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A StaR Is Born

Updated: 3 days ago

Teachers are indispensable public servants deserving of a pay equal to or higher than senators


Teachers play a crucial role for any country, the U.S. being no exception. Millions of teachers are required to educate millions of children all over the country. To find out more about how massive teaching is, here are some interesting general facts:

  • There are about 3.8 million teachers at both public and private schools in the U.S.

  • There are approximately 130,930 elementary and secondary schools in the U.S.

  • The U.S. has about 13,600 public school districts.

  • During the 2019-2020 school year, there were about 55.5 million students enrolled in pre-K through 12th grade in the U.S.

  • The average salary of an elementary school teacher is $65,420, and the average salary of a high school teacher is $67,340.

  • Teachers in New York have the highest average salaries of any state, and teachers in Mississippi have the lowest average salaries.

As an after thought, Senators should be paid the same as teachers for a year.


Teachers leave a lasting impact on their student, for good or for ill. Luckily, many students report positive impacts from their teachers, as according to our research:

  • The average teacher will impact more than 3,000 students throughout the course of their career.

  • 83% of students say a teacher helped improve their confidence and self-esteem.

  • 87% of people wish they’d told their teachers how much they appreciated them.

  • 88% of people say their teachers played a significant positive role in their lives.

  • 79% of students say they’ve been encouraged to follow their dreams by a teacher.

  • 54% of students say they’ve had a teacher who helped them through a difficult time.

  • 75% of students say they see teachers as mentors and role models.

teachers are more important in molding the character of america than technology and politics.

when someone decides to step into the teacher's shoes and sit in the teacher's chair, life has given them the opportunity to make a difference.

back to another chapter of "Memoirs of a Mad Teacher."

"Before summer is over, stop and think about the next school year for a minute and visualize it." Thought she and turned over on her stomach on the red beach towel.

It, the beginning of a new school year, may have started with an introduction to tai chi, or with a character trait to practice together during the day. There were always many stories to share, so time went by quickly! Especially on that first week of class. Fourth grade to be exact. A beautiful time!

For the first-year teacher, however, it often becomes one of the most memorable and longest weeks of their career. I remember when... in this picture.

The worst memory from that first year in 1994, was to find out years later that little Ryan didn't really cry because Samantha made fun of his big ears but for another reason much too dark to share. That will always haunt me. I should have looked beyond.

Class didn't start with Tai chi movement One until 2008 at the elementary school for museum education where I spent the best years of my teaching career before jumping off the cliff to stardom.

Before then, the first weeks of school would focus on routines. Tai chi became part of the routine that last year at that level. Art and poetry became part of the routine. Meditating and sharing became part of the routine, right along with cleaning up after yourself, organizing supplies, and thinking freely, creatively, and imagining.

I had been teaching elementary intermediate grades for several years, perhaps twelve, since 1994.

Finally, that last year at the museum school, I had been swapped with the second grade teacher and both "queens," had to let go and step into each other's shoes.

"Impossible." I could not do it, I thought it was evil. Second grade was not my grade. However, that year, I learned more about teaching than I had for years. Second graders are the smartest kids in the world. No kidding. They know everything already. They are compassionate, mean, cute, and ugly, all at once, all the time. They are geniuses.

Lesson One

Title Plotting a Story

Topic A teacher is born—rigor is learned!

Inquiry What do teachers expect when they begin teaching?

Research What does teaching entail?

How is rigor evaluated in teachers?

What does rigor, a word that frequently pops up in conversations about education, really mean? More specifically, what does it mean for literacy instruction, and how does it relate to challenging standards-based assessments? In this informative and practical guide, literacy expert Nancy Boyles uses the framework from Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) to answer these questions, offering experience-based advice along with specific examples of K–8 assessment items.

While teaching reading resources at an elementary school in rural settings, I learned from the powers that be, none other than the Department of Education of the United States of America, directly to the staff and faculty of the school. We all learned how NOT TO water down the curriculum.

I learned that just because a student has a low socio economic level, may be one or more years below grade level, deficient language development, and malnourishment, the curriculum is not to be made less rigorous in understanding it parts not its depth decreased.

