604: Slavery in modern times

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Not all Civil War monuments celebrate slavery – many memorialize the Americans who served and died, whose relatives raised the money to erect a memorial in their honor, as a remembrance of lives lost in armed conflict. There is nothing stopping others (whose views and memories are different) from raising the funds and erecting new memorials that reflect their differing views. There is room to coexist.

I come from that part of the USA that has a unique history. We are the only American citizens to suffer defeat in armed combat – if you don’t count the recent military “actions” that were never rightfully called a war, even though Americans also fought and died there in armed conflict, too.

Georgia (and her Confederate sisters) was defeated. Yankees still to this day call what we did in those times as “treason,” although no Southerner calls what we did (honorably seceding from the federal union), treason. Many southerners fought that war for state’s rights, since many (most) southerners were not wealthy enough to even own slaves – what we are continually told (lectured) was the sole cause of that conflict. If the North thought the South committed treason when they seceded, perhaps freeing the slaves was not the sole reason they fought, either. Especially considering that when they freed the slaves, they did not promote them to equal status even in their own self-righteous northern homelands. Even into the 1960’s, a white boarding house owner in Green Bay, Wisconsin (among other northern states) was not allowed, by law, to rent a room to a colored man, even if he *was* a team member of the Green Bay Packers that they were all ostensibly so proud of.

My Wisconsin-born husband tells me gleefully about when the other sports fans disdainfully referred to his Green Bay Packer fans as “cheeseheads,” and how they  took that slur and made it a point of pride for the Packer nation. And he completely and willfully ignores how the term “Rebel” came to be a point of pride for oppressed Southerners during the very long years of Reconstruction that the entire region suffered under the hands of rapacious Yankees and the low-life Southern-born who sucked up to them, and who should have been raised better. Blacks like to claim that the repercussions of slavery still resonate today – and that, to a large extent, is still true for Southern people of whatever skin color.

LEGAL slavery ended in the USA as a result of the defeat of the Confederacy – and states’ rights died there, too. Slavery in modern times is primarily economic (overlooking the recent horrific actions of the Islamic State). Modern slaves are those people who, through economic need, are forced to submit to providing their labor for less than a living wage. I’ve been hearing a lot (from liberals, primarily) about how illegal aliens are beneficial to the USA economy and their illegal status should be overlooked and forgiven because they take the jobs no American citizen will take.

Well, DUH.

What do you think the South’s primary reason for importing forced labor (slaves) into the cotton and tobacco fields (labor-intensive cash crops) was, idjits? They were imported to perform necessary work that few free Americans would take, because the work was not worth the wages. That legal slavery wasn’t a whole lot different from the sharecropping that white and black Americans did, and it wasn’t much different from laying those railroad tracks across the West that the Asians did, and it wasn’t much different from the coal mining that the Irish immigrants and poor whites did. It was economic slavery. And now, in your enlightened liberal minds (ha!), you want to PROMOTE economic slavery for a whole new crop of human beings who happen to be primarily Hispanic.

Yeah right – we can be SOOOOOO proud of our self-righteous humanitarian progress in the USA, can’t we?

579: The dumbing down of America

My brand spanking new hubs has obtained a job managing one of two employment agencies in our tiny south Georgia town. I have taught high school and middle school (some) for 26 years in Georgia (all over the state). What he is reporting is a confirmation of what I have been observing for decades.

Employment agencies offer their services free to job seekers. Companies contract with them to vet their potential employees, but the company ultimately gets the final say in any hiring, and the employment agency gets a finder’s fee for vetting candidates on behalf of the employing company.

As part of the candidate process, there is a drug screening, an employment application and interview, and a screening employability skills exam. Sort of a very low-level SAT. VERY low level. The questions include: how many inches are in three yards. How many is a half dozen. What is 50% of 150. Plus other similar mind-blowing, difficult, major league, scholarly questions. Most applicants (teens to adults) fail the screening exam.

I have taught high school in my state for 26 years. His results absolutely do not surprise me. And we are getting worse, not getting better- I do not care WHAT the government pundits are telling you about improving test scores.

Our schools took out career/life classes like shop and home economics. They replaced them with curriculum that presupposes all of our students are headed off to college. Yeah, right. The governor of Georgia just released his new “mission goals” for Georgia schools. It includes the statement that ALL Georgia students will earn college or career credit before they complete high school. “•Every child in Georgia will earn college and/or career credit before they graduate high school.” Yeah, right.

Our school’s students get multiple, multiple chances to complete work, including retaking major tests. Try that in real life – unlimited do-overs. Only GOD is that kind. And, as a teacher, I am forbidden by my school administration to assign a score of zero when a student turns in nothing for an  assignment. I have to assign them points of credit – for NOTHING. Last time I checked, breathing was not an academic activity.

What I am allowed to teach in the courses I am employed to teach is mandated by the state government. I cannot teach reading to a child who cannot read. LITERALLY, not my job. I am teaching pre-Engineering. ONLY. Even though I am also state certified in English, grades 6-12.

