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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Art of Education

When a teacher faces a new class at the beginning of the school year, he (she) sees 25 bodies belonging to girls and boys. Some are thin, some fat, others are tall, or short, but the main information, the one the teacher really needs, is hidden from sight. A good instructor will make sure he finds out what’s going on before the first month is over. Learning each name is essential, of course, to set up a good relationship with the youngsters; but more important is getting to know as much as possible about their life experiences at this stage of their existence.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I will be moving to

in the next few weeks; it will give me more flexibility to make my blog what I really want: a professional site.

Meanwhile I will continue to post the same piece on both blogs. Thank you to my readers for their patience.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bad Teacher, Good Teacher, Great Teacher

Nobody has ever measured the harm done on children who have a bad, really bad, teacher. The younger the child, the more the harm, and parents are usually unaware of the enormous stress placed upon their son or daughter. A bad teacher is much like a bad priest or its equivalent, a preacher or minister, except that the first sees and interacts with this child five days a week. Just imagine being subject to scorn and ridicule for a whole school year; the other students, who miss nothing, quickly notice that their classmate is being harassed by their teacher. Whose side do they take? Of course, the guy or the lady who gives them grades, the adult in the room who can cause havoc at home with one phone call.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Forgotten Ones

Capitalism rewards the smart, the savvy, the lucky, the great athlete, the hard-working entrepreneur, the astute financier, the hypocritical politician, and rewards very well, in the millions of dollars. But aren't we forgetting the rest of the people, the ones at the bottom of the pile, the almost untouchable ones, those who have no special skills, those who'll never have a pension plan, those who sometimes seek refuge in the bottle, or in drugs?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Re-Thinking Our Country

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance (Thomas Jefferson)

He surely was thinking of the OWS movement, a resistance to the present cozy alliance between politicians and bankers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life on the Border

He went to Matamoros to resupply his medications, which are much cheaper in Mexico. As he was leaving the pharmacy, a burly man brandishing a gun told him to turn over everything, including his truck. This is a common story that illustrates two important social factors 1) Joblessness is Mexico is much higher than what the government claims and 2) Local police forces are totally corrupt and/or incompetent. My friend did not bother calling the cops as he knew that his assailant was most likely one of them. Carjacking takes place in broad daylight as testified by this young American tourist who was simply waiting in line to cross the bridge; a pair of ruffians just told her to get out of her Camry or suffer the consequences.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hegemony or Survival

The title of this piece comes straight from the famous book by Noam Chomsky on America's role in this new century, in which he analyzes with relentless logic our "imperial" foreign policy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Challenge of Becoming an Adult

Every new high school student must focus, from the very start, on the transition to the "real" world. Parents play a vital role in this quest for self-sufficiency as a young adult. As a teacher of academically challenged teens, I have the great responsibility, established and supervised by the State, of making sure my students are placed in the right career path. I need the constant cooperation of the mother, a times the father is able to participate, in order to give these young people a chance to survive the challenges of getting a job, founding a family, and setting goals for constant self-improvement.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The (Contorted) Language of Politicians

Promises, promises, promises. Once elected, the campaigner forgets all about his glorious promises because he knows that one politician does not have the power to change the business-as-usual atmosphere in Congress or in the White House, not even the President can transform money grabbers into dedicated defenders or the people. Yet we believe them enough to vote for them; why? Because we have no choice, literally no choice. The ballots have their names; not the names we would like to see, but the names of those who won primaries and caucuses, of those who had a lot of MONEY.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dangers for Children On The Web

One cannot open a website without learning something (Analogy from opening a book)

Millions upon millions  of websites, touching every human topic under the sun. Who could have ever imagined this day would come, the Google day, and all the other search engines. If you are, like me, over the age of 50, you surely remember your parents' warnings about books and magazines during the 1960's, 1970', and 1980's. "I don't want to catch you with dirty magazines," said Mom, and naturally we immediately investigated the matter with our peers at school. There was always some kid with a copy of Playboy, Penthouse, or such girlie magazine. Pre-teens and teens would find ingenious ways to avoid mother's wrath or father's interest, but if they were discovered they swore that the fault lay with some rich schoolmate who could afford the $4 or $5 to buy that "trash." Dad would often confiscate the graphic evidence under the guise of avoiding the corruption of young minds.