The Other Side of Teaching

Evelyn Uddin-Khan

Xlibris, 424 pages, (paperback) $23.99, 9781499077940

(Reviewed: April 2015)

Not long ago, teachers commanded respect from students, parents and society in general. stick-boy-and-girlToday, though, they are often punching bags for those same groups, blamed for America’s failing education system.

Evelyn Uddin-Khan knows that system and says the fault lies not with the classroom educators, but with those who are pointing fingers.

schoolroomUddin-Khan, who has a doctoral degree in comparative and international education, spent more than 20 years teaching in New York’s public school system. For 18 years, she writes, she was a well-respected and dedicated professional. But then her job changed; she was “excessed” — education-speak for being reassigned. No longer needed as an ESL teacher, Uddin-Khan was made a substitute teacher. Her three years in that position is the basis for The Other Side of Teaching.

For most of her book, Uddin-Khan details the chaos that she suffered through daily. Violent, disobedient and indifferent students and unresponsive and disconnected parents were just part of the problem.mind Worse, in her view, were school administrators and politicians, whose decisions were most often motivated by expediency or greed. She claims that administrators ordered grades inflated and problem students promoted or graduated, all in an effort to bring up schools’ test scores.

No Child Left Behind legislation, she maintains, merely moves these poorly-educated students to the next level, making them somebody else’s problem.

booksTo her credit, Uddin-Khan does offer some specific remedies, from getting cops out of the classrooms to separating politics from education to investing money in schools.

Overall, this is a narrative that will certainly give readers a different view of education.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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Teachers – older and experienced – wholiterature graduated in the 60s, 70s and perhaps the 80s, had the knowledge and ability to have a conversation and discuss history, science, literature, philosophy and almost any academic subject, plus world affairs and politics.

They can also walk into a classroom and teach and dispense that knowledge as easily as they can discuss it.mathematics In the teachers’ room, in the teachers’ cafeteria, it is a joy to “run into” one of these educated teachers and have an enjoyable, informative forty minutes of enlightenment.

Teachers – young and ambitious, inexperienced and poorly educated – who graduated in the 90s and after and who are now returning as teachers do not have that solid academic foundation that used to be the norm for high school and college graduates.

Most high school graduates in the past twenty-five years have “suffered” through a watered down deskscurriculum, know very little about literature, science, history, can hardly write a paper or do math and certainly know very little about world affairs.

These ignorant high school and college graduates are now returning as high school teachers. They also want to be administrators and quickly get an AP license.

To prepare lessons, they quickly download what ever they can find on the internet.

helpConversation with three young teachers revealed the following: (1) One teacher had a student in her class from Kosovo. She did not know where Kosovo was. (2) One second year English teacher had to teach Hamlet, but complained that she had no idea what to do with poor Hamlet. (3) One teacher was told to teach a book, but did not know which book to choose because she had not read any of the books on the list.

One last thing: We are importing teachers. Can you imagine booksimporting a Spanish teacher? The administrators liked him so much he made AP within five years.

Between teacher evaluation, cheap labour, and teachers who are unqualified (lack of knowledge in the subject area) education in New York and the US as a whole will get much worse.

These are tales from the school building recorded by an experienced teacher.

 

 

 

The fact is that the Pilgrims and the Natives were starving and got together to share food and give ttronslien-8953thanks after a particularly difficult year of food shortage and living conditions. Except the fact is the Pilgrims and Puritans were savage killers who were killing the Natives.

The fact is that President Lincoln declared a day to give thanks at the end of the Civil War. Except, this fact is not recorded in history.

END OF TWO FACTS!

In the evolution of this American Holy-day how these myths got started is anyone’s guess.IMG_7839

Over time – hundreds of years – Thanksgiving became a true American Holy-day. Families of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds celebrate and give thanks for their blessings. Immigrant families languagemore so, because they were the new Settlers (without the savage killer instincts) and had a lot to be grateful for.

In the last 50 years, and especially in the last 20 years, Thanksgiving has evolved into a day with very little meaning. Like all American Holy-days, Thanksgiving has evolved into a great sale day, with black Friday as the deity of cheap worship.

President Day sale – who cares which president, etc.

Easter sale – the holiest days in the Christian calendar.

Memorial Day sale – who remembers and honour the war dead?

Independence Day sale – Labour Day sale – Veterans Day sale.

Christmas sale – absolutely no religious significance.

New Years sale – the sales to end all sales!

So here we are. Sale before and after sale every holy day. None of these holy-days has any meaning but that capitalism is healthy, alive and producing profits.DSC_5394

And on every one of these holy days the TV has a constant feed of ball games. Families – those at home and not shopping – eat in front of the TV or eat between games.

A family sitting around the dining table is more than eating. It is talking, sharing family news, mourning, celebrating, laughing, holding hands, praying, thanking, and so much more.

