Education

Greetings and Salutations! We haven’t met yet, but we will meet soon. I need to apologize in advance because I am going to be one of “those” parents. You know, the ones who are constantly checking in, perhaps over protective to a fault. In my defense I feel like I know a bit more about this whole school thing than most parents. Having taught kids in the same city where I grew up and now teaching teachers (who, in many ways, are just bigger kids) in a city far away from home, I have learned a good deal about what goes on in classrooms nowadays. There is also the matter of me teaching university courses that deal with educational policy (yuk!) and educational psychology (wow!). Did you know that most of our current educational policy flies in the face of educational psychology,...
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Dear Broadcasters However difficult it may have been to organise, the forthcoming Leaders’ Debate presents a welcome opportunity for the voting public to hear how the different political parties would act in government over the next five years, if given the power to do so. Among the millions of children and young people who are affected by government policies every day, one group in particular rely more directly on government than any other – the 68,000 children in care.* For these children and young people, too-often invisible in political debates and without a vote of their own, the state has a special responsibility. Anyone seeking government office, not least hoping to be Prime Minister, takes on a ‘corporate’ responsibility for all children in care. We believe it is our duty...
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Dear Prospective Graduate Student, We appreciate your interest in the graduate program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln! You will find our English Department a vibrant, diverse, and intellectually stimulating place to do your graduate work. We currently have approximately 120 graduate students in our MA and PhD programs in Literary and Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and Composition and Rhetoric. We offer graduate coursework in all these areas. There are also opportunities for students to obtain Area of Specialization Certificates in affiliated interdisciplinary programs or Graduate Certificates such as the Certificate in the Teaching of Writing. Students with a BA may apply for the MA or for direct admission into the PhD. Please note that students who apply with a BA for...
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Dear Former Nursing Professor, As a student, I had very little appreciation for you, your knowledge and methods outside of passing your class. I thought you were a meticulously difficult grader, impossible to reason with, and incapable of seeing the perspective of the student. You had a reputation as one of the strict ones, and I think you both deserved it and cultivated it. I valued what I got in lecture more than I'd admit to other classmates, but I didn't value it enough just then. The unique opportunities afforded me related to the institution I attended college at, as well as your connections and so on - I valued them enough at the time, but it wasn't really enough. As a new grad waiting to take boards? I was more focused on applying for jobs and studying than anything else....
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Dear Young Men of Kappa Delta Rho, Take a moment and dream with me: It’s graduation. You worked this season the hardest you knew how. So you graduate, celebrate, say goodbye to the chapters of your life you will never redo again. Excited because you got a job in your field. Not a dream job, but one that will surely open doors. You move and settle in, and soon you meet the woman you wished you met in college. She’s amazing. You marry and while you realize it’s not perfect, every day you become more fond of the special woman you call wife. Two years in and you find out that you’re expecting. Wow, you’re having a baby! This is scary, crazy. But you were just a kid, you tell yourself. The baby arrives—she’s a sweet baby girl who has your cleft chin. Wow again. The three of you head...
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Dear Everyone Presently Involved In My Kids’ Education, You won’t remember me as Elizabeth. Or Liz. Or Grace’s, Jack’s, Henry’s, George’s and/or Nina’s Mom. You will remember me, this year anyway, as That Parent. I’m going to own it right from the get-go in order to save us both time and disappointment. You’re welcome. No doubt, you are some of the most under-compensated, under-appreciated individuals on earth. And not for one moment do I want you to believe that you are under-appreciated or under-valued by me. You aren’t. You hold a very dear place in my heart as a catalyst to ensuring that these kids can move out one day. And survive for more than 22 minutes. We have just embarked upon what is sure to be an indescribably long school year, and I feel it’s incumbent upon me to...
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Dear Mr. Willetts, I am writing to you regarding the recent announcement by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that the government will be reducing its contribution to the National Scholarship Programme (NSP) by £100m. I am disappointed that there has been a cut in the overall Government spending supporting students from poorer backgrounds. At the University of Liverpool NSP funding cuts now mean the University can allocate only 198 National Scholarship Programme funded places whereas previously it was able to allocate 396. Furthermore it is of great disappointment that those who do receive funding will only be entitled to a minimum of £2,000 opposed to the £3,000 previously. As a Student Representative Officer at Liverpool Guild of Students there is concern...
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Dear Randolph Board of Education Members: Based on Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, it is obvious you have all been listening to a variety of opinions. I am proud of our community members who got up to speak, proud of those who sent letters or emails sharing their opinions and ideas with Dr. Browne and you. If we don’t say anything, how will you know our opinions and ideas regarding school times? I found it surprising to hear how many people were so quick to dismiss the studies that support later start times and discount a recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Many people said we should wait until more studies can be done, that we should not rush this important decision. Maybe they meant studies specific to Randolph and its schools, but why spend the money on...
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Dear Arabic Labials, A few years back, I taught English to speakers of other languages. These amazing Arab students taught me about shwarma, argilla, sandboarding behind an SUV—you know, the finer things that make life livable. These students, brilliant though they were, met up with an impossible roadblock, a colossal bulwark, a mammoth barrier (et cetera ad nauseum) during Level Three English Proficiency. You were that roadblock, Arabic Labials, and we’d better take this outside. By the pike racks. In Arabic, it matters little that you blend the “P” sound and the “B” sound together into one androgynous non-committal usage of human lips. Why? Because voiceless glottal fricatives get all the glory in Arabic. I mean come on! This freaking awesome language has three, count them—...
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Dear Canonical Authors, I regret the impersonal nature of this form letter, but time-travel technology is still very basic in the early 21st century, and my message is an urgent one. Let me say, firstly, that I’m a huge fan of your work. I was painfully shy as a child, and so I did most of my living through books: your books. At the same time, however, I hope it’s okay if I offer a few editing suggestions. Here’s the problem: in my era, your work is taught in a wide range of introductory college classes, and some of your artistic choices are creating real difficulties for my students. It’s making my job almost impossible. So I have a few requests. No, not requests—polite demands. 1. Please stick to universal themes. My students are taking five other classes. Most have part-...
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