online edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    Thweatt said officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change. He said the district also has various other security measures in place to prevent a school shooting. "The naysayers think (a shooting) won't happen here. If something were to happen here, I'd much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them," Thweatt said.

    Texas law outlaws firearms on school campuses "unless pursuant to the written regulations or written authorization of the institution." It was unclear how many of the 50 or so teachers and staff members will be armed this fall because Thweatt did not disclose that information, to keep it from students or potential attackers.

    Wilbarger County Sheriff Larry Lee was out of the office Thursday and did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment, the newspaper said. Barbara Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of School Boards, said her organization did not know of another district with such a policy. Ken Trump, a Cleveland-based school security expert who advises districts nationwide, including in Texas, said Harrold is the first district with such a policy.

    The 110-student district is 150 miles northwest of Fort Worth on the eastern end of Wilbarger County, near the Oklahoma border.

    On the Web: Harrold Independent School District, http://harroldisd.net/

    Brought to you by the HoustonChronicle.com


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    New Page 1
    Subject: PREAMBLES of our STATES...............
    Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2008 08:44:15 -0400

    Do you know the Preamble for your state? . . . Interesting:

    Be sure to read the message at the bottom!
    Something to think about.................

    Alabama 1901, Preamble We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance
    of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.
    Alaska 1956, Preamble We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation
    and pioneered this great land.
    Arizona 1911, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our
    liberties, do ordain this Constitution...
    Arkansas 1874, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arkansas , grateful to Almighty God for
    the privilege of choosing our own form of government...
    California 1879, Preamble We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty
    God for our freedom...
    Colorado 1876, Preamble We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the
    Supreme Ruler of Universe...
    Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude
    the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.
    Delaware 1897, Preamble Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights
    of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.
    Florida 1885, Preamble We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God
    for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution...
    Georgia 1777, Preamble We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance
    of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
    Hawaii 1959, Preamble We, the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance ...
    Establish this Constitution.
    Idaho 1889, Preamble We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for
    our freedom, to secure its blessings
    Illinois 1870, Preamble We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil ,
    political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
    Indiana 1851, Preamble We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the
    free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.
    Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings
    hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.
    Kansas 1859, Preamble We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious
    privileges establish this Constitution.
    Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil,
    political and religious liberties...
    Louisiana 1921, Preamble We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil,
    political and religious liberties we enjoy.
    Maine 1820, Preamble We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign
    Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity .. And imploring His aid and direction.
    Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil
    and religious liberty...
    Massachusetts 1780, Preamble We....the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the
    goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction ..
    Michigan 1908, Preamble We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings
    of freedom establish this Constitution.
    Minnesota, 1857, Preamble We, the people of the State of Minnesota , grateful to God for our civil and religious
    liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:
    Mississippi 1890, Preamble We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Al mighty God,
    and invoking His blessing on our work.
    Missouri 1845, Preamble We, the people of Missouri , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the
    Universe, and grateful for His goodness . Establish this Constitution...
    Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty
    establish this Constitution ...
    Nebraska 1875, Preamble We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .
    Establish this Constitution.
    Nevada 1864, Preamble We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom,
    establish this Constitution...
    New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V Every individual has a natural and unalienable right
    to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
    New Jersey 1844, Preamble We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil
    and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
    New Mexico 1911, Preamble We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the
    blessings of liberty..
    New York 1846, Preamble We, the people of the State of New York , grateful to Almighty God for our
    freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
    North Carolina 1868, Preamble We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign
    Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those...
    North Dakota 1889, Preamble We , the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the
    blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...
    Ohio 1852, Preamble We the people of the state of Ohio , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom,
    to secure its blessings and to promote our common.
    Oklahoma 1907, Preamble Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate
    the blessings of liberty, establish this
    Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right,
    to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences
    Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings
    of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance....
    Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for
    the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...
    South Carolina, 1778, Preamble We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our
    liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
    South Dakota 1889, Preamble We, the people of South Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties ..
    Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God
    according to the dictates of their conscience...
    Texas 1845, Preamble We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude,
    the grace and beneficence of God
    Utah 1896, Preamble Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.
    Vermont 1777, Preamble Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose
    it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man .
    Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can
    be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other
    Washington 1889, Preamble We the People of the State of Washington , grateful to the
    Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution
    West Virginia 1872, Preamble Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil,
    political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ...
    Wisconsin 1848, Preamble We, the people of Wisconsin , grateful to Almighty God
    for our freedom, domestic tranquility...
    Wyoming 1890, Preamble We, the people of the State of Wyoming , grateful to God
    for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution

