A scorpion (a poisonous bug such as the one pictured to the left) and a frog met on the bank of a stream, and the scorpion asked the frog to carry him across the water on its back. The frog asked, "How do I know that you won't sting me?" The scorpion replied, "Because if I do, we will both drown." The frog was satisfied with this logical explanation, and they began their journey - but in the middle of the stream, the scorpion stung the frog. The frog felt the beginning of paralysis and started to sink to the bottom of the stream, knowing that they both would die, but it had time for one final gasping question: "Why?" The scorpion sadly responded, "Because it is my nature to sting." Okay, so what does this story have to do with you? You aren't a scorpion or a frog - but human beings have their different ways of doing things (their nature). If you have been doing well so far this school year, continue to do so. However, if you haven't tried hard enough or haven't studied sufficiently or have been absent too often, then you have to change your nature, which humans, unlike scorpions, can do - with some work. The school year is almost one-third done (31%, to be exact), and now is the time you can affect your grades in a positive way, if you make an honest effort to do so. Benjamin Franklin one wrote, "Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today. That's good advice; follow it. Feel proud of yourself. It feels good - and it's the nature of humans to want to feel good.
We all have problems at different times in our lives. What does a student do when he or she has a problem? First, it all depends on how serious that problem is. If it is very serious, the student should definitely mention it to a teacher or a guidance counselor right away. That student needs help and can't do it alone. There are people trained to help him or her. Now, if the problem is more of an annoyance, a bother, or a worry, then he or she shouldn't let it interfere with his / her schoolwork. He or she should stay focused on the assignments and classwork. That student should force himself or herself to put the problem out of his / her mind while in school or doing homework. When he / she is done working, that student will still remember the problem, but it will probably seem not so important any more. The point is that schoolwork is directly related to one's future life, and should receive priority attention.
The best way to learn a new language and become comfortable with it is to use it - to speak it, to read and write in it. This is true of any new language. Okay, this post is aimed at those of you who are still in the process of learning English - but guess what? That includes ALL OF YOU! Whether you are a current or recent TESL student or you were born in the U. S., your English needs improvement, and you will improve your writing by WRITING - and that includes writing comments to these posts. Give it a try. Here, you can practice writing in English without fear of losing points. Your comments will be read - and answered. Your writing does not have to be perfect. Just get your ideas and feelings across - and be heard! We want to read what you have to say - about anything at all. Just click on "Comments" in blue above and submit your thoughts and ideas. Don't be afraid.
Examine the chart above. It is from the New York State Department of Labor and it shows that the more educated you are, the more money you make. A person who graduates from high school and then stops his or her education makes around $33,000 a year while a student who graduates from college - any college - makes at least $88,000 a year. If a student continues and earns his or her graduate degree, there's even more money to be earned. A typical college graduate with a bachelor's degree (the first one earned) makes $1,500,000 - that's one and a half million dollars - more over a lifetime than a high school graduate. So, the next time you are ready to complain about homework or tests or a research paper or a Regents exam, think about how much you will eventually be paid for all your hard work. It'll make the work worth it - and don't forget that you can get lots of help with your work in the Study Center!
It is amazing! The school year is now 22% done, and you still have made no comments on any of the ideas on this page. What are you waiting for? This web site was made for YOU. It is a place where you can learn AS WELL AS express your ideas. Do you have anything to say in response to any of the blog entries below or anything on another page? If so, click on the word "Comments" to the right of a headline (title), fill in the fields (You can use a nickname or a made up name if you don't want to use your real name), you can leave blank the next two fields and just write your ideas in the big box and then click "Submit." You will get a response from the writer of this blog. That way, there will be a brief conversation, and more importantly, your ideas get published so that others can also reply to what you have written. You've got plenty to say. This is a place to express yourself - and at the same time you will be helping to make this site a success.
