Five months and no post?

The truth is that I have been hiding for the past five months and not posted anything because I could think of anything great to say. Really I couldn't think of anything Positive to say. At the end of the last school year, May 2007, I got the pleasure of serving a long-term assignment at a school that I really like. As a plus that assignment was as an Elementary Gym teacher. I got to play games all day, and I got paid for it.

The honeymoon was over about the third week into my month long assignment when the fifth grade class that was commonly regarded as the worst entered the gym. Not wanting to go into exhausting detail we had one very rough hour. To make things worse I received NO support from the teacher whom I was subbing, the classroom teacher, the other teacher who works with the classroom teacher of record, nor the principal. I was advised to lust let them sit out if they didn't want to play soccer (be "yard fags" as the kids called it).

It was that day that I began counting down the hours till I was finished. Since then I have not been in a classroom as a teacher and have been generally happy serving as a full time father. I do have much greater respect for the stay-at-home-moms now and fully believe that they deserve the repute $138,000 salary that their work is worth in the labor market.


Harry Potter is finished!

I finished the final chapter in the Harry Potter series. It only took me about eight hours of reading scattered throughout four days but I finished it and I'm kind of sad! The series is finished, no more tales of the exploits of the boy wizard.

I guess that what I most want to know is how others felt about the book. I loved it, especially how it tied up loose ends with characters from all the other books as well as added the view into later life for some characters.

I'll stop typing now so that I don't inadvertently give something away other than it is a great book and a great series that everyone must read, especially if you have students who will be reading the books!

Ed U. Cayshun

I'm embarrassed to admit but...

I feel a bit childish and am a bit embarrassed to admit but I'm really looking forward to something that is set to happen tomorrow, July 21st; the release of the new, and last Harry Potter book.

I had never really been an avid reader except a time in my life when I was working a late shift at a radio station. That eight to midnight shift afforded me a lot of time to sit an read between mindless chatter, weather reports and pushing play on the CD players. My appreciation started when I was given a list of 30 books to read for my Children's literature class in college and the first book of the Harry Potter series was on that list. Following that class I let Harry sit until a few years later when My family hosted a German foreign exchange student who initially got my wife into Harry Potter. Not wanting to be left out of the discussions I chose to read the books rather than rely on Hollywood's versions of the books. I devoured the books at home and while subbing in High Schools, which also afford time to sit and read and now I have only one story left to finish the series.

It's hard for me to imagine my excitement as being solely based on my love of the characters, I think part of it is , finally finding out what happens to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, seeing Harry grow into a full fledged wizard and mostly that this concludes the whole journey.

At any rate, the final book is supposed to be here tomorrow and I can't wait to read it!

Ed U. Cayshun

My fathering days are over.

So far in my life I have made three things that I am very proud of; my three sons! I love them dearly but my wife and I decided that three was enough so Friday I put a stop to my fathering days. That's right, the swimmers have left the pool, or at least have no way to get out of the pool anymore. I went for the big "V" and I ain't talking about Vegas!

All things considered it wasn't too bad. There were two things about the minor out patient procedure that really caused me pain; the needle for the I.V. and getting the tape that held that needle in my arm pulled off. Other than that the actual operation was pain free. The day after was another story!

I woke up Saturday morning feeling like the circus side-show fat lady had used my manhood as a stepping stool to reach the bon-bons off the top shelf! Thankfully modern pharmaceuticals helped ease that discomfort.

To sum things up, I wouldn't want to go through it again but I would recommend the operation to anyone NOT wanting to have any more children.

Ed U. Cayshun

I found my new calling.

This article from the Detroit News web site outlined for me my new calling; Teacher's union management. Now I can only hope that the State Legislature does nothing, as they usually do, to change this I can hopefully draw a teacher's salary without teaching. Next I plan to get the government to pay me for not growing corn!

Ed U. Cayshun

Father of the Year awards, here I come!

Get your pen ready to nominate me, Ed U. Cayshun, as father of the year for allowing my sons to work out personal differences the old fashioned way; by beating the be-Jesus out of each other.

Please allow me to elaborate before you call child protective services. It has been about two weeks since the end of the school year and my Mr. Mom duties fully began. In that two week time frame my two oldest sons, six and four years old, have been fighting at least 30 percent of the time. I'm talking about yelling at each other, name calling, throwing things and even the occasional hitting and kicking. With and infant in my hand I'd been trying to referee the melees to no avail.

