Sunday, October 31, 2010

250 Take 5 - Mistakes

At the urging of Shawn, I've prepared a fifth potential 250 word statement. Once again this one is also rough and plays off of some of the ideas in 'Take 2.' The statement is bracketed below to differentiate it from the rest of the post.

[Mistakes are my favorite part of teaching. I love to tell my students this principle because many of them are so afraid to make a mistake when they are solving a problem that they inhibit their intuition and other creative problem-solving ideas. Freeing students to make mistakes, but to learn from them, is a great facet of being an educator because it empowers students' thoughts and ideas by putting them on an equal footing with all other ideas presented in the class. Too often are students hamstrung by trying to regurgitate knowledge, and so through highlighting the advantages of making mistakes I try to get students to think more deeply about tasks at hand.

Additionally, examining student misunderstandings and following their unique processing skills to determine the best way to guide their future work is extremely demanding. I have to understand various elegant and some inelegant, yet still logically valid, solutions to each problem to help students approach their work in a way that is mathematically sound and in line with their thought processes. Furthermore, to guarantee long-term conceptual understanding, these next steps must be presented in a way that will be meaningful to every student. Over my three years of teaching, I have been academically challenged in ways that I never expected given my "easy" middle school curriculum, but the process of learning to think like others has been exciting and enriching and will forever affect my critical thinking by encouraging increased breadth and depth of thought.]

Word Count: 248

Doug Marrone = Bro

It's hard to describe what Doug Marrone has done for Syracuse football. Despite having great tradition, Syracuse has been irrelevant for most of this century and under Greg Robinson became a perennial homecoming opponent. Once a tradition of losing has taken root, it is very hard to a) recruit b) match funding with other schools due to lost ticket revenue and fewer bowl and TV appearances and c) change the minds of 18 - 22 year olds they can win and will win. Reading interviews with current seniors talking about winning more games this season than they have over their entire career at Syracuse and what that has meant for them emotionally and psychologically highlights the purpose and impact of college athletics. While Marrone cautions that there is a lot of work still to be done, if the players continue to buy in and work hard, I have guarded enthusiasm for what the rest of the season may bring. At this point, no matter what Syracuse's final record is, these players, and especially the seniors, will never forget what it meant to turn around a program; what it took, how hard it was, and what it felt like to accomplish an ambitious goal is something they'll carry with them throughout every other endeavour. Stories and experiences similar to what Marrone has done with the Orange are why I love sports and think they are an invaluable part of educating our youth by giving them tangible opportunities to witness a sense of possibility, meaningful peer leadership, and the importance of hard work in one's performance. ORANGE OUT :)

Book Character Dress Up on Friday

As a part of "Reading Week" and the "Homeroom Challenge," Friday's event was to dress up as your favorite character from a book. The homeroom with the highest percentage of participation 'won' the event, which I'm proud to say was my homeroom with 100% participation! I'm extremely sad that I neglected to bring my camera on Friday, but I'm going to see if I can get copies of the pictures so that they can be shared. Overall, I was very impressed with the number of dual costumes (i.e. a guy dressed up as Mickey Mouse and a girl from the same class dressed up as Minnie Mouse, we had four Flinstones in my homeroom, etc) Prior to Friday, I told the homeroom kids that I would go as whatever they got me and so I was Zorro, however, the chinos, boat shoes and aviators (instead of the hard to see out of Zorro mask) were my contribution to the costume. I feel as though even on Halloween it was important for me to continue to maintain proper frat-tire as a part of my cultural exchange with my students :). After the first three of ten events in the homeroom challenge, my homeroom is tied for first. While this means there is currently a target on our backs, that just means we'll continue raising the bar! "Car Stuffing" is our event on Monday, the camera is already in my bag :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

