Monday, February 13, 2006

Come in from the cold...

Third period, sixth graders waiting for me at my classroom door informed me that a bird was in the room. I immediately assumed pigeon, as I've had pigeons in and out of my classroom windows many times. Nope, this time it was a starling. Smaller, smarter, but more easily frightened. It flew around in a panic as we tried to start class, trapped between the window and the shade for a few minutes, then flat-bellied against a heating grate, and open-mouthed flapping between wall and windows. A student found a window pole and we began lowering the tops of the windows. The starling found the wide-open sky quickly enough, and class went on uneventfully.


I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: you know you're a science teacher when you buy vinegar by the gallon and baking soda in a five pound box. And you know you're a NYC science teacher if you bring it to school on the train.


You must read this.

We never filled our science teacher vacancy. The deal was that I would split a class with another teacher, each of us taking them for a marking period at a time, losing preps for parts of the year, gaining them back at other times. It's my turn again. I am fighting off a drowning feeling.


Graycie, the tower in the picture is a sculpture in the 6th & B Community Garden in my neighborhood. It was built by a local resident named Eddie - I believe he still adds to it. Here's a short video with close-ups of the found objects he incorporates into the sculpture.

And by the way, thanks for the great post on student loans.


Anonymous Nicole said...

Your story about the starling made me think of this beautiful poem by Richard Wilbur. I thought you might like it.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Followers of this site will do well to pick up the latest edition (Feb 20) of New York Magazine.

Read the "Save A School, The Hedge Fund Solution", article. All about P.S. 65 in Queens and how Joel Greenblatt shows you can take one of the worst performing schools in the city and turn it into a winner with only an extra $1,000 per student.

This school's students are mainly poor South American and South Asian immigrants. The school is housed in a former airplane parts factory. It is run by Beth Longo and formerly run by Iris Nelson.

Greenblatt is a wealthy Wall Streeter who runs a hedge fund -- Gotham Capital.

His second foray into running schools has taken him to Harlem Success Academy, a charter school in Harlem. Iris Nelson has been hired as a consultant and the executive director of the school is Eva Moskowitz.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Chaz said...


Let's see the full details of the charter school and the teacher retention rates. Are the teachers certified? Let's see the long-tern success rates.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


P.S. 65 in Queens has been under the effective control of Joel Greenblatt for five years. The results speak for themselves.

You can probably access the New York Magazine article for free online.

9:41 AM  
Blogger graycie said...

Thanks for the video link -- there's something strange and almost mystical about folk art. The video gives quite a different impression from your photo. Your photo reminded me of Xilitla [hill-EET-la] in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It's a strange concrete (house? -- compound? -- grounds of a mansion? -- acres-large sculpture?) I haven’t got the words to describe it. Check these links to see photos (none of them mine – I was there just over 20 years ago.) The awkward-looking aerial steps in the third set of photos that look like an arch were climbable – and very scary once you were up there!

Glad you liked the student loan post. I do believe that investing in the education of individuals is so important.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

I just want to say that the sculpture with the stuffed animals you posted a picture and video link to, I remember seeing when I visited one of my cousins in NYC for my 15th birthday. It used to pop up in my mind occasionally and lately I've forgotten about it entirely, but now I remember seeing it clearly and being mystified by it. I want to thank you, for that little trip back to a year and a half ago. =)

2:03 AM  

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