1 Gardazil

According To Some Students What Is The Purpose Of Homework Pizzazz

 

NOTES FROM

THE

AUTHORS

 MIDDLE

SCHOOL

 MATH

WITH

PIZZA!

is

a series of five books designed to provide practice with skills and concepts taught

in

today's middle school mathematics programs. The series uses many of the same puzzle formats as

PRE ALGEBRA

WllX

Pm

and

ALGEBRA

WZT

PIZAZZ

both published by Creative Publications. We believe that mastery of math skills and concepts requires both good teaching and a great deal of practice. Our goal is to provide puzzle activities that make this practice more meaningful and effective. To this end, we have tried to build into these activities three characteristics:

1.

KNOWLEDGE OF

RESULTS.

Various devices are used in the puzzles to tell students whether or not their answers are correct. Feedback occurs immediately after the student works each exercise. For example, if a particular answer

is

not

n

the code or scrambled answer list, the student knows

it

is

incorrect. He or she can then try again or ask for help. Additional feedback and reinforcement occurs when the student finds a puzzle solution that

is

appropriate. This immediate knowledge of results benefits students and also teachers, who no longer have to spend time confirming correct answers.

2.

A

MOTIVATING GOAL FOR THE STUDENT.

The puzzles are designed so that students will construct

a

 joke or unscramble the answer to

a

riddle in the process of checking their answers. The humor operates

as

an incentive, because the students are not rewarded with the punch line until they complete the exercises. While students may decry these jokes as

"

dumb

"

and groan loudly, our experience has been that they enjoy the jokes and look forward to solving the puzzles. The humor has a positive effect on class morale. In addition to humor, the variety and novelty of procedures for solving the puzzles help capture student interest.

By

keeping scrambled answer lists short and procedures simple, we have tried to minimize the time spent on finding answers or doing other puzzle mechanics.

3.

CAREFUL

SELECTION OF

TOPICS

AND EXERCISES.

The puzzles within each topic area are carefully sequenced so that each one builds on

skills

and concepts previously covered. The sequence of exercises within each puzzle

is

designed to guide students in incre

-

mental, step

-

by-step fashion toward mastery of the

skill

or concept involved.

A

primary goal

is

the development of problem

-

solving ability. In order to solve problems, students need not only rules and strategies but also

a

meaningful understanding of basic concepts. Some puzzles

in

this series are designed specif 

-

ically to build concepts. Other puzzles, especially those for estimation, also help deepen students' understanding by encouraging them to look at numbers

as

quantities rather than just as symbols to be manipulated. For puzzles specifically keyed to problem solving, we have tried to write problems that are interesting and uncontrived. We have included extra information

in

some problems, and have also mixed problem types

within

sets, so that the problems cannot be solved mechanically.

In

addition to 'these efforts to make the puzzles effective, we have tried to make them easy to use. The topic for each puzzle

is

given both at the bottom of the puzzle page and in the Table of Contents on pages iv and v. Each puzzle

is

keyed to a specific topic in recent editions of leading middle school textbooks. Each puzzle requires duplicating only one page, and many of them provide space for student work. Finally, because the puzzles are self 

-

correcting, they can eliminate the task of correcting assignments. We hope that both you

and

your students will enjoy using these materials. Steve and

anis

Marcy

iii

My High School Experiences

Biology:

In my freshman year of high school all of the biology students took part in a program called PREP which was created by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. This program, which still continues today, is described as such:

