My Blog List

Friday, January 16, 2015

Engaged Teachers & The NRA in South Carolina

I stumbled upon a couple of interesting news articles this morning, while riding the train back home.  Though short, these few minutes of silence provide with enough time to scroll through my Twitter account, catching up on the latest news.  I love Twitter!  People call it the fifth news network, or so I’ve heard.

The first article I read was from focusing on how engaged, or not engaged, teachers in the top fifteen most populous states in America are.  The State of Washington, with 35%, came in first as the state with the most engaged teachers.  At the bottom of the list for least engaged teachers was The Great State of Florida at 17%.  Gallup defines engaged teachers as those involved with, enthusiastic about and committed to their work.  (Matt Hastings and Sangeeta Agrawal at  

You can read the full article, here:

How engaged do you think your child’s teachers are? Personally, all my child’s teachers are fairly well engaged.  At least they give me the impression they are.  One in particular, my sons’ English teacher is, the most engaged of them all.  She’s Canadian, btw.  

My reasons for saying this are quite simple.  First, she’s well organized.  Any class assignments are clearly communicated to parents.  Next, I always know when her assignments are due.  No guessing games, rummaging through book bags looking for lost papers or calling/emailing other parents.  She has a website site too, which lists ALL class assignments.   And finally, she’s quick to responds to my emails, should I have any questions or concerns.   Of all the teachers my son has, he’s responded best under her guidance and leadership.    

I’m of the opinion that no matter how engaged a teacher might be in his/her job, if parents aren’t engaged as well in their child’s education (at home), kids will suffer.

And finally, I came across this bit of “Southern News” from South Carolina.  According to Mother Jones, if the National Rifle Association, commonly referred to as the NRA, have their way, three weeks of every school year will be devoted to teaching students, from 1st grade onward, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—The Right to Bear Arms.

Don’t take my word for it, read it yourself.

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Back To The Grind

Now back from our holidays in Munich and what an absolute joy that was.  Spending time with friends from the Middle East was great.  And, the city of Munich delivered on what it’s well known for during the winter, lots and lots of snow.  So much snow, in fact, it reminded me of our time in Ottawa, Canada many years ago.  Just wasn’t as cold...but cold enough to make me yearn for warmer weather in five to six months time.

Germany’s biggest southern city has so much to offer its visitors.  In just four days, we took a tour of Bayern Munich Football stadium, traveled to a small village north of Munich (via train), visited The Deutsche Museum, saw Schloss Nymphenburg  and even tried several times to seat ourselves at the Hofbreauhaus but failed.  To find a seat here is like playing the lottery. We ended up feasting at the Hard Rock Cafe across from it.  That too was good eating!  Have a look at the pictures below.

No sooner had we returned to the bustle and grind of our weekly school routine that, I noticed an article from a local newspaper here in Berlin, posted to the JFKS Parents Facebook page.  The article was about how careful teachers, and parents, have to be when it comes to receiving/giving Christmas gifts.  The long and short of it: because teachers are considered to be in a position of high authority, they’re forbidden by law from accepting personal gifts over €10.  The rules are in place for a reason.  That I understand.  After all, no one wants to be accused of trying to bribe one’s instructor, or their child’s teacher, right?  

Over the past few days, this topic has caught the attention of many individual parents and several of the school's associations like the Parent Council and Town Hall community.  One parent suggested this topic be put on the agenda to be discussed at the next Parent Council meeting and Town Hall.  I’m a member of both so I suspect I’m going to be inundated with varying opinions on proper gift giving etiquette.

Our homeroom teacher happily accepted our very modest gift, even thanking everyone in the New Year.   I’m of the opinion that so long as a gift is given for all the right reasons and intentions, it’s perfectly fine.  But I also understand why giving a gift could be easily viewed as trying to persuade someone, if given for all the wrong reasons.  None of the parents in our class had any hidden agenda behind giving our classroom teacher a gift for Christmas. 

Here’s the link to the article (in German).  Google translator might help you to makes sense of it all.  Well worth a read, if you have the time.

Underneath stadium right before players head out to the field.

BMW World. Beautiful car but I honestly wouldn't want one.

BMW bike....a very expensive one at that.