When any subject matter is "watered down," politicized, softened, or altered, and discussed from ONLY one point of view, you are cheating someone out of their education, you are cheating someone out of their right to think for themselves.

When you only provide factual information that can be obrtained from wikipedia you are nto teaching, you are baby sitting and nobody is teaching the kids, which is what happens in the majority of public school settings with the curriculum vs teacher training.

what does teaching take?

Are you or someone you know an educator who wants to up their teaching game through emerging trends and best practices to acquire modern skills and exceptional teaching methods? Are you interested in providing a learning environment that caters to all learning types, realizes students' true potential, and nurtures their creative expression and mental well-being? If so, you’ve picked up the right book!

Hopefully everyone knows not just wonders what it is like to teach children of any age or level. Yes, teaching is fun and hilarious most of the time, but it is also very stressful and exhausting at the same time.

How do these two opposite feelings collide? Because teaching requires one and half times our effort, we do that much more in one second, every minute and hour after hour non stop all day for 7 straight hours, on the clock. Off the clock teachers do at least two more a day.

How is one curriculum better than another?

MILLIONS of dollars are spent on new technology and textbooks by School districts all throughout the United States. Spending billions of dollars every year on educational technology comprises most of the school spending on technology such as: tablets, laptops, apps, student monitoring, online courses, videos, software.

Unfortunately for education stakeholders, due to poor decisions making byschool administrators, much of school funding is wasted on products that are overpriced and overrated, don't improve student learning and are not implemented following the guidelines suggested due to cuts in staff made to buy more gadgets.

The education technology that is picked out turns out to be mediocre at teaching and improving the education experience of students. The school funding is almost never used to its full advantage.

Making decision on Ed Tech

School districts tend to be attracted to products based on good marketing rather than doing a deep analysis and research on effective education technology.

As a "mad teacher" I would venture to say that there are heavy kickbacks at stake in ed tech.

What students need is more hands-on and the classics.

During my transfer from rural to urban I landed in an inner city magnet school for the arts where teachers were afraid to stand at the entrance for fear of drive by shootings in Miami, reportedly taking place in that area.

The principal there caught me explaining a simple mathematics operation on the board as I was teaching something from the story that had to do with it (I was always a Language Arts teacher in Miami). She called me to the office and I explained the situation, end of story. But why wold they waste time on that instead of seeing to it that there is more personnel in each class available to help students focus and understand in order to synthesize down the road.

Because Dade is a departmentalized district, teachers are only responsible for their own subject's curriculum and that's great and fair (I am all for specialization in education).

However, integrative learning, is what another magnet school in the district, the museum school I rave about, was all about.

After a head on collision accident, I retained a teaching position near my suburban resident in Dade to attend frequent therapy and avoid long hours at the wheel.

That's when I discovered a unique school that opened my eyes about private schools. I love private schools. I love schools. Period. I had the time of my life teaching at this little private school with a big heart. Not a religiously dictated curriculum but a classic and neurologically sound curriculum was implemented at the prep school.

They should write a book about their real work, the soul of their school. Students self esteem, bonding among students, and grade level increased exponentially in one school year worth small group settings, a teacher and a teacher's aide. Support staff only paces away, was always there to make phone calls home, arrange meeting, and conduct them only call you in to narrate your side.

In other words, a teachers heaven. But the downside were the benefits, not being able to pay into the FRS and salary motivated the transfer back to public.

But this time, I knew who was who in Dade and landed in the best school ever.

At the prep school, they didn't waste moneys on ed tech, they actually provided something much more vital: human interaction with teachers and peers. Oh, and a wonderful library of classical works. Wow!

From Cicero to C. S. Lewis, from Thomas Aquinas to Thomas Jefferson, the great minds of the West have been formed by a classical curriculum centered on Latin and Greek. Now you can give your children a traditional classical education at home with The Latin-Centered Curriculum. In a clear and readable introduction, The Latin Centered Curriculum surveys the history of classical education from the ancient Greeks through the 20th-century neoclassical revival. He demonstrates the central position of Latin in the traditional course of study and outlines the many benefits of placing the classical languages at the heart of the curriculum. Then he shares with you the secret of a superior multum non multa- not quantity, but quality. With helpful charts and detailed explanations, The Latin-Centered Curriculum guides you step by step with book and curriculum recommendations for each school subject from K-12. It shows you how focusing a few core disciplines-classical languages, mathematics, and composition-can revolutionize your home school. The best education is simple but deep. In this second edition you'll

