Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Say what?

It must be difficult for advertising agencies to come up with new ideas that will get people to pay attention to the products or companies they are working for. But from my own, admittedly critical, view, some of them are just too.....annoying. I've heard it said that hating a commercial is as good as liking it. Just as long as you pay attention. I don't think that is true for contrary folk like me. I've been known to boycott businesses whose commercials I hated. Here are some recent commercials you've probably heard:
"Do you dream in chocolate?" What does that mean? Everything is sepia-toned? It doesn't even make sense. Come to think about it, I don't ever remember any food in any of my dreams. So I suppose I don't dream in chocolate, about chocolate, with chocolate or looking at chocolate.

Makeup "feels invisible." Isn't the definition of invisible that something can't be seen? I've blogged, or Facebooked, before about feeling like I was invisible when people ignored me. (Oh no, I've just verbed another noun. It's getting to me.) Anyway, I'm not sure how makeup can feel invisible. If it is invisible, why would anyone wear it? If it has terrific qualities why not sell those points. Am I the only one who doesn't feel makeup once it's on? Do others go through their days conscious of the stuff on their faces? Maybe it's me.

A store has "more fashion, less price." This is so grammatically screwed up it doesn't even make sense. One has to assume that a person can own more fashion. Is that like more shoes? Less price is senseless (pun intended).

How about a credit card that gives you "50% more cash?" Just having the card gives one more cash? Cool, I didn't know one got cash by getting a credit card. Using my cards eventually costs me, but maybe I don't have the right one. If it's 50% more, would Oprah get multiple times what I would get because she already has way more money than I do?

I've got to stop paying attention to commercials, but then what would I have to blog about except my fabulous grandchildren? I'll keep thinking.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gifted students need gifted teachers

Normally I defend teachers. I know that it is a tough job--way harder than an average outsider thinks it is. I've written opinion pieces for newspapers, debated with people (and parents) critical of teachers, and served as guest speaker in a few education courses in a local college.

It is also a career that I truly loved. I miss working with kids. There is nothing quite like watching a young person catch on to a difficult concept, or seeing the love of reading and books develop, or hearing someone say that you helped them understand something they never thought they could. Letters from former students thanking you for making a difference for them are worth more than gold for your heart.

However, it is much harder than it used to be. Teachers are constantly berated and criticized, blamed for things over which they had no control. Parents can be demanding and unreasonable. Government requirements and intrusion are squeezing out creativity and fun.

That said, all teachers are not good ones--especially for all students. It is unrealistic to expect a teacher with 30 students to individualize lessons in 30 different ways. Given. But, when a teacher has a class filled with mostly gifted students (tested and put there on purpose), I think the teacher should also be gifted. They know the frustrations.

Can anyone tell me the value of having a student write each of the spelling words in 8 different colors, if said student got 100% on the pretest?

Can anyone explain the value of having a parent of a second grade student (who reads comfortably at a 6th grade level) counting the number of words read in 20 minutes?

What does it benefit a talented student to spend time doing a math worksheet that contains problems he/she could do easily two years ago?

Some teachers, schools, and even school districts do a very real injustice to the capable students. They drown them with unnecessary busy work, require them to do nothing while reiterating material over and over for the struggling students, and ignore their needs for new and expanded learning.

No Child Left Behind has caused such concern about the students who need the most help, schools are seriously short-changing the gifted and talented.