Yesterday I decided that if they were going to fight I'd let them! However, being the responsible dad I thought that I'd make it a bit safer than fists and toy cars so I bought a water noodle pool toy, cut it in half, taped up a handle made of dowel rod and let the beating commence. The "Battle-Bat" is born!!!

This has really served a great end. They actually enjoy flagellating each other with the soft foam swords and end up laughing about it about two minutes after the fight begins.

This sure takes me back to the good old days when we'd climb the fifty foot monkey bars over asphalt, throw snowballs at each other's heads without wearing a helmet, played tackle football on the playground and settled differences like men; by kicking the living crap out of each other then laughing about it. Remember the 80's?

Ed U. Cayshun

P.S. My ref'ing duties have kept me from posting lately, sorry!

From industry to the classroom: the best educators come with experience.

It's nice to see that industry, or "the real world," brings teachers in with more knowledge to impart to students. My information comes from the Wilmington, Delaware News Journal article, and my own experience. I have on several occasions used my past experience to either teach or reinforce lessons in the classroom and I'm glad to see this happening all over the country.

However, I heard a story, I have nothing more than what I heard to back it up mind you, from St. Louis about an aerospace engineer who retired from Boeing who wanted to teach in his golden years. His PhD. in engineering would make one think that he is perfectly capable of teaching high school physics, higher math maybe even other science classes but the Department of Education in Missouri disagreed. According to the story I heard he wasn't "highly qualified" by the standards set forth by No Child Left Behind. One more reason that I hope our legislators see fit to let it die!

Ed U. Cayshun

P.S. I should add that I admit that I voted for Bush twice, not so much because I thought he was the best candidate but rather that we was better than the others at the time. Remember, politics is a toilet and you have to choose the turd that floats the highest.

Kids DO say the darndest things.

Sometimes I'm amazed by my children. OK, I'm always amazed but them but earlier today I had to laugh in amazement at my four-year-old.

Like most children's' rooms his is a disaster. The books, stuffed animals, toy cars and legos are actually treacherous to navigate with bare feet. As with our other summer vacation days he slept in while I sat mindlessly watching the television holding my infant son. About 8:30 he arose and came to snuggle with us on the couch. After a few minutes we began discussing our agenda for the day which is supposed to include a trip to the video store. However, I preceded the topic with Mommy's instructions that his room must be cleaned today. Questioning why he needed to clean his room he clearly pointed out a fact to me. With his big blue eyes and bed-head hairdo that he had, "made a path" through his room.

In fact the path was quite navigable if you wanted to access the bed or the toy chest but with the innocent questioning expression I could only laugh, which he though was great because he was the center of attention. Needless to say the soft spot in my heart for the overwhelming cuteness made me forget the untidiness of the room and as I type this nearer lunchtime than morning his room is still not cleaned. I know that I am weak, but what can I say, he was just too damned charming!

Ed U. Cayshun

Field trip time of year.

It's field trip time of year again and I have been inducted into the chaperoning parent club. I went with my Kindergartner's class yesterday to the zoo. I have a greater respect for anyone from five to 80 years old who rides a bus now as well as respect for the organizational skills of Kindergarten teachers! I was with the group for six hours, 90 minutes of which was on the school bus, and last night I was exhausted.

My hat is off to those who do it everyday.

Ed U. Cayshun

You gotta see this guy!

This is amazing! Any teacher or anyone who can appreciate a teacher should love this! Inspiring!

What do teachers make?

Ed U. Cayshun

Teachers; too many, too few?

Got an alert from Google today about a news story detailing the U.S. Department of Education's recent grant to the University of Texas for financial incentives for teachers who do a good job. One aim of the grant is to recruit teachers in hard-to-staff schools. This puzzles me! In the area in which I choose to reside, this state by the way has one of the nation's worst economies, teachers seem to be a dime a dozen, or at least 400 applicants per job opening.

My quandary is now, why does Texas, and a few other states, have a "teacher shortage" whereas my state is lousy with teachers who can't find jobs? It can't really be the baby-boomers who just choose not to retire up here. Nor can it solely be the crappy economy, which I would think would make people want to retire. Maybe it's the worst possible combination of many factors. Maybe you could enlighten me!

