Monday, February 29, 2016



Subbed today at a middle school.  I was the resource room teacher, meaning that i was responsible for several periods of special needs students.  The faculty and staff were wonderful, very pleasant and helpful.  The kids were not quite "the worst" as one of the staff said.  But they were pretty close.  When the secretary told me that I was finished at 2:15, I offered to help her for the last period of the day.

"You'll be ready to go," she said. "We want you to come back."  

Greg, the custodian, saw me consulting my map, and he showed me to the classroom, and told me not to take any grief from anyone.  He also said he would check on me periodically.  If the kids got really out of hand, he said, let the teacher next door know.  "She don't play," he said.  He told me they called the classroom "the zoo."  

First period I spent in eighth grade literature. The teacher was trying to teach "The Diary of Anne Frank." Unfortunately he was overwhelmed by six boys who were so badly behaved i thought that they might have Tourette's.  One kid banged his text book on the desk for several minutes, and the teacher, much to his credit, completely ignored it.  To be a middle school teacher, you have to be deaf, dumb, and blind, but not too of any of these sometimes.   I asked him how he keeps it together, and he said he is retiring at the end of the year.  Who could blame him?  

It didn't help that their classroom was small and tight, with poor air circulation.  Seven kids behaved so badly.  I sent them to the principal's office.  Finally, in the last eighth grade period, they were so rude that i told them to close their mouths and put their heads on the desks.  There were two great paraprofessionals who did the heavy lifting, and i turned it over to them.  

I was glad to leave at the end of the day.  Aside from the kids, a really big disappointment was when the assistant principal brought back one of the worst behaved boys. He didn't make the kid apologize of anything.  He gave me a look that said he was tired of dealing with my behavior problems.  







Sunday, February 28, 2016




Sat outside Nathan's, enjoying this cool Sunday morning.  Had kombucha, latte in my favorite purple huge cup, and a delicious breakfast sandwich. Daniele, the owner, is dressed in soothing blues and greens. 

Drove to Berkeley to see "Where to Invade Next," the new Michael Moore movie.  Had so much fun.  Were it not so expensive, I would so consider living there, with its shady streets, shops, cafes, and a really mellow vibe.  The movie theater was in the shade of the UC Berkeley campus.  It was an older theater with a big screen.  Loved the movie, but it angered me that we cannot implement things that other countries are doing, particularly in the field of public education.  


Saturday, February 27, 2016


Went to Moschetti this morning for coffee.  After some caffeine, I took my phone to a computer repair guy in Vallejo, who looked at it and said there was no reason for it not to be working, even though it had been dropped.  He didn't charge me and told me to take it to an Apple store to be replaced.  So i drove to Marin County, to the Genius Bar, and, sure enough, they replaced it.  

The ride over was gorgeous. I passed San Quentin, and drove through more rolling hills, like you would see in England and Scotland.  

Chelsea came home. Her ship is in drydock in San Francisco, so Chris picked her up and we all had dinner at Ann and Doug's house.  Doug grilled steak and ribs, and Ann made garlic mashed potatoes and salad.  I ate voraciously, enjoying every morsel, and managed to find room for Nancy's amazing brownies.  What makes them so delicious is the layer of peanut butter spread on the brownies before she puts on a layer of chocolate frosting.  

Every time I have dinner at the Slaydons' house, I end up with a new favorite meal.  






Friday, February 26, 2016

Went back to the school in Cordelia, in third grade.  Drove through the hills, past Lake Hermann on this glorious, sunny morning.  The kids were well behaved, although one little guy had an attitude toward me, but i love bombed him.  He kept trying not to laugh, because i was being funny, but i won that battle, and, as he left for the day, he told me i was a good teacher.

The teacher left work for the students to do. I helped a few who needed some guidance.

dropped my phone on the tile floor of the teachers' bathroom and now it is not working. who saw that coming?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Although I was up at 5:30, looking for a sub job, I didn't get one until nearly 9:00 am.  Finally got a sweet one teaching fourth grade at 9:45 am, and it was only twelve miles away.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day, near seventy degrees.