With the complete Arabidopsis genome sequence in hand, thousands of scientists worldwide are engaged in the monumental task of characterizing the function its approximately 25,500 genes. The knowledge gained by this endeavor will offer a comprehensive understanding of the biology of flowering plants. The plant research community is realizing that most Arabidopsis genes do not lend themselves to a simple reverse genetics analysis, i.e., disabling a gene of interest, growing the resulting mutant plants under standard conditions, and analyzing the phenotype. While it is likely that gene redundancy plays a role, it is also possible that the gene of interest is not expressed under standard growth conditions. Plants have had 500 million years of evolution to adapt to every biome on Earth. The stationary nature of their existence would suggest an arsenal of genes that allow the plant to accommodate changes in their environment. Growing mutant plants under stress conditions allow a more comprehensive analysis of gene function. This is the basis of PREP. High school students conduct experiments on mutant lines of Arabidopsis under a variety of stress conditions and then analyze their phenotypes. PREP provides scientists with the opportunity to expand the boundaries of their research labs into their communities. By partnering with high school teachers and their students, you can work with students who will soon populate your own classrooms and laboratories. You can gain valuable insight into teaching strategies utilized by high school teachers and enrich the scientific content of their classrooms.

In other words:

Teachers will receive mutated Arabidopsis seeds and non-mutated ones. Then they will spend about a combined total of twenty hours demonstrating to students how they will choose an independent variable such as salt or magnesium to treat their growing plants with, and how to record the simplest of data such as height and visual characteristics using rulers and descriptive words.
After students see the demonstrations for the experiments to follow, they will then take part in a practice PREP session in which they will grow their plants for a period of time and come into the class during the morning to record their findings. Finally, after that is complete, they will have to do it all over again for the non-practice PREP session in which absolutely nothing will have been determined.

There would be nothing wrong with this program, for me, if I hadn’t already conducted such an experiment when I was in the third grade, outside of school and without anyone asking me to do such a thing.

There would be nothing wrong with this program, for me, if I hadn’t already learned what an independent and dependent variable was during the third grade in which I recorded my findings and even drew daily diagrams of my experimental pots.

I didn’t have mutated arabidopsis seeds, but I didn’t learn any less through my experiment six years prior. And six years later when I was part-taking in PREP I had to listen to extremely boring talks about the simplest of knowledge, then I had to engage in a PRACTICE PREP session, and then finally in a REAL PREP session. It was directly the opposite of the hands-on and exciting experience I had as a third grader with my own experiment.

If I could talk to the education system during my freshman year of high school in regards to the Biology Honors I class was in, I would ask “are you freaking kidding me?”

Furthermore, there would be nothing wrong with PREP if it wasn’t supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center for Research Resources. There are so many other ways states can invest their money into the education system other than programs like Gifted/Talented and PREP.

After having already seen useless programs such as Gifted/Talented and JA Finance in action, which the funds of could have been used in better ways, it was confusing to see the same thing again at the high school level.

While the idea of outsourcing a lot of inaccurate plant killing work to high schoolers (to collect information and look into interesting results back at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute) sounds like a great idea, it’s not necessarily a good one at all. The same exact hands on experiments could be conducted in classrooms with resources already available within the school.

And these experiments could be conducted without the need of a nationally funded PREP program masquerading as a search for discovering a gene which will lead to building a super crop that will feed the world of the future (as we were told).

A few years back, a research scientist, a high school biology teacher and a university-based science educator got together and had a conversation. Each of these individuals brought their own goals and aspirations to the table and each had something to offer. The teacher wanted to provide an opportunity for his students to do authentic scientific research in his classroom. The scientist was looking for a meaningful way to engage the public in understanding his research. The science educator was seeking creative ways to introduce pre-college students to concepts in genetics, plant biology and biotechnology.
-PREP, What’s The Big Idea?

Just give me a break already! Students don’t need a fabricated “authentic scientific research opportunity” that many will come to hate as much as much as when they were forced to create colorful English vocab cards or visual history definitions in middle school.

And the national funding that such programs acquire will lead to their growing popularity and confuse even AP Biology (college level) teachers into thinking that they provide a valuable learning experience.

What happened to the merit of learning, in a learning institution, for the merit of learning? Why do we have to throw a GT or PREP label on lessons to make anyone, students or parents, validate a lesson as worthy? Why do we mix a Junior Achievement program with dozens of board of directors, virtual financing games, and finance park into middle schools? Is it really necessary?

