About Me

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San Clemente, CA, United States

Sunday, December 22, 2013


A quick note to all young adults.   Hell,  a quick note to everyone.

As you progress in your lives, as you apply for different jobs, it might be smart to clear your Facebook and Instagram pages of anything that doesn't portray you in the way you want to be portrayed.   I'm sure your "besties" will be "cray cray" bummed that the "adorns" pictures of you holding the bong isn't your profile pic anymore, but you might want to consider it.

I'm looking for a long-term sub to replace a teacher going out on maternity.  I got the name of a couple of subs in the district who might be good.  I looked at both their Facebook pages.   One had lovely pictures of her young daughter and husband hiking, biking, birthday partying, etc.  The other had a young woman, who in only four pictures, had 3 alcoholic beverages, 2 shots of guys giving the camera the finger, 1 open mouth tongue shot, and my personal favorite, the Miley Cyrus halloween costume.

Hmmm....who should I contact first?

I really don't have a problem with any of the behaviors of contestant number 2.  Well I do, but I wouldn't hold someones free time against them.  I absolutely believe in the need to "blow off steam."  I have a problem with her decision to post the photos. It just isn't smart if she is looking for work.  Looking for work in a school.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


More and more, as I talk with parents and students and random people I meet, I'm often told, "oh, I love your blog."

It always rocks me a little.  I kind of like it, but mostly I don't.   I really don't know why I write, but it isn't to be read.  I get embarrassed when people read my works.  As a mathematician, I can compete.  As a writer, I feel inferior.

Add to that, I only write when I'm angry.  Not always proud of how I feel or what I write after a bout with Mr. Temper.

Off subject, shut up with the Thanksgiving cliche crap I heard today.  "In times of need, be buoyed up by those around you who love you."   Shut up.  Drag your depressed butt out of bed, get in the shower, and go to work.  Everyone gets depressed.  You don't get special treatment cause you think your depression is greater.  Buoy yourself.

We come into this world alone and we better figure out in our heads how to be alone and to handle our own business, because at the end of the day, we are again alone....82 years old...grown kids 500 miles away.... crappy little assisted living apartment... mean and fat nurse who hates you... yeah...

And shut up about the Christmas season.  We should be kind and generous all year long.  Kind and generous?  Not if you shop at Walmart.   Not if you camp out overnight for a big screen TV.  Kind and generous?  Yeah...shut up.

And take those stupid antler ears off your car.  Just don't.

And if I say "thank you", stop saying "no worries."  How about "you're welcome".

And quit dressing the age you want to be.  Old people like me should NOT be wearing acid washed jeans or juicy sweats or Jason Mraz hats.  Stop it.

And to those of you that read... Thank you....I think.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

At the Shops in Mission Viejo Mall

Random thoughts after going shopping for a pair of gloves over the weekend.

It is a requirement when asking a store clerk where to find the men's gloves to hold both hands out, palms facing away, and wiggle ones fingers.  I caught myself doing it in the 3rd store.   Couldn't not wiggle in stores 4 and 5.

It is not ok not to know if you carry gloves.  But hey, I get it, items can be seasonal.  It is NOT ok to be dismissive, say "hmmm, I'm not sure", and go back to folding.  Lets ask someone.  Lets take me to where they might be if they were there.  Lazy isn't very attractive.

Adults that do non-stop texting are way more annoying than kids.  I expect it from the kids.  But really?  You can't walk a mall without sending 12 texts?  Pretty sad.  Now, I try to run into you when you bear down on me head in your phone, in your 400 dollar yoga pants, and 200 dollar running shoes that have never seen anything but the floormats of your BMW.  Ok...that went too far.

Adult women should show young girls how to dress.  Well actually, they are.

To the group of 6 boys popping off to people as they walked past.  Shut up.  I told you to shut up then and none of you did anything and I'm saying it again.  Shut up.  I'm sick of "tough guys" when they are surrounded by their friends.  And making fun of how an older woman walks?   Shut up.

To the guy at Macy's that walked the flippin store with me, found the gloves, and gave me a discount, ...thanks.

To the women of the makeup department.  You don't need to wear all the makeup all the time.

Banana Republic.  Great gloves.  $92.00?????  Shut up.