E-mail to Ivan Maisel

As is clearly demonstrated through many of my posts, I am a big fan of college football, but the incredible time difference and lack of interest in American football abroad has made it more difficult to follow. Fortunately, Ab introduced me to the world of ESPN podcasts and so I've been able to listen to senior writers for the company discuss the major topics each week. Ivan Maisel hosts three of these each week in addition to writing multiple articles for ESPN each week and I've truly enjoyed his commentary. Not only are his articles typically very well written (the fact that he is a Stanford grad is routinely evident), but his passion and excitement for the game as a whole is contagious. Consequently, I felt inclined to submit an e-mail to him this week, some of which will be in the 'mail bag' that is discussed on the Wednesday podcasts (not looking to get my e-mail commented on, but more to have an active role in all the fun!). Here is what I sent:

"Hey Ivan,

First of all, I want to thank you for your podcasts throughout each week because they are a fun way to stay connected to college football despite living 10,000 miles away in Jakarta! As I have been listening this season, a couple questions have continued to nag at me and given eight weeks of sheer chaotic entertainment, the answers seem more veiled than ever, thus I was interested in your (and your co-hosts) expertise.

I grew up in Upstate New York, what I affectionately refer to as "the heart of Big East country," and have been a supporter of the league since the days of our relevance in football, i.e. when Miami, VT, and BC were still in the conference. Given the current underwhelming state of mediocrity, my first question is whether or not the Big East, with only 8 teams, will ever be relevant in the national title discussion again? The Northeast is one of the weakest areas of the country for recruiting talent and even though South Florida technically "opens up" the fertile ground of talent in Florida to the rest of the league, just as your pointed out regarding the Northwest schools and their newly limited access to Los Angeles, it only occurs every other year.

My second question involves your boys in blue; if Boise State played in the Big East, solely for the sake of argument, would their membership in the weakest AQ conference provide them enough legitimacy to put them in the national championship game if they ran the table? Given the current formula, it is foreseeable that a one-loss SEC Champion (i.e. Alabama) could play a one-loss Big 12 Champion (i.e. Nebraska) for the national championship if there are not undefeated teams in the other AQ conferences despite Boise and TCU or Utah potentially having unblemished records. Even though Nevada, Hawai'i, and Fresno are probably better than the best (whoever they turn out to be) in the Big East, would the fact that, as you said, "They (the Big East) got there first," be enough for Boise to clear this final hurdle?

Thanks again for helping to shed light on the beautiful mess of this season, it's a lot of fun to see hints of parody and some of the big boys take a backseat to the little engines that can!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

River of Dreams...aka the Great Flood of Kemang

Today's artist of the day was Billy Joel and his album-titled song currently describes one of the major roads between Mentari and home. It started pouring around 3pm and rained harder for a sustained period of time that I've seen since I've been here. The torrent continued until close to 5pm when it tapered off to a constant drizzle. It was well after 7 before the rain stopped completely and consequently there was flash flooding throughout Jakarta and parts of Kemang are especially vulnerable to flash floods. Word from those out and about (thank goodness for after school tutoring and thus staying at school instead of trying to wade my way home!) is that the water was waist high on Kemang Raya (a major road on my commute). Fortunately the home stay is on the top of a hill and so I'm fairly confident that things are okay back home, but I'm still camped out at school until I hear the water has receded enough to make it back. This will certainly be an experience I will never forget because of 1) the impressiveness in how hard it is possible for it to rain (it redefined what it meant for me to see rain coming down in sheets) 2) the effect water can have in an urban setting and 3) the rapid return of a city to normalcy (or at least receded water and people continuing on) after such an impressive natural event! I honestly cannot get over the shear quantity of water that came down and am beyond impressed that the grounds of the school are pretty much back to "normal."

Math Pedagogy Ruminations: Urgency

Throughout my Teach For America training, we were continually reminded of the importance of having a sense of urgency. The intention of this is to focus on maximize learning within classtime, but as I was thinking about the implications of this being too urgent can be a bad thing in the math classroom because it promotes the memorization of math rather than the discovery of the intrinsic logic of math to solve the problems of the world. This process of discovery must be methodical and enable every student to approach problems in ways that make sense to them. Consequently, whole class lectures can inhibit individual thought and leave concepts shrouded in mystery to those student's brains that don't work in sync with the teachers'.

