Archive for the ‘Portland Maine’ Category

Jiffy Lube Sucks


The store # is 442 and is on Main Street in South Portland, Maine. (207) 773-4950. Larry I believe was the person I spoke with at the store.

A copy of the message I sent to Jiffy Lube corporate:

I brought my wife’s car in for an oil change today [July 23, 2010] and encountered some terrible customer service. I was checked in by Larry (I believe this name is right) and he showed me the cabin air filters and said that they could be replaced for thirty dollars for the pair. I agreed and went back to the waiting area. I was called up to pay given the total of  $77.19 which was higher than I expected but I know that there are fees and taxes so I paid. My invoice was given to me AFTER I paid, I got into my car and inspected the receipt. The filters were on there for $39.99. I went back and said to Larry,
“You had said these were 30 for the pair”
He said ‘Yeah I said 39.99 for the pair.”
I replied “No, you said 30 for the pair.” this repeats a couple times until:
He told me “I’ve been doing this for a number of years I said 39.99”
I told him that I had been speaking and listening for a number of years and heard him say 30. He was very condescending and obviously tried to first ignore me and repeat what he wanted me to think he said (Yeah I said 39.99 for the pair) and then to make it sound ludicrous that he could have made a mistake.
Needless to say I, nor any of my family will be back. I will be relating this story on all of the social media sites I am a part of and emailing my contact list the story. There are cheaper, faster places to get my oil changed that treat their customers the right way – like they pay the bills. I only went to Jiffy Lube because I knew they vacuumed the car out and I was willing to pay  more (about $15 more than Prompto)  this one time so that I didn’t have to.

I brought my wife’s car in for an oil change today and encountered some terrible customer service. I was checked in by Larry (I believe this name is right) and he showed me the cabin air filters and said that they could be replaced for thirty dollars for the pair. I agreed and went back to the waiting area. I was called up to pay given the total of  $77.19 which was higher than I expected but I know that there are fees and taxes so I paid. My invoice was given to me AFTER I paid, I got into my car and inspected the receipt. The filters were on there for $39.99. I went back and said to Larry, “You had said these were 30 for the pair” He said ‘Yeah I said 39.99 for the pair.”I replied “No, you said 30 for the pair.” this repeats a couple times until: He told me “I’ve been doing this for a number of years I said 39.99″I told him that I had been speaking and listening for a number of years and heard him say 30. He was very condescending and obviously tried to first ignore me and repeat what he wanted me to think he said (Yeah I said 39.99 for the pair) and then to make it sound ludicrous that he could have made a mistake. Needless to say I, nor any of my family will be back. I will be relating this story on all of the social media sites I am a part of and emailing my contact list the story. There are cheaper, faster places to get my oil changed that treat their customers the right way – like they pay the bills. I only went to Jiffy Lube because I knew they vacuumed the car out and I was willing to pay  more (about $15 more than Prompto)  this one time so that I didn’t have to.

This would have been a different experience if Larry had just said “I’m sorry sir I misquoted the price” and either refunded the $10 or offered a discount on a future visit (to give them a chance to redeem themselves or rather himself, everyone else was very polite).

Advertisements

A new model


I convinced my 8th grade colleagues, and the administration, that King Middle School‘s model of Expeditionary Learning (EL) is worth looking into and emulating. We visited the school yesterday and everyone is really fired up about it. I think that we’ll do our first expedition next year!

I am familiar with King because I interned there for 13 weeks while completing the Extended Teacher Education Program at the University of Southern Maine. (While at King, I taught the Laurie Halse Anderson‘s novel, Speak. You can learn more about that work here.)

If you aren’t familiar with Expeditionary Learning, it follows Outward Bound principles. An Expedition can be many things but at its center is careful planning, an authentic task, an authentic product, and an authentic audience. Notice the focus on authenticity; this drives both student and teacher to excellence. When you know that the public is going to see your work you are more likely to do what needs to be done and a bit more to make sure it is quality.  King’s website has examples of past and current Expeditions and products.