I would simply ask the University of Texas, the Department of Education, and who ever else will listen, to come to some of these other states which have a surplus of teachers and recruit some of them to travel south! Just a suggestion and we all know the government's ability to hear suggestions!

Ed U. Cayshun

More new and exciting educational ventures

I've officially begun yet another chapter in my educational life, this one with my own children again. I have become a Mr. Mom.

Like most educators I have the good fortune to have summers off, unfortunately as a substitute teacher summers off mean summers without pay. No pay means no day care unless I find another crap job and I really don't want to do that especially with the grand, yet daunting, opportunity to be at home full time with my children.

This year it's a bit different though. The two older ones, six and four years old, can more or less supervise themselves, but the new one added earlier this year requires as much attention as any infant which makes this task all the more daunting. Wish me luck.

Ed U. Cayshun

New educational venture on the horizon

It is official, I have begun a new educational venture for myself and my six-year-old; I'm going to be a Tiger Cub Scout leader in the fall!

It all began when I first found out that my wife and I were going to have a boy back in 2000. One of the first things that I thought of was getting to do all the fun stuff that we already enjoyed; camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, etc. However, When I thought of doing this with my son Boy Scouts was the first thing that came to my mind and he and I get to start on the ground floor together as Tiger Cub Scouts.

Earlier this week I met with the other pack leaders and I brought home a grocery sack overflowing with things and information for me to look at in planning next fall as leader. While perusing the book one other thing jumped out at me a key to the scouts, the real values taught through scouts. I'm not talking religious values, rather ones that every child these days need; honor, respect, honesty, love for country (no matter who is in the slightly circular shaped office and whether or not he's NOT having sexual relations with that woman). The hiking, camping, canoeing, etc. will have to wait until actual Boy Scouts but we still have fun doing that as a family.

Wish me luck on my new experience!

Ed U. Cayshun

My observations on music.

On part of being an educator is having a keen eye for observation. Observing behavior, trends, actions, etc of the students can all be help full in determining the course of an educational experience. However, this time I observed my own behavior and actions but not in the classroom.

I got an MP3 player for Christmas and began my online world of music. The first things I could think of to download was music from my teenage years that I really loved and all of it was very heavy metal. I'm not talking MTV's version of heavy metal, Poison, Warrant, Damn Yankees, I'm talking the real stuff; Metallica, Megadeath, Iron Maiden, Motorhead. I got back into the stuff I used to get drunk to on a Saturday night, sober up to on the same Saturday night so that I could be sober enough to walk in the house and greet my mom who'd waited up till 11:30.

After a few weeks of this I began to notice something about myself; I was PISSED OFF at everything. The crappy driver on the road, the kids in class, the neighbor's kids who played their bumping rap music too loud, even my wife. It took that few weeks but I made to correlation between the faster, angrier music that was listening to almost exclusively and my poor mood.

With that being said I resumed to my more mainstream listening habits which include, strangely enough, the blues, jazz, general pop/alternative radio, even some oldies. However, after some careful consideration I have decided to try an experiment on myself. For the next few weeks I'm going to force myself to listen to country music exclusively to see if my dog dies, my wife leaves me, my mom get run over by a train while on her way to pick me up from prison in the pick-up truck in the rain. I'll let you know how it goes.

Ed U. Cayshun

More from a life-long learner.

I feel remiss in my duties as a life-long learner by not telling you about the most significant event recently from which I learned something.

I had never had any real contact with horses before I met my wife before she was my wife. I'd probably only ridden a horse three or four times let alone owned one, but my future wife did. During our college years he became too much to deal with, especially finacially, so she sold him. she had made it very clear that she had every intention to get another when space permitted.

A year ago we moved to what we like to call our hobby farm, five acres of heaven in the middle of nowhere. Part of our heaven included a barn which soon became home for her new pet, a horse named Ellie. I vaguely recall the horse seller asking if we wanted her bred when we committed to buy her. I also remember thinking what a cool experience to have a foal around. Furthermore, I remember being slightly apprehensive about a pregnant horse, knowing that horse's health can turn on a dime, but I wasn't concerned because my wife would know what to do and I would simply support her when the time came. Eleven months later Ellie is very wide, we are anticipating the new foal and my wife decides to go to her parent's house for a long weekend.