To the woman at J Crew,  "Hello....."

And now, to the gloves I bought...gorgeous, comfortable, leather with a fleecy inside.  Except that the inner liners of fingers 1 and 2 cut off to allow for texting better.  More control.  Shut up.  My fingers can't stop playing with the inside cut off edges.  So,  I have to take them back tomorrow.  Woo hoo.  More Mall.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Insert Manifest Here:

Let this be my manifesto.  After 2 days of tossing and turning in my sleep...literally....I have decided to be the teacher I know I must be, not the teacher others might want me to be.  I'll define my manifesto shortly, but first a justification of why I think I should be bold enough to go my own way. 

I am comfortable making the decision to go a bit outside the norm because I firmly and absolutely and completely believe that no one in America has more of an understanding of teaching mathematics in today's high schools than I do.  It is cocky to say, but my unique journey has given me bragging rights.  

While most of my colleagues have taught at one or two schools, I have taught mathematics in 5 high schools across America.  I have taught at high performing schools, low performing schools, and schools in the middle.  I've taught every ethnicity in every setting.  I have worked with hundreds of other teachers and dozens of administrators.  I have learned from great teachers what to do, and I have learned from bad teachers what not to do.  I have had unbelievable discussions with amazing minds about what REALLY works in the classroom.  Not on paper.  In the classroom.

In my egotistical, narcissistic, I love Jake, way, I believe that I know more about what is needed in today's mathematics classroom than anyone else in America.  Go me!

Insert Manifesto Here:

We keep talking and talking and talking and talking about improving mathematics education but we have forgotten one of the reasons we are here.  We are here, in part, to foster a love of mathematics.  We are doing exactly the opposite.  We are beating any love of mathematics out of our students.  I read a survey years ago that I've never forgotten.  It claimed that if you ask any 3rd grader their favorite subject, over 70% answer math.  If you ask any 10th grader their LEAST favorite subject, over 70% answer math.  Somewhere along the way we turn inquisitive minds in such a way that instead of enjoying learning new things, kids walk into math class knowing they will dislike every minute and struggle all along the way. 

It starts with the crappy teaching of math in elementary schools.  Survey after survey  indicates that elementary teachers are so insecure about their own understanding of mathematics that they spend less time on math than other subjects.  LESS time on math.  By the time the kids get to me, many are feeling like they don't have enough tools to be successful.  They don't.  We are doing big damage in the elementary classroom.   Better math teachers in the early grades are the fix.  I believe the beginning of the way to reform mathematics education in our schools is to return all of our elementary school teachers to the classroom as students of Number Theory, Algebra and Geometry.  Not to punish them.  To empower them.  I want them to become more confident in their knowledge of mathematics and with that confidence will exude confidence into their students.  I believe that. 

We need to find a way to bring back that love of mathematics that we all had when we first learned to add and subtract with M&M's.

I like what I do.  I wonder if my colleagues like it too.  In truth, I think I love it.  I love standing in front of America, being on stage, and delivering information.  (and yeah yeah yeah, I still stand and deliver.  The largest educational study ever done indicates that Direct Instruction is the ONLY method of delivery with verifiable positive results.)  My advising Master teacher was a nut and her kids learned in a great environment.  That's my goal.   I want my students to leave my math class not dreading their next math class.  I want to put a small crack in their negative defenses.  I want to start rebuilding

From this day forward I will try to create a generation of students who can use mathematics to solve problems.  I'll treat my class as much more of a history class than a math class.  We need to be taking our students on a magical and mysterious tour of the the real and imaginary world of mathematics.  Instead with throw formulas and meaningless "problems". and worksheets.

We need to be laughing as we journey through the rigorous techniques developed by men who had nothing better to do than find a new method to do what few would care to do.  We need to be exploring.  Instead, we are pounding.  Daily, we stand and pound a new concept, technique, method, formula, theorem at them... I am beginning to hate how we teach mathematics.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I fight demons.

I have spent a lifetime acting like I'm "well-adjusted", but I'm not.  On the inside, I feel a mess.

