The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

I’m Back Again With Happiness and Advice


Today I am beginning to write after a four week absence that seemed like ten years of doing nothing. Without my computer all I was able to do was watch television, and that bored and angered me more than I wish to tell. Although some of my readers may have thought I was taking a summer vacation or I had slipped away from this world, all I was doing for several weeks was complain because I had very little to do alone in my apartment.

Now, I am so happy to be back with my beloved computer. I also thank my son Alan, who took my broken computer to a company that carried out a long–but excellent–job of fixing my computer. Now, my only problem is that my machine is smarter than I am, and I need to learn how to use it again. One thing I like is that It lets me know when I have misspelled a word while writing, which seems to be a problem for many people of my age. And it helps me to correct my errors. So, if there are any misspelled words here, blame the machine, not me. Its job is to bring all my errors to my attention and give me the correct spellings instead.

At last, I can return to the job I have long loved, which is reading the the stories of American education and then advising teachers how to work for the success of children. Because I was once able to teach many school grades successfully and became a principal in two different schools, I learned a great deal about helping children learn to read, write, and become successful adults.

Although I plan to focus my attention on children’s education I can’t ignore all the difficulties now in our country. I am back at work and almost as healthy as my computer. I am deeply concerned about the severely damaged world we all live in today and all the difficulties our children and their parents now face. However I must say that our government’s decision to open children’s schools was completely wrong. What all of our states should have done was to tell all adults that they must wear masks for enough time to free everyone in their community from the virus before opening children’s schools. Even though that would make school openings later than usual, it could solve the problem by keeping schools open for an extra month at the end of the year.

Worst of all for me lately has been missing your support and suggestions. Now I hope that we can get together again and share our ideas for helping children and there parents. Like in the past, I will emphasize good teaching and my concern for all children in our schools. And I will continue to insist that we should teach children to read by recognizing words visually, rather than struggling to sound them out by sounding out all the letters in a word.

Finally, I plan to stand with all children and their parents by using what I learned as the mother of four children and a teacher of thousands of good kids.

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How to live With the Virus Today


Dear Readers,. 

In posting my opinions today I want to make clear that much of what I write is based on my experience as the mother of four children, a teacher, and finally, a school principle. Because of my experience I have developed strong opinions that may bother some of my readers. But I want to describe them anyway in order to open a true picture of where we are today and what we can do to make our lives workable today and better in the future.

Most importantly however, I advise parents to not send their children to school at this time. The possibility of getting the virus disease is very strong all over our country. Instead of risking the health of our children, we should stay home and keep them with us or close by, because our schools are not safe right know. When this country gets clean again–and it will- our children will then be able to catch up on their learning and be healthy enough to go back to schools that have cleared out the virus. 

Because of these hard times I think that children will be much better off at home than at school. They can learn well there if there parents provide books for them to read and talk with them aboght what they have read. Although buying books is expensive these days, you can work out a plan with your frends. Each of you shoud buy diferent books for your children to read and then exchange them later with each other. In adition, It’s not necessary now for you to make tests for your children. You can easily find out what they know by asking them to write abouught the things theve read. It’s also good for children to send cards or letters to friends and family members. Tell them to start writing and you will help them with any hard words. Because spelling may be difficult for young children, don’t hesitate to write down any words they want, and then give them what you’ve written to copy. You will soon find ought how quickly and correctly your children write and spell. Infact they will learn how to write new words by coppying the ones you write.

Although some adults think they can avoid the virus by being strong and healthy, they may go everywhere without wearing masks. As a result the numbers of sick people keep increasing. At times some hospitals have gotten so full of sick people that many of them diyed while others waited outside to get in.  So far, elderly people are the ones most often killed by the virus, while young children seem to be free from it entirely. What really bothers me abought the disease is that anyone can be struck by the virus more than once, while most other diseases are only a onetime event. Apparently, the virus is not an ordinary disease, but instead it’s like the alcohol that makes people drunk every time they drink it. 

What bothers me most when reading newspapers or listening to television is that our country is in great dainger while thousands of people behave as if everything was normal like it ws in the recent past. They ignorethe fact that w are all threatened by the large amounts of virus that come our way. And unfortunately, it looks like too many people have refused to recognize the danger of the virus and are continuing to avoid wearing masks.

To be fair to the scientists, doctors, and geniuses who have not yet come up with a solution, we are all facing a powerful and never before known disease.  The best anyone can do is to find a way to live safely until some genius emerges with a miracle or the world changes back to its normal behavior.  For all the people who have already been harmed by the virus there best choice now is to retire and live as far away from it as possible.  At the same time all adults that are still healthy, and their children, should be told that the virus may harm them many times and ruine there lives..

If those warnings had ben given earlyer and explained in newspapers and magazines, we all might have ben more successful in wearing masks when we were close to other people. I also think that doctors and scientists should have stepped forward and criticized Trump for his dangerous suggestions.  The fact that he still does not wear a mask publicly may have ben a joke that led thousands of other people into illness or death. Even when our leaders knew abought the danger of the virus they failed to inform the wrest of us because that would have endangered there wealth and let the public know how little they understood abought the virus. We all should be ashamed of there failure. 