I got back from school Monday afternoon not thinking anything more than I was free for the afternoon to do as I pleased. What pleased me was simply playing around the "farm." I paid no attention to the pasture until feeding time when Ellie didn't come in for her evening feed. All the fears of horse's health and the general hazard of giving birth came to mind. I bolted into the pasture to find extra legs under Ellie. Rascal, a beautiful appaloosa stud colt, was born sometime during the day and I had my head so firmly intrenched in my ass so that I didn't even notice.

I promptly called my wife and she began listing the things that I should look for like urination, defacation, signs of colic, sufficient nursing, etc. I needed help, and my wife was three hundred miles away. I called those who I thought could offer assistance but got no response. I was very concerned. After a short time I began, like any new father (so to speak), to worry. Without any serious help from peopel that I knew I began to think about who I didn't know. I recalled seeing new foals in a pasture just south of us on the main road and thought maybe they'd be able to help, even though I didn't know them, nor they me, from Adam.

The man who answered the door was exceptionally nice, he even came out to look the baby over, reassured me that all was fine and I should cease my worrying. Thanks Mr. Z.

Long story short, or even longer, I learned not to fear the unknown of horse breeding and birth so much. I also learned that I will not allow my wife to leave for a long weekend when HER horse is set to foal, ever again!!!

Ed U. Cayshun

Great commentary on NCLB

What a great commentary on No Child Left Behind. I only wish I could leave a comment for him. Since I can't I'll just link to his post.

Ed U. Catshun

Me, a lifelong learner.

I took it to heart what my college professors used to tell me about creating lifelong learners, although I have always considered my self one. As evidence I'd like to offer the following evidence: My favorite channels on TV are Discovery, History, Discovery Science, etc. I love reading books that I can learn things from such as Stephen Ambrose's work specifically on World War II. In short, I love learning new things. I got a chance to learn something new this week about the plants growing wild on my property.

My family and I moved to five acres in the woods about a year ago. The previous owners landscaping around the property was haphazard at best. Last Friday while scouting a location for my vegetable garden I encountered some odd looking plants growing in an area where the previous owners had attempted to plant some trees and had also added some ornamental grasses. The odd plant in question had seven leaves and looked like pictures I'd seen on t-shirts. To boil it all down, it looked like marijuana growing.

I debated with myself about what to do for several days. I really didn't want anything of the sort growing where I could be liable, legally speaking. I inquired as to the horticultural knowledge of my neighbors and friends and most, like me didn't really know what it was. I did some searching on the Internet and learned all about how to grow it, indoors and out, how to care for it, when to harvest it, how to dry it, and everything else that I really didn't want to know but not how to identify it. Finally I chose the safest thing to do was call the drug task force associated with our county sheriff's department.

I contacted them yesterday and the detective told me that he could be out to my place within the hour. When he arrived with his partner in plain clothes, looking like degenerate bikers with badges and guns we took a walk. After one quick glance they told me that it was a common ditch weed and in no way narcotic. I was relieved!

On reflecting back I realized that I now had a deeper knowledge of a subject that had until now been foreign to me and had it not been for my inquisitive nature and my love for learning I would have likely mowed it over and never given it another thought. While I don't want to encourage knowledge of illicit subject matter in my students, I would certainly agree that any educator who can influence that love for learning and personal growth of knowledge is doing a very successful job!

Ed U. Cayshun

Happy Mother's Day!

If you can read this, and I assume that you are reading this, you have one person to thank for that; the greatest educator of all, MOM.

Your mother, I presume like mine, tought you tough lesson all throughout your life like play nice, share your toys, don't hit your sister, etc, but most of all your mom cared enough to send you to school so that you could learn! Through that learning you became a more well-rounded person. And all that because of mom!

On this one day each year we set aside time to honor Mothers who rasied us and taught us, loved us and cared for us, wiped noses and kissed boo-boos. This one special post goes out to my mother! Love ya Mama!


I'm not given to surveys but I had to ask a question

I'm not a big fan of surveys but I have to ask one question, or at least pose one hypothetical situation.

If the god/goddess/gods/goddesses of education, the minster of education, the president, etc, came to you and said you could do ONE thing to improve education in the United States of America, what would you suggest? No restrictions on budget, senate approval or granting of wishes from the ed fairy.

What a crazy week!

It must be the end-of-the-year blahs, just a general frustration with the world or the beautiful weather making me want to be outside instead of on the computer that has kept me from posting much lately. I would lend an equal amount of credence to each of the three but I want to address the first because it seems to affect everyone in schools these days.