I try. Invoking the overarching academic goal of literacy skills, I  require my students to write reflection essays in MLA format over their Engineering assignments. I have high school students who cannot write ONE correct and complete sentence, much less a coherent essay. Some cannot even to this day capitalize their first and last NAMES on a paper. I wish I was lying. And this, from native speakers of English. Our Spanish native speaking kids are blowing the American-born kids out of the water. Let’s not even discuss the MATH. I have taught how to figure the square yardage needed to replace the carpet in a room EIGHT SEPARATE TIMES, and still have high school students in the class who cannot compute it correctly. Carpet sellers, you may freely rook customers in south Georgia, because they have no clue you are going to cheat them. Have at it.

And the beauty of this? The government, and most parents, will tell you it is the teacher’s fault, all of it.

Yeah, right.

4 more years.

4 more years.

My mantra.

578:Random sh…..stuff.

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The government has married many, many women. These women marry the government when they choose to stay at home and have children to support themselves on the government dole. Many actually refuse to marry their children’s father(s), and raise those children in a nuclear family, because they are unwilling to give up the free government money. When they can obtain benefits that are sometimes more than they can earn working a no-skills job at minimum wage (all many are remotely qualified for, if that), where is any incentive to work? There isn’t any.

Our government is enabling addictive behaviors among many, dis-encouraging them to get jobs and support themselves. The trouble is, cutting them off also disenfranchises the innocent children they have spawned to earn their living upon. How do you provide benefits to children while not encouraging their deadbeat parent to spawn more children to get an even bigger government handout support check?

Is it just me, or does anyone else absolutely despair at the fact that either Clinton or Trump will win this upcoming election? They are both awful candidates – how did we sink this low, that these two are our choices? Boggles the mind, for those who have one – which means not many Americans, evidently.

IS anyone actually campaigning to do away with police? Seriously? That isn’t a country I want to live in. Yes, I understand that not every single police officer is ethical. Guess what? Neither is every single practitioner of any other profession: medical doctors, politicians (duh), lawyers, judges, presidents, preachers/priests, scientists/researchers, sports athletes, you name it. We are routinely and frequently advised by the news (if you can trust journalists (:-() that people of all professions fall short of the glory of God, or even of basic honesty. Still – I think we are far, far better off WITH a police force than without one.

Learning to live with another human being is hard work.

I have discovered that getting thin takes hard work and dedication that I do not possess on a continuing, daily basis – and THAT is why I continue to be fat, despite intermittant and dedicated short-term willpower. One slip undoes DAYS of good behavior – sometimes weeks. 😦

Whether someone is gay (which lifestyle I personally disagree with) or chooses to abort their offspring (which choice I disagree with) ultimately does not affect me in any way whatsoever. What those persons do affects them and their lives – and you know what? People have the choice to throw away their lives in various ways, including suicide (which I also disagree with) and their decisions are their own. Their decisions are between themselves and their God (or lack thereof) and YES, they may be ill or mentally unfit when they make those decisions. It isn’t always apparent that they are unfit when they choose to do themselves harm with drugs, food, alcohol, gambling, sex, or any number of other life-destroying choices. YES, we should do what we CAN do to encourage people to do better things and make better choices. NO, it isn’t my fault when they make those choices anyway, when there are programs and options they can take, and don’t. For the love of God, I have enough to do trying to live my own life in an ethical and caring manner. Enough, already.

I dislike out present cradle-to-grave government. I do not believe this is what government was supposed to be doing. I want OUT. Repudiating my American citizenship is an option, but I also don’t know another country to go to and at present there is no such thing as “citizen of the world.”

Our government pushed native American Indians onto the worst land possible as their “reservations.” Now that they are discovering those lands have resources and are not as barren as was originally thought, Americans should PAY them for the use of those resources. Plus, we need to GO AROUND their reservation lands when we have some project for the nation, like the pipeline. We stuffed them onto those lands – now, BACK OFF. Respect what we made them accept in the first place!

A teacher has a huge influence on their students. But nobody can save every kid. It has to be a two-way street. I can choose to reject every overture you make. I can refuse to learn, and some students do choose exactly that. Maybe later they will gain some interest and motivation. Maybe another teacher will try again and reach them next year. Maybe school isn’t for everybody – imagine that. Not everything is a teacher’s fault, like not every cop or politician is a bad one. Heck, there are even a few competent and ethical used car salesmen out there.

Enough, already.

562: International teaching jobs, and good advice

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I taught internationally for five years before I returned to the USA to get married. So far, HE’S been worth it, but teaching abroad was certainly more rewarding than what I am doing now, PLUS the travel opportunities. But, where do you get a teaching job overseas?

I joined two subscription sites, and several free sites, that list available teaching positions for teachers with a passport and a love of teaching. The one that trumped all the others was this one: www.joyjobs.com

This site lists jobs the other sites have never heard of, AND they have a training program online where they teach you what to do in order to get hired. AND they help you set up and host for you a professional website so you can say to schools – here is my professional website for more information – and THAT is a big help. The people who run the site are quite knowledgeable, and will assist you if you ask. Igor helped me tweak my cover letter with excellent results.