Can a middle/high school teacher that has graduated college not work with their colleagues to develop lesson plans that will “advance the development of gifted, talented, and high potential youth, in the United States and abroad, through opportunities, advocacy, and exemplary programs and practices.” Can these teachers not develop science and financing lesson plans? Or are they so incompetent that they need to work with third party privately and publicly funded programs to teach basic science, problem-solving, and financing?

Auto Tech:

In this class we had to finish the online safety program before going into the garage, along with a course on auto knowledge. Half of the class did not complete these two programs by the end of the second quarter.

During the third quarter our teacher told us that as long as we complete those programs we will get an A on our final. Then some sort of test came around and he said if we get a passing score on it we will get an A on our final.

Then the last day came around and he said if we clean the garage we will get an A on our final.

Mind you this teacher was retiring in four years so he said we could join him along on his last few years, by taking the class every year, and things would be pretty easy going.

He was actually a great guy and sold sodas which he kept cooled in his fridge for $.75. This inspired me to start bringing soda to school and selling it with a friend, which started out at $1.00 a can and then quickly went to five cans for $2.00 (or something outlandish like that) after we gained a competitor.

For a week or two we also engaged in a friendly monopoly where we insured that our prices didn’t get out of hand again. But eventually they did to the point where it was more hassle to sell the sodas than they were bringing in profit.

I give Mr. Steger an A on inspiring me to do something, anything, in high school. He also had jailbroken his iPhone, which made him an older-gen hipster, and threw a grilling party for us at the end of the year to reward us for just “chilling” the entire year.

Mr. Steger’s teaching style was interesting because he let the students that wanted to do nothing do nothing, and he taught the students who wanted to learn anything they wanted to learn. There was absolutely no resistance in his class of any shape or form.

Those that weren’t productive spent their time playing video games or looking up photos of marijuana nugs, and those that were productive got as far as they could throughout each day and throughout the year.

That entire class gets A++ from my perspective.

Did I mention that I now know how to rotate wheels on a car, change tires (if I have the machine necessary for doing so), and replace break pads?

Did I mention that learning all of these things required zero private or public funding, save for the cars that old students and teachers donated to the shop?

English:

During my freshman year of high school I was problematic student that talked with those around him more than he listened to what was going on in the classroom. My teacher, Mrs. Gironda, was supportive through me not really doing any work and losing assignment papers right after they had been handed out.

Well, she tried to be as supportive as she could be. I folded important assignment papers and put them in my cargo shorts and had a stack of them that I would switch between pants everyday.

The first time I turned in a folded piece of paper, filled out and on time, she was insulted that I would do such a thing. We went outside to talk about it and agreed that we disagreed on the rudeness of turning in folded papers. I unfolded it but she was still upset that there were creases in it.

After my experiences with my first two English teachers in middle school I likely developed a knack for not listening. Which is unfortunate because if I took the same class with what I know today, Mrs. Gironda and I would have been on the same unfolded and uncreased page.

She would have been pretty easy to get along with had I respected the things that mattered to her. The things which I did not give second thought to because I had become fed up just about everything else.

Her final for the year was a list of sentences in which we had to fill in with an appropriate word from a word bank. It was extremely easy and I got a high score on it.

However, Mrs. Gironda wasn’t around the next year and the rumors were that it was because her final wasn’t liked by the other teachers. I’m not too sure if these student rumors were accurate. I personally suspect that she wasn’t finding freshmen English teaching enjoyable.

I regret that I likely made up at least 5% of such feelings.

During my sophomore year, my English teacher was Mr. Rubenstein. He wrote my dad an email during some point in the year which has been retrieved below:

Mr. Ristea,
I am getting a bit concerned about Octavian in English 10 Honors. The classroom is set up with tables of four so that students may easily work in small groups. Octavian has, increasingly, been paying less attention to his group and talking with students at another table (who typically have a different topic to discuss), thus distracting them from their work. He also does not really participate in the discussion at his table, which is not acceptable in an honors class. He is clearly capable of doing the work, but his attitude toward it is bringing his participation grade down. I have had conversations with him about this before, but they seem to not have had any effect. Is there anything about which I should be aware to explain why Octavian is not pulling his weight in his table group?
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Regards,
Paul Rubenstein
Teacher of English 10 Honors

Just for the record, I was in English 10 Honors for my sophomore year of high school.