To solve this, math teachers must promote individual thought on a daily basis and in a variety of contexts as every student will excel in different situations and success in one area can be used to promote successes in others. The discovery of concepts should not be limited to formal mathematics, but should also include logic philosophy, and generic problem-solving questions. These various disciplines demand similar thought processing skills and moving between them all can increase student investment and promote cognitive flexibility. Finally, writing must be the act that permanently cements these concepts in students' minds. Taking time for students to write what they notice, what the next step should be, other ways to solve similar problems, and what they learned can highlight individual learning at critical points in the lesson and promote higher order thinking skills.

While the idea of a timer is a good one (and is a good idea for the teacher to have timed out each portion of the lesson for themselves to have in the back of their head), a noisy timer can disrupt student thought and increase anxiety to finish before the bell instead of being completely devoted to the problem at hand. Math takes time to digest and so our sense of urgency needs to be translated into a steady, disciplined, and directed thought process that focuses on depth and not so much breadth.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Last night I intended on getting to bed at a reasonable hour, but then a strange thing started going on in Morgantown, WV. Not only did the Syracuse Orange jump out to an early lead, but they also responded to recapture the lead thanks to an opportunistic defense; aided by a WVU team that kept shooting itself in the foot with turnovers, penalties and sacks, but we're focusing on the positive here! Even though I am not officially associated with Syracuse, growing up near the Carrier Dome during the Paul Pasqualoni era has endeared me to the Orange and, especially being abroad, it's nice to have a "hometown" team to strengthen the connection back to the area. Syracuse football has not been good for a while, but with Doug Marrone now leading his alma mater during a down year for the Big East, the 'cuse could be bowl eligible for the first time since Pasqualoni's last year in 2004. They're currently at 5 - 2, but they need to win two more games to become bowl eligible thanks to having two FCS teams on their schedule. The final 5 games of the schedule are Cincinnati (who look very average now that Brian Kelly is gone), Louisville (who have also been resurgent in Charlie Strong's first year and will be a very interesting game of two programs returning to prominence after a few embarrassing years), Rutgers (and who knows how they will be based on having to deal with the continuing tragedy of Eric LeGrand), Connecticut, and finally Boston College (who also look very beatable but definitely shouldn't be taken for granted). Of these five games, BC is very winnable and so we just need to pull one more out in the remaining Big East schedule. I know Marrone won't be satisfied with saying that bowl eligibility is enough as Pittsburgh exposed major issues with the team, but it's exciting to have something to cheer for prior to Jim Boeheim's annual genius or lacrosse season!

P.S. I love Jim Boeheim's description of the Syracuse area, "It's beautiful eight months out of the year, the other four we play basketball."

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Even though it is not always the favorite time for educators, I actually really enjoy Parent-Teacher Conference time. Meeting parents is fun, you're able to play a little politics, and the meeting can sometimes shed light on the actions of their children both positively and negatively. By far the best conversation was with a dad who wanted to know what he could do to best help his daughter get into her dream school of Stanford. I hope that's me down the road (very very far down the road, but you know :) Also, I love the way he initiated the conversation, essentially saying that he just wanted to be supportive and based on his daughter's research, she really wants to go to Stanford and he wants to do whatever he can be make sure she's prepared and will excel there - i.e. how he could promote her earning a spot at the school and rising up through academic meritocracy. Great stuff)

In general, I apologize for not having a post up here recently, but as soon as the internet was functional again at the homestay (it's still very hit or miss, mostly miss, at school) it went back down for a while. I guess it's the inconsistency and having to cross my fingers every time I turn on my computer that is most frustrating. It has promoted a lot more reading of "Tender is the Night" and reflecting on my teaching - to be detailed in the next post.