American life has evolved into mid-night sales and door busters as the main events to celebrate.church

Perhaps it is just as well that Thanksgiving has no meaning, after all it is a mythical holy day!

AMERICA HAS NO CULTURE, BUT CELEBRATES A LACK OF CULTURE!!!

Happy shopping!!!

 

Control the media, Control the population. What happened to the free press?ttronslien-8953 To freedom of speech? To journalists and reporters rights to report and record the crimes of politicians?

What happened to the pen is mightier than the sword? Or words are better than bullets?

Some newspapers in the US barely mentioned the Israeli invasion of Gaza or the Chelsea Manning trial. Why not?f2-DSCN2702

One that did mention the Gaza Holocaust – The NY Times – was so biased that its coverage was more propaganda than truth. The Times coverage was so nauseating that I cancelled my subscription indefinitely.

When one reads the NY Times and Newsday in the morning and must turn to BBC and Al Jazeera in the evening for the facts, the truth in Gaza and the Manning case, then it is time to cancel the subscription. Is it better for the Times to print propaganda or for Newsday to ignore the crisis in Gaza?DSC_6745

If the people of the US were given the facts about Gaza – no water, no electric, no medicine, schools and hospitals bombed, how would they react? Shouldn’t they know the truth?

Where is the outrage in the US about these atrocities? In other countries there were marches and protests. Bishop Desmond Tutu among others protested. Why not a word of protest in the US?DSC_5769

Americans are so conditioned to sit in front of the TV and laugh the night away that sometimes they are on another planet.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERASo far social media have added to their entertainment, but not to their body of knowledge. However, social media brought down many governments and caused great trouble in other parts of the world.

Our time is coming.

Twenty years from now when the Obama daughters are finished with university and settled in a mansion somewhere they may want to read papa’s White House Legacy.ttronslien-8953

Let’s look at what they might be discovering:

President Obama deported more immigrants than any other president.

President Obama jailed more journalists & reporters than all other US presidents combined.

President Obama plunged into more wars than any other modern president.H13-22 Necrosis

President Obama droned millions of women and children.

President Obama bailed out banks and increased homelessness in the US.

President Obama rewrote the First Amendment into the National Surveillance Amendment.

President Obama lost his back-bone on his way to the White House.

President Obama hated the people in the Middle East.2013-01-28_09-16-34_256

President Obama had not the courage of his conviction (if he had any).

President Obama paid lip service to global warming.

President Obama turned his back on his Kenyan family.

President Obama made America the first democratic police state.

President Obama spent more money on wars than curing the ills of the poor.

President Obama was the man of hope and peace who mutated into a vegetable.

President Obama made campaign promises which he forgot on election night.

President Obama believed in war, torture and Guantanamo.DSC02722

Twenty years from now the Obama daughters will have the critical / analytical skills to give a thoughtful, perhaps unbiased, perusal of papa’s great contributions to this nation and the world, to the banks and the poor. They will also be living in the world he messed up.

 

SAD time is here. SAD is that Seasonal Affective Disorder “condition’ that affects millions of people in the Northern Hemisphere.DSCN0782

What is SAD? The days are short and sunlight is scarce. SAD is caused by the long dark days of Autumn & Winter when there is very little sunshine, and some people can’t cope with six-hour days, some sunlight or no sunlight. mf758In winter the days are dark, gray and lead some people to suffer from this debilitating winter “depression”.

In Autumn and Winter all living creatures – including people – in the Northern Hemisphere prepare to hibernate and the long sleep from November to March begins!trivial persuit

When one looks out the window during winter the trees are sleeping, and hardly a soul is out walking or having fun. Outside everything is dead and people are hurrying inside.

When one looks out the window and it’s raining, snowing, sunny, that’s fine. It’s the gray dead days that kills the mind and brings on the “depression”.DSC02722

People in the Southern Hemisphere do not suffer from SAD. They don’t know how lucky they are.

Is there a cure for SAD? Yes, move south!

In thirty (30) years or so most of the children of the Electronic Age maybe deaf, blind and suffering memory loss. lap topAnyone thinking of becoming a doctor should consider the ears, the eyes, and the memory bank.

Our children from the cradle henceforth are given toys that destroy their hearing, their sight, and their brain. Their ears are plugged in, their eyes are glued to tiny screens, and their heads go blank.desks

Toddlers throw tantrums when their little hand-held toys are taken away. Grade school kids stay up until two or three in the morning texting, or playing games. Then they show up at school without homework and promptly fall asleep at their desks.

Parental supervision is one aspect of this crisis. The bigger problem is the future problem when one day we wake up and our children and grandchildren are suffering from hearing loss, eye sickness, and can’t recall what they ate for dinner.mind

And then there are those who complain about the obesity problems. Immobile children armed with mobile devices are heading for obesity. Not long ago they used to play outside in fresh air.

Everyday the technology companies are reporting record profits. What they are selling are deafness, blindness, memory loss and obesity. And no one seems to care!

 

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