Viva Miss Jay

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Education Degrees August 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — vivamissjay @ 5:31 pm

If you’ve ever stepped into a master’s education evening class, you may very well find tired teachers forced to do the following:

A.)  Draw and color the ideal teacher

B.) Look at pictures of beagles as a metaphor for life lessons

C.) Learn about the linguistic origins of the word “pants.”

D.) Listen to someone reading a “poe-em”

So no, education degrees are clearly do not measure a person’s ability to teach.  All four of these things happened to me when I pursued a master’s degree in education.  In fact, I agree with Katherine Merseth graduate dean of education at Harvard, who says that all graduate education programs, save 100, should be shut down.  It’s a waste of time and a way for universities to make a cheap deal with school districts to make money.  It’s a win-win situation.  School districts look better because their teachers appear more highly qualified with these fancy MEd degrees.  Universities make a quick buck off the taxpayers’ who help subsidized these degrees with the urging of school district. Teachers get a pay raise because that’s the only way you can get a higher salary short of a time machine.

Master’s degree do not reflect accountability.  Student performance does.  Simple as that.  In any other career whether it’s a doctor or a CEO, results and numbers matter.  But just like a doctor or a CEO, you can’t really learn anything until you actually do it.  A doctor becomes better at surgery when he/she spends more time in the operating room.  A teacher will become better when he/she spends more time in the classroom and working with other teachers.   Yet, a doctor’s training is hard and demanding, but a teacher’s is anything but. There is no link between advanced courses and higher student achievement.  None.  Don’t even try to argue it.

Which brings me to Margaret Crocco, who just spent the entire post disliking Teach for America.  Fair enough.  But she just avoids the question, because she knows that Teach for America demands results, not degrees.  Yes, it would be worthwhile revamping bachelor programs in education, so we can agree there.  By the way, hasn’t anyone told her that corps members must have a master’s degree while they are teaching?  It takes more than a smart talker to be a teacher–I agree with that.  But it also takes more than a worthless master’s degree, too.  It’s like trash on top of trash right now.  It takes strong leaders, which TFA attracts.  Unfortunately, teachers’ colleges and low salaries do not attract leaders, but it does attract a lot of C+ students.  So, let’s try for tougher teacher education program and not beat up a highly successful teacher leadership program.

P.S. By the way, I have met and talked to many educators with PhDs who are totally illiterate and have no idea what they are doing.  There are too many of these people.


Thrift Store Mondays August 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — vivamissjay @ 7:57 pm

I fell out of my old habits of thrift store shopping when I moved to Las Vegas. Las Vegas had tons of stuff, but somehow, I hardly found the time. I just finished up my DCPS summer job and waiting until school starts. Who’s got plenty of time? ME. Who discovered 25% off on Mondays at Value Village? ME. Naturally, I combined the two questions and answered them with a Zipcar to Value Village.

1. A handmixer
2. An Edith Piaf vinyl record
3. An egg beater
4. A Minolta 450E camera
5. A nifty bright orange thermos dated from 70s. I plan on drinking my coffee warm.

All for $11. Sigh.


Life Update July 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — vivamissjay @ 2:54 pm

We’ve successfully moved to DC nearly a month ago. We had a whining cat, whose stamina for meowing I will underestimate. We stopped to visit with my brother. We went to a wedding. We also pulled an all-nighter in which I sang a lot of songs to keep the both of us awake. I’m working as a summer school enrichment teacher. I’m catching up on e-mail, friends, books, and music.  I’m just biding time until grad school starts.

I’ve also grossly underestimated the walk from the Metro to our new apartment. I’m losing weight the old-fashioned way. Did I only eat two servings of Braniff’s biryani ? SAY WHAT. You may analyze that to say, “Wow. Padmini eats a lot” or “What? Braniff’s the one making biryani?”  As you see fit.


The Blues June 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — vivamissjay @ 2:18 pm

I said “goodbye” to Room 72 on Monday, but the blues set in on June 5th, when the kids left. Literally, I felt weak in the knees. Consequently, I went home okay and tried to act normal, but then woke up sobbing at 2 AM. Should people feel like this about leaving their jobs? Because I think, according to other people, that I should be excited about Georgetown and the future. Instead, I’m watching Golden Girls spin-offs and listening to the Dire Straits. I can sense that you’re judging me right now. I made that school my entire life for the last three years, but in reality, the students had been my life. I can’t believe I won’t see them in August. It’s sort of painful. The sadness will pass, I guess. But for now, I’m going to listen to Neil Diamond and wonder if I’m made a huge mistake. like Gob.


Cold Coffee April 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — vivamissjay @ 6:49 pm

Whine, whine.  I’m drinking cold coffee on a Sunday morning for the last hour, hence, the coldness.  Ideally, I should be packing up the house, grading papers, reading assignments, and planning for this week

Instead, I’m deeply mesmerized by this   Every now and then, I really miss Athens and can hardly believe that this has happened in Athens. It happens everywhere.  Mostly, I’m sad for Professor Teague, who lost her husband for no reason, if there can be any reason for anything.  

We just wake up every morning and make coffee.  Get excited for the day.  And then let the coffee sit too long before we realize it’s cold.  We just drink it anyways.


Epitome April 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — vivamissjay @ 11:09 pm

At our school, we like to reward students who set a goal and then meet them each month. Positive choices lead to positive consequences! Only five of the twenty English teachers came to help out at our latest reading goal party which had 130 students. Five teachers scooped out ice cream, set up free books, took tickets, and staged a water balloon fight.

You may ask yourself: Where were the other fifteen teachers? I kid you not. Literally, they were out playing golf.

So, why did these people become teachers? Oh, okay. Hey, AIG, we’ve got some folks you might want to hire.


Pet Peeve April 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — vivamissjay @ 10:07 pm

Maybe it’s because I watched Vicky Christina Barcelona, but I’m tired of flaky people who discover art in photography.

Is this weird? Maybe it’s even weirder because I’m not a professional photographer, but just a hobbyist. But I’m even more annoyed by uninteresting people who pick up a SLR. They just made macro boring. Thanks, losers.