My malaise started about a week ago while subbing in an elementary P.E. class for several days. It was a fifth grade class that I found out after the fact that has a nasty reputation that caused my funk. This class and their crappy attitude led me to the conclusion that kids don't know consequences. This group came in not wanting to do what they were supposed to because I yelled myself hoarse trying to talk over them, then when we began playing the game scheduled for the day that the mutiny happened.

A couple boys made it really clear that they didn't want to be "yard fairies" by playing soccer. I of course took my responsibilities seriously and made them play. Fifteen minutes into the game one of the boys took it upon himself to ruin the class for everyone by using his hand every chance he got and intentionally scoring a goal for the other team. By that time I'd had enough so I made them jog laps to hopefully impress upon them that soccer was the better option. That worked like a charm! (more sarcasm)

After a few minutes of laps I gave them the option again of playing soccer. 12 took it, the others I made continue to walk/jog laps. This went over like a lead balloon, some of the girls even began to cry. The tears really flowed once I stood them against the wall and forcefully told them that math was not open for discussion in their regular class, similarly what I had planned was set.

Next day I heard through the grapevine that the teacher was upset with me for sending them back to class in an emotional state. The principal also told me that some of them had complained to him about the episode. I related my story and he was understanding but I clearly got the "you're just a sub" vibe from him.

On to my point! These kids did not get their way, complained and heard no more about it. In my time (boy I'm sounding like my grandparents) the teacher was the ruler and any sort of dissent met with fierce resistance from the higher-ups in support. Now, they got a nice talking to and it was resolved with no apparent consequences. Anyone else have similar experiences?

One thing this has reinforced upon me is how NOT to raise my children. They need to learn respect and how to make the right choices and consequences reinforce the right choices lesson!

Ed U. Cayshun

What's the deal with all the homeschooling?

I met up with my father, who I rarely see because his job keeps him traveling most of the time, this past week and we had a very nice visit. I’m sure that most of what we talked a about will be of no interest to anyone, but he did ask me one question that I would like to address and get comments from the blog world.

We were talking about my lack of hope in finding a job and my bleak outlook on the situation and he asked if I’d considered home schooling my sons. I was quick to reply no because I feel that one of the things public schooling offers is social interaction and learning how to deal with others. I feel that home schooled children, in general, lack social graces.

One example that immediately comes to mind is a pair of girls, one of which used to work part time in my wife’s office. The girls and their family raised rabbits. I was attempting to raise rabbits myself. I purchased two doe bunnies from the family with the intention of breeding them with my buck, however to tell just how inept I am at every endeavor, I could get rabbits to reproduce. At the staff Christmas party I mentioned to the young lady and her sister, who’d accompanied her to the party, about my lack of success. I told, as politely as I could, her that I didn’t want to kill the does but would like two does to replace the sterile ones, and wondered if we could just trade. She replied that she would talk to her parents.

I got a very angry call from the mother about how I’d embarrassed the home schooled girls, essentially bad mouthed their rabbitry. This really got to me! As I began replaying the incident in my mind, trying to figure out how I’d messed up, I consulted my wife and a coworker about what I said and how I said it. They assured me that both what I said and how I said it were polite and in no way offensive. With that I began thinking about the hearer of my comments and surmised that these two young ladies, both about 14-16 years old and home schooled their entire life, had yet to learn the requisite social graces sufficient to interact with normal people.

Schools are full of kids who, from kindergarten all the way up, will mock anything and everything that a person does. Bullies abound! This mocking and bullying builds a thicker skin and students can learn to deal with people like that. It’s a tough process but kids survive and those skills can be carried all through life, because bullies and mockers abound there too, albeit a bit more couth and secrecy the older they are.

I don’t want to badmouth home schools in general, but would rather ask, “Why?” and “Where are the social skills acquired in a situation like home schools?” If you could offer insight please do!

Ed U. Cayshun

Corporal punishment, anyone?

What a great news story I came across the other day, all the more significant to me because I grew up near St. Louis.

Teacher Makes 7-Year-Old Hit Himself
By Associated Press
MANCHESTER, Mo. - A music teacher who twice ordered a seven-year-old pupil to hit himself in the head with drum mallets will not return to the Parkway School District next year.
The incident happened on February Ninth in teacher Paul Provencio's music class at Carman Trails Elementary School in suburban St. Louis.
State officials say the 36-year-old teacher intended the head-banging as a lesson to Justin Barricklow about hitting the drums too hard.
The Missouri Department of Social Services investigated the case at the request of the boy's father, Scott Barricklow, who works as a groundskeeper for the Parkway district.
Provencio has since apologized. School officials called the incident "unprofessional and totally inappropriate."