    After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state
    constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe,
    the ACLU and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong!
    If you found this to be 'Food for thought' copy and send to
    as many as you think will be enlightened as I hope you were.

    (Please note that at no time is anyone told that they MUST worship God.)

    'Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.' - William Penn

    BLESSED IS THE NATION WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD ... PSALM 33:12

    GOD BLESS AMERICA


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



    New Page 1


    A Birth Certificate shows that we were born.
    A Death Certificate shows that we died.
    Pictures show that we lived!


    Have a seat . . . Relax . . . And read this slowly.



    I Believe...


    That just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do love each other.



    I Believe...
    That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.



    I Believe...
    That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.



    I Believe...
    That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.


    I Believe...
    That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.


    I Believe...
    That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.



    I Believe...
    That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.



    I Believe...
    That you can keep going long after you think you can't.



    I Believe...
    That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.



    I Believe...
    That either you control your attitude or it controls you.



    I Believe...
    That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.



    I Believe...
    That money is a lousy way of keeping score .



    I Believe...
    That my best friend and I, can do anything, or nothing and have the best time.



    I Believe...
    That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.



    I Believe...
    That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.



    I Believe...
    That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had
    and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.



    I Believe...
    That it isn't always enough, to be forgiven by others.
    Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.


    I Believe...
    That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.



    I Believe...
    That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but, we are responsible for who we become.



    I Believe...
    That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.



    I Believe...
    Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.



    I Believe...
    That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.



    I Believe...
    That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you - you will find the strength to help.



    I Believe...
    That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.



    I Believe...
    That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.



    I Believe...
    That you should send this to all of the people that you believe in, I just did.


    'The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything.'


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



    New Page 1

    THE OLD PHONE ON THE WALL!!!

    When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

    Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.


    M y personal e xperience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.
    I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. "Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece jus t above my head.

    A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.

    "Information."

    "I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.


    "Isn't your mother home?" came the question.


    "Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.


    "Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.
    < /B>


    "No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."

    "Can you open the icebox?" she asked.

    I said I could.



    "Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.



    After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for h elp with my geography, and she told me where
    Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.

    She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

    Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called,

    Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bo ttom of a cage?"

    She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "
    Wayne always remember that there are other worlds to sing in."


    Somehow I felt better.


    Another day I w as on the telephone, "Information Please."

    "Information," said in the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?" I asked.

    All this took place in a smal l town in the
    Pacific Northwest . When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston . I missed my fr iend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.


    Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

    A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle . I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."

    Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.

    "Information."

    I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"


    There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."



    I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"


    I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your call meant to me.

    I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

    I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.


    "Please do", she said. "Just ask for Sally."



    Three months later I was back in
    Seattle . A different voice answered,

    "Information." I asked for Sally

    "Are you a friend?" she said.


    "Yes, a very old friend," I answered.


    "I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."

    < B>Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne?" "Yes." I answered.

    "Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read i t to you."


    The note said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in.

    He'll know what I mean."

    I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.


    Never underestimate the impression you may make on others.


    Whose life have you touched today?


    Why not pass this on? I just did...



    Lifting you on eagle's wings. May you find the joy and peace you long for.


    Life is a journey ... NOT a guided tour.



    I loved this story and just had to pass it on. I hope you enjoy it and get a blessing


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



     

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