Big game on the Plains today; I think I'm rooting for Auburn simply because Les Miles has been beyond lucky and it's unfair to the kids on the opposing squads to continually have LSU pull out games that they shouldn't be winning. Lastly, the end of the Dan Hawkins era in 'rado would be a good thing, especially as they transition to the Pac-12, and upgrading Troy Calhoun or Gary Patterson into an AQ spotlight would be a good thing as both of them have definitely proved themselves at the slightly lower echelon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Internet Dependence

Since the lightening strike Sunday afternoon, the internet had been out at the homestay and the past few days at work the internet hasn't been working for the majority of the time. This has been both frustrating and humbling to realize how dependent upon an internet connection I've become. Granted, such connectivity has been essential for maintaining close ties with y'all, but I question things that I rely on so heavily (and honestly greatly increased my frustration level throughout the past few days) Tomorrow is the first day of fall Parent-Teacher Conferences. I'm very interested to compare these with past experiences, especially given the national and school-wide cultural differences. In general, I enjoy talking with the parents of my students and I'm excited to see how the next two days turn out! I hope everyone is doing well!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lightening Strike

Yesterday afternoon we had another thunderstorm (the brief, but powerful storms that are typical in more tropical locations - i.e. the reasoning for the Tampa Bay Rays to play in a dome, protecting themselves from having too many rain outs), but the notable part of this storm was that there was a lightening strike extremely close to the homestay. It's probably the closest I've ever been to a strike of lightening because the flash of light and the crack of thunder were pretty much instantaneous. Additionally, the electricity in the air didn't make my computer too happy and knocked out the internet connection. Since I was safe inside a building with a lightening rod, it was a fascinating experience, but I'm not sure I would say that had I happened to have been outside at the time :) All is well over here and we've started with a FISH! philosophy conversation during homeroom (good old R.A. training at WaM!) :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Today was a very relaxing Saturday. I got to catch up on the new episodes of South Park (and thank goodness the town was able to stand up and protect themselves from becoming West Jersey lol), work on polishing up stuff (ie the 250s), use the wonders of Google video chat to catch up with Jillian, and finish Outliers. I thought Outliers was a very enjoyable book and, while some of Gladwell's points are untenable, the overall theme is right on and quite encouraging. I especially liked the section on mathematics education (for obvious reasons lol) and may use some ideas and quotes from that chapter in my classroom. Lastly, while I've been pleasantly surprised with how Syracuse has started the season, I have wary optimism for today's game against Pitt and am not looking forward to having to read the events of the game (via the play-by-play) instead of getting to watch it, but I suppose we do what we have to do. Orange out! (not exactly like 'Lemon out!' but you know...)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Staff Meeting and Transportation

Yesterday's staff meeting surrounded the Respect and Tolerance campaign that Cristina and I had been working on. One of the important factors of this that we had failed to address earlier was the importance of framing the campaign. First of all, we're looking to have it be a long-term, peer mentoring program, and so while it started off dealing with helping reduce the instances of bullying, it will encompass so much more. That being said, there were some great conversations and positivity over what we hope to accomplish all in all.

As I was riding on the ojek to school this morning, I realized how much I preferred my current morning commute. It's not that I don't have to take the subway to work anymore, I actually miss the N train and hope Joe is starting to realize how awesome it is now that he's in Brooklyn :), but more that I don't have to shlep up the hill from the Prospect Park subway stop to MS 88. Walking up these four avenues every morning subtly changed my mentality every morning whereas getting dropped off at the front door of the school maximizes morning efficiency (and as a Goddard boy, mornings are arguably :) not our favorite time of the day).

Lastly, I leave you with a comment from a kid who usually isn't associated as one of the more academic students at Mentari but who has shown solid progress throughout the year as he left my classroom today. "Wow, my brain hurts! We did a lot today...and I think I understand it all!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

250 Take 4 - Frat Boy

This is the roughest of the drafts, but it's been quite some time since I've written about my fraternity experience and thus struggled with how I wanted to present it. Additionally, I wanted to push myself to write about something that wasn't related to education.