My father replied to the email letting him know that as the teacher which is present during classes, Mr. Rubenstein is best equip with sending me outside or giving me detention. I don’t think Mr. Rubenstein emailed my dad again after that, and he didn’t send me outside or give me detention. Making me question why he was emailing my dad to begin with if he didn’t find my behavior worthy of being reprimanded.

My dad asked me why I was talking to the other table and I let him know it was because the people at my group weren’t very open: they weren’t. At least not as much as the table next to me.

In my junior year, while taking AP English, I had an interesting experience.

Students were asking questions about their graded essays and I raised my hand to ask about a note on my own essay.

The prompt involved a book we had read, The Scarlet Letter, and likely something about the logical fallacies characters engaged in throughout the plot.

In my essay I wrote it’s that possible Nathaniel Hawthorne may have been alluding that all of the logical fallacies the characters made may have been caused by a “God fallacy.”

While a God fallacy term does not exist, there is the God of the Gaps term which “points out the fallacy of relying on teleological arguments for God’s existence.” There is also a wide range of “God fallacies” identified by people such as Geoffrey Berg who have authored books on the topic.

Not to mention that there are even men such as Bill Nye that have stated creationism is not appropriate for children, simply because of its illogical (fallacy) nature.

If you try to ignore [your reality], your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.
And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.
It’s just really hard a thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.
-Bill Nye, Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

Considering the theme of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work, I found it possible that the logical fallacies his characters made were created to show their hypocrisy, inconsistency, and disconnect from reality (such as justifying the punishment and harassment of a mother found guilty of adultery).

The first thing that happened as I asked my question, as to whether or not such alluding was possible (the note on my essay indicated otherwise), was another student saying “did Octavian just say that God doesn’t exist?”

Then the class erupted in talking and after everyone was quiet I answered that I did not say God does not exist. But rather, in my essay, I stated it’s possible that Nathaniel Hawthorne was alluding that God may have been a fallacy (as all the others were caused by the belief in him throughout the plot).

The teacher responded that Nathaniel Hawthorne was not alluding to that. Which was quite a definitive answer for a man’s work that is long dead and who’s religious beliefs are not well known, other than that he was not a member of any religion. For all we know he could have been a diest, pantheist, or atheist among a Puritan, a Christian, or a Satanist.

Then the student proceeded to tweet that “Octavian just told our class God is a fallacy.” I responded, stating that I had never said that and it seemed like nobody was listening: let alone remembering what I had actually said.

Then the teacher came to chime in that “God is a fallacy would not be an effective example on the AP Lang exam. ☺”

Education system, you’ve really let me down ☺

I asked the student to delete his tweets because I had never said that, and he told me that “don’t worry I’m atheist. I thought it was really funny.” I told him that I’m an agnostic atheist and that I would never state something as a fact when I do not have the evidence to back it up. I didn’t find it to be funny to have my words twisted and then posted online as if they were a fact.

The student wasn’t interested in deleting the tweet. I went to my counselor that day and told her that I didn’t want him to get in trouble in anyway, but I just wanted the administration to ask him to remove it.

I found it ridiculous that my questions in class had been twisted and posted online, for me to be judged by others for something I didn’t even say or believe.

A few days later the tweet was still up and I went into my counselor’s office to ask her if the student’s own counselor had spoken to him as she said he would, and she said that he must have been busy proctoring SOL exams. He did not speak to the student in the few days he had available to do so.

With the tweet already in the past, and seeing that the counselors didn’t quite care, I said “never mind, no need to have anyone ask him to take it down.” And that was that.

Aside from some other inane things that happened in my junior English class, the one that stands out most is when my teacher’s excuse for not having her homework answers ready was that she woke up late and had to speed to work to get there on time.