I feel like I have disappointed everyone in my life.  I feel like I'm a disappointment to my parents and to my brother and sister.  I am neither the son nor brother they probably deserve.  What they may not know, is that this demon, this belief I'm a disappointment to them, keeps me from spending more time with them.  When I see them, I see them seeing me.  Most of the time I can't bear it.  I feel like such a failure.

In my brain, I know I'm probably wrong.  My parents and siblings have told me NUMEROUS times how much they love me, need me, respect me and are proud of me.   I don't know why I see what I see. I don't know why I feel so small.

But I do.

Most days I feel like a failure as a teacher.  I have good moments; a funny line or an understandable explanation, but most days I feel like I could have done more.   Way more.  I think I try to compensate for my demon by tutoring some kids outside of school.  It isn't enough.  I just feel like a fraud or an impostor doing what a "real" teacher should be doing.

I've won numerous awards for my teaching.  3 times Teacher of the Year, 3 times voted by students to read names at graduation, 2 times as an NHS Honored Educator.... It isn't enough.  It isn't even close to enough.   I feel I'm laughed at behind my back.  A fool, a laughingstock, a mockery.

My demons are ruining me one day at a time.  I've cultivated a life of solitude outside of my work where I don't have to see myself through someone else's eyes.  I've pushed away everyone who ever loved me.  I'm alone and most days, I'm scared.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The End

Oh dear lord they did it.  The brilliant minds who have brought us the Common Core Standards have found a way to ruin math. 

Math was my salvation when I would get my 5 paragraph essays handed back to me with enough red ink on them that I thought they might have been stabbed.  Math was the place I could go and get the right answer.   It wasn't up for debate whether my topic sentence was on point, my thesis statement correctly placed or if my participles were left dangling.  You can't mark me wrong when I'm right.

Math was the place I knew.  Black and white.  Right or wrong.  I may not do it your way, but I do it correctly.  And, I'm not alone.  I have seen hundreds of students with similar abilities to me; strong foundation, excellent spacial perceptive ability, the ability to compartmentalize, the ability to do numerous computations at once without picking up a pencil, etc.

And what do we do when we see a special talent?  We make sure to try and change that person into who we think they should be.  "You have to show all your work." 

Now, the Common Core architects have decided math students must write what they do.  Math students must explain their logic.

I could never have done that.  Check that....I could have.  I wouldn't have wanted to though.  Math wouldn't have been as safe a haven for me had I been forced to write.  This might be the correct road for many students.  Not for all though.  When will we realize we are all differently talented?

Monday, August 12, 2013

...while driving.

I think more people than not are texting or talking on their phones while driving.  I'm serious.  As I drive around, I think more than 50% of drivers are trying to sneak a text message or blatantly take a phone call.   I'm kinda pissed.

I'm not pissed at the kids.   They really don't know any better.   They know the law, they just don't think its a big deal.   They haven't been on this planet long enough to see or experience the consequences of inattentive driving.  They are young and feel bulletproof, but as they get older, as they see more horrific crashes or as they lose friends, they will understand why we shouldn't drive without our full attention on the road.  (Worlds longest sentence?  Sorry Virginia Reischl)  Todays teens live in a different world than adults do.  They are OBSESSED with social media and LIVE AND DIE to know what someone else is doing.  It is sad.  I'm not pissed at the kids.  Kids are kids and for the most part will push the envelope.  As far as their phones while driving?   Heck, all the adults are doing it.

I'm pissed at the adults.   Kids don't listen to what their parents say; they watch what their parents do.  And their parents are taking calls, making calls, and texting as they drive.

Great role modeling parents.  Impressive.

I'm pissed.  These kids need role models and people in their lives to show them how to go about their business.   There clearly aren't role models outside the home for these kids.  Sketchy politicians, lying athletes, overly abusive cops, greedy businessmen are what our kids are exposed to.  It breaks down as follows;  "Keeping up with the Kardashians" is a popular TV show.   How the hell does that happen and what does that say about us?

Parents need to walk a good walk if they expect the same from their kids.

To the adults that feel that rules/laws/guidelines etc. are for "others".....Kiss my ass and get off your phone.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Sometimes I browse personal ads online.  There, I said it.   I look at  Match.com, J-Date (my people), Plenty of Fish, etc.   I like to kill time by looking at women who are looking for men.  When I find an ad that catches my eye, I read the profile.   The "about me" section or the "what I'm looking for" section.