[At nineteen, I led the third smallest business in a competitive market with a limited number of firms (14), relatively high barriers to entry, and strong brand loyalty. Despite these limiting factors, we became second largest in the industry in two years time. Not only had our firm grown, but our client-list had expanded substantially and we were able to build our corporate reputation through peer and national recognition. Much of this success was due to our internal re-focusing on the principles of our organization; fellowship, leadership, scholarship and service. This organization was the Nu Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at William and Mary and my experience as president highlights the importance, and even educational function, of fraternities. While they are labeled 'frats' with many negative stereotypes, social fraternities provide invaluable experiences not found within the classroom or other campus organizations. A fraternity is an incubator for management because of large membership rolls, constant and multi-faceted event planning, conflict and risk management, some of the largest budgets for student organizations, and routine reporting to regulatory bodies within the university and to the fraternity at large. Furthermore, through ad hoc and permanent committees, growth in organizational leadership is not limited to the executive boards of fraternities, but can be delegated and fostered throughout the members. This 'incubator' had led to such a high percentage of leaders in business and government with backgrounds of fraternal membership and overall I'm proud to be referred to as a 'frat boy.']

Word Count: 247

Day 1 of the campaign went extremely well. I'm so proud of the student leaders and the maturity that many of the students are showing throughout these discussions. My main concern is how to find useless products now that Billy Mays isn't telling me what to buy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Tomorrow we're starting the anti-bullying peer-to-peer campaign at Mentari. The older students decided that they preferred the teachers not be in the room while they were talking with the younger students and so this will truly be a test of their maturity and leadership but it's encouraging that they're so willing to step up to the plate. Take 4 is a little postponed because of internet issues throughout the day, both at school and home, thus I was unable to complete my Industrial Organization research yet. Other than that, keeping on trucking over here :) Lastly, Billy Mays and his fantastic new products, such as Chipotlaway, make the world go 'round.

Monday, October 11, 2010

250 Take 3 - The Other Side of the Equation

Introduction: This is similar to take two, but I felt it necessary to slightly change my argument after reading the following article from the Washington Post:

"The Other Side of the Equation"
[A growing number of major news agencies and school leaders are highlighting the importance of helping ineffective teachers transition into new careers, however, there has been an inadequate discussion of the other side of the equation; creating and molding excellent teachers. First of all, there needs to be increased recognition of the importance of great public school teachers and improve their prestige, pay and diversify the opportunities for promotion. Outside of the three "P"s, there needs to be a change in teacher education. A degree in teaching should be synonymous with the most arduous of majors. Increasing the rigors of these programs will help separate the wheat, those truly dedicated and interest in changing the lives of their students, from the chafe, those entering the profession for seemingly steady employment prospects and government-employee benefits. Furthermore, distinguishing the merit of a degree in education will promote the prestige of teaching and discourage the adage that "those who can't do, teach." Finally, there needs to be an overhaul for the continued development of teachers; no longer can staff meetings be considered "professional development." Administrators must make adequate, meaningful, and deliberate time for real development, both within teachers' daily schedules and during separate professional development days. Additionally, oversight and following through to ensure these sessions are effectively achieving the desired end of continued improvement is needed. Overall, improving teacher quality must be as central as the elimination of under-performers because otherwise public education will lack the necessary effective, long-term change.]

Word Count: 245

All the caveats given for the other two drafts apply to this one as well.

In other news, this past week I worked with one of the sixth grade teachers at the school, Cristina, to develop an anti-bullying program to be implemented by the older students educating the younger students about bullying, why it happens, its harmful effects, and how to change it to create a more positive school culture. Today we "trained" the older students in what their responsibilities would be for this campaign and to be honest, I was concerned with how this would "stick" with them. First of all, due to the difference in dismissal schedule, we needed to break the training into two sections: the 7th and 8th grade student leaders were led by Cristina and I had the 9th and 10th graders. I don't know many of the 10th graders and so I wasn't sure if a lack of a personal connection would inhibit our time together, but I was blown away in such a positive way by their response. I am intrigued as to how successful the program will end up being, but I am hopeful! I hope all are doing well!

