Sunday, December 2, 2007

"Scrooge" and Christmas

Friends of the Art's is getting ready for their 2nd annual production of "Scrooge". Production dates will be December 11th, 12th, 13th, and 16th at PIC's Charley's Caberet. On Friday, December the 14th, FOA will take the show to Kagman Community Center. Anyone wishing tickets, or information about joining FOA, can see any Friends of the Arts board member. Break a Leg to All this year!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Up the Down Staircase

The Thespians of the Western Pacific on Saturday completed their production of "Up the Down Staircase". This play was put on by and directed by students from various Junior High and High Schools here on Saipan, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

You can find pictures of the production at "". I hope that you enjoy them!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rolling Black-Outs and Education?

Eleven thirty-five a.m., just sat down to lunch in the cafeteria with about one hundred-eighty students and fellow teachers, and the room was suddenly plunged into darkness. As you can just imagine, the squeals and screams that erupted were deafining. Just another "CUC Rolling Blackout".

After getting them to quiet "a little", we finished lunch and went back to our already heating-up classroom. There we stayed, my students and I, trying to learn and teach in that environment until almost two p.m.. Does anyone do their best in an uncomfortable environment?

Some schools contacted CUC, found out it would be out longer than two hours, and let their students go home. We could not contact CUC, because phones are tied to power. This meant that we just had to endure. One cannot teach computer, use the overhead projector, or a Power Point presentation if the power is off. This can make teaching very dificult! It is not always easy to come up with enough creative teaching methods to fill two hours in the dark.

CUC and the schools have to find a better solution to "keep the power on" for education's sake.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Teachers / Victims ?

After a month of meetings, moving classrooms, setting up a new classroom and more than a month of problems with CUC, I'm finally able to set down and write for just me.

In a Letter to the Editor, last week, Richard A. Pierce stated that "Victims are entitled to our compassion, but not if they have chosen their own misfortune." In teaching, both on this island and off, teachers do not set themselves up to be the victims, but are becoming the victims.

The Legislature and PSS(Public School System) continue to take advantage of teachers. They take whatever teachers are willing to give to this island and to their children, without consideration of what it costs to the teacher. Teachers have to buy everything for their classroom. This year, even trash bags! What's next? Toilet Tissue? Well guess what, we are almost there!

Teachers did not go to four years of college, sometimes much more for their masters and beyond, and keep up with the latest and best practices in education, just to be taken advantage of! No! No teacher ever went into education because of the money. They go into it for the joy of sharing information with their students and seeing those "lights" go on when a student "gets it". But, enough is enough!

How can the legislature give themselves a raise, keep public access from their records, etc...? How can CUC continue to waste electricity-by putting in not one, but four cameras in customer service, by having the third floor so cold that they need to wear long sleeves to work, hire more employees-even though there is supposed to be a hiring freeze on, etc...?

But, teachers keep getting told there is NO money to hire more teachers, there is NO money to buy supplies, they have NO right to complain or question, etc...! How much more do teachers have to contribute before they are accepted as a part of the community and are treated equally?

I hope and pray that teachers here will wake up and assist ACT NOW CNMI to make working conditions better for all of us! This is as close to the forbidden word of "Union" as we will ever get. So, all teachers ACT NOW!

Friday, July 6, 2007

The prices of things just keep going up around here! I know fuel is high! I know that therefore the electric bill is high! But, If there is a dispute with CUC(Commonwealth Utilities Corporation) then why does a customer have to demand a dispute form or threaten to bring a lawyer to get a dispute form?

This happened to me this week! Because I was advised, I knew to demand a dispute form, because without one, several things happen:

1) They look better if audited by the mainland, because nothing is on file!
2) They do NOT take you seriously!

Well, they did take me seriously this week! I put into writing that they did not have a dispute form for me to fill out. I also asked for them to put into writing that they did not have a form. Several phone calls later, the Assistant Director showed up and 1/2 hour later a form appeared. Supposedly, the printer had just given them to CUC within the last couple of days. He stayed and worked on my case for an hour, because of the rules and law that I was able to quote.

What happens to those who do NOT have such good advice or do not know where to go. For these reasons and others which I will not elaborate on, I feel it would be a good thing if CUC were bought out by a private organization. Maybe some of the practices would be changed and they would then comply with federal and international law!

Again, Thanks for listening!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Banking in Saipan or US?

Have you ever tried to cash a check from the mainland on Saipan? I have, and it is the biggest hassel! My father passed away back in Febuary. But, in June a check came from the mainland. The bank thought they could hold the check for 16 days, but I had to remind them that the(not so new) federal law states that they can NO longer hold checks traveling within the mainland. This is a US bank, even though it is overseas!

My teller (whom shall remain nameless) did not know about the federal law. But, after going to the boss, this person found out about it, and through the boss they still put a hold on the check. I stated I could understand a few days because of the time difference, but I wanted my money very soon!!

I had to go back three times within two weeks. Finally, two weeks and on one day later, and with the threat of bringing back a lawyer, they finally released the funds. It seems discriminatory when locals can cash checks that aren't even their funds and something that is mine I cannot cash and use! I hope that the banks here will take a look at their policies and decide to come into the 21st century and abide by the law.

Thanks for listening!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saipan Ramblings

After a wonderful evening with cheap, good food, visiting with good friends and a good nights sleep, I am trying to gain a more relaxed perspective on the last two weeks. It still is hard!

Yes, the economy is bad! Yes, the scores of our students are low! Yes, their reading levels are lower than we would like! Yes, if we hired teachers that knew the english language things might improve more quickly! Yes, if more of them passed the Praxis, teaching would improve!

But, there a lot of other factors that affect our students, our schools, our classrooms and our teachers! For instance, lack of support from political officials, school system administration and yes, sometimes parents.

I have been lucky in this area, as this last year my students' parents were supportive of both myself and their kids. Working together, we helped to raise the students reading levels to the highest in our grade level! Partnerships can and do pay off!! I hope this will continue this next year as I will be looping with my kids. We still have lots of hard work ahead of us and will continue to do what we can. That is one of my pet peeves, "Just Try!". Well, I will try to be a partner in this two year program and hope that it will benefit my students!

Enough rambling for today!