Yet another dumb ass teacher to take jobs from people like me AND make us all look bad!

Ed U. Cayshun

Get while the gettin's good!

Living in the state that I call home there is a huge surplus of teachers, to the tune of 400 applicants per job opening. Again, I found my self wondering why this is. My answer came from an unlikely source.

I got a call one morning to go to a certain school that I’d never been to be a guest teacher. Not knowing exactly where to go I left plenty early with my map in hand. I got to the school about 25 minutes before I was supposed to be there but since the office was open I went ahead and checked in, got my key and directions to the classroom. To my surprise, she was there getting things ready for me. I introduced myself and the first words out of her mouth were a warning and a very telling statement. “I hope you are ready! After 41 years of teaching this is the worst group I’ve ever had!”

Two things to say to this lady; one, 41 years is too long. You were trained on older methods, you are getting tired and obviously grouchy. Two, if you were to quit there’d be 300 people waiting in line just for the opportunity to teach and that group may be the best someone else has ever had.

I would also like to look at the math of the situation. After 41 years of raises I bet it is safe to say that this teacher makes about $60,000 a year. New teachers get paid closer to $30,000. HALF of her salary can either be saved or reinvested in another new teacher by her choosing to leave. What a way to fix the financial burden on schools these days, especially when our Governor announced last week that school funding would likely be cut by $125 per pupil in June.

To sum it all up, RETIRE! Make way for newer teaching methods, more enthusiasm and a better attitude. Give us younger teachers a chance to do what we have trained for.

Ed U. Cayshun

Education in it’s many forms

Education takes place in many forms other than the classroom, and I am proud to call myself an “educator” more than just a “teacher.” My real life example took place this weekend.

My family and I live out in the country about ten miles from the metropolitan area which I actually claim as home. We have several acres as do my neighbors. My sons, all three under six, and I were outside when my friend from across the road rides over on his ATV. “I’ve got snakes!” he exclaims. My first thought was, “GREAT! Let’s go catch them.” Off we went, my four year old and I, to play Steve Irwin.

I had the hardest time keeping him back until I addressed the situation, determining whether or not the aforementioned snakes, sunbathing on a brush pile, constituted a threat that could mean a trip to the hospital. After careful examination I found he had Blue Racers and Eastern Hog-Nosed snakes. About an hour later I had one in my grip and was still trying to keep my boy from getting too close. What makes me the proudest is that without thought I used the opportunity as a teachable moment, instructing them on safety, NEVER approach a wild snake without Daddy, biology, herpetology and animal husbandry. I told them about how snakes are cold blooded, needing to sunbathe to keep warm. I addressed their diet of mice and rats that also inhabited the brush pile. We talked about their defense mechanisms. We admired their color and markings finally letting them go in the woods where they could not be harmed inadvertently by the ATVs, pets or other humans.

To me, this episode is a more significant educational experience than any number of other days in a classroom and one that my sons will not soon forget, or even stop talking about.

Ed U. Cayshun

Many thanks for a great job!

In the effort not to seem like a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy I decided to write something positive this time. I recently got the opportunity to do a guest teacher assignment at a wonderful school. In my whoops and hollers of thankfulness I began to wonder, what makes this district so much better than all the others I have visited in the past year?

This is purely speculation on my point because I have no real data to back up my hypothesis but I attribute the quality of the school to great parenting. As backing to my assumption I would like to offer the following: The children in this school district are respectful which allows the teachers to do a better job teaching. Because the teacher can do a better job teaching the children learn more. Because the children learn more they can do better on the mandated tests. Because they do better on the tests the school gets better recognition and a better reputation. Because of the better reputation better teachers want to teacher there. Because better teachers teach there the students do better. Sounds pretty cyclical to me, and all because parents cared enough to teach their children respect.

Thanks parents!

Ed U. Cayshun

Priorities anyone?

It seems that all I seem to do on this bog so far has bellyache about how schools are in dire financial straits due to fiscal decisions that come from up on high. I’m pleased to note that I will not be doing any complaining in this entry about how political decisions affect schools. Instead this entry will be about how voters, certain school administrators and a school board can effectively and collectively screw the pooch.