But if I read "where are all the good men?" one more time, I'm going to go looney.

First, it implies that all/most men are bad.   That is not my experience.  Maybe I've been lucky or maybe I've chosen good friends, but the guys I know are good guys.   Most are really good guys.  Guys that don't cheat on their wives or girlfriends; guys that don't lie about where they've been or what they've done; guys that walk a pretty darn good walk.  "Where are all the good men?"  Shut up.  There are good men everywhere.  Certainly there are bad men too, but don't come off as if all men are bad.

Second, it implies that you are a good woman and are clearly deserving of a good man.  We just don't measure up to your elevated standards.  You, the epitome of class, grace and decorum.  Us, simpletons who lie, cheat, and lack character.    Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I would hope that before popping off about "where are all the good men", you take a look in the mirror and ask yourself what you are deserving of.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I met you the day after I moved to San Clemente.   It seems like such a short time ago, but it has now been over 11 years.  Do you remember?  It was at the Staples on Avenida Pico and the minute I laid eyes on you I knew I wanted you.   Gosh you were beautiful back then.  Fresh, bold, exciting.

We left the store together and I cannot remember a moment in the past 11 years that you haven't been with me.  You were with me every single school day, waiting patiently at my desk, watching me teach. You were with me every time I had to do some tutoring or test prep outside of school hours.  You never complained.  Not even that time that I spilled a steaming hot coffee all over you.  You were a rock.

Remember our trips?  Vancouver was nice.  Las Vegas was very nice.  But my favorite trip was our road trip to Tucson.  We had a great time and never once did you violate the code; What happens in Tucson Stays in Tucson.

I remember that night I brought that weird woman home.  Remember her?  Pretty as heck but I'm not sure she was playing with a full deck.  You never batted an eye.  You didn't look at me differently afterwards and you allowed me to make my own decisions without any guilt from you.  You were always so accommodating of me spending time with others.  

For 11 years I have trusted you and you have never let me down.  On our hikes you always held up better than me and even if I asked you to carry the bulk of our load, you never balked.

I have used you and abused you and for that I am sorry.  Because of that, I must cut you loose today.  I have gone back to Staples and met another.  She's amazing.

All my best old backpack.  Godspeed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Camryn Manheim

Dear Camryn,

I was watching the coverage of the George Zimmerman trial and during a break or commercial I caught an interview with you about a show you are either currently doing or currently preparing to do.   First, you look great.  I was a HUGE fan of The Practice and when I saw you today.....well, you looked great.  

But when you said, and I apologize I don't have the exact quote, "Men are just larger boys.  It's easier to do it alone" I was really disappointed.  You have to know better.  

I'm a 20th year high school math teacher in Southern California.   I've seen a lot of teenagers and I've worked with a lot of parents.  I've seen the effects of great parenting and the costs of poor parenting.  While I don't have children, I still believe that my work has given me the right to share with you my experiences.  

Children need balance.

The balance between a mother teaching a son to read, cook, treat others, etc. and fathers teaching their son how to swing a hammer and start a fire and change a tire.  I'm not saying women can't.   But some women can't.  As the son of a general contractor, it turns out there is a right way to swing a hammer.  Through some experiences, men learn things women don't.   And of course, vice versa.

The balance between a mother buying too many v-neck pastel tee shirts for her son and a father bringing home a black Raiders hoodie.

The balance needed when the child needs to be punished.  I'm not talking about belts and beatings, but on a personal note, I didn't do a lot wrong growing up because I had a good healthy fear of my father.  He didn't stand for a bunch of nonsense.   He also raised 3 kids, 2 with Master's degrees and the other a medical doctor.  He was tough and at times brought us down.   Mom picked us up.  I am so blessed to have had that structure and balance.

My dad taught me to fish and shoot a gun.  To this day we both share a love of cars and knives.   My mom taught me about manners, character, relationships and love.   To this day she is my hero.

I've seen too many boys growing up without fathers that don't have balance.   Growing up, boys have questions about things they don't want to ask their mom about.  

