Thursday, January 29, 2009

A teacher speaks out!

Honestly, what a lame title. I think we should probably end this whole discussion, it's like the one I had with a Jehovah's Witness years ago. Went on for weeks with no change. Anyway, here's my response:

Well, I'm sure Ms. Fulbright is a well meaning woman but her information is secondhand at best. Now granted I happen to be teaching in the worst school district in the state but I believe that only makes my statements stronger. In a given class the following format can be assumed. 1st 5 minutes: Students complete an assignment designed to stimulate and focus their mind on the daily topic. Examples of this week: Students placed dots on balloons and inflated them giving them a rudimentary sense of the universe's current expansion. Students placed lines on severed wide band when the band is stretched the marks on the outer edges expanded further and faster than the more central ones, showing our galaxies farthest from our own are expanding faster due to universal expansion. Give a minute or 2 for students to transition from that rudimentary description to the lesson at hand. Students will take notes down from both my lecture and (I might say) amazingly sophisticated powerpoint presentation. These powerpoints are usually image heavy and contain many embedded videos (usually short 30 seconds to 3 minutes tops) I use these to help some of my students who rely on more visual cues (almost the entire current youth generation) Students will be expected to respond to queries from me about certain concepts discussed and the entire lecture section will last approximately 30-40 minutes. I admit I tend to go longer than what is advised (10-15 minutes) Students will then work on an assignment in groups or individually based on the content of the day's class. Some times it's a simple as a worksheet based off their notes. Often it will be a problem solving assignment that will require information discussed that day. Students will work on the assignment for about 10-15 minutes and will finish the rest for homework if not complete. With the remaining 5 minutes of class we will summarize the material discussed and try to answer questions regarding it, usually meant to stretch their knowledge and force them to think a bit outside the box. That's the class. The next day will be similar except lecture will be replaced by a lab. (except when we study astronomy, it's really hard to devise enriching labs about astronomical events)

A student who studies and focus on his work will find that he has approximately 45 to 50 minutes of learning time in class. Multiply that by 7. Is there wasted time? Sure. A student stops you to ask to use the bathroom. Or I begin a sidebar discussion about how the universe is only a 3 dimensional projection of its 2 dimensional quantum surface. Yes I hand out papers. Guess how long it takes me to hand out papers. About 25 seconds, well maybe more like 40 due to my new desk configuration.

Now the class I was using as an example was my honors class. Which to be frank is like any general ed class in a regular school. In an honors class in real school the depth of learning would be much more sophisticated.

Now, it's true that the one on one teaching that goes on at home is better than the 1 to 25 to 30 that I have at school. That's why you stick your child in a good school system. No discipline issues, classrooms are quiet and students are learning. The whole one on one issue becomes nearly moot, and not only that but your student is being taught by a trained expert. Ideally, in a good school system, that teacher has real life experience in the topic they teach an has also received their Masters of Education in various teaching methods. They know what to do when a student is confused, how to use different mental routes to take to teach that student.

Ah, it comes down to this. Homeschooling could be great, it could also be an unmitigated disaster that can harm children irrevocably. Public school can be great with students learning everything they need and going off to great colleges like Messiah. Or it could fail them terribly with some teacher calling them a loser or they get stuck in a locker or take your pick of awful things.

However, it's foolish to call one superior over the other, because in each ideal situation they are about the same. In each worst case scenario they are about the same. Only, the worst case scenario at a functioning high school with functioning parents is much harder to come by. There are too many fail safes in place to allow a student to fail out. Notice I say functional school and functioning parents. That's kind of important. But homeschooling can be more difficult. There is not as much support. A parent could teach a child for years not realizing there is an issue with their learning until it's too late (I know of some of these) Parents are not experts in everything (it's impossible to expect them to be) There are so many various learning disabilities that any number could go unseen. (This aspect of homeschooling scares me the most, it's the freebirthing equivalent in education)

Personally, I learned a ton at my public school. I went to a great college and grabbed a great job when I left. Public school was a complete success for me. Honestly, for everyone I know it was a great success, we all went to college, we are all middle class. Not to shabby. In the school district where I live (chosen for it's great old school teaching approach) I know, because I know the kids here, that my children will receive a fantastic education. One that I pay for. One that my wife will get a break from in about 5 years when all our kids are in school. Great education for my kids, by then I plan on working in the school district so that I'll be even closer to the action. And hopefully the wife will jump into teaching again and the whole 2 income situation will make life blissful. (Please Lord don't require my soul tonight, these are just dreams, I haven't torn down my barns yet.)