At a local district I had the pleasure of serving in for one wonderful (note the sarcasm) day last spring I struck up a conversation with a teacher. She began telling me about how there would not be any jobs coming open within the district for the upcoming year because the teachers still had no contract and had been working without a contract for three years. While this isn’t so disheartening by itself, the real distressing issue came when we changed subjects to the multi-million dollar sports complex that was under construction as we spoke.

The farsighted voters of the district had seen fit to pass a bond issue to build a new track, football field, baseball and softball field, soccer field, stands and all the accompanying field houses. I can think of little more to say than, “What the hell were you thinking?” Teachers are the lifeblood of that school and so far they have been crapped upon for three, now four, years in a row, no new teachers are being hired and some were possibly laid off, but who gives a big fat donkey turd, they got a new, beautiful place to play ball!

Ed U. Cayshun

Education in schools over sports

The last this that I want to convey with these opinions of mine is that I am vehemently opposed to the way schools operate these days. Rather I want to convey the message that I feel schools could do better with the limited resources they have with less governmental red-tape and bureaucratic nonsense. In the case that I am about to mention I feel that schools could better allocate their fund where there is limited governmental hindrance and more popular hindrance; school sponsored organized sports teams.

If you look at the cost of a football uniform, the field, stands, upkeep of the field, etc., the costs can be staggering. All those costs are generally incurred by the school district at the expense of classroom education. Please don’t get me wrong, I love football and to me there is nothing purer than students who get nothing for their commitment (unlike college and professional teams) like high school football. I even played football, and wrestled and threw the shot put, but should so much be sacrificed for the enjoyment?

I look at education, not sports, as the only true stepping stone to a successful future. I also believe that education needs to be given every opportunity to be the biggest success. I don’t advocate the omission of organized sports altogether rather I feel that they should be treated as optional extra-curricular activities with a cost to the participants. Simply put, make those who play, pay.

Ed U. Cayshun

Free Appropriate Public Education?

On this entry I first want to address something a good friend said about my first entry. He commented that my first entry was opinionated which I concede is most certainly the case. Having said that I would most certainly like to encourage your comments of my opinions. Please see my second post and the disclaimer. Again, social intercourse is almost as good as that other kind of intercourse but a lot less sticky, sweaty and tiring! On to education.

I read an article in Time a few months ago that I haven’t been able to get out of my head, especially since I see evidence of it everyday in the schools that I have the pleasure of serving. That is the taking too far of the term “Free Appropriate Public Education” or FAPE as a college professor called it. The law that enacted FAPE, Public Law 102-119, known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states that all children with disabilities are entitled to an appropriate education in public schools. (For further details see

In theory this is a great idea, all children deserve the same opportunities regardless of their abilities. Where I see this going wrong is when children who are profoundly mentally disabled are allowed to sit in a regular classroom, in some case, disrupting other students. In my opinion if a child needs a constant nurses attention, needs regular diaper changes and drool wipes and cannot contribute to their own education, let alone comprehend the lessons, maybe they don’t belong in a regular classroom.

The aforementioned Time (1) article was about a family in Colorado whose son is autistic. This son was not getting an education because of his behavior in the regular classroom so the family sued the school district citing the IDEA concept of FAPE. They asked the school district to pay for a special boarding school in Boston that caters specifically to autistic students. The article stated that this would cost the district upwards of $150,000 per year, not to mention the already accrued legal fees. To me this is NOT right. We taxpayers shouldn’t have to provide special buses, nurses and constant aides for students who will likely not benefit from being in the classroom, and certainly not send them off to renowned schools halfway across the country.

On the flip side, I have encountered students who are mentally entirely capable of benefiting and contributing to a regular classroom, they just have some physical limitations that require extra help. I am NOT opposed to this, they can help other students learn more that just math and reading, their peers can learn tolerance and acceptance which is as valuable lesson as any other.

Again, comments are strongly encouraged!

Ed U. Cayshun

Rawe, Julie. “Who Pays for Special Education.” Time 168.13 (Sept 25, 2006): p62. From InfoTrac OneFile.