When i arrived, the teacher was still there, not feeling well, getting things ready.  She described her class as "challenging".  I went right out to recess duty, introducing myself to a few teachers.  The fifth grade teacher was a doll, very kind.  The fourth grade teacher, not so much.  She was a yeller.  I would have hated her if i was a student. During recess, she told me to yell at the kids to stop them from running. During dance, she made me partner up with a kid who didn't want to participate.  I was so bad, mixing up my right and left. The poor kid was so happy when i got dizzy from twirling, and had to stop.

I had to use my 'scary teacher' voice with this group.  Immediately, i sent three of them to the principal, because they were so intentionally disruptive.  A teacher who was supposed to show up to teach a lesson didn't, so i winged it.  Luckily, the kids were studying fractions, and several of them brought in treats to divide and eat.  For the rest of the day, the kids worked on projects on their chrome books, submitting their work to their teacher by e-mail.

I earned every penny today.  When I taught full time, I didn't understand why i couldn't grocery shop after a day of teaching.  or why dinner some nights was peppermint stick ice cream. My jaw was so tired from a day of talking and nights of grinding.  Now i see clearly how physically grueling teaching is.  I always meant to get to the gym, but i was so tired by the end of the day.

Good teachers make teaching look easy and fun. Some even make it look effortless, like anyone can do it. But anyone cannot do it.  It is exhausting to have to pull out scary teacher, and i was only with these students for 3.5 hours.  But if i have to go back tomorrow, I've set the tone.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016







No sub job today.  Had a breakfast sandwich and latte at Nathan's, made by Liberty, the graceful and artistic barista who makes lovely designs in my lattes. It was quiet, and i got to sit in my nook in the corner by the front window, overlooking Georgia Street.  They put umbrellas and bowls of pink roses on the outside tables. From my spot, it looked like a street in Paris.  

A fly kept pestering me, while i was working at Nathan's.  It wouldn't leave me alone.  My Balint aunts would say that it is my aunt Kathleen visiting me.  That made me so happy.  

Finally, I found the free Qi Gong class at City Park.   



After Nathan's, I drove over to the Mare Island Golf Course. Sitting at a picnic table, I did some more writing, this time with pen and paper, high on a hill overlooking Mount Tamalpais across the silvery San Pablo Bay. This course reminds me of Whippoorwill, back in Armonk, NY.  It reached the high sixties and i let the sun warm my face, breeze blowing.  I felt like i was skipping school on one of those first spring days back east, driving carelessly through the hills of Whippoorwill.  As bad as my allergies have been, the views are spectacular.  Again, I feel like i am in a laughing gas dream and i cannot wake up.  






Tuesday, February 23, 2016




Subbed today in first grade at a school in Cordelia.  The teacher was so organized and left me a script. The classroom looked like one in an education text book, and it had great flow.  The kids were cute and very well behaved.  All i had to do was make the quiet coyote sign with my fingers and they became silent.  I kept making the sign, and they kept being quiet.  It was a game.  

The school is twenty years old, but is more modern than other schools I've been to.  It has a courtyard surrounded by two stories of classrooms. The steps become an amphitheater, and the playground has cushioned floors.  

We accomplished everything we were supposed to, except for a couple of math worksheets. They were the new common core type of problems, and none of us understood them.  I hate text book publishing companies because they drive all this stupid education stuff. This teacher never sits down.  I was moving around for six hours straight.  

Richard had a few people in for dinner. He made the Momofuku pork I tried to make earlier this year. It was amazing, fork tender and oh so savory.  The salted pork shoulder is also rubbed in brown sugar and cooked for several hours at a low temperature, and then he turned the temperature up to get a crust on it.  He served it with tortillas, onion relish, kimchee, and delicious asian green beans.  For dessert, he served homemade jack fruit ice cream, which i had never tasted before. It was lovely.  

The conversation was dreamlike, with people talking and saying words i didn't recognize. The full moon hung over the house, as i walked to my car.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016



Full moon. Didn't sub.  Took my computer to Nathan's and updated my blog.  Daniele fixed me the most delicious cornmeal waffle with over easy eggs and bacon formed into a smile.  I am officially exhausted, although, or rather because I am having a great time.  

Saturday afternoon, Chris, Nancy, Ann, and I went to a barrel tasting at Roche Winery (http://www.rochewinery.com), in Petaluma.  What a scene.  Packs of oenophiles milling through several rooms, tasting pinots noirs and chardonnays, among others, and eating delicious food paired with each wine. After the tasting, we went for pizza at Old Chicago in downtown Petaluma.  

