About Me

My photo
San Clemente, CA, United States

Friday, November 20, 2015


I had an important talk with my principal today.  I've been trying to see him.  Invited him out for a beer even, but noooooo, he had a "family to raise".  Like that should take precedence?????  

I've been carrying the weight of my department on my shoulders.  Every "disappointment", I wear.  Everything.  If our percentage of failures in Algebra 1 edges up, it feel it eflects upon me, even though I don't teach Algebra 1.  If a long-term sub isn't performing like Jaime Escalante it eats at my soul and I truly feel responsible.  I feel like any data we collect is a measure of me.  Intellectually I know how absurd and egotistical I am.  Still....

Since becoming my department's Chair, I've been WAY overestimating my importance.  Today I had a chance to talk with my principal and he helped.  

He helped because he sees good.  He can walk into a class and see a boring lecture and find the two engaged kids.  He reminded me that for every disgruntled parent, there are 2600 others that are thankful for what we do.  I think he sees good because he is good.  My principal inspires me to see the good not just the "disappointing".

I've never been that guy.  I'm the guy screaming because you are too lazy to use a turn signal.  USE THE TURN SIGNAL IDIOT!!  I'm the guy that gets angry when you bring your dog into the store.  I'm the guy that forgets a student volunteers at the Library when I bark at her for being late to class.  I'm the guy that sees the bad.  I think that makes me bad.  I'm tired of being bad.  I want to be good.  I want to see good.  

My department is stuffed with good.  And if I am in ANY way judged based upon their performance then I am stuffed with good.  I am reminded that the best thing I can do as the department Chair, is  be a great high school math teacher.  If I inspire them with my effort, then all the better.  I can't and won't wear every detail.  I can't be that egotistical.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


It must have been about 1972 when the women of America revolted.   Ok, maybe it wasn't a full-on revolution, and maybe it didn't even branch outside of a single neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona, but the women revolted.  

It seems that for years, the price of a head of lettuce was about 25 cents.  All of a sudden, the price "skyrocketed" to about 50 cents a head and the women of Tucson would have none of that.  They didn't picket the store.  They didn't call for the resignation of the CEO.  They didn't stage sit-ins and they didn't try to Occupy Tucson.  They just stopped buying lettuce.

It seems, if my mom's memory is correct, that even without a concerted combined organized and well timed effort, all the women simply stopped buying lettuce.

As my mom remembers it, it took about 2 weeks for the price of a head of lettuce to return to 25 cents.

I guess I just don't understand choosing to go to a college where the racial makeup of the student body and the faulty is well known, disclosed, and reported, then protest about the lack of racial diversity.  I don't understand.  Don't buy the lettuce.

I don't understand why when a store sells an objectionable item, there are protests and rallies.  Don't buy the lettuce.  Shop elsewhere.

I could go on and on.  I guess I believe in the power of the pocketbook.  I guess I believe in voting with my feet.  Maybe more of us should stop with the protests and simply stop buying the lettuce.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Sometimes I forget.  i forget meetings.  I forget to call or text people back.  I forget all kinds of stuff.  I've been that way most of my life, and frankly, it hasn't hurt me too much.  People think I'm lying when I say I forgot, but I'm not.  Anyway, can't really control or care about what others think.  I forget stuff.  Whatever.

But I'm disappointed in myself because until about...now....I'd forgotten something important.  I'd forgotten that at one time I viewed my job with the phrase, "And I thy humble servant."  I saw myself serving the students not scolding the students.  I found good instead of only seeing bad.  Today I pledge to remember that to teach is to serve.  I will remember the valor of humility.  I may take a few steps back at times, but today I get better.  Today I remind myself that there is so much more good in my students than bad.  I remind myself that love beats hate and calm beats frantic.  I remind myself how good I was when my attitude wasn't so bad.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I've written some pretty tough material recently about some of my former colleagues.  I'd like to now reflect on some of my current ones.

I work with a great team.  As a whole, we mostly like one another.  On average, between 10 and12 of our 16 each lunch together every day.  We are smart and we are professional.   Individually, our parts shine even brighter than our whole.

We have experienced teachers who simply "bring it" every day.  We have young teachers who keep preparing themselves for more and more.  We have comedic characters and we have more rigid and firm.  We have rigor and we have reason.  Individually, our staff stands up pretty well against every other staff I've been on.

As I was reminded in the comments, "those who live in glass houses..." and this is painfully true.  I am low on the list of people who have earned the right to pop-off about others.  I'm far from the teacher I aspire to be and maybe, "physician, heal thyself" fits good here.  Maybe ranting about teacher flaws inspires me to overcome mine.

Whatever my demons, I want to apologize to all my colleagues for many of my posts.  I don't want to be measured based upon my 10 worst minutes and neither should you be judged.  I have forgotten how very good my fellow teachers are.  In every department, we have superstars.  I'm lucky to be surrounded by teachers whom I like, respect, and admire.