A reflection on the comments on my first blog

I rarely, if ever, show things that I have written to anyone but on this, my first ever venture into the world of blogging, I thought my first reader should be someone that I trust, my Mother. I called her and told her the address of my blog and had her read it. Her comments on my first post were simple; this bit of writing is pretty inflammatory. As I stewed on that, missed some sleep and woke up angry I got to thinking more about my blog. Yeah, I changed somethings after it was published, but one thing stuck with me. All I really want to accomplish with this blog is have a creative outlet and possibly vent a little bit. With that said I want to add this disclaimer so that there can be no further confusion as to any further posts.

Disclaimer: This blog is about nothing more than my thoughts and emotions or stories that I feel like telling. I know that my opinions are strong ones and often inflammatory or abrasive, but they are my thoughts and feelings. I don't want to change the world with this foray into the murky world of online blogging, merely write and get somethings off my chest. If I offend you, I'm sorry. If you disagree with me, please comment. Through social discourse a better understanding can be built, and I admit even my own ideas have been modified in the past through talking with someone. Please don't read more into this than what it is.

Ed U. Cayshun

I actually met a sociopath today

I actually met a sociopath today! What a way to start out a blog, huh? Before I go any farther though, I feel that I should take my first entry to do a brief introduction. My name is Ed U. Cayshun (a corny pen name I know but I always wanted a corny pen name) and I am the lowest form of life on the planet, at least as far as the population I encounter every day thinks. I am a Substitute school teacher.

Bear with me, I’ll get to the sociopath in a moment. The finding of a job in my chosen area of the U.S. is actually quite hard for several reasons. First, baby boomer teachers can’t afford to pay out of pocket for health insurance so choose to stay in their classrooms. Second, making college degrees available to everyone floods the market with people who can lay claim to the same job openings that I want. Third, the economy sucks so every teacher looks at their position with relief that they actually have someplace to work. I can’t blame them there. There are other factors as well, which I’m sure that my inane blathering will cover at another time, but those are the few I choose to hit on now.

On to the sociopath . . . I was called by the sub caller to fill in for a middle school special education teacher who specializes in E.I., or emotionally impaired, students. Bad sign already, right? But a day’s work does still equal a day’s dollar. To boil it down, E.I. students have no sense of social graces, think only of themselves and act upon whatever impulse they currently have. I know you are thinking that this sounds like every other junior high school student but these are like the typical junior high-sters on high gear with a hefty dose of speed added to the mix.

This person was special. I could tell by the way the teacher’s aid rolled her eyes at the student entering the classroom three hours late. I could further tell by the story that the teacher’s aid told about having suspended this student yesterday, like so many other days. Even more, I could tell by the way this student said to me, “get the hell out of my face!” as I handed over the period’s work.

Another question that comes to mind I’m sure is; what makes you say this person is a sociopath? Great question and one that is easily answered. Al Gore’s invention, the internet, and the fact that the aforementioned politician single handedly put a computer in every classroom afforded me the opportunity to look up her condition on possibly the single greatest websites ever, Wikipedia. (I acknowledge that Wikipedia is not very well respected in the academic world, but it is pretty cool if you just want quick information not for use in academia) Let us look at the definition of Sociopath according to Wikipedia.

"Antisocial personality disorder (abbreviated APD or ASPD) is a psychiatric diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR recognozable by the disordered individual's disregard for social rules and norms, impulsive behavior, and indifference to the rights and feelings of others. . . Sociopathy is sometimes claimed to be a less formal synonym for this disorder based on terminology from an older edition of the DSM." (

Furthermore, the diagnostic criteria. According to Wikipedia, include the following:
-callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
-gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
-incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
-very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
-incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
-marked proneness to blame others, or to offer plausible rationalizations, for the behavior that has brought the patient into conflict with society (

Upon discussion with the aid again we surmised that this student meets all of these criteria!

The next thing to think about is what to do to help this person. My opinion stems from minutes of experience dealing with these types of students and my answer is; How the HELL do I know? What I do know is that these types of students are a massive drain on the system that is trying to educate our “normal” students on a shoestring budget taxed by politicians trying to balance a budget of our tax money by milking us for more and this all really rubs me the wrong way! Perhaps an intellectual reading this can come up with a great idea that can be completely ignored by everyone everywhere.

As a future warning, my topics will include further rhetoric on, in no particular order, special education, school transportation, politics and the infamous No Teacher Caught Up (aka No Child Left Behind).

Thanks for reading my first post ever,

Ed U. Cayshun