Saturday night, Kate and I were going to see Hail Caesar, but it wasn't showing in Vallejo, so we went for a drink at the Front Room, down on the waterfront. Vallejo needs a place where grown ups can go for cocktails.   



Here is the glorious view from the Mare Island Golf Course parking lot.  

Friday, February 19, 2016



Fourth day at Crescent Elementary.  The teacher may be back on Monday. It has been nice having a routine and a regular place to go.  The day started with a fund raising assembly.  Fundraisers are the bane of my existence, as a teacher, no matter how much money they raise.  

First of all, I don't believe that parents should be in the fundraising business.  Schools should be optimally funded, so parents don't have to raise funds.  Also, we want kids focused and well-behaved, and then we bring them to an assembly like this one, designed to get them all hyped and crazy about selling junk. 

One of the second graders grandma came in to do Friday folders for the class.  What a sweetheart.  The child's grandfather fell and hit his head on Monday evening.  Now he is in a coma.  You would never have known this by this woman's demeanor.   She came in to the classroom, kind and smiling, sweet to me and the students, her skin the color of cafe au lait.  That is who we need around schools, especially first thing in the morning.  

After school ended, I met Richard and Kate at the Suisun Valley Wine Coop, just what I needed after teaching for four days straight for the first time in three years.   We drank a malbec that was really lovely.  I made it home, chatted with Chris and Nancy, before falling asleep at 7:00 pm.  That is what i get for being up at 5:15 am, and on time, all week.


This is Richard being goofy.  He knitted that sweater himself.  The yarn is sumptuous, begging to be petted. 




Thursday, February 18, 2016


Back at Crescent Elementary after a night of rest and rain.  I didn't get to sleep until nearly 1:00 am.  But i was up and at it this morning, and stopped at the grocery store for coffee and the day's provisions.  I put my faith in the other teacher and the parents, and the morning went smoothly.  The day went fast, with two students receiving in-house suspension from the other teacher for being obnoxious.  

This school is similar to Osceola, where I taught for my entire career.  The teachers are seasoned, and the kids seem to thrive on the structure.  The school runs like the most precise Swiss watch. I feel like a cog in a very well oiled machine.  

Drove home through American Canyon, and had to cruise through Mare Island on this chilly, sunny afternoon.  Sat in the parking lot at the golf course and reveled in the view of Mt. Tamalpais in the distance, enveloped in a raging rain storm. San Pedro Bay glistened in the silvery sunshine.  

I willed myself to sit upright, out in the backyard, at least until 5:00 pm. I really am exhausted, though.  Happy, but exhausted, seeing that this is what it feels like to teach without the responsibilities that weighed me down, and made me feel like i was sinking.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016



Day 2 in Mrs. D's class. She teaches math.  It was much smoother today, mainly because i knew most of the kids' names and Mrs. M, the teacher she teams with, left everything for the day in neat piles.  Lots of outdoor physical activity means better behavior.  The teachers keep telling me how happy they are that i am there.  One teacher said i am on my way to becoming a regular sub there.  She said it is difficult to find someone who can manage the students and the parents.  I have had loads of practice.  


Tuesday, February 16, 2016



Today was my first of at least four days in a second/third grade split classroom at Crescent Elementary. The teacher had an appendectomy on Saturday.  Good thing I was up and out early.  Siri led me to the wrong destination, a middle school six miles away.

I got to the school with minutes to spare.  The other teacher asked me if I was available for next week, as well.  I said to ask me on Thursday, when I'd have a better idea of how my body was holding up.  

This school is so beautifully organized. And so is this teacher.  These kids did centers, with parent helpers, and it ran so smoothly.  They also did research on pill bugs, and made slides about them on their chrome books.  


After school, I drove to Mare Island, and spread my blanket under the trees by St. Peter's chapel.


Monday, February 15, 2016



I feel much better after a total layabout day, and a night of good sleep. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and it's going to be in the 70s today.  Back east, my relatives are struggling with below zero temperatures and a pending blizzard. I don't know how i did it for as long as i did.  Now i understand why Californians always look so happy and peaceful.  They really do live in paradise.  They have seen the light.