At least the American system works this way. In many countries, lunches are not provided to students. I remember how in Venezuela, a break in the middle of the morning was enough to sustain students and I until lunch time at home at 1:30. We then napped, rested, listened to music, or talked, for about an hour before getting back to the studies (lots of homework) and exercising came after. So we'd spend two more hours of schoolwork at home. In the eveneings before sunset, we'd jog, play tennis, or go for a horseback ride.

Then dinner and TV before going to bed. Such was the routine for me in Latin America where I coursed two years of high school after emigrating there from Florida during their boom years in the 70s.

This forty-five-page booklet is an ideal introduction to classical education that traces the history of classical education and describes its modern renaissance. The booklet also highlights the distinctive elements of the movement, including its emphasis on teaching grammar, logic, and rhetoric (the trivium); the role and benefit of classical language study; and the extraordinary achievements of students who are receiving a classical education. This engaging and conversational booklet includes anecdotes,diagrams, and charts, and is especially recommended to parents just beginning their examination of classical education. An unabridged, eighty-minute audio CD, read by the author, is also available.

-Concise but significant introduction to classical education

-Clear definition and historical overview of classical education

-Descriptions of the modern renaissance in classical education

-Examples of student achievement around the country

-Helpful anecdotes, diagrams and charts Unabridged Audio CD also available.

No matter what people say about teachers always talking about their job, it helps teachers get it off their chest. Most teachers spend the day focusing on listening and problem solving besides course presentation, guided reading, annotated and informal evaluations, lining up, tidying up, taking students to restroom break and lunch, organizing materials, getting the laptops or pads out and then back in, troubleshooting technological malfunctions as needed, and getting ready for the next school day, calling parents, making personal, medical, and business calls only during a break and after dismissal hours only to be put on hold and having to brave traffic before the office closes.

Stress kills teachers. I watched it happening aroung me and left the profession.

Consider this article released by RAND JUNE 18, 2024.

And this one published by FortuneWell:

America’s teachers are among the most burned-out, stressed-out, unfairly paid workers in society, survey finds: ‘They should be lionized’
Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition

Classical education is an education of the heart and conscience as much as it is an education of the mind. This book explores the classical emphasis on formation of character and links Charlotte Masons ideas to the thinkers of the past. This is not a “how to” book about education, but a “why to” book that will bring clarity to many of the ideas you already know about teaching and learning.

“I thought that my fire for heart education could not be further stoked; I was mistaken. Karen Glass has here laid out the thrilling joy of education, for both the teacher and the taught.”—Michelle Miller, author of the TruthQuest History series

“From the very beginning I couldn't put it down! What a gem!”—Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason

It's best to let their stress out. Teachers give their life to the job. So many hours after and forever, yet "Johnny can't read" will haunt then even after retirement.

That was one thing I knew I would not see. Therefore, I left before my time was up to pursue other pastures where imagination can run amuck without a teacher's assessment.

If you are a teacher or know a great one - this is the perfect teacher gift book! Also for homeschool teachers

Is being a teacher leaving you overwhlemed, stressed and burnt-out? Can the simple act of journaling take the day in your classroom from Crappy to Happy?

Harvard Research say, "Yes!" And it takes less than 10 minutes a day!

Every new and seasoned teacher would benefit from meditation and yoga on a daily basis. I remember staying up all night getting those grades in - research says 24 hour feedback works best. But somewhere along the way all those theories become just that.

Must one give up the rigors of the craft as idealistic and unrealistic? Twenty years later, I must have learned to give students feedback in a way that they knew the difference without seeing their grade. That's my theory and it works best. If you know you got it wrong you don't expect an A.

Most students know the grade they deserve. Others surprise themselves in both a good and a bad way.

The Case for Catholic Education: Why Parents, Teachers, and Politicians Should Reclaim the Principles of Catholic Pedagogy

Catholic schools have a reputation for being rigorous. Rigor is missing in American education and it's also missing in the American lifestyles. We are Westerners without the Stoicism of the classics that created Western thought. Instead, we are mere merchants of knowledge devoid of the wisdom of the shamans.

