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Tag Archives: Rowland Unified School District

Solving the Sparkplug Caper

Thanks to Sauron, I carted the surveillance system home where it was shelved and powerless.  I considered using it to watch my driveway and front door but was too depressed to install it. 

After my anger and depression faded a bit, I had another idea.  I called the auto shop teacher and explained my problem with the sparkplugs.  He said someone had been stealing sparkplugs from the shop.  They had been vanishing from the supply cabinet.

I asked if he would cross check the roster from my class with his classes and see if he could come up with a match. Bingo, he came up with two names.  When the auto shop teacher confronted the two, they denied everything.

Next step.  I went to the office and checked their schedules. Both, it turned out, were in baseball, so I called their coach.  He didn’t ask them if they were doing it. He just told them they would be tossed off the team if the sparkplugs kept flying. Problem solved without help from Sauron.

Sleuthing

Who would have ever guessed that teachers had to become Sherlock Holmes too?

Missed the first episode in the Sparkplug Caper –  http://wp.me/pLJTE-2O

Or you are a teacher in need of sharpening your sleuthing talents – http://current.newsweek.com/budgettravel/2010/02/london_in_search_of_the_real_s.html

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Big Brother in the Classroom

I was going to be George Orwell’s Big Brother from the novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. I bought a complete security system for several hundred dollars and went to school over the weekend to install the two cameras and the video recorder in a back cupboard that could be locked to keep out sneaky fingers.  I ran cables out the top of that cabinet to the cameras that I installed near the ceiling— high enough so kids couldn’t reach them. I was going to record what was going on behind my back. 

George Orwell-author of 1984

I figured that I’d point out the cameras and tell the kids what I was doing. The chances are that the sparkplugs would stop flying since they would be afraid of being caught on film. My nightmares of some kid being blinded by a flying sparkplug or ending up in a hospital with a concussion would end.

One of the raptors (think kid) ratted me out to a parent who made a phone call to the district office. Before I had a chance to use the system, I was told by one of the VPs that Sauron had called and said I could not install that system because it would infringe on the privacy of the kids.

Privacy!  What privacy?  There were more than thirty kids in a public classroom—not counting the teacher.  And I thought I was going to be Big Brother. Sauron must have been jealous.

The solution to the flying sparkplugs will be revealed in the next post.

If you didn’t read “Sparkplugs are Not Sparrows”, you may do it here – http://wp.me/pLJTE-2O

Watch the 1954 BBC adaption of Orwell’s 1984 here – http://freemars2259.blogspot.com/2010/02/1984-by-george-orwell-nineteen-eighty.html

Or, find out more about home security at: http://www.securitysystemsoklahoma.com/homesecurityblog/?p=1029

 

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Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 4/4

What the workers left behind caused my sinuses to run a hundred mile marathons accompanied by a bombarment of sneezing.

I went to the VA doctor and he prescribed medications that didn’t work.

As the days passed, the sneezing went volcanic—like Mt. Saint Helena blowing its top.

One time, I sneezed so hard, I blew the 3M mask off my face—so much for a mask that’s supposed to protect you from every gas and WMD plague Islamic terrorists can brew.

Upstairs or outside, I was fine. However in my home office, I was a goner.

“Blam, blam, balm,” my nose exploded like rapid shots from a fifty-caliber submachine gun.

I could have opened windows, but it’s been raining for weeks. The sky has been overcast. The air breezy and cold.

Then the sun came out and I let the outside in and the sneezing stopped—I’m crossed my fingers and knocked on wood. I’m afraid to close the windows, but night will come and with it lower temperatures. I feared that whatever industrial poisons haunting my once tranquil office space might return.

As I update this post months later, I’m happy to report that the sneezing ended that day.

Return to  Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 3/4

I could have moved, but I didn’t want to disconnect all the cables and cart the computer equipment to another room for a few days—something (I soon discovered) would have been impossible without checking into a hotel.