My goal for tomorrow: 250 Take 4 - "Frat Boy" - get excited lol

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gracious Indonesia

According to the marquee, flights were supposed to leave from gate A2 every thirty minutes. Consequently, there were a lot of people around the gate waiting for their flight to take off. However, it seemed there were delays (typical airlines...some things change, yet some stay quite the same) and about five minutes before the scheduled boarding time for the flight to Solo, there was an announcement causing about half the people at the gate to clear out for A5. While I have gotten to the point where I can usually follow Bhasa, or at least understand the key information, the announcement was too fast and over a PA system, thus I wasn't sure if my flight or another was changed. Apparently my bewilderment was apparent to a guy near me who, as it turns out, works for Halliburton (or in his words, Dick Cheney's company...) He was there with his wife and two children and was gracious enough to synthesize all the subsequent announcements, talked with me about life, and made sure I got on the right flight. This experience has highlighted one of the best aspects of my time in Indonesia; the friendliness, hospitality, and genuine concern for fellow man by its people. The Indonesian way of life and way of being is something I will forever keep with me. Off to bed because the conference starts early tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frank Sinatra = Bro

We're currently wrapping up midterm season at Mentari, throughout midterms, both grades have been working on projects. The past few days I've decided to play music during their work periods and came to the conclusion that Frank Sinatra is a total bro. His music provides appropriate background noise for a classroom setting because tunes like "New York, New York" allow you to smile and hum along while you work without being totally distracted. Furthermore, Frank is just so classy and definitely would've been a Kappa Sig at William and Mary :) - you can just hear it through the music lol. Also, today we (and by that I mean for the different classes, I needed to have a little variety in music for my sanity, so "we" many not necessarily be accurate lol) listened to a variety of a capella music and while it wasn't Buffers, it was pretty solid :). Tomorrow I'm going to a Math/Science professional development opportunity out in Solo. The actual conference will be taking place Saturday morning and afternoon, but rather than have a ridiculously early flight, the school is flying us out tomorrow afternoon. I hope everyone is doing well, I miss you all!

250 Take 2 - Improving Educators

[The George Bernard Shaw quote of "he who can, does; he who cannot, teaches" is a disastrous and far-reaching sentiment that, over time, has come to define public opinion of the teaching profession. However, if one does not have an in-depth understanding of the material, then one cannot teach the material justly to every student. Everybody approaches problems in different ways, and thus to teach with lasting understanding, one must not only comprehend a single way to solve a problem, but have mastery of multiple methods. These great demands are neither properly recognized by society, nor appropriately taught in teacher training courses. Learning to think like a classroom full of diverse-minded students, that is to constantly use multiple methodologies to problem solve, is difficult because of the high demands on educators' mental agility and ability to think on their feet. Consequently, undergraduate teacher training should be revered with the rigor equivalent to those in engineering programs or their peers who are pre-med. Education School needs to be an arduous rite of passage that distinguishes its graduates for the immensity of their calling. As a nation, we are at risk of losing our future generations and the full potential of our children without necessary changes in both public sentiment and teacher training. Education is too serious to be at the center of such a quip, we need to edit Shaw's words to meet the demands of our time: "only those who can do, can teach."]

Word Count: 243

Similarly to Take 1, this is equally rough, but I'm just throwing spaghetti on the wall until an idea sticks and merits a full editorial process. Let me know what you think (and thanks for the thoughts on Take 1, reading oratory is a little more difficult)

Also, I'm very intrigued in the Michigan/Michigan State game. I'm surprised that both of these teams are still undefeated, so this should be an interesting litmus test (or a continued coming out party for Denard Robinson) Additionally, given the quality of the Michigan spread offense and the incompetence of the Greg Robinson-led (yes, the same Greg Robinson who led Syracuse to a 10-37 record over 4 years...) Michigan defense, the shoot-out should be fun to watch!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When Respect is Due

Dad, I now have greater expectations for your landscaping ;) This was from the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Amazing, ornate, and beautiful things all around! Respect! :) (yes, Dave, that was for you :) lol)

Now for a College Football Rant: (for those disinterested, this is your cue :) lol)