Apart from the fact that they got away with murder for a long time, Catholic schools in posh neighborhoods all over the world use the classical curriculum in which Stoicism has a big part.


  • Provides a comprehensive assessment of the school-to-prison pipeline

  • Recommends a supportive and rehabilitative model that decriminalizes education and challenges punitive juvenile justice

  • Written by one of the foremost national experts on this topic

  • Identifies the major risk factors for involvement in the pipeline

Check out the article and data about the school to prison pipeline. The "from student to felon" of this pipeline is similar to that of a sales funnel, in this case it is the sale of an individual's rights.

A "who cares," "don't care," "f* that" attitude will make the oppressed reality prevail. We see it everywhere. The American ghetto is not the only place where conformity prevails. Look deeper in every community.

Can any given set of books help us? Won't hurt trying. Good ideas and good advice come with an open mind and an open open heart. It helps to read about how we can all be more supportive of each other.

Perhaps we should look towards business leadership models and evaluate what we experience as citizens and professionals.

"the Future of Work Rewards a Cross-Pollinating"

" Gets directly to the point on why collaboration has become the most important zeitgeist across leadership today. McKinney's book also will give you practical solutions that you can implement in your workplace and cascade through your teams."

Serial entrepreneur Priscilla McKinney reveals the secret behind some of the world's most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies.

A few years ago when the need to change careers struck me, I really resented that my friends said I was always going to be a teacher. I felt humiliated as if I weren’t smart or good enough to do anything else with my life, as if being a teacher had thwarted all the other possibilities of a career.

Couldn't be farthest from the truth. I will always be a teacher.

Any and all the books in the world won't help you make the decision if you're not ready. And you know when you are because there is no other option. If change is what you desire and stagnation is what you feel, can you rescue your career?

Trying different grade levels, high school, middle school, even college, didn't help. But getting to know how most students move up in level but decline in motivation and increase in darings was disturbing.

To file for retirement and divorce the ties to the profession with the State, to be cut free and try to make it on my own was a daring lesson learned. "You must follow your heart."

As of late, though, I have felt proud of being a teacher— almost never regret it. Teaching was/is the natural flow that leads my course of action in life and this blog as well.

St. Angela, the patron saint of teachers founded the Company of St. Ursula in 1535 in Italy to teach girls. I imagine her to be quite a rebel! I also feel the spirit of Yemanya, the Yoruba Goddess mother-teacher of all. Perhaps that’s why when I visit the sea, I find such inspiration and peace.

Teaching is nothing but communication in action. Practicing makes it better but never perfect. The real teacher is empathy. Peace comes thereof. And that's when learning takes place.

consider a teacher a star in the life of your child
Teachers are Stars

No one can learn anything unless they want to and what they learn from being exposed to events depends on the circumstances within and surrounding them, the people in their lives, and the love perceived.

Love is plentifulness, not lacking, not suffering, not in pain and heals all. But we don't always express it. That's what makes a difference. Expression, Communication.

Such progress I've made in teen communication surprised me just a few days ago, I was able to help turn a teen’s feelings about quitting the team without even realizing it. It happened spontaneously by listening with empathy. My ability to listen at that moment without judging turned the moment into an introspection of preferences and virtue.

I wasn't always a good listener. I have been autocratic, laissez faire, and permissive. Confrontational behavior wreaks havoc on your patience. It raises your heart rate, elevates cortisol levels. Teachers develop certain diseases characteristic of their job demands. To avoid confrontation one must command with love and respect.

Every job puts stress on your body and your mind. and they also put a strain on your soul. Every job is deserving. Work is an honor. The honor is in the heart you offer at work.

If, and when we listen with unconditional acceptance, everything will just be a learning byte. By writing it down you’re facing the sun. And so Martí in his poem affirms, “moriré de cara al sol.”

Instead of reacting and saying, “you can’t quit, the season is almost over, don’t be a quitter, or be reliable,” the teen and I talked about sport preferences. The rest came by itself. Most people come to the right conclusion based on empathy. Empathy for the team and coach, empathy for the school, empathy for self as an athlete.