A year’s subscription is less than 40 bucks -and was worth every penny.

518: Job Security

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Most people feel pretty secure in their employment – or as much as you can in an uncertain economy that can cause even a well-established and well-managed company to have to downsize their staff. Most know, barring a major screw-up on their part, they will be employed right on, barring any major economic problems beyond everyone’s control. You get hired, you do your job, your job is pretty secure.

And, then there are teachers.

Teachers get a yearly contract. I know why school systems do this – they don’t want to have an employee walk out in the middle of the school year, leaving them with classes to cover, and little clear idea of where and how to proceed. To help prevent that, school systems in the USA offer teachers a yearly contract, that covers employment for the upcoming school year. And ONLY the upcoming school year.That means, every year, every stinking year, every teacher in the USA faces the possibility that their contract won’t be renewed, and they will be looking for a job, at the last minute.

The truth of the matter is that teachers do leave awful schools in the middle of a contract – it is called breaking your contract, and every school I have ever applied to tried very, very hard to discover if I had ever done such a heinous thing, ever before, to any other school. It is severely frowned upon – you broke your word not to leave them in the lurch, regardless of what they did to you as an employee.  They don’t want teachers who are willing to leave the school if the job sucks. And sometimes the job sucks. Sometimes any job sucks.

I got through an awful year at my second school by promising myself three times a day I would quit. I said I would quit when I got there, first thing. Once I was there, I said I’d quit at lunchtime. Once I made it to lunch, I promised I’d quit at the end of the day. At the end of the day, I got out of there and went home. I finished that miserable year. Without breaking my contract. It was miserable.

In twenty-five years of teaching, I have never had a secure job. When school systems dithered too long to offer contracts for the next year, I usually applied to another school who was looking. I have to be employed. I cannot wait and hope. At least as an international teacher, most contracts are for two years, so I get to do the whole searching thing only every OTHER year, instead of EVERY year, like in the USA.

Meh.

 

234: I GOT THE JOB!!!

Actually, I applied for a number of jobs, and sent query letters for a good many more, letting them know I was interested in the position they had available. Writing a query letter is a very tough proposition, because you want yours to stand out from the (sometimes) hundreds of other letters, without making you look like a kook – remember the application to Harvard Law School that was sent in on the movie with Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde)?

One thing that is a bad thing to do is to make up a letter that you then send out like a mass mailing. Most of those get caught up in the spam filters, and never even get seen – NOT what you wanted at all. And then there are the countless employers who don’t even bother to acknowledge that your letter or application has been received – thanks a lot, guys…..should I just keep sending them until you do respond, or should I forget working for you, since you cannot be bothered to be organized enough to even acknowledge someone’s correspondence who wants to work for you?

It is necessary to tailor each letter for THAT employer and THAT job, highlighting the skills and qualifications you have that will interest them in particular. Plus, you have to check the letter over and over for typos. How professional does a typo make YOU look?

Some employers want you to fill out THEIR application forms. Have you filled out an application form for a job lately? Each one takes a minimum of an hour and a half. Then you get to proofread it for errors, too. I do understand them, though: if an applicant is unwilling to fill out their form, why do they want to hire them if they don’t care enough about the job to even do that much?

Anyway, after lots of job applications and query letters, I have the offer I wanted most, in the country I wanted, too. Now I just have to sell all this stuff – anybody need to outfit an apartment in Morocco?

89: The problems with job hunting

This is May 23, 2012. That means we have less than a month of school left in this academic year. I have been TOLD that I have a job next year. I do NOT have a signed contract….yet. I have been TOLD that one is coming. For months now, I have been told that.

Now – I have obligations. I regularly send over half of my income from here back to the U.S. to finish paying off the very last of my debts. Including 25,000 worth of educational student loan for the doctoral degree I am working on. I also have two children in college, one of whom is getting married (more $$$$$) in October. I MUST HAVE A JOB for next year.

Because of that imperative, I have been forced, since last December, to apply for jobs whose posting closing dates have come and gone. I cannot afford to sit and wait and hope a contract will appear here, I must apply, in case one does not appear from here, so that I can be assured of having a job. Do you know how long it takes to fill out an employment application? On average, an hour to an hour and a half for each one. I have applied to well over eighty positions, in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, both in elementary and secondary schools, and in colleges and universities. I do not have the extra time for this. I have papers to grade!!

You would THINK that schools who want their experienced staff to return would sign them for the coming year early – before anybody else gets them, but NO. That apparently is NOT the mindset. Apparently, the idea is that if I wait until the very last possible instant to offer contracts, all the good people will have already accepted positions somewhere else for next year, and now I can choose from whatever is left over. Does this make sense to you??

I told my husband that I would again put this situation into the hands of God. Whoever puts a contract into my hot little hands first gets me for the next year. I figure God is a better judge than I am, and He certainly has not let me down yet.