I don't know if it's a hold-over from Michigan being my second-choice for undergraduate, but I've never really been a fan of Ohio State sports. My dislike of OSU sports is probably also due to my pension for supporting the David's against Goliath's (where OSU has been a Goliath throughout the Jim Tressel era), but Ohio State deserves respect for continually putting themselves in a position to be in the national conversation in football. Yes, there is a lot to a program beyond scheduling, but it's definitely a factor (just ask Boise State fans). Over the past nine years, Ohio State has had 35 non-conference games. Of these, 29 of them have been played at home. In a given year there are about four non-conference games and of these four games, Ohio State schedules one game against another national power in a home-and-home series (recently USC, Texas, and Miami), but the other three are played in the Horseshoe against patsies (ie the football powers of Ohio, Youngstown State, or Marshall).

Consequently, going into Big Ten play each year, they have created a setting in which they are pretty much guaranteed 3 wins, and if they get lucky (or every other year when it's a home game), they go into conference play undefeated. Part of the reason Ohio State can get away with this is due to a consistent strength of schedule in Big Ten games, but also because the one game against the national power creates enough positive press to forget about the other games. Furthermore, Ohio States' proximity to so many MAC schools (Ohio, Bowling Green, Akron, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Miami of Ohio, and Kent State) provide a plethora of patsies for them to pay $250,000 a game to come into the Horseshoe (which has a capacity of 102,329, so you do the math whether or not they make out ahead thanks to that game lol) and get beat each year. These MAC schools, because they play in FBS and not the FCS, create significantly more legitimacy to their schedule instead of UMass, New Hampshire, or Colgate who offer about as stiff competition.

Either way, Ohio State has created a system that maximizes profitability, winning percentage, and national recognition. Florida State has the national recognition part down (as three of their non-conference games were against perennial powers Florida, Oklahoma, and Brigham Young - I include BYU here because they think they're national enough to go independent. I think they're drastically over-estimating themselves, but that's a completely different matter...) Needless to say, major conference ADs should take a page from OSU's playbook if they want to help their program continue to be profitable and gain national prominence so despite disliking the Buckeyes, I have to give them my respect. (Them and Brian Cashman, that dude is also a genius.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

250 Take 1 - 6th Grade Pep Talk

[Sixth grade is a time of transition and finding oneself. Inspired guidance and motivation can help students achieve both of these goals while smiling so this is how we start the year:

"Welcome to the first day of your new job! You graduated from fifth grade, but this is the Big Leagues; you have to move between classes, the material is more in-depth, eighth graders loom in the hallways, and you have one hundred new sixth grade friends. Middle School isn't easy, but we will all be successful here because "you work hard to get good, and then you work harder to get better." All of you, each and every one of you, are good, but we need to work harder to get better. We will be pressed for time and will have to work efficiently each day, but that's because we are working harder to get better. We will have this attitude every day in class because we are what we repeatedly do, and we are people with a purpose: working harder to get better. We are making excellence a habit; it is not something we can turn on or off at will. We play in the game like we practice because superstars don't form overnight so our practice is going to be excellent. Mistakes will happen, but we are at ease with mistakes because it is through mistakes and correcting them that we learn and don't forget. So welcome to the first day of your new job; let's become great together!"]

-Word Count: 253

Some of the phrasing isn't exactly how I want it yet, but further editing will wait for one of these to come out on top. Picture of the day: Ab's kids really liked how this picture shows the presence of lichen in Angkor.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Under the Weather

The frequency of posts has not kept up with the initial pace because upon returning from Vietnam and Cambodia, I got quite sick. Fortunately, two weekends of rest and relaxation have me approaching 100% again, but unfortunately, I haven't had the time to properly devote to my law school applications. Consequently, the next few posts will be aimed at fleshing out a 250 word essay, the theme of which I can't finalize and so I'm going to write up multiple and post them just so we can start to get a feel for the whole process. Today's 250 theme will be an analysis of a Paul Krugman article, but others will include SNAPing, a charter school quote about "one hundred, one percent reasons for success," and a classroom welcoming. Any other suggested themes are welcome. Below is a picture Ab really liked when going through my album of Angkor pictures.