I could go on and on but I'll leave it at this.  The way you dismissed a boy's need for a male influence is disappointing.  Your bold and arrogant attitude will ultimately lead to your son lacking something.  I pray that he lives a blessed and wonderful life but I fear your arrogance will prevent that.

Jake Schwartzberg

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


It's my own fault for reading.

Lately, I'm really disappointed in Facebook.  Not the program (app).   Not that at all.   Thank you Facebook makers for providing me with a location on the Internet that allows my friends, former friends, ex-wives, and former students a way to stay in contact with me.  In all seriousness, Facebook has been a plus for me.  I've been invited to weddings, anniversaries, funerals, memorials, reunions, and  all number of events because formers can find me.   Because of  all the moving around I've done,  6 high schools in 6 cities, I've lost touch with former friends and students.   I'm very happy people can find me.   Turns out, I like being found.

The mistake I'm making is reading all the absolute garbage and nonsense my "friends" are posting.  Some is great.  But allow me to rant at the following,

Are we STILL TAKING PHOTOS OF OUR FOOD!!!!!!!??????   Really?  We haven't gotten the memo that no one really wants to see the cute drizzle of carmel atop your 1000 calorie, whipped creme covered Mocha Frappa-Cappa Latte?   Let me be clear.  Stop.  Stop now.  Stop cold turkey.  You can do this.  Resist the need to take a photo of your food and drink.   Know this,  even your friends "liking" the photo are laughing at you.  

Are we STILL TAKING ALL OF OUR PHOTOS WITH OUR TONGUE OUT?   It was funny for a while.  I liked seeing silly pictures.   Even took my share.  Enough.  Especially from my more adult friends.  Stop doing everything the idiot kids are doing.  Looks a bit needy when adults follow the lead of the kids.

Thank you for posting photos of your weddings, vacations, birthdays, etc.   I mean that.   LOVE seeing happy.  But, stop posting photos from random parties.    It's time to be a bit more discreet and savvy.  Employers are looking at FB pages.  Seeing every other photo of you with a drink in your hand is a bit off-putting.  And, anyone of my friends stupid enough to be photographed with a bong, pipe, joint, apple, hookah etc....ANYWHERE in the photo... I'm immediately de-friending you.   In addition to questionable decision making, you are too dumb to be my friend.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Handicap Parking Pass

I just about got my ass kicked today by a guy twice my size.

I drive into the parking lot of Kmart (shut up) and begin the process of getting out of my car.  I have to put the convertible top up, put my backpack (with some very nice pencils, pens and graphing calculators) in the trunk, and make the change from prescrip sunglasses to prescrip seeing glasses.  I'm early in the process when a gorgeous, black, new, expensive, BMW parks across and two spots away from me.  Handicap spot.  Hanging from the rearview mirror is his handicap parking pass.

About 35 years old, he parks, gets out of his car, beeps the beep, and literally jogs across the parking lot to the front door of the store.  Handicap parking pass.  My blood starts to boil.

Amazingly, the two of us find ourselves leaving the store and heading towards our cars at the same time.   My big mouth starts and argument that I think went something like this;

Me:  Nice handicap parking pass
BMW: What?
Me:  I see you have a handicap parking pass.  Nice.
BMW: What do you care?
Me:  My parents are 88 and 82.  Dad is on oxygen and he can walk about 30 steps before needing to rest.  We really need his handicap parking pass so we can get him out more.  Never any spots though.
BMW: So?
Me:  So?  That's your response?  So?  You take a handicap spot, jog into the store CLEARLY not handicapped, and you don't care that your taking the spot from someone legit?
BMW:  My mom is handicapped asshole.  I didn't steal the pass. She needs it too.
Me:  Look you ass-hat, quit using the pass without your mom in the car.  There are 20 other spots here (Kmart) and you use the handicap spot?  Classy.
BMW:  F#!k off bi%@h.  Mind your own f#!king business.  Get out of my way.
Me:  First class language too.  Classy to the end.
BMW:  Keep talking bi%@h.  I'll f#!king kick your ass.

He was about 6' 2"  210 lbs.  I'm pretty big too.  5' 6 3/4"  150 lbs.

I got into my car and left.

Monday, May 27, 2013

D. Chair

My principal informed me yesterday that I would be the new department chairman for the mathematics team at Dana Hills High School.

