Friday, August 04, 2017


When I first retired I tossed old books and lesson plans, tons of lesson plans in all subjects except for calculus.  I spent so much time preparing and learning that I did not have the heart to get rid of them.  Finally, after six years, I am purging myself of this material too.  All the books I collected at conferences, dragged home on the subway and used diligently are going into a charity box.  I know I will never need them again and hope they will find a good home with a new family.  As for me, I am enjoying my empty shelves.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Start Them Young

I believe in starting kids young and so does my daughter.  Here are the books she bought the twins for their first birthday.  Below is a picture of my granddaughter (sorry-no face) already studying for her AP calculus exam.

Trash Talk

This cartoon reminded me so much of my former supervisor, Mr. AP.  At every department meeting he manages to bring up teachers who have retired and to mention repeatedly how awful they were. These teachers were not awful.  They were well liked by the students and other teachers and went above and beyond their work requirements daily.  They just refused to bow to him and revere him as a God. 

It always strikes me as funny how the comics manage to portray real life so well.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meanest Dog

Who would have guessed the meanest dog breed was a chihuahua?  Maybe too much inbreeding?  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dilbert Explains Again

The reason school's have their heat on in June,

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday, July 07, 2017


This is so true.  Adjuncts make a great hourly salary.  It is a fantastic way to supplement a paycheck  or a pension but it is a crappy way to have to survive.  I have worked with adjuncts who go from school to school and teach 8 classes.  And, while many adjuncts are better teachers than their full time colleagues, they do their students a major disservice as they are not around for office hours and extra help.

I love being an adjunct but being an adjunct is not a career.

Friday, June 23, 2017


I met Ahmed when he came to my class in the middle of the term.  He was newly arrived from Pakistan and barely spoke English and his bathing habits were not up to our standards.  He was shy and quiet and struggled with the math but he was never absent, never late and worked hard.  This was extremely difficult because the class had a lot of uncontrollable students.

Fast forward to today.  Ahmed and I are Facebook buddies.  The picture above is him, minus the face.  He is a sharp dressing, confident, successful young   I commented how nicely he grew up and how happy I was to see the transformation from the shy young boy to the confident, successful young man.  He replied that he will always remember me as his best teacher ever.

And this is what teaching is all about.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Take That Mr AP

Just got this message. It made my day.

Hello Mrs. POT,  how you've been?

I have news to tell you! I'll be attending XXX Pharmacy school this fall! Thank you for providing me the best education back in Packemin H.S. Thank you for always believing in me and always telling me to never give up. I hope to see you again some day!

Take that Mr AP!  Guess I was better than you thought!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Limbo Rock

Anyone who has ever taught knows that teaching is not a job everyone can do.  My former school had several teaching fellows who knew their subject material inside out but could not handle a classroom.  My cousin, a PhD in physics and the smartest person I know died in a high school classroom.

Unfortunately this practice of hiring teachers who know nothing about education is exactly the method being used to hire school administrators right here in NYC, okay, not in all schools.  Newbies with a minimum amount of time in the classroom are suddenly in charge to say nothing of the Principal Academy which took no educators and made them the supreme leader of many institutions.

No one would ever go to a doctor who just had a degree in anatomy or use an architect with experience with Legos yet these same people have no problem using teachers with zero education experience or credits.

Limbo lower now--how low can you go?

Monday, May 08, 2017

Sorry State of Advanced Placement

How does a school keep its high rating?  Easy.  Designate every senior English class as an AP class.

The school looks good because of all the students taking college level classes.  It costs the school nothing because all students must take English anyway.  The administration does not care how the grades come out as the school is judged only by the number enrolled, not the number passing the advanced placement exam.

Struggling students are not being prepared for what they will need in college.  Parents are being bamboozled and the ones that belong are getting a watered down education.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hatred Relived

I saw this letter in today's Newsday and decided to share it here.

Several years ago a young man in one of my classes wanted to know if I would dance if he threw pennies at me.  I reported him immediately to Mr. AP and asked to have him removed due to blatant anti-semitism.  Mr. AP refused and vehemently repeated that the remark was not related to anti-semitism.  We got into a heated fight.  Thankfully the Principal took my side with both the boy and the Mr. AP.

Not experiencing something first hand does not mean it does not exist.  This letter brought back painful memories.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bringing Back Memories

Reminds me of my great days teaching AP calculus at Packemin.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Words of Martin Luther King Jr

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

Martin Luther King Jr, "Where Do We Go From Here?"  (1967)

Friday, February 17, 2017


I know Mr. AP is happy that I am gone and most of the senior teachers are also gone but I know the teachers like me made a big difference.  It is messages like this that make me, and all of us feel special and know that the work we did made a difference.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Snow Day

Thankful for all the hard working men and women working to get our streets clean.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Alternative Math Facts

My daughter, a mathematician posted this on Facebook.  Too bad most people don't even realize it is alternative math

Saturday, February 04, 2017

A Math Teacher's Lament

I love my new watch but I wouldn't have bought it if I had looked closer.  The "9" really bothers me.  I spend hours explaining that pi is not 3.14.  Pi is an irrational number that goes on forever.  



used above would not represent 9 exactly.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dilbert Does It Again

Dedicated to all the teachers who are still sitting through hours of meaningless professional development run by people who know nothing about what they are saying.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Why We Need Unions

The man pictured above works five 12 hour days every week.  He doesn't have to do this.  He could choose to work six 8 hour days instead.  What a choice?  He needs the job to support his family and it is one of the most coveted jobs on the island of Jamaica.

