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  1. This Sunday, Feb. 3rd at 8:30pm, I’ll be performing in a FREE comedy show at the Jazz on the Park Hostel.  You can BYOB.  36 West 106 Street near Central Park West.  Some people have told me, “Love you but it’s the Super Bowl.” 

    I’m not part of that tradition.  So if you, like me, would prefer to laugh 
    than to scream at the screen, get yourself a bottle of wine or whatever you like and come on over.  We’ll be having a heat wave to celebrate.

    On Wed., March 6th at 7pm, I’ll be in round one of

    New York’s Got Talent 

    The Green Room 42 inside Yotel 
    42nd Street and 10th Avenue 

    Here’s the link to get your ticket:

    If something doesn’t change for me soon in the financial realm, I may have to hold some kind of a fundraiser for my existence.  I’ve gotten further into debt.  This sucks so bad.  Don’t be surprised to get an invite to a rent party (remember those?).

    A former student told me yesterday that I had been the first teacher to 
    make him feel at home.  I was so moved.  He’s not a mushy kind of man, so it really surprised me to hear that.  When I told him, he said, “You never know what someone is thinking.”  Many are still upset that the new director (described as a “force of destruction” by an excellent worker who was let go) got rid of the ones she chose to get rid of (the ones the students loved) when the funding cut occurred.  He plans to let them know how he feels.  I told him, “Just don’t curse.”

    Another student, who is still attending the program and had been one of 
    my favorites, communicates with me on Facebook private messages.  He just needs five more points to get his diploma, so he’s trying to hang in there.  He is very blunt, which is a quality I appreciate.  We reminisced and laughed about some great moments we had in class.  Then he told me what a bitch his current math teacher is and how he respected me so much for standing up for students.  I told him that was probably why I’m not there and the bitches are.  

    (A few good ones are still there too, thank goodness.) 

    I miss the realness of the relationships I had with my adult students.  One basic thing that is so wrong with many educational programs is the teachers see the students as “them.”  Students need people they can connect with, feel accepted by, and can see themselves in.  They don’t need to have their flaws emphasized.  Psych 101 – positive reinforcement brings better results than negative reinforcement.  The main thing is to know oneself.  If a teacher knows her/his self, there is less projecting their bullshit on others.  But so many would rather just discuss curriculum.  And because it is all about the teacher and her/his curriculum, they feel the right to start a student’s day with, “You’re LATE!”  School can really destroy one’s natural desire to learn.  Too many of my Bronx peeps feel like school isn’t for them. 

    Recently, I ran into a teacher who works there part time.  We hugged.  I always liked her.  She told me the program is not the same program it once was.  I know that’s true.  I sometimes wonder how the former directors feel about what happened to the program.  They had put so much work into making it a relatively good place to be.  I was at lunch with another former co-worker last week.  He also wondered how the past administrators felt.  I said, “After all the years of work they did to build, they must now feel like Obama.”

  2. 3 comments:

    1. I'm sure that the fact that you always relate to your students as equals, as adults worthy of respect, is enormously important to them, and helps them believe in themselves. Those students need you as much as you need that job, and I can only hope you get back there soon.

    2. David, my friend, I will not be welcome back there as long as the current sheriff and her deputy are running things. From all I hear, it's not a place any longer where I'd fit. I am thinking of writing a column or a book on my years teaching adult students who had felt alienated from school. I have so much to share.

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