I did not see the light until this past October, and then BAM! Now i am not sure i can go back to the way it was.  If this was a movie, my life would have been in black and white until i started to take this trip.  As i got more and more miles under my belt, the colors became more intense, until California, where it's all psychedelic and cartoon-y.  

Took a walk to the top of the hill at the Mare Island, with Kate and Richard and the dogs.  I haven't had the energy to go all the way for a while, so i am feeling pretty triumphant. The best part, aside from watching the sun set over Mt. Tamalpais, is laughing as we walk back down the hill.  



Sunday, February 14, 2016







Yesterday was gorgeous. Started the morning off at the coffee tasting at Moschetti Coffee Roasters with the Barak Obama blend. Got a bag to carry us through the week. Talked to several community activists about the threatened concrete plant for Vallejo.  Apparently, certain people in Vallejo think it would be a good way to bring jobs to this area.  This faction thinks the artists, who are predominately against the concrete plant, are big flakes who don't understand financial development.  

The artists are the ones who should be thanked for getting Vallejo back to this place of viability. They say yes to jobs, but be smart about what kind of jobs.  

These concrete plant jobs would be at the cost of the local environment, which has been struggling to recuperate from all of the toxic waste leftovers from Mare Island, the decommissioned naval base. With the concrete plant, Vallejo could end up like Youngstown, Ohio, who made a deal with the devil.  After the steel industry up and left the people of Mahoning County totally screwed, the area was so desperate for any kind of financial growth that they made all kinds of sweetheart deals with a for-profit prison corporation.  Youngstown is still depressed.  





Doug Slaydon, Nancy's brother-in-law, turned 60, and his wife, Ann, Nancy's twin sister, threw a really fun party for him at the Swiss Hotel, in Sonoma.  These people know how to have a great time.  Almost every weekend since i have been here, there has been something going on - halloween, thanksgiving, birthdays, christmas, new years, and Nancy and Ann's birthday. I am trying to get more stamina so i can keep up with these revelers.  



Friday, February 12, 2016



Worked at Tolinas Elementary for part of the day, where I began this week.  I was assigned the resource room.  Rob Oldham is one of two resource room teachers, and he was there, and in charge today. I love his attitude about kids who come to the resource room.  Since it is the day before Valentines Day, there were not many students.  They stayed in their classrooms for the parties.

Rob told me that, as a child, he was a kinesthetic learner.  Over time, he became very oppositional and defiant, because our public education system is set up for sedentary, passive learning.  He has real empathy for students, and understands that children cannot learn unless they trust you.  They cannot trust you if you are not friendly.  Kids know the real deal.

All classrooms should be safe, compassionate places.  Grown ups need to set a kind and friendly tone, and children will follow their good example.  

At the end of yesterday, one of the little boys at Laurel Creek, Wyatt, said, "I don't want to be mean to my teacher, but I really do like you."  I assured him that he could like me and not be disloyal to his teacher.  How sweet is that?

I've been requested to go back to Crescent Elementary for at least four days.  They said really nice things about my class room management, so how can i refuse?

Took the long way home, through the lush, green hills of Napa.  

It is a good feeling going into the weekend, knowing I have four days of employment next week.  


Thursday, February 11, 2016


Subbed the whole day at Laurel Creek Elementary, in third grade.  Another beautiful drive. I like schools like Laurel Creek, because people smile at each other.  This school emphasizes kindness and compassion, and it shows on the faces of the school secretaries and other adults around campus.

The kids were very well behaved. First thing this morning there was rehearsal for a school-wide dance program, in the cafeteria.  It was so much fun and really energizing to watch.  The dance teacher was amazing, captivating a hundred kids.

One of the kids i had in the resource room last week, who did not like me and stormed out, was in today's class.  He ended up liking me.

The kids wrote in their journals, and i wrote along with them.  They were very impressed by how fast i wrote and how many pages i filled up.

During recess, a California Highway Patrol helicopter landed on the hard court, so we stayed out and listened to the presentation the deputy gave to the kindergartners for career day.

Kate invited Richard and I to her house in Benicia for wine and snacks. We sat in her bucolic backyard, surrounded by flowering quince, chirping frogs.  It got a little chilly as the sun went down, so we went inside and got warm in her lovely living room.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Nearly three years ago, i woke up on a sunny Saturday morning, looking forward to lunch at the Ocean Grill with friends.  While taking a hot shower, my head felt like it exploded.  Somehow, I made it to the bed and managed to call 911.