He doesn't complain about the long hours or the almost 2 hour commute he has each day on public transportation.  He reports to work daily with a smile and seems to always be so upbeat.  He hides the hardships of his life well.

Too bad there are no unions here.  The hotel owners get rich while the workers get by.  Not fair.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Union

I've been going back and forth on Facebook with an old friend of my husband over unions.  He is a big Trump supporter and thinks Betsey DeVos and her charter school agenda are pretty grand.  He has been going on about how the UFT is the most corrupt union around and how it alone is responsible for incompetent teachers and the poor education many students are getting.

I've tried, and so have others, to reason with him, to give him facts supporting what we say but talking to him is like talking to a wall.He believes every piece of garbage spewed by the Post and Fox news.  He refuses to listen to people who have witnessed things in action.

Our union has plenty wrong with it.  It doesn't always do a great job of protecting its members but we would be lost without it.  The union does not guarantee us jobs, it guarantees due process. And, although the union does stand up for the students, it is their job to protect us and it does not and should not be bashed for doing its job.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ineffective Administrator Moved On Instead of Out

The kennel clear across town has a new boss.  It seems the Chihuahua was not wanted in her old position. As we all know administrators are never removed from power they are just moved to new locations and Chihuahua is no exception to this rule.

Instead of removing her from the job she is incapable of doing well, she is in a new assignment, creating havoc and destroying the morale of once happy little dogs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mr. Danger

Years ago when I was a brand new teacher I observed Mr. Danger.  I always saw his students fighting to go to the board and I was determined to learn his secret, a secret I learned within 5 minutes.

Mr. Danger gave his class "B's" every time they picked up the chalk.  They loved the "B's" and worked hard to get them.

When the class ended I asked Mr. Danger what he did with all the "B's" the students collected.  He just laughed and said he did not do anything and the students knew it.  Mr. Danger was funny, full of life and he loved teaching and his students.  The "B's" were just a way to pass this enthusiasm to his charges and it worked.  His students were very successful.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ends and a Beginning

Last night of  Chanukah and 2016,

Happy New Year to all.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Death Of Education As Told By Dilbert

Saw this and thought of the ruination of schools today-incompetent, brainless, inexperienced supervisors and worse, people like Betsy DeVos with a cabinet post in charge of education.

Heaven help us all.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays to all!

Thrilled that all the stores in my area are sticking with holiday theme so no one is excluded.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

No Matter What You Celebrate

Happy holidays to all!

I grew up in a world where my holidays were never acknowledged.  I am enjoying the generic happy holiday greeting.  I don't feel slighted by the lack of the word Chanukah and I certainly don't believe there is a war on it because it is not mentioned.

Enjoy whatever you celebrate or just celebrate this wonderful season.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Calling or a Job

I loved teaching high school math.  I was blessed with a career that brought me happiness.  I cried when I retired and still miss it but, it was a job, not a calling.

I worked for that paycheck and if it wasn't there I would have been out the door.

I don't know why the lawyer pictured above is now teaching algebra but I am willing to bet no "higher authority" called him there.  He would not be doing it without the bimonthly deposit in his bank account.

(Picture from an ad on the F train)

Friday, December 16, 2016



December 14, 2016 | The University
The City University of New York is a national leader in welcoming, supporting and educating immigrants, regardless of status.  Today, there is quite understandably heightened concern about the ability of universities across the country to protect and support their undocumented students.  Since the presidential election, I have written to the CUNY community to reaffirm our historical commitment to providing education and opportunity to all, with particular emphasis on our fundamental commitment to immigrants.  I have stated unequivocally that CUNY will take any steps available under the law to protect and support its undocumented students.
I joined other leading university presidents writing to urge the incoming administration to retain the humane and beneficial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.   Through our important partnership with TheDream.US, CUNY has the largest number of undocumented students supported by private scholarships in the country, and we will pursue other means to support our students.
We are justifiably proud of our historical leadership in welcoming, supporting, and providing a wide array of services to immigrants.  This is true on our campuses and it is true across the city through our outreach programs.   We operate the extremely effective “Citizenship Now!” program, at this time more important than ever, which has offices in all five boroughs, providing one-on-one legal services, referrals to needed social services, reviews of legal status and assistance with immigration and visa applications.  Our campuses have been providing counseling and other services, and each campus will establish a central point of contact for information and resources for students.
Our commitment to undocumented immigrants at CUNY is not new and has been demonstrated by the resources and attention we devote to these valued members of our community.   Over the last month, I have had many discussions with students, faculty and staff at CUNY, and I write today to share more broadly many of the important elements that will continue to be part of CUNY’s pledge to its community.   CUNY’s commitment includes the following:
  • CUNY will take no action to assist in the enforcement of the immigration laws except as required by law;
  • CUNY will protect student record information in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act;
  • CUNY will not turn over student information to immigration enforcement authorities except pursuant to court order;
  • CUNY will not request or gather information about students’ citizenship or immigration status in the course of providing educational or other services or in connection with public safety activities except as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility;
  • CUNY will not permit immigration enforcement officials to enter its campuses except to the extent required by a warrant or court order;
  • CUNY will work with city, state and federal leaders in support of immigration reforms that maximize, not diminish, educational opportunities for all students.
We will continue to monitor and assess policies and practices that affect our students and take action, consistent with our obligations under the law, to support and protect our students.   CUNY will continue to pursue policies and practices that help ensure that our campuses welcome and value all of our students, regardless of immigration status, race, religion, nationality, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.  And we will always condemn acts of violence, hate crimes, and expressions of bigotry and intolerance.  In short, CUNY remains the university that, in the words of the first president of our predecessor institution the Free Academy, educates “the people, the whole people.”

