Saturday, November 17, 2007

teacher, author, and a whole bunch of nonsense...

I went to Dan Brown's reading of The Great Expectations School last night at the UFT. It was a disappointment in many ways. Strangely, what ruined the evening was Randi. Late, as usual, she appeared just as Mr. Brown was beginning to take questions. She quite literally hogged the microphone, going on and on about UFT developments and not Mr. Brown's book. I actually felt bad for the man. He just kind of stood there.

What I find so annoying lately about Randi is her continued use of describing standardized tests ( in this case the NAEP and NYS exams) as "not reliable" or "unreliable." Evidently, she doesn't understand the distinction between testing validity and reliability. I may be splitting hairs here, but she keeps faltering with her word choice both in person and in her statements to the press.

On an unrelated note, I received an e-mail this morning from one of my students (yes, through my BOE address) to inform me that he had copied my homework from a friend. He felt badly about it, he wrote, and couldn't sleep last night. He went on to say that he knew there would be consequences and wanted to know what they might be.

My reply:

Tommy (not his real name),

Thank you for telling me. That took a lot of courage.

We all make poor decisions at times. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes. And I think you have. Please write a new essay this weekend. I will accept it without any penalty or demerits.

Sleep well this evening,
Mr. Benjamin

For some reason, his e-mail made my day.


ms. v. said...

aren't those moments great? on Friday one of my girls who has a pretty nasty attitude at times came up to me at lunch to apologize for her latest episode of muttering under her breath. she took me aside and said that she wanted to get along with her teachers and that she knew what she'd done was uncalled for. damn. what an unexpectedly wonderful thing for a kid to say.

J said...

hey, i was at that UFT event too, and i felt EXACTLY the same way!!

also, wow, i'm so impressed not just with the kid, but you too--you have obviously impacted him in a wonderfully positive way.