I survived a stroke.  For a long time, though, I wasn't sure i wanted to.  My right side didn't work. I could barely talk, and I was very confused and really depressed.  I had to learn to walk and read again.  Even after I looked like i regained all of my faculties and functions, I still was not sure i wanted to survive, because of stabbing migraines, nauseating vertigo, and debilitating depression.

Now that i am three years out, and a three thousand miles from Vero Beach, i see, with clarity, what a miracle life is. I am here to bask in the sun's warmth, with family and friends, old and new, who love me. Never could I have imagined this kind of peace for myself. But here i am.

I took a walk through Vallejo's historic downtown, and I met a lovely woman named Margie, who was sitting on the porch of her 1912 Craftsman home, with her two dogs, Ginny and Charlie.  She gave me a tour of the first floor, with all its polished wood trim and built ins, and then took me out to her magic garden.  We sat in wrought iron glider chairs that she got for free at a neighbor's garage sale.  Before i left to walk back to my car, she insisted that i sit on her porch swing. The view is amazing from that swing, looking out over El Dorado and Virginia Streets.





Worked today at Tolinas Elementary, in the resource room. Then took a ride through the rolling hills of Cordelia, on my way back to the house.





Sunday, February 7, 2016



   

Friday, I spent the day guest teaching in a kindergarten class at Cleo Gordon Elementary School, for the whole day, with 26 five year olds.  I finished at 2:40 and went to visit Jean, who had more neck surgery on Monday, and Vince.

After I left them, I stopped at Mare Island Preserve, where I parked and called my friend, Patty Hoben, who i stayed with in Milwaukee, and who had an unfortunate accident, breaking both of her ankles.  We had a great chat and discussed meeting in Vero the last two weeks of June, so I can sort out my storage unit situation and decide what to bring out here and what to consign.

Kate called and we met at a tasting room on Mare Island called The Godfather, located in one of the beautiful old admirals' quarters.  We got a bottle of red and took it out to the porch, where we flopped into oversized wicker chairs.  We were laughing, and then Richard showed up, and we got a second bottle of wine, but we could not finish it, so Richard took it home.

We went to La Tapatila, a grocery store on Broadway, for burritos, and took them back to Richard's house.  I was exhausted and so proud of myself for staying up, and not going back to the house.  We watched "Transition," with Jeffrey Tambor, and I got home at a respectable 9:05 pm, although it felt like the wee hours of the morning.

Yesterday, after doing laundry, I went to Moschetti's, for local honey, coffee, and chocolate, before leaving town to visit Kriss Hayward, who I became friends with at our mutual friend Claudia's birthday this past summer, in Santa Clara.

While waiting for my clothes to dry, I sat outside and Tine, my good friend from Vero, called.  We talked for nearly an hour.  I do miss her so much.

Finally got on the road around 11:30 and made it to Kriss' around 1.  We went out for salads and then walked to the mall, so i could get new running shoes.  my old ones had no tread on the bottom.  no wonder my hips hurt.  I got some really cool purple metallic New Balance running shows that remind me of my aunt Betty Hoyt, and something she would wear.  As soon as I put them on, i felt better.

Walking back, we stopped at the Valencia Hotel, and Kriss treated us to cocktails (me - dragonfruit mule; her - raspberry mojito) and sumptuous tuna tartare.  It was weird to be so close to the Super Bowl action and have absolutely no interest in it.  I did see the stadium from afar, and the blimp.

After cocktails, we went home, where we talked and Kriss made really good ravioli with pesto.

This morning, we went to a really cool coffee place called the Big Mug. I could not believe i was in Silicon Valley, a place i had read about for years. It was gorgeous and sunny, in the seventies, the kind of weather that makes Californians happy.

While everyone else was watching the Super Bowl, I was driving through the hills of Palo Alto, cursing because the views were so astonishing.  I wanted to see Stanford, but i took a wrong turn, and it was so amazing.  My head was spinning, so i pulled over at the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, to get my bearings.  I was feeling shaky, nauseous, and was afraid the vertigo had come back.  It got a bit scary, and i had to tell myself that if this was it for me, and this is where it ends, I am already in heaven.  It is so discombobulating, but i needed to be discombobulated.



