Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rods and Cones

I used to stare in a fridge for a solid 3 minutes looking for the mustard bottle, I couldn't for the life of me find it. Mom would walk over and with super x-ray vision she would move stuff and pull out the yellow bottle. I would be astounded by her superman-esque power and ask how she did that? Her response was "Females have more developed Rods and Cones in your eyes". I thought this was bunk until I realized it's true through trial and error. Guys simply can't see the stuff females can. We look at a lazy susan full of cheerio boxes and can't find the mini wheats. A female looks at the same swinging gate and sees every freakin' item, including the absence of before mentioned cheerios. Prime example is tonight I was doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, and when I thought I was done, my wife was able to "point out" to me that in fact I missed over 8 items.

How does that happen? I was proudly sitting on the couch soaking in the good deed I just completed. I honestly thought I was done. I had cleaned up everything. Clearly I didn't, because my sense of satisfaction was not shared by my wife. She was dumbfounded at the fact that I had overlooked multiple items and I seriously couldn't answer the question "how did you miss that?" I was getting ready to drop the "Rods and Cones" thing, but the look on her face wasn't going to buy that nonsense. So instead I opted to do what any guy does when backed into a corner....fight back. I obviously had nothing to lean on substance wise, so I'm sure my argument made no sense. Maybe I'm just a handicap visionary that can't see beyond what he wants to...I don't know. Nonetheless my Rods and Cones failed me tonight, landing me on a couch cushion of failure. I'm sorry wife of mine, I'll work on those Rods and Cones, and not fighting back when backed into a corner, and just admit my inadequacy's....and blame the male eye ball. I love you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Free Agency

The whole Carmello Anthony saga has me thinking. What if every job had free agency? Here is Anthony who was drafted to the denver nuggets. I've been to denver, it's beautiful, but it doesn't scream basketball fanatics. So after his stint there of proving his worth it's time to take his talents to the big apple. What if there were Mel Kipers and Mike and Mike's that followed the best post office worker. This dude trudges thru the snow, sleet, and howling winds. He never misses his mark and people like the way he waves as he closes your mailbox now full of potential surprises. He's happy working in Central Ohio, but he's been eyeing the sunny coast of San Diego where carrying mail is the big leagues. After a couple years, Postal Pete (that's his nickname) lets Central Ohio know they have the option of resigning him or trading him away for a young scrappy newbie, a little too wet behind the ears. Central Ohio Post Office gets on the horn and starts wheeling and dealing for PP's services...San Diego doesn't want to lose their rookie too early so they wait it out, knowing that Postal Peter is sunshine bound. This goes round and round till Ontario Canada gets in the mix because of the increase flow of fan mail for the Bieb's, and starts offering up all kinds of Canada swag for PP.

I realize you can leave your job whenever you want and try to better your situation, but what if this is how all professions worked? Could you imagine the garage parties people would throw to watch the 2011 U.S. Postal Draft. Think about it, your local neighborhood drafting a hard working middle age mom.....or taking the risk on the 22 year old young gun who puts his own flair on the customary uniform, pumping his chest after a perfectly placed piece of parcel in your m-box? I would tune in, especially to see if my town got stuck with this guy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Performance Pay

This is going to start a riot.

The other day at lunch four young(ish) men were sitting in my room eating another well prepared school lunch. The typical lunch bunch conversation is centered around the sports from the evening before or how we all want to go camping and make flat iron steaks under the moon. This day was a little different. Our Tom Hanks look a like brought up the spark plug topic among teachers, "Performance Pay". Say those words and you'll get a distinct reaction from the typical teacher. For those that do not know what that means, basically, a teacher is paid upon their students performance. Now, I've been down this road of discussion many a time with teachers and (as they view it) the real world workers. I'm here to tell you that I see both sides of the argument for exactly what they're worth, and agree with both. I'm the definition of a fence sitter on this topic. Let me explain why.

For Performance Pay. There isn't any reason why a teacher that has been teaching 30+ plus years should make twice as much as the first year teacher, based solely on their experience. It's ludicrous to think that first year teacher could be teaching like their hairs on fire and really impacting kids on a daily basis while the veteran is riding out the final years of their contract to earn a few extra percents on their retirement. Where is the incentive? Besides being a good person and wanting to impact kids, where is the incentive for that first year teacher to really work that much harder? That teacher could do the minimum just so they don't get fired or teach like a possessed encyclopedia with personality and earn the same amount of money. Performance pay is designed to reward those teachers that go the extra mile and get results. Performance pay could potentially provide bonuses for a student achieving higher than they should on a standardized test. Perhaps you help that student grow more than they were supposed to that year and earn a higher salary.

Against Performance Pay. Most parents don't trust their kids to stay at home by themselves or make the correct decision when it comes to drugs, alcohol, or sex....so why do I want that same kid determining my salary? Do I really trust that the kid will do the extra work it takes at home on their own? Or will they spend the half hour to hour on facebook or xbox? I have 50 minutes a day for a 186 days to ensure my salary is livable. It's a miserable situation when a student comes to school and hasn't showered for three days or is being beat at home. As a teacher you do what you can to make those 50 minutes the best escape from their awful reality that is their home. That isn't tested on a standardized test. You don't get a growth report on that student who has to wake themselves up each day, skip breakfast because they don't have the option to eat, and come to school after a night of sleeping in a house without heat because his mom can't afford it. Then hope that same student can pass that test so you get paid, because after all, a multiple choice test on life science is exactly what their focused on.

I see both sides, I could argue for both until I turn blue. I wish they could find a compromise because too often teachers get bashed by the real world workers, and too often teachers complain about pay. Maybe performance pay should be based on a number of performances or so on....I don't know. Add your thoughts.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


My buddy Scott and I were talking about mediocrity the other day in regards to kids and parents these days. This of course is not all encompassing of all kids and parents, just the portion we were talking about. Mediocrity is the state of being mediocre, which means being of average quality. Average. Isn't that a word that has a weird mind twist meaning? It has positive connotations if you are doing poorly, or it has negative connotations if you are doing well. I can't remember ever being in a state of mind where being "average" was a place I wanted to be. Oddly enough it seems to be the common meeting ground for so many now. Is it entitlement? Is it laziness? Is it lack of ability? Is it falling short? I have a theory but it has zero weight to back it up other than my opinion. I teach American history. I teach about men and women who never even knew the definition of mediocre. Mediocre meant not defeating the British in the Revolutionary War. Mediocre meant the constitution would have fallen short of being the most powerful document in the world today. These men and women wouldn't have been a part of Scott and I's conversation. Instead we are talking about generations later of young men that lost something their ancestors had. I'm not blaming anyone, nor am I calling out a generation that is just a mere 10 years away from me. I am bringing up a bigger issue that over the years, decades, and centuries has evolved into "part" of our society today, entitlement, greed, arrogance. Look no further than our high school seniors that declare on national TV where they are attending college with hats, puppies, and gimmicks. I worry that the generation we are raising in that spotlight is just adding to the problem. I am sure when I was an 18 year old we did things to piss the older people off, as did they. How can we change it? Do we need to change it? Is it good for our future or will it continue to send us down a road of politicians that send pictures of themselves to online classified girls. Is the over the top desire to prove our worth through these stunts the work to overcome mediocrity? Does it make us more mediocre, I don't know, just like I don't know how I got so far off topic.