We can’t always listen with empathy when we are emotionally engaged. That’s why the witness is a good friend to turn to when we are anxious, angry, or depressed. Our True self is rich in healing if we can tap into it. Look within. Listen to the voice that speaks love and peace. We need to listen to the angry voice in us as well. But with acceptance and love we will come to the shore of joy.

Adages like “those who can’t do teach” really got under my skin. I didn’t want to be just a teacher. Those were the words of a high schooler during some of the most pressing times of my life. I don’t remember anything else about our conversation because I was already lost in the feeling.

Whatever I said or did had no relevancy because what did I know, I was just a teacher. I mean look at me, I’m not living the American dream.

A drug dealer and politician, just about any other professional or non-professional worker, has a higher social standing than a teacher to the youth.

Look at the celebrity status of Narcos serial shows and the many hours of scandalous political strife mass media exposes Americans to.

This culture of violence and corruption engulfing America is only a consequence of the past. Call it what you want. We live in a universe governed by the unbreakable laws of nature.

As a society, we are continuously teaching who is who and what is the bottom line. Teachers are the second or third lowest paid profession in America. So when we say kids are the future of the world we’re not helping those who help them the most.

Yea, you guess now why this blog is called memoirs of a mad teacher. So, I’m not going to be giving out stickers for good behavior to make anyone feel they’re working towards a compensatory ideal.

Compensation, that’s the real deal. What will I get? How far will it take me? How do I get to it?

We teach competition, reward for the winners, from birth. We are competing for looks, wealth, status, and fame, but not enough for compassion, peace, cooperation, and expression.

You may think that if you push, push, push, and get ahead you’ll come to have. But there are gatekeepers everywhere. You can have ever so much, or you have to know the code. To play the games you must qualify and be the top winner.

A simple life is best of all. Although that doesn’t mean we are. I must confess.

I love Ursula Le Guin, she had the courage to create new social settings in which the old equation of the hero of a thousand faces that writers follow has many new variants.

We don’t encourage having a lot of imagination at school. We are afraid to do so. We would have to judge.

As teachers we are mandated to follow a certain curriculum guideline and develop the practice of the skills necessary to achieve a certain standard at a certain grade level per year and month. Under what is usually a broader theme, weekly/daily activities are designed, suggested, provided. However, there is a whole lot of in-context interpretation– and that’s all dandy.

That’s where the teaching comes in.

Skills, that’s a word all teachers use. Everyone wants kids to have the best skills.

But what do we do with skills?

Apply them to what?

A fairy tale?

That there is the gist. How is education serving society or is society serving education? It feels like the latter more than the other. I’m not saying there isn’t any expansion, but it’s not enough. Let’s look at the number of youth in the legal system per country, state, and county.

And who is being made aware of that? Not kids. But they catch on, years down the road. Some won’t, but those who do become the overcomer who can make the greatest leap into the future.

Let’s see, when I started teaching, I was a teenager in Venezuela I taught kids from Pre-K to 6th grade ½ hour of English a day. I started the day at 7 and ended early so I could attend night school and get my Baccalaureate.

I was supposed to be a Junior in the States before leaving, but the nearest American School was too far away. So, I switched to Spanish and became fully bilingual.

I remember engaging my English students kinesthetically and role playing a lot. They loved English; we went shopping, to the doctor, the park, the party, and many other places. And we followed directions to get there and back. It was fun! Seldom did I use the books and did so only complementarily.

No one suggested I teach in any particular way. The director gave me no direction. I just did what I thought would be most fun if I were the student. Again, empathy was the teacher.

Lucky kids! My learning style is kinesthetic. They were able to jump and shout, be quiet and crouch. I bet they’d remember some of those directions in English to this day.

As soon as I got used to that, the big city called me, so I began teaching adults there while attending Berlitz Interpreter’s program. That was quite an experience. I will never forget the diversity of students in the Berlitz’ classroom. Everyone came from a different country and spoke more languages than me.

I branched out and used the same books from the institute (I let them know) to teach my own clients in the industrial zone in my parent’s (now) hometown. I also served as interpreter to these industries through a friend who was a high exec in the country’s biggest foundry.

Carefree was the word for me.