Why of course, no worries. The alarm clock was out of your control. Oh and you sped here to get on time? Well I guess it’s totally fine to wait for your answers as we’re peer grading our homework. You tried your best to get to work on time and at least you’re here. Thank you for the lesson in excuses and also the example you’ve set for driving when we’re late somewhere.

During my sophomore year of English I watched Netflix on my phone most of the time. It went over much smoother than any of my other English classes had. While watching Dexter, Lost, and Mad Men there was no one ready to ironically twist my words about religion and single me out as the character in the book we were reading had been. There was no one to make excuses about not having their work done which they were being paid to complete.

Latin:

In my sophomore year I was in my third year of Latin. The teacher and class likely saw me as a terrible student, which is why I assume they were surprised when I recited a Latin poem without it having been assigned to me.

I just asked my teacher before the class started if I could recite 1,000 Kisses by Catullus and she agreed. A year prior I had also written an article titled Why Learn the Latin Language?

Let us live, my Lesbia, and love.
As for all the rumors of those stern old men,
Let us value them at a mere penny.
Suns may set and yet rise again, but
Us, with our brief light, can set but once.
One never-ending night must be slept.
Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred.
Then, another thousand, and a second hundred.
Then, yet another thousand, and a hundred.
Then, when we have counted up many thousands,
Let us shake the abacus, so that no one may know the number,
And become jealous when they see
How many kisses we have shared.

However, even with my passion for Latin, the lessons and tests were starting to become really difficult. I wrote my Latin teacher an email regarding this, anonymously, and also wrote asking if she could cease her unnecessary sass with students. I mentioned this, none other than for the reason that I had been asked more rhetorical/sarcastic questions in that class than I ever had been in my life.

In the email I recommended that we could build a “Latin Bible” of sorts, as a class, which would cover everything we had learned in previous years and the current one. Within a week of the email being sent we were each assigned a grammar topic. With that grammar topic we had to create a PowerPoint lesson which we would present to the class, as well as a worksheet for handing out.

The heat also got turned down significantly in the class, as I mentioned it was extremely stuffy in there. And the sass virtually disappeared for the rest of the year.

It seems that anonymous emails are extremely effective in getting yourself heard by teachers. If it wasn’t anonymous I figured she would have mocked me halfway through sharing my ideas in person, and if I signed the email with my name she wouldn’t have taken it seriously either.

A letter signed Latin Lovers of Fairfax High School carried a bit more clout it seems. It was four pages long as well, and it was all read considering that everything I mentioned was taken into account.

My lesson there was that you should never think a difficult class or teacher is not something you can improve. You can improve anything if you put your mind to it.

In my case with Latin, all it took was creating a FHSLatinLovers@hushmail.com sort of email address.

Other Matters in High School:

In my sophomore year of high school I emailed every single student and teacher within Fairfax High School (and accidentally other schools in the county), without permission for such an email blast, sharing a petition I had created in regards to improving the school food:

Did you know that our school’s lunch program is given to some of the cheapest bidders in the country?
Do you feel safe being fed the cheapest food? After all has anyone examined the effects of bad school lunches on teens? Apparently they have… http://www.feingold.org/PF/wisconsin1.html
It turns out that better food means happier students, better grades, and better behavior.
For $20,000 a year we could implement the same system in our own school. That means 450 students, teachers, and parents would have to fundraise an average of $44.5 to make this a reality.
Lunch prices would stay the same so that students can still afford it. But the quality of the food will increase…
Sounds interesting eh?
Then sign this petition to express your support http://tinyurl.com/FHSfoodPetition

That did not go over well with the technology team and the administration.

They were very concerned with my unauthorized “libel” and “spam,” and I was made aware of just how *fucked I was for all of it.

My Latin teacher also reported the email above to the technology team and I was escorted by three tech admins out of the class upon arrival to it.

*My words.

After contacting the superintendent making him aware that I had been watched by the technology team for months, which they told me, and they observed me breaking dozens of rules but didn’t report it to anyone, everything turned around very quickly.

