Day 59 Tuesday May 4, 2010: “Jump”


Today is Tuesday, May 04, 2010 and Day 59 of my time left at the Mont. I have heard rumors that this is Teacher Appreciation Day (in fact, Teacher Appreciation Week). I heard it from a very reliable source: Superintendent Ramon Cortines of LAUSD personally called me to tell me so. Oh, he called you, too? Maybe it’s like being friends on Facebook; some folk have a few friends, some hundreds. Superintendent Cortines must have thousands.


“Good Day. This is Ray Cortines. Today is National Teachers Appreciation Day. In fact, it is National Teacher Appreciation Week. On behalf of this district, and the Board of Education, and myself, I want to share my gratitude to each and every one of you as a teacher, for what you do for our students, all you do, in your classrooms. These are tough times and so much more is being asked of you.


“And yet because of you our students are succeeding.


“You’ve heard the expression, ‘If you can read this, thank a teacher.” This message can be expressed in many ways.


“If you can add, subtract, know the state capital, understand why the moon is full, if you can speak more than one language, if you know who the 16th President is, if you can play a musical instrument, sing like a professional, dance on stage, if you can draw, paint or sculpt, if you can run, pitch or jump, please thank a teacher.


“Those who can, teach. And those who teach, care.


“I salute you.”


This day often seems to get mocked at the Mont. I remember the odd gifts we received over the years: the industrial-gray organizers with “Fremont” in red letters on the cover and no paper or dividers inside, the magical pens which had the name “Fremont” on them, magical because they both leaked and refused to write, the occasional muffin or apple…


By far, the most significant gift came from when Rosa Morley was principal. In each of our boxes was a piece of the Berlin Wall. The legend at the base read, “This is a piece of the Berlin Wall, a barrier to the free-flow of people and ideas. Because of people like you, this wall fell.” This had a special meaning for me. I remembered the day the Wall fell, I saw my parents dancing in the living room to no music, the news on in the background. It was the only time I ever saw them dance.


I did not get along with Ms. Morley. We had verbal sparring continuously for the years she was principal at Fremont—I once told her that if she did not do something about the way adult school kept moving desks from room to room, that I would go out and buy chains and locks and chain the desks together for each and every social studies classroom. Two APs nodded and said, “He’ll do it.” So we definitely did not play well together.

Yet she appreciated her staff—even the people like me.


But did C-Track get a speech, a letter, an email, for their service when they left?



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    Chuck Olynyk is a Social Studies teacher who saw the effects of reconstitution upon John C. Fremont High in Los Angeles. These are reposting of his original blogs from the Save Fremont website.


    August 2010



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