   

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Another Complaint About Opening Schools


While I was discussing the opening of our public schools with a friend I said that students who attend won’t learn much because there will be many problems in schools that can’t be easily resolved. For example, all teachers and students will have to wear masks in order to avoid any virus that might come into the school. So when the teachers speak the students will have trouble understanding what they said. If students respond or ask questions there words will also be hard to understand. When the time comes for students to start working, there will be new problems such as how can students share the use of books, tools and other items that have been previously used by others possibly carrying the virus?

My vision of safety for this year is very little speaking by teachers or students. And the students would have to be told not to touch any school materials, such as workbooks regularly handled by everyone in the classroom. They also shouldn’t be allowed to go outside their classrooms to visit a gymnasium, lunchroom, nor should they even walk in school hallways because there might be virus left by others in those places. Even bathroom visits are going to be a problem.

I understand student’s learn better in the classroom, and all the other social and educational advantages. But what could be the benefit of having students back into dangerous schools this coming year, getting infected, getting sick, and bringing the virus to parents, friends and family, some of of who may be at risk for serious complications or even death?  All I can think of is the selfish motives of Donald Trump.

At this point I’ve done more than enough criticizing and complaining. I would just like to know what you readers think about Trump’s decision to insist on the opening all public schools to in-person learning, without any assurance of safety. If any of you see how opening schools now would benefit children and their parents, please let me know what those will be. Then I will apologize for my ignorance to everyone, and also to Trump.

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Back to School Now?


As we get very close to the time when public schools will open again, I can’t stop being concerned about the health of students and teachers. What I hear every day is that a dangerous virus is still active all over the country with some states in much worse shape than others.

Because the danger of having people close together is still strong in this country, there are things we shouldn’t do in many places. For example, older people who live at the “Watermark” in Philadelphia were told that although we are now able to leave our apartments, we shouldent get together in groups for meals or any other large events in our building. So now, big food tables in the main dining room will seat just two people. It certainly looks like dining won’t be the party it was before the virus arrived. Actually, it won’t be normal anywhere else in the building for a while.

When I found out that some of our states had announced they will open their schools this fall, I was amazed and wondered how they planned to do it safely. Even if the classrooms have fewer students, the virus will still be with some of them. And if students are sitting farther apart and wearing masks, they may still be moving around there classroom, sharing books, papers, or pencils, and also touching each other’s hands and bodies.

I also doubt that face masks will stay on anyone for a whole school day. If a student need’s to speak to a partner while working, it be may very difficult. So he will end up pushing his mask aside. On top of that it will be even harder for anyone to understand the teacher. Frankly, I don’t see how the speech needed for teaching and learning will be safe in today’s schools if anyone still comes there carrying the virus.

Instead of having students go back to school I think it would be better for them to learn at home while their teachers work with them over the internet. Until the virus is well under control it would be much safer for students, teachers, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, aides or everyone else involved in education–and their families– to be at home. Yes,teaching in homes will be more difficult than in classroom. But the health and safety of everyone warrants this trade-off.

When I first heard that some states claimed they could safely provide a good learning environment in our schools, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. If I’m wrong please try to persuade me to change my view. If others are right and our children really can go back to school safely, I will be the happiest person in the world.

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How Should Schools Operate Today?


Believe it or not it’s has ben a hard time for me because I have written abougt education for a long time after teaching in schools of three states. In adition, when, where and how schools shood now be operating is not yet clear to me at all. I have ben reading pieces abought this years plans for schools in different states, but none of them have ben helpful

Although I’ve ben reading articles abought the processes of school openongs this year, what’s ben written so far dosen’t include information abought the danger of disease when students are close together with others who may still be infected . None of the officials managing large publik schools appear to recognize the continuing danger of spreading the virus to everybody who is close for any length of time.

With plans for preparing children for school are so close we should also be planning for school safety. Don’t begin by buying new clothes and shoes for your children. Instead get them ready for newly structured schools, different school owers and the safest school behavior. I thinkt t many of our cities will try to provide good eduction in there regular school processes while others will tell parents to keep there children at home for at least the first few months. All ouwers parents decisions will depend on local health conditions and the beliefs allready developed in there cumunity.

I suspect that people’s decisions and there results will be different in all states, just as they are now. But I say, play it safe. Having your children learn at home with locally created teaching methods is probably a hard choice for parents, but the best one for their children.

Finally, here are my suggestions for children’s education in the coming times. Because there current hellth conditions are different from place to place, you will have to decide which ones are the safest and smartist in your area. In my opion because college students are older and behave differently than younger students, they should have there lessons sent to there homes by televison instead of being inside schools. They are better able to sit stil, pay attention to teachers speaking loudly in fron’t of large screens.

With those conditions available students should be able to ask questions of teachers and respond to there answers by telephone. Although I would like to be more specific I think that high schools in different places will operate in various ways. But all of them can teach well from a distance when there students are already learning that way. The only things I would sugest for this new teaching methods would be powerful screens, clear questions, answers, and discussions from students. I’m sorry not be more specific right know but our colleges and schools are differently organized. Student’s should mail in there homework and teacers coould return it corrected in the same way.

As for younger students we need to provide skhools that are close to there homes with small, widespead classrooms. And only healthy students who are checked for ther health regularly by school officells shold be allowed to be in schools.

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