Erica/DredBen I salute you for trying to educate your children in the manner you have chosen. It is not an easy situation, much harder than sending them to public schooling and I'm sure it will be a complete success. Your kids are bright and so are you so I'm sure when calculus rears it's ugly head you'll beat it down flat. But understand that public schooling, when it is working like it should, is also a magnificent form of education.

In the end, public schooling or home, the parent is the first and last teacher in all things. Without good parents no amount of education will help the child.

And I'm done.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hans Solo

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Okay so that last post is just horribly edited with images all over the place. But seriously, you all know what a shotgun looks like and I'm too lazy to fix it.

No longer a virgin

I finally fired a weapon. Leaving the Daisyline kiddie musket ball air powered rifles behind I've graduated to something slightly higher caliber. At Sir Francis Drakes Bachelor party we fired an assortment of weaponry at his buddies firing range.

We started with the Heckler and Koch MP5. Both single fire and full automatic this 9mm beastie made swiss cheese of our Osama zombie target.

Little recoil. Real sweet gun.

The second weapon I used was a 12 gauge shotgun.

The kick from this bad boy was worse than the AK-47. And the holes the slugs made were scary!

Finally, we fired the most famous weapon ever made. The AK-47.

Strong kick, very accurate, and after 100+ rounds, HOT!!

We also fired an assortment of pistols of various caliber. And Sir Francis Drake fired off a HK super weapon used by special forces. I couldn't even touch it.

Well, I'm glad I'm an American and can fire fully automatic weaponry. People opposing guns have obviously never fired one.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

Invisibility by Christmas of 2009?!!! Please please please!!!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Well Crap

This is just too good not to post. I promise I'll find something ridiculous to post later. Although the dude's shrug is kind of funny.

It took a New Jersian to turn me around

I just got caught up in all the hoopla. Well, no more. So today I unveil the most bizarre bit of internet I could find in 5 minutes. Although I'd be shocked if this wasn't posted on the site eons ago it's always worth a second viewing.

I GIVE YOU......

Blue/Pink Unicorn:"The man with the hat sent us!"
Pink Unicorn: "He told us many amazing stories!"
Both: "Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!"
Charlie: "What?"
Pink: "Tonight we will dine on turtles!"
Blue/Pink: "They will be good, yes?"
Z: *shoots laser*
Charlie: "Aaah! What did you two do?!"
Both: "Yes!!!!!"
Pink: "I am happy!"
Both: "Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!"
Charlie: "Just keep walking, Charlie. Keep walking

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wow, our generation just can't look that badass anymore

Here's this dude in the French Alps. Who in time will eventually accept Japan's surrender. Check out that crop and the boots. I need a get up like that, and the phenotypic disposition not to look like a tool wearing it.

Wow The Youth of Today

The media keeps harping on and on about how the youth vote is so crucial. Well I saw the youth vote of 2012-2013 and it doesn't look good.

I figured that since the inauguration today was probably one of the most historic events in racial/civic history. A culmination of decades of struggle for minorities in our nation, that it might be slightly relevant to my students given their cultural and economic makeup.

Yeah think again. My students didn't so much as glance at the screen and chattered away happily. Honestly, there was no way I was going to yell myself hoarse trying to get them interested in a civic event this important.

Very sad.

I liked his speech. Patriotic but eternal? Meh.

I liked Rick Warren's invocation. Anytime you can repeat Jesus's name in four languages in front of billions of people I'm all for it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Lazy Rural Morons

Read this article about the Alabama community of 194 people who want 300+ million to create a green community and to double the number of vineyards in a region that cannot support European grapes. Here they are begging for handouts, no wonder their poverty rate is 28.7% Try working. Develop a useful enterprise that your 194 neighbors require. Ugh. If this 1.2 trillion economic stimulus thing gets passed I'm going to have a cow. or a Whole Crap, whatever comes first.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Pelosi is locking the Rep out of all legislation

Wow, that happened a lot quicker than I thought, maybe that Russian was right.