If the school district where I worked for three decades would have let me, I would have rented a space in a nearby strip mall and taught my students away from the  sick buildings.

But back in my home office, even with a noise suppresser over my ears, muted sounds intruded and the last place I wanted to be was in that chair writing about China, the Vietnam War or writing about being a teacher in the tortured American public schools.

I stuck with it for several days as my suppressed anger fueled by PTSD started to simmer and fume.

It was a relief when the workers finished. I thought I was going to have the tranquility back where the only noise would be the click of the keys as my warmed hands flew across the keyboard meeting my Blogging goals.

But the workers left something behind.

Continued in Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 4 or return to Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 2/4

When I left the office to find a moment of peace, I covered the computer and printers with a bed sheet. The noise reminded me of combat but worse, because I was nineteen and then twenty when I was in Vietnam—noise did not bother me as it does now.

Concrete dust floated through the air and my sinuses and lungs rebelled, so I put on a 3M mask with two pink HEPA filters attached.

The last time I wore a mask like this was when I was teaching.

I searched the garage and found a noise suppresser to slip over my ears and it helped mute the pounding and drilling.

I looked like an explorer on Mars or a survivor of trench warfare struggling to write while the frigid air froze my fingers.

The crew had arrived to bolster the foundation against future earthquakes that might never arrive. Even if a hard tumbler did visit, I doubt that all that work would hold our sixty-year old hillside house together. It still might slide down the hill into the middle of the street blocking traffic.

Continued in Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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Grendel’s Closed Door Policy – Part 1/4

To armor myself against attacks from citizens of the Litigation Nation for telling the truth, anytime I name someone when I write posts, the names will be false.

I taught in Rowland Unified School District from 1975 to 2005.  For three of those years, I taught at Alvarado Intermediate in Rowland Heights.

In the early 80s, it was common knowledge that the school district played musical chairs with their principals. In thirty years as a teacher, I worked under nine or ten principals and taught in several schools.

In 1989, I settled at Nogales High School (NHS) in La Puente, California.

In comparison, the principal at our daughter’s alma mater, Los Lomas High School (five hundred miles from NHA) had the same position for about two decades before he retired.

Before he became principal, he was a teacher at the same school.

Rowland Unified (in the 1980s) adopted the same tactics used by the Soviet army during the cold war—the Soviets rotated officers so they didn’t get too chummy with the troops.

I’ve heard that the administration running Rowland Unified these days dropped that Soviet policy.

Wouldn’t you know it—after thirty years teaching in an academic Gulag, some Santa dropped down the chimney to improve the working environment for teachers.

Continued at Grendel’s Closed Door Policy – Part 2 or discover A Ten-Year Old Named Oscar

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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Where it Started – Part 1/2

There is a reason why half the teachers in America leave the classroom within three to five years and never return to education.

In fact, I don’t blame them.

Even now, almost five years after leaving the classroom, I can honestly say that I’d rather be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan to fight in a real shooting war than go back into a classroom.

And I know what war is like. I served in the United States Marines and fought in Vietnam in 1966.

My path to becoming a teacher started while I was earning a BA in journalism during the early 1970s, at California State University, Fresno. A grade school teacher and her husband lived in a first-floor apartment in the same building. We became friends

One night during dinner, she asked if I wanted to come to her classroom and read a story to her students. I agreed, but I had no story so I quickly wrote one called The Wind is my Friend.

Reading to her third graders went well, and she asked if I had ever considered becoming a teacher. She said I worked well with kids. That stuck in my mind. The seed had been planted.

I went on to graduate from Fresno State in 1973, and moved back to Los Angeles. Although I interviewed for jobs with newspapers and magazines, the pay was too low. I wouldn’t have earned enough to pay the rent on the apartment my wife and I lived in, so with help from my father-in-law, I found a job in industry.

However, the seed sprouted and in 1975, I quit a job with Pacific Motor Trucking to return to school at Cal Poly Pomona where I earned a multiple-subject life credential.

Continued at Where It Started – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

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