I got a meeting with the school’s nutritionist which the principal helped set up, and a direct apology from one of the tech administrators. The principal also explained to me that no one had intimidated me and that no consequences had been dealt to me: you know, aside from the three technology admins that talked about me being expelled and sued and gave me the papers above to hold onto to remind me that they had evidence of me breaking all of the highlighted rules.

Meanwhile, students were selling drugs, having sex, and bullying each other in that school. I’m really glad that the administration was working so hard, printing out papers and highlighting infractions, which all led nowhere.

If I had known they would have spent all that time watching me for months prior to the email blast because I was their only lead in a hack that leaked everyone’s grades, I would have politely stopped using school computers so that they could spend their time in more productive ways.

History:

In my junior year of history my friend said “what a faggot,” or something of that nature about me or someone else. The teacher had been in the conversation we were having and I asked if he heard what my friend said. He laughed it off and didn’t say anything.

Then I said to my friend something along that lines of “that’s fucked up,” or “you’re a fag.” I remember that I had used some F-word in response to his own use of the word “faggot,” which my teacher yelled at me to get outside of the class for.

Outside he began giving me a spiel about my language and I told him that my friend had said faggot and he did nothing but laugh. Then my teacher kept going on about his own little agenda, to which I was clearly not listening or interested in.

His response to my non-interest was that the next time this happens we’re talking to an administrator and “have you written up.” I told him that we should go right then and there and that I would have him written up. He responded hot-headedly that he would write me up for being disrespectful and then I just told him again that I would write him up for singling me out.

We figured that one out well because for the rest of the year he didn’t bother me again. He was actually a fun teacher and easy to get along most of the time.

Although, for that history class we had to have an organized binder with all of our papers in it. After the first quarter was complete I got my grade for my binder which I had put a majority of papers into.

For the second quarter I didn’t add about 80% of the papers handed out into my binder. I received a similar grade and was confused, so I asked for a rubric in how he grades the binders. His response was to look at the example binders from previous students, which wasn’t very helpful considering I got the same grade two different quarters for turning in completely different work. I think he was just eyeballing those binders.

I would too if I made it mandatory for 140 students to turn in their studying materials and then made it mandatory for myself to grade those things.

A year prior to AP History I was in World History II. That’s when my teacher gave a writing assignment about the pilgrims that came over to the United States, what they brought, and what they discovered when they got there. I gave my third grade brother a list of the things we had to talk about, showed him how to look them up on Wikipedia on my right computer screen, and then sat him down to begin writing about those things on the left screen.

That experiment was interesting because the homework was graded with an A. I doubt the teacher even read it. I cannot understand why homework was being assigned in high school that a third grader could complete, let alone homework that a third grader completed and was graded with an A.

At that point, I figure that looking into the pilgrims was more of a suggestion than a homework requirement. If anything, it was a homework requirement that day just so that someone could fill off a box that we had completed homework on the topic. Likewise, if a history binder is getting blindly graded I figure it’s just filling some sort of quota without anyone really questioning the benefits.

Offering GT programs to elementary schools just because some states require that these programs be offered is silly. As silly as it is filling quotas just because.

In World History II we also created SMART goals at the beginning of the year. These goals are defined as such:

S — specific, significant, stretching
M — measurable, meaningful, motivational
A — agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R — realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T — time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

And the only trouble I had with them in World History II and virtually every other class that we created them in is that we never went back to see if we met our goals.

We setup a system for measuring our progress, but we never were required to measure anything or reflect at the end of the year. If you ask me that’s a lot like the GT program: here’s an idea, check it out, work on it for a bit, and forget about it.

My teacher from the third, fifth, and sixth grade also found S.M.A.R.T Goals to be “stupid.”