Examine the optical illusions above. What's the point? Well, do you trust yourself well enough to see the subtle or not so apparent as well as the obvious? Can you see symbols in a story without being told that they are there? Can you solve a mathematical problem without being told what the steps are? Can you explain an experiment or the causes of a war without an answer book? A good student develops judgment which he or she can depend on - and this is done through hard work, attention to details and the desire to know. If you don't understand something, don't let it go. Ask questions - of your classroom teachers and of the teachers in the Study Center. We are all dedicated to helping you understand so that you can more and more depend on your judgment in life. That's what education is all about . . . but you have to be part of the process. Be an active learner, and you will be rewarded, by being prepared for your future.
The Squire Theater this past Sunday showed a film, as part of the Gold Coast Film Festival, about a recently discovered Mona Lisa which Leonardo Da Vinci (not DiCaprio) painted 15 years before the famous version which is on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Life is really interesting. This is one solved mystery, but there are so many which have not yet been solved, such as whether Bogfoot and Yeti (aka the Abominable Snowman) exist, why so many airplanes and ships have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, whatever happened to the Jamestown Colony or Atlantis, and whether there was ever life on Mars. Maybe YOU will be the one to solve one of these mysteries some day. That would make you famous. Of course, in order to investigate any of these and other mysteries (Did ancient aliens visit us? Is that why the Egyptians and Aztecs both had pyramids and worshiped cobras even though those two peoples never had contact with each other thousands of years ago, one group having lived in Africa and the other having lived in North America?). However, to get the answers, you will need to develop a skill you have begun to use: how to do research. You'll also need sharp reading and writing skills. Keep working on the ideas and abilities being taught to you in high school. You never know when you will have to use them in the future.
It's always a good idea to be aware of what's right in front of your eyes. For example, you wouldn't try to cross Northern Boulevard without looking all around for traffic. You certainly wouldn't cross any street in Great Neck without watching for the crazy drivers, who are always in a rush to turn the corner, even if it means almost hitting any pedestrians who are crossing with the light and have the right of way. You are alert. You pay attention to your surroundings - if you want to survive. Let's see how alert you are. Read the sign in the upper right corner of this blog entry. See how alert you really are. If you can find the mistake the first time, you are above average. If it takes you two tries, that's still not bad. If you cannot see the mistake, come see Mr. Munshine in the Study Center and he will help you. By the way, it's important to use this same skill of alertness in copying your homework assignments and not losing them. A lack of awareness in that situation will lead to a lowering of your grades, and that can be avoided.
For those of you who have requested that teachers write and submit college recommendation letters to Naviance, REMEMBER that YOU have to hand in the proper form to your guidance counselor, listing the colleges you are applying to. Teachers cannot upload their recommendation letters to Naviance until a student has requested these letters on Naviance. The teachers cannot select which colleges the letters are to be sent to until YOU have done your part of the work and handed the required form in to your counselor, who has to do his / her part of the work and hand it in to Mrs. Claus. It is a process involving several steps, but it all starts with YOU. In high school, college and life, it is up to US to know our responsibilities, and to perform necessary tasks on time. (If you are confused, make an appointment to see your counselor asap.)
Have you ever witnessed someone cheating? Cheating comes in many forms. Sometimes students will copy other students' homework. At another time, a student might copy answers for a test from another student or get hints about a test from another student who has already taken the same test because they have the same teacher. How should these students feel? The student who helps the cheater is also a cheater whether he or she realizes it. In addition, the student enabling the copying is allowing his or her hard work to be STOLEN by a lazy student (who may have a sad story to cover up his or her basic laziness and greed). The cheater should feel embarrassed or ashamed but often does not because he or she rationalizes that others do it, so it's all right. Come on. There is no legitimate excuse for cheating. It's wrong. There aren't that many black-and-white answers in this world but this is one of them. The cheater not only steals from a fellow student but also steals from himself or herself. That student has robbed himself / herself of the opportunities to learn and to feel pride in the work produced. Finally, the student who gets away with cheating in high school will probably continue to cheat as life goes on. Take a close look at the photo which accompanies this blog entry. Do you want to be one of the cheaters pictured? Take a stand against cheating, starting right now. Don't do it - and don't help someone do it.
The ideas on this page come from a Study Center teacher with almost 50 years of teaching experience. More importantly, these entries have NO LIFE until you students write comments and share your ideas and your responses to the ideas presented. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Let yourself be heard.