James B. Milliken

Only Human

Let me begin this post by saying that in my entire teaching career there have not been more than 3 students I really disliked.  Even the boy that threatened me, who I had removed from my class is not someone I hated and had ill will toward.

Anyway, this semester there was a young man in my class who I can say I disliked immensely.  I still wish him no harm and do hope he grows up and becomes a successful person in all ways possible. Donny sat in the back of my class and played with his phone or slept.  When I tried talking to him (which happened more than once) he got nasty so I stopped trying to reach him.  After all, it was his tuition and his time that was being wasted and thankfully, in the college, teachers are not responsible for the students passing.  Our supervisors know that the students are a mixed bag, some good and some not so good.

Donny thought coming to class was enough.  I guess seat time credit is something he picked up in high school.  I know Packemin counted it quite a bit.  Not so in the college.  Test grades count.  Class participation and homework count. I have to admit I enjoyed watching Donny turn all shades of red during the last quiz before the final.  I took pleasure in his missing the final and entering a grade of F on his transcript. I also hope he will learn something from his failure and change his attitude for the future.

I am not vindictive.  Donny got the grade he earned.  But I am also human and delivering it did make me happy.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Find That Made Me Smile

I went to reuse an old gift bag and found this.  It made my day,

Wednesday, December 07, 2016


I ran into an old student at the college today.  At first I did not recognize him.  I knew he looked familiar but when he told me his name I remembered him immediately.  He told me he graduated in 2005 and went on to become a mechanical engineer.  He is now trying to become a PA and is back taking prerequisites for the program.

What got me was how he said it was me who got him into engineering and through the first three terms of calculus in college.  He said he could not have done it without the things he learned in my class.  I am not sure this is true, but it sure felt good to hear it.  Needless to say, he made my day.

When I left the high school I doubted myself as a  teacher.  After all, when someone repeatedly tells you how awful you are, you start to wonder if they are right.  Mr. AP did this to me all the time.  In fact, I heard he is still talking about me (and not in a nice way) at department meetings.  I have no illusions about myself as being G-d's gift to teaching.  I know I had my faults but I also know I worked very hard, put in tons of extra hours and put my students first.  Looking back, I know I made a difference in many of their lives, a difference that is helping them lead good lives now.

It is no secret that I did not get along with my former AP.  At one point he even promised me that I would end up retiring on a very sour note and he did everything possible to insure this would happen.  What he could not take, and will never take is the joy of learning I instilled in my students, the respect I gave them and they gave me in return and the love we had for each other. I was not the teacher he wanted me to be but I was the teacher my students wanted and needed.  I served them well.  Students like the one I met today help me reaffirm my belief that what I did was not only not bad, but that it was pretty good.

(picture-Freedom Tower from St Paul's Church)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

New Job

Chihuahua has begun a new job, harassing the pups in another kennel.

Let's hope these pups know how to keep a little dog in place.

Monday, November 07, 2016

This Is What Teaching Is All About Part II

I cover a lot of classes in the college.  The students are great, the staff is appreciative and I get to teach a variety of subjects ranging from remedial math to third term calculus.

Last week a boy stopped me after class and said "Do you remember me?"  I didn't but pretended too.  I did not want to hurt his feelings.  He had been in my class at Packemin and said I was one of the best teachers he had and I made a difference in his life.

This is what teaching is all about.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

What Teaching Is All About

I covered a class in the college last week.  As I was leaving, I noticed a young man staying behind.  He walked me out of the room and asked me my name.  (I had written it down, but he must have forgotten.)  He asked if I teach the next class and I said yes.  He then asked if I always walked around and got personal with my students.  Again, I answered yes.  He then said he would look for me next semester and try to register for my class.

This is what teaching is all about. 

I was with a friend today who was telling me a story about a person who always put her down.  Even though she knew what he said was not true, he said it so loud and so often she sometimes believed him.  My former AP did this to me too and I too sometimes doubted myself.  I wish I could hug that young man from yesterday and tell him how much his words mean to me.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Integral

My son posted this on my Facebook page-just had to share it here