Some years later, I am teaching public school in a rural area. It is my first class. My room is exquisitely decorated and welcoming with lush vegetation and colorful boards. I had just passed the requirements for the mentorship and student teaching requirements.

Oh boy, did I have a problem not long after. One of the students in my 4th grade class had a severe case of body odor and no one wanted to be next to her. Ruining my day before lunch, already, I had to do something. The counselor provided me with a classroom set of toiletries and instructions on how to present the grooming and hygiene class.

Great idea! But that didn’t help either, notes sent home were not returned. No one answered the phone. Left a message. The next day, I sat her next to the Teacher’s desk and covered the smell with a plugin. Made her the teacher’s helper, so she spent time clipping the daily work, and erasing the board. Everyone else was kind of jealous.

Next thing you know, she was smelling like roses and combing her hair, wearing clean clothes and smiling. I don’t know if it was a combination of things or just her decision to like herself since someone else liked her enough. Again, empathy is the teacher.

That year I learned that boys are just as sensitive or more than girls when I saw the tears rolling down the tallest toughest looking boy in the class because the girl next to him said he had elephant ears. Interestingly, today, that girl is a nurse practitioner, and the last thing I heard about the boy is that he had gone to prison for child abuse.

That made me think hard about the problems that oversensitive boy was having at home which he never told, and as I write this, I wish I had seen the signs and changed the course of his life.

Throughout the next few years, I would have great ideas about teaching kinesthetically through farming and received the $500 Department of Agriculture grant for teachers every year for.

Our classroom had an interest in weather forecasting, how to grow food using the native American method of the Three Sisters without any chemical pesticides or fertilizers, bug identification, tree identification and height measuring, among other things in the curriculum.

I loved to see the excitement in the students faces when they brought in bugs and pinned them in our corkboard and then found the scientific name in the field guide and wrote it down in a small piece of paper next to the bug. We had quite a collection and may have developed an interest in science topics.

Weather forecasting was just as exciting, the rotating meteorologists had a book of clouds to guide their predictions by matching the images in it to the actual clouds. We also used rudimentary wind speed instruments created by us, and evaporation buckets.

The curriculum with most of the activities was provided by a nearby Biological Station.

I’ve asked around town, talked to other teachers in the county’s small community. No one I’ve talked to knows about the Station or have ever taken their kids or themselves to see a full functioning biological station that studies the natural environment.

How many other wonderful things are there we have no idea about? Get out of the classroom?

Everyone is so caught up in their own little world they have created for themselves and seldom step out of their blinders to research probabilities.

Life was good in the classroom, but many eyebrows were raised. The butterfly garden was weedy. We had brought those weeds there from the field because they attracted specific butterflies. So, at the end of summer the garden had been weeded out and the principal that supported the project hired by Cambridge county, MA.

Alone, there was a way out for me, too. Transfer to the next county where the pay increased by 1/3.

Overhead, the spray drift of crop dusters bathing you in paraquat. Straight ahead, mosquito plastered walls, and inside the classroom mice trails running from computer desks to the back closet. Behind you, kids somersaulting on the way to and fro.

Summer school director meant getting kids out of bed every day. 9/11. Bells Palsy.

Teachers who refused to change their already planned yearly lessons.

Here’s where combat pay shoots your ego.

That year and three months I was there, was the only time I’ve had to turn in a student’s drawing and report it to Children and Families.

Oversized shoes, public spankings, spit balls, a 3rd grader that sits on the desk. These were some of the most unusual circumstances. Most of the time it was hectic, attention deficit the norm, real quick thinking to deescalate a must, and my favorite, kinesthetic activities in the classroom.

That was the year I learned that rigor had nothing to do with meager. Students may have all the difficulties in the world, but the standard must not be watered down for those with the most deficit.

Instead, a whole language, integrated approach was introduced. Through literature, role play, and pre-reading activities, a student can reach a level of preparedness. We can only understand those things we have mapped in out brain. There must be a connection with the topic previously made.

Activities and more activities, cutting, pasting, read alouds, rereads, small group talk, letter games on magnetic boards. They tried. But the spraying of crops didn’t stop, mosquitoes loved those walls, and the mice never lost their memory one generation after another.

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