Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 29th, 2012 - In a Funk; Education Smeducation; Blog Updates

Good morning and Happy Sunday! It’s been nothing but writing for me all morning so far and after this entry I definitely need to take a break. It is a gorgeous day outside, not at all like January, with sunny skies and warm temperatures. It kind of feels like early spring rather than winter and I plan on getting out there at least for a bit…

In a Funk

I really have no idea what’s the matter with me lately, but I am definitely in a funk! Over the past several weeks I’ve kind of been walking around in a daze, not really feeling like doing anything, and I don’t know why. For at least the third or fourth time in the last few weeks, I stayed home on Saturday night, but this time it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Having not gone to the city for two weeks because of the Outlook Awards dinner last Saturday, I had been planning all week on going last night. I got a call from my pal Ivan that he and his friends were going to a new club opening in Hell’s Kitchen and he wanted me to join them. The club is called XL and Kristine W was performing there for the opening.

Though the offer was very tempting, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to deal with the huge crowds of people that I would expect to see at a grand opening like that, but I was planning on going into either Splash or the Ritz, nonetheless. I spent part of the day preparing for the night, gassing up, getting money and I even took a nap, but when it came time to go, I don’t know, I just didn’t. I had even showered and dressed, got in the car and left, but I found myself turning around and coming home not even a mile away from my house. At first I attributed it to a late start, but I’m just not sure…

Lately I’ve been spending too much time in isolation and I know it’s not good for me. I need to get out there and do a little more interacting with people, but I can’t seem to get myself going. I guess I just need to try harder and hopefully that funk will go away soon.

Education Smeducation

Oh, there are so many things I want to say about the state of education in this country and the State of New York, but I don’t have nearly enough time to get it all out there. There’s one thing I can say for sure, and that’s that education is a total mess! In the field of education, as in any other field of work, it seems that the people in charge are so far removed from the front lines that they are clueless when it comes to how the decisions they make affect the people at the root of their domain. In this case I’m talking about the kids.

This past week was Regents week in New York. For those of you who don’t know what that is, the Regents are a series of examinations that students must pass to graduate from high school in New York State. Students must pass five Regents examinations (English, Math, Global Studies, US History and either Biology or Earth Science) to earn their diplomas, which, since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, has made more kids take five years and not the expected four to graduate from high school and many more have dropped out. (Talk about leaving children behind!)

Usually the students who take them in January are taking them because they failed the exams in June and/or August, when they’re offered again. This year, I was tasked with tutoring a special education student to prepare him for the Global Studies exam. Even though I am not a social studies teacher, I feel comfortable enough with the subject matter to have helped him pass the test.

For the past three months, he and I have worked together long hours preparing for the exam and on Friday he took the Global Studies Regents. As I administered the test, I started to burn with anger at seemingly every question. Now I can say with pride that this student, who had failed the exam several times in the past, learned a lot from his time with me. He knows a lot more about global history than he ever did before, especially finding interest in World War II, the Cold War and the Cuban Revolution, oddly enough, but this test covered too broad a range for him to recall.

He answered several questions without hesitation, but unfortunately there weren’t enough that he knew for certain. In fact, there were many questions I couldn’t have even answered. Questions about such obscure and specific historical subjects like the rule of Suleimann the Magnificent, Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Tokugawa shogunate are simply out of the realm of what this particular kid is able to store in his learning disabled brain, and his dejection during the exam was plainly evident on his face. Both he and I knew that for most of the questions, it was simply a crapshoot as to guessing the correct answer.

I wish that the folks at the Board of Regents of the State of New York could have been there to witness this travesty. Maybe then they might rethink the current thoughts on rigorous standards for everybody and see that not all learners are the same.

A wedding chuppah designed by Stewart Wellington, lol


Beginning yesterday, I started to work on my other blogs, “john’s food and recipe blog” and “The Misadventures of Johnny Driver.” With the former I simply added my newest published recipe, “Tacosagne,” to the blog and changed a little of its appearance, and for Johnny Driver I started the long, arduous task of rewriting the entire series. I am hoping to add to the Johnny Driver series, which I think has potential if I say so myself, and I feel the need to revisit what’s been done already to make it better and more readable, especially since I think I got better with it as time went on. Check out the reworked introduction here.

Stay tuned for more updates on those sites, which I will mention here when necessary, and feel free to check them out either below or in the sidebar.

john’s food and recipe blog

The Misadventures of Johnny Driver

Well, I think I’ve said enough here for one post. Be sure to check out Shakira in the latest Song of the Day and some news about Lady Gaga’s newest single here. In the meantime, have a great Sunday!

P.S.: Here's a photo I found on the Internet that is just soooo cute I had to share it:

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