I was the department chair for 2 years at a previous school and learned an important lesson at that time.  It is impossible to make everyone happy.  Back in the day, the department chair had a variety of duties but none was more important, more visible, more contentious than doing the mathematics department schedule.  It wasn't hard to decide when to offer a class or how many sections of each class would be needed, but making the final decision of who would teach what was never easy.  There would always be teachers not thrilled with their schedule.

There are a bunch of other important things the d. chair does here at Dana; work with the district office to inform staff of changes, work with the leadership team at the school to propose changes, order and maintain supplies, etc.  But again, who will teach what is a big part of the gig.

The first time I had the gig, instead of fully pissing off a couple teachers, I think I kinda pissed off all the teachers.  I was audacious enough to ask the guy teaching 5 AP level classes to teach 4 AP's and one lower level class.  I was so bold as to schedule a teacher to teach 2 sections of Geometry instead of 2 sections of Honors Geometry.  I thought that it was important to reward a hard working teacher who had taught nothing but low level classes for 5 years with a schedule that included some higher level classes.  Oh the humanity!!!

At Dana, I never wanted the job.  When I got here 10 years ago, Jim Ferguson was the chair.  Heck of a guy, heck of a teacher, heck of a d. chair.  Jim retired a year after I started and Nancy Williamson took over.  Nancy has been excellent for 10 years.  Her greatest strength is her patience with us, but she is everything a chair should be; organized, motivated, honest, fair, and calm.  I have come to look up to Nancy as a mathematician, a teacher, and a woman of good character.

Every year teachers are asked if anyone wants to interview for the job.  Every year when we are asked if we want the job,  we all say no as we ask Nancy to stay with the job.

Now, after 10 years, she's done.  I was nominated by my team, interviewed by my boss, and named d. chair yesterday.

I'm proud, excited, and scared.  I'm proud that my colleagues and principal believe I'm the guy for the job.  I'm excited to have a seat at the "leadership" table with all the other d. chairs.  I'm scared I'm not the guy Jim was and not the chair Nancy was.  Big shoes to fill.

I'm also more ready for this position than I've ever been.  Here's to fresh starts and new beginnings.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Less is more

The older I get, the more successful people I meet.  Every stinking one of them is a self made man or woman.  I have yet to meet anyone of wealth and success that simply inherited their fortune.  I know they exist, I just haven't encountered any.  Every successful person I know is a self made man or woman.

I tutored a girl whose parents were a mess (drugs, alcohol) and was being raised by her grandfather.  He lives in 7000 square feet RIGHT on the water in Dana Point, CA.  He's an entertainment lawyer who grew up the son of a janitor.  He put himself through school and law school and became the man that he is.  I have friends that are doctors, business men, teachers, firefighters and a bunch of other professions and as I get to know them better, I am overcome with the belief that parents should give their kids almost nothing. 

My great take-away from knowing these men and women who became successful is that they became successful because they overcame adversity.  I think they may NOT have achieved what they have achieved if someone had given them help.  It's risky, but parents should not give their kids anything.

I know that I live in an affluent community in Southern California but the way parents are handing their kids everything is a disaster.  I have students who have had new cellphones every few months.  They break them, lose them, want the latest technology or whatever.  Whatever they want they seem to have. I have students whose first car is a new BMW.  Are you kidding me?  What does the kid have to look forward to?  They treat "their" belongings poorly because they never worked to get them.

My first car was a 1969 VW Bug.  This was way before it was cool to have a 1969 VW Bug.  This was 1979 and I had worked pretty hard to save the money to buy it.  Can't remember the price but I bet I worked for 18 months saving money.  I had a newspaper route in a giant apartment complex and I delivered the morning paper every day.  I also worked 20 hrs a week after school at McDonald's.

I had crappy cars all my life.   As I think back my  78 Chevy Impala, 82 Honda Civic, 84 F150 Truck,  were all used when I got them.  I remember buying my first brand new car.   I was 42.  Now I have a great car.  2008 Honda S2000.  EVERY DAY when i get into "the rocket", I smile a bit.  I'm proud of where I've come given where I've been.

