Posts Tagged ‘to’
It’s been a long few years since the last time I saw an Akira Kurosawa film, and I had forgotten how much I love them. Today, Sanjûrô reminded me.
Leading man Toshiro Mifune and Kurosawa were a high-quality, prolific team, and definitely one of the better combinations of actor and director in the history of film, not to mention one of my personal favorites. In my book, this coupling is eclipsed only by the Johnny Depp and Tim Burton team, and that’s mostly because I have a twisted sense of style. Great movies like that are few and far between.
It would be too easy to say that they don’t make movies like Sanjûrô anymore, and I’m not convinced that it’s altogether all that accurate, either. In an age when critics love to chastize Hollywood for cashing in on the blockbuster by churning out sequels, we forget that cheap cash-ins are nothing new. Sanjûrô is itself a sort of sequel to an earlier movie, and is, in my humble opinion, superior to Yojimbo, its antecedent.
Deep in the glory days of Hollywood — i.e., the mid-1940s — it was no accident for whole casts to get reunited for the cheap cash-in. After the surprise success of Casablanca, the studio powers that were got Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Laurie and Claude Reins back together for an astoundingly poor flick titled Passage to Marseille within a year of Casablanca’s release. Naturally, the only reason Marseille has withstood the test of time rather than fade into obscurity, like so many other B-list-quality films with A-list-quality casts, is that it’s a carbon copy of the Casablanca cast.
The film industry has just about always worshipped at the throne of the almighty dollar — and yen, and rupee — and to say that it was any different back in the glory days is to fall victim to your grandparents’ nostalgia.
I hope nobody disagrees, partly because I really want to enjoy all 152 minutes of The Dark Knight and partly because I know that few of those minutes could compare to a Kurosawa film.
Local teacher Cynthia Brickey is as mad as hell, and she’s not going to take it anymore. If the taxpayers are going to blame her and other teachers for the performance of all of her students, she wants to know what she should do with her desk warmers.
I’ve pep-talked, pleaded, cajoled, called home, sent them to detention — nothing works. Sometimes I wonder if they come to school just to hang out with their friends. Here we are in the last weeks of school and these desk warmers all have a 40% or lower in my class. A few are in single digits. …
What do you think I should try? I figure you, the readers, are educated and interested in issues that affect you. Our state now pays more than 40% of its budget for education. What went so wrong?
Should I concentrate on the “good” kids who are doing the work and give them all my attention? I have some fabulous kids this year: four sections of sophomore English and one section of junior/senior world literature.
Should I just forget about the desk warmers/oxygen-deprivation machines? What do you, the taxpayers, think I should do? I know if I have this problem, then all high school teachers must have the same problem.
Parents aren’t much help with her desk warmers.
I have some parents who show no interest at all in their children’s failures. When I call home, they just throw up their hands, “What are you gonna do? They’re kids.” Other parents blame me for their kids’ failure to do any work at all. Educational think tanks have actually said, “If kids don’t do their homework, it’s because it’s not meaningful.”
Meaningful? How many things in life are meaningless, but we do them because we have to — like cleaning toilets, changing poopy diapers and paying taxes? Some parents think if their child comes to school, that should be enough. I had one parent write me this note: “He belongs to you people all day. At 3 p.m., his time belongs to me.” Uh, OK.
I think she confuses “meaningless” with “tedious, boring and unpleasant,” but that’s a matter of semantics. The context makes her point clear: Life requires unpleasantness, and so it helps to develop a tolerance.
Education has spent the past 20 years trying to get every kid to go to college. A lot of kids go for six weeks. After the first midterm, they drop out. It’s too much like work. They never belonged there in the first place. Example: Many junior colleges now have two levels of English labs the student must take and pass before the student is eligible for English 1A.
Work. That’s where I believe these oxygen-deprivation machines belong, at work. The ODMs (not my expression, my science colleague’s) belong at work. We finally got a grant … to improve our auto shop — fantastic! What about all the other non-college professions? Machinists, construction, heating and air-conditioning, plumbing, cement design, interior/exterior painting, esthetics, culinary, health care. The list is endless.
Why aren’t we preparing these dropouts for work and not welfare? In some inner cities like Baltimore, the high school graduation rate is 30%. That’s deplorable.
What do the taxpayers want us to do? I believe they have the answer, not us.
She finishes by asking for feedback, but not before blaming families and parents for students’ failure. Classy.
I don’t disagree that the family life can affect the academic success of students, ending the letter like that will invoke the wrong kind of reaction.
What’s the role of ROP education, and vocational electives? Is it wrong to encourage students to go to college at the expense of the unmotivated?
There are plenty of reasons to stop teaching. Joel posted ten, and though it the post was undoubtedly an April Fool’s joke, half of his over-the-top suggestions were credible on some level. Talk about irony.
Among them were:
Administrative hoops I have to jump through
TAKS testing. Lesson planning. 504 modifications. I like my principal (and all of them I’ve worked for so far), but the administrative web that has been set up from the top down really wears on me.
Budgeting. Fundraising. Travel requests. Purchase requisitions. Grades. Tardy admit slips. Report cards. Progress reports. Music stores coming to collect instruments from kids whose parents haven’t paid.
I am not valued enough
I don’t get paid nearly what I am worth. In fact, looking at some of the data on Jonathan’s blog, I don’t get paid even half of what I might get if I taught in New Jersey or California.
Setting aside his explanations, I’m told that plenty of teachers drop out for those basic reasons or some very similar. To quote the only teacher mentioned throughout the article linked in my sidebar:
The kids were wonderful to be with, but the stress of everything that went with it and the low pay did not make it hard to leave.
There’s the big debate about whether schools could, or should, be run like a business. I’ve certainly worked for some businesses that would drive a school into the ground.
On the other hand, I’ve experienced some business models that would make a school flourish.
He goes into greater detail, so I suggest you check it out.
Confidentially, my first reaction involved TPS Reports. As far as my dad and stepmom are concerned, former cubicle crawlers that they are, that Office Space movie is, or can be, the gospel-honest truth.