Not to mention that this GOAL SYSTEM is all about making sure you understand life and your future in as an optimistic way as the perspective of my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Dunn. After all, you don’t want to set goals that are unrealistic within the GOAL SYSTEM. Or so, that’s what I’ve been told with my educational experiences that introduce S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

Think about it for a second; the late Steve Jobs exhorted his people to greatness with rallying cries like “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” But SMART goals tell us we’re supposed to tell our employees “make your goals Achievable and Realistic”? There’s a disconnect if I’ve ever heard one.
Consider the most significant goal you’ve ever achieved. Maybe you ran a marathon, doubled your company’s revenue, lost 30 pounds or invented the coolest product in your industry. Now ask yourself:
Was that accomplishment easy or hard to achieve?
Did I exert a little or a lot of effort to reach that goal?
Did I already know everything I needed to know when I started out or did I have to learn new skills in order to succeed?
Was I completely ‘worry free’ or did I have a few doubts or even some nervousness along the way?
What did this simple exercise just tell you about your history with really significant goals (what I call HARD Goals)? Personally, every noteworthy accomplishment I’ve ever had resulted from a difficult goal. It was hard to do, demanded a lot of effort, I had to learn new stuff, and I even had moments of worry.
I’ve asked these same questions of tens of thousands of people, whether in our formal studies or just polling audience members at my speaking engagements. And what I can tell you is that overwhelmingly, most people’s greatest accomplishments were difficult, required lots of effort, depended upon learning new skills, and even caused some nervousness.
This is quite the opposite of what SMART Goals tell us (i.e. goals should be achievable and realistic). And it’s why our goal-setting research has found that:
Only 15% of employees strongly agree that their goals will help them achieve great things.
Only 13% of employees strongly agree that their goals this year will help them maximize their full potential.
A few years ago, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos wrote a letter to shareholders explaining how being “obsessed over customers” would protect them from the ravages of a turbulent economy and, in turn, force them to pursue some very difficult goals…
“If we can identify a customer need and if we can further develop conviction that that need is meaningful and durable, our approach permits us to work patiently for multiple years to deliver a solution. “Working backwards” from customer needs can be contrasted with a “skills-forward” approach where existing skills and competencies are used to drive business opportunities. The skills-forward approach says, “We are really good at X. What else can we do with X?” That’s a useful and rewarding business approach. However, if used exclusively, the company employing it will never be driven to develop fresh skills. Eventually the existing skills will become outmoded. Working backwards from customer needs often demands that we acquire new competencies and exercise new muscles, never mind how uncomfortable and awkward-feeling those first steps might be.”
Jeff Bezos isn’t saying ‘pursue goals that you’re already equipped to handle,’ instead he’s saying “exercise new muscles, never mind how uncomfortable and awkward-feeling those first steps might be.”
Visionary CEOs, like Jeff Bezos and the late Steve Jobs, use goal-setting processes that are radically different than the SMART goals process most companies force on their employees.
Forbes, Mark Murphy

In my World History II class I also asked if we could talk about the North Korea Crisis and my teacher said that her class wasn’t a philosophy class (something which I’ve heard from a lot of teachers across various subjects).

I found it funny that she, along with many news agencies, derided the North Korean leadership for being weak and just wanting to make a fuss. I found it funny because the same exact thing had happened with Hitler during World War II. At first some said that he couldn’t gain political power, and he did. Then some said that Germany didn’t have the resources to finance an army, and they did. Then some said that they couldn’t hold their ground in other countries, and they did.

Not to mention that Germany had a starving nation and a large army before the second World War began. In the same way that North Korea has a starving nation and one of the largest military organization, special forces, and submarine fleet in the world.

They say history repeats itself, and I was watching history repeat itself in front of my eyes as an American history teacher made the same mistakes in underestimating and setting aside the possibility that North Korea is more of an enemy than a joke.

Physical Education:

During my freshmen year of P.E., I was kicked outside of the class for leaning against a wall at my desk or something of that nature. While outside I observed an angry senior punch a locker behind a girl while yelling at her. I opened the door to the class, which my teacher was teaching within, and I asked him to come outside because I need to speak to him.

He ignored me.

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