When we give, we take something away from people.  We take away a pretty important life lesson.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Change? Nah.

I keep reading how teachers are incorporating new technology into their classrooms to help engage their students.  I-Pads , I-Phones, I-Whatever....

I fundamentally disagree with this approach.

Kids like cartoons.  Should we only show them cartoons the rest of their lives?   Some people would say yes if that is how the person would pay attention best.  But we limit the person by being so one dimensional.

Exactly the opposite is true.  People need to learn how to learn in any environment.  By playing to the child's current environment, we don't help...we hurt.  We need to be saying "this is how you are going to be delivered material, find a way to be successful".  Why?  Life is why.  The job you ultimately get may not give you the information you need to be successful in "a way that engages you".  (that was supposed to drip with sarcasm)

Here's how I use technology to help students learn in the way that they best learn.   I use a colored piece of chalk. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Coffee Mug

One of my students gave me a coffee mug as a Hanukkah gift.  It's one of those message/motivational/funny/picture of a puppy mugs that I hate.  This one says, "Be the change you want to see in the world".... Ghandi.   Whatever.

Then I hear Michael Jackson singing about the same thing.  "If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and change."

I'm getting soft but all of a sudden I can't stop thinking about this concept.  It's me that needs to change.  I need to be the change I want to see.  I need to make this world a better place.

I have to stop bitching about things and do something about them

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Dear UCLA,

Once again you blew it.  Nah, not on the football field or basketball court.  You blew it when you denied admission to one of the finest young students I've ever had the pleasure to teach.

You see, she's really smart, extremely hard-working, kind, sweet, and a young woman of good character.  I get why you wouldn't want her at your school.

As a freshman in high school, she was already two years ahead of her classmates mathematically.  All she did in high school was handle Accelerated Algebra 2 with Trigonometry, Honors Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC.  It's getting clearer and clearer to me why she couldn't possibly be a Bruin. 

Outside the mathematics classroom, she took 7 other AP classes.  Too few?  Sorry, she was trying to balance her 4 year varsity tennis schedule with her hours of volunteer work in the community. 

I get it.  You are already on record stating you don't want California kids in their own state university.  You want out-of-state kids so you can get the more than double out-of-state tuition.  You want international kids so that you can charge them more too.  Why would you possibly want a young woman who has grown up dreaming of wearing the blue and gold?   Why would you possibly want a young woman who is classy, well-spoken, mature, funny and composed when you could bring in a kid from Egypt or Saudi Arabia or some other country.

4.5 GPA, ridiculously high SAT scores, hours of volunteerism and community service, and a person of great character.  DENIED!!!

Strike one.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Judge Judy II

I have a confession to make.  I record, and watch Judge Judy.  

I like her no-nonsense approach.  I like her direct and loud style.  I like that she isn’t politically correct and doesn’t care about “feelings” as she doles out her brand of justice.  But what I like most; what keeps me coming back, is her disgust with people who sit at home and receiving welfare in one form or another.  I’m sure it’s just the network hand picking people that will make an entertaining show, but it seems that almost EVERYONE who shows up is getting food stamps and welfare and early social security from the government.  Er… I mean from me.  

I believe in charity and I believe in helping those less fortunate than I have been.  But I’d like to do it on my own terms.  I don’t want to support the guy who has been receiving $1400.00 a month for 4 years because of a “back injury” he suffered at work.   I’d be ok with it if he wasn’t spending 2 weekends a month on his boat or Jet Ski.  I rather buy the books that my less advantaged high school grads need for college.  

I don’t want to support the 22 year old woman with 3 kids from 2 different husbands, neither of whom pay child support.  I’d rather support the 22 year old kid living on ramen and making good decisions trying to work her way through college. 

I don’t want to support the 45 year old guy who gets a check for caring for his pretty healthy 70 year old mother.  Isn’t that what family does?   We now pay people to care for their parents when they get old?  I mean I now pay for it?  I’d rather donate to the church as they fundraise to send kids to Nigeria to provide aid to kids in need.  

I don’t want to support perfectly healthy America as they game the system.  I’m all for taxes that pay for education, police, fire, national defense, etc.   Buy my disgust is growing over the increasing number of people who just walk to the mailbox to get paid.