the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: awards

Vote for Me… Or Else


I woke up this morning and saw a large manila package outside our door.  I opened the door, still in my underwear, and took it.  It was for Sophia.  Since she was still sleeping,  I took the initiative to open the package myself.  Out came a huge brochure, a press kit, and a free movie pass for a Paul Thomas Anderson-directed movie for Miramax.  I laughed to myself. It was for the SAG awards.  It was that time a year again, despite the Writers’ Strike. The Weinsteins must really want to win and Oscar this year.   Did they really send this to each and every SAG member?

I heard Sophia rustling in bed upstairs.

“You got a package!”

“A package? From whom?” she asked, half asleep.

“Someone really wants you to vote for them! — “There Will Be Blood“.”

“Oh my God.” she replied, her voice cracking nervously. “What did you say?!”

“Someone really wants you to vote for them! — “There Will Be Blood”.”

“Who would do such a thing? Is this a threat?”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Sophia stepped out of the bedroom, looking like she spent a little bit too much time on Facebook last night, particularly the US politics application. She heard me say: ” Someone really wants you to vote for them or there will be blood!”

I assured her that Hilary Clinton would never send her a manila package with a threatening message.   She would put a horse’s head in the bed.

Teacher of the Year


Many of the bloggers on my blogroll are teachers.  I frequently read their blog posts where they are complaining about their low salary and their bratty students.  Well, I have a message for all you teachers:  ENOUGH of your complaining.  Did you ever think that the problem with the American education system is YOU — the SPOILED American teacher?

You might ask me, "Who the hell are you — Neilochka — to talk to me in this condescending manner?"

I will tell you.

I am not just some dumb blogger mouthing off.  No, I am someone who has "made a difference," according to this letter I received yesterday in the mail:

"Dear Mr. Kramer,

I am proud to congratulate you on being selected for inclusion in the 10th Edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 2005/2006.  I believe you will find this honor exceptionally gratifying since it comes from a successful former student who recommended you because you made a difference in his or her life

There is no greater reward for teachers than to be valued by former students.  Only high school and college students who have been cited for academic excellence themselves in Who’s Who Among High School Students, Who’s Who Among American High School Students – Sports Edition, The National Dean’s List, and the Chancellor’s List are invited to nominate one teacher from their entire academic experience. "

Do you hear that?  I, writer of Citizen of the Month, was nominated by one of my prized pupils for this esteemed honor.  Where is your nomination… BrookeNance Leesepea?   Janet?

I know what you’re thinking. 

"It’s all a scam, you idiot.  You’ve never taught a single class in your life."

Well, boo hoo.  Sure, I’ve never taught a class anywhere.  But think of all the educating I’ve done through my blog.

"It’s bullshit.  They just want you to buy the book with your stupid name included."

Of course I want to buy the book.  It’s an honor.  Something to show my grandchildren.   And I’m hoping some of you might want to buy the book as well.   You better be quick, because when these books are published, they sell like Chicken and Waffles at Roscoe’s on a Sunday morning. 

In fact, this is what Jeffrey Fix, Vice President of Student Programs, wrote in his letter:

"A limited quantity of these books are published each year — and they cannot be reprinted.  So, we urge you to act fast.  Order today, or you can reserve a copy now by including a payment with your Teacher Data Form.  We’ll bill you the balance in three equal installments."

That’s three equal installments.   Or "installments x 3," as I like to joke with a friend of mine who’s a math teacher. 

Teachers, it’s time to be awoken!  Our students cannot compete in the international marketplace without some serious reform.   Yeah, yeah, we can blame overcrowded classrooms, lack of money,  and Pizza Hut lunches as the culprits.  But the real problem is a lack of inspiration.

That’s where I come in.  I was included in the "Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers" because I "made a difference" in a student’s life.  Let me ask the other teachers out there:  Do you spend your time "making a difference" like me?   Or do you spend your time counting the days before summer vacation?

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