Thursday, February 4, 2016

Picked up a job at Crescent Elementary at 7:05 am and made it by 8:05.  Had a brief moment to read the very organized teacher's instructions.  There is lots of parental involvement.  Parents have to volunteer three hours a week in their child's classroom.  There were four moms in the grade 2/3 classroom, and they were great. The kids move to different classrooms for math and language arts, and they do it with military precision.

I got to teach a lesson on fractions to the third grade, and one on numeric notation to the second graders.

On days like this, i amaze myself. Then i realize that i have been training for this for my whole life, but especially during my teaching career. I am becoming a master at happy, glitch-free mornings. My goal is to enjoy the drive and smile at people on campus, especially children.

Today I am channeling Kim Koontz, one of my favorite subs at Osceola. She never had to raise her voice.  It looked like she never had to give spoken instructions.  She seemed to glide through the day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Subbed at a school today where twelve subs were scheduled to work.  I was assigned to two kindergarten classes, so the teachers could test students, and then to a fourth grade class.  The fourth grade class was horrible.  I feel so sorry for the teacher. A kid named Jesus tried to commandeer the class.  He really wanted a power struggle, as did two other young ladies, who rolled their eyes so much and so hard that i feared they would fall out of their heads.

 The future is grim for these three.  They told their teacher i said they could play games on their i-pads, the little liars.  The teacher asked me if i was available for two days in March, but i will never sub for her again, at least this year.  What an obnoxious group.

Wednesday is a great day to sub, because it is an early release day, and i was finished at 1:00 pm.  I got back to Vallejo and went to the Napoli for a late lunch.  It reminds me of pizzerias on Lockwood Avenue, in Yonkers, NY.  Their minestrone soup is so good, and it is accompanies by salad and garlic bread with marinara sauce.

I am forcing myself to stay out of the house for as long as possible, or else i will climb into bed until tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Thought i was working this morning, but woke at 5:30 to find out the job at Tolinas had been cancelled.  Took it as another sign to write more.  I drove back out to the Napa Public Library, stopping first at the Buttercream Bakery and Diner for breakfast.

I am doing a very good job staying on the road leading toward the light. Sometimes, like this morning, it is as simple as making a sudden U-turn in traffic.

Had another moment of joy today when i realized i am the only one who can do for me.  I used to think that someone or something else was going to tame me, rein me in, make me more reliable.  It is all up to me.

The day is grey, rainy and foggy. But this afternoon, the sun came out and i saw another rainbow.

Monday, February 1, 2016




Toward the end of my teaching career, I got very efficient and organized and one of my colleagues started calling me "Little Miss on Top of Things," because i had most things completed ahead of time.

That's who i felt like when i woke up this morning at 5:00 am.  I had all my ducks in a row as far as coffee and provisions for a day working at Tolinas Elementary School.  Blew dry my hair and even tamed it with combs for a more professional look.  Got to school five minutes early.  Made a cheery entrance and felt pretty good about myself, until Kerry, the school secretary, informed me that the job was tomorrow.

I took at as a sign that today needed to be a writing day, and either a walking or swimming day.

I called Lulu from the school parking lot and we laughed about it. She told me how proud she was of me for getting int he car and getting away from Vero.  I am proud of me too.

Out here, I have a future that makes me want to get up in the morning, and to take care of myself.  Every day is an adventure, where i am going to be surprised at least once.  I am so happy that i can still be surprised.

My teacher friends would get the humor of this morning.  I now see how lovely it is to have a calm morning, without the steady surge of adrenaline that pumped through my body on those mornings at Osceola.  There was no anxiety because i am getting good at handling uncertainty.

Whenever I meet another teacher, most of the time, I feel like I am meeting a member of my tribe.  As I have said over and over, I am so grateful to have been a teacher and to have known so many good and caring teachers, as a student, and as a colleague.  The best teachers I know are the ones who see every student as a human being, right where they are, for who they are.

I have a lot of gripes about public education, but none of them have to do with teachers.  In all the discussion about education reform, teachers and students are the only critical constants.  Teachers want to teach, not engage in an inane political process.  That is how the political industrial public education machine has been allowed to flourish.  The lack of respect people have toward teachers specifically and intellect in general is disappointing, to say the least.