The culture of the school is amazing. We had two 8th grade students give us a tour of the school. Everybody, staff and students, was polite and helpful and excited for us to be there. Teachers waved us into their classrooms and were happy to talk to us. Even more impressive was that while there were 5 new adults in the room who were taking the teacher’s attention away, the students continued working quietly and without issue. We stopped a couple different students in the halls to ask questions and they were thoughtful, well spoken, and happy to help.

Everyone knows that integrating academic disciplines leads to higher student involvement, buy-in, and achievement. Everyone wants each student to be challenged appropriately to do their best, to learn and improve. Expeditionary learning combines all the things that we know about what is best for students and fits them all together. Instead of individual pieces, we have a cohesive whole. Differentiation within an Expedition becomes much easier. I think that it lessens the stigma that still surrounds ‘difference’, especially at the middle school. There is a great deal of structured independence embedded within this model, people work at different paces and perhaps in a different order. This means that it is no longer obvious that one student is doing something different than the rest of the kids. Traditional schools have kids move from class to class, subject to subject with no connections between. But think about it, if each class is working on a piece of a larger puzzle school starts to make more sense, the disconnect between classes is healed and, paired with the authenticity of the learning, students begin to discover the joys of learning and exploration and want to share what they know with others. It makes our job as a teacher more enjoyable and easier – the principal of King, Mike McCarthy, said during our meeting “Engagement trumps discipline.”  This is absolutely true, if kids are interested then they are not going to be a behavior problem.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this. I hope that the Administration continues to be fired up about it, that the school board will go see King’s “Celebration of Learning” and that Kittery can follow the shining example of King Middle.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Solstice – December 21st


We woke at 6AM, much to the chagrin of my wife who would have liked to get up thirty minutes later, I preheated the oven and fed the cat and dog. I am up at 4:55AM Monday through Friday so I was pretty functional at this hour, I popped some cinnamon rolls into the oven and started coffee brewing. This is about when Jennie realized what time it is – a groan a bit of complaining follow. I smile and nod and know that when she’s more awake she will be more appreciative of being up. Henry (our chocolate lab) is excited and a bit concerned that both of us are up so early, he alternates between the two of us, keeping his eye on us so that he doesn’t miss anything. We planned to exchange gifts after greeting the sun but, due to my tendency towards rising early, we opened presents first. Then, with our thermals on, mugs of coffee (for me) and tea (for her), and the dog, we pile into the car under a sky that is beginning to lighten.

We decided to become pagans about 3(?) years ago. Neither of us have any buy into Christianity. I’ve attended church (Congregationalist) regularly in the past, I’ve read the Bible (on my own), and went to a Catholic school for my Freshman and Sophomore High School years. While the church I was a part of was (and probably still is) very open minded, there was a gay couple that were members, I never really believed what was being preached. Do the lessons make sense? Yes. Are the basic morals ones I agree with? Many are, yes. Paganism is rooted in Nature, this is something that I believe in and can relate to which is important in a belief system.

The streets of Portland are virtually empty; delivery trucks, business men and women, and us are the only ones out. We arrive at the Eastern Prom (where else to catch the first rays of the sun?) and find that there are other pagans there. They are ringing tambourines, and hopping up and down (from cold or as part of the ritual wasn’t clear). We get out with the camera and dog and await the sun to make it’s entrance.

Just as an aside: Henry showed us just how awesome he is during this outing. He was off-lease (not unusual) and spotted another dog on chasing a ball on the hill above us. He made a move to run towards them but it only took a “Heyyyy” to stop him. He still looked and whined a bit but he made no further attempt to leave our side. Later, while playing fetch, a man was walking down the sidewalk and passed pretty close by. He saw him and paid attention to him as he walked by but made no move towards him. This is huge! He has always felt the need to greet others, especially humans, but our little puppy is growing up into a well behaved dog – we’re so proud.

With frozen noses, rapidly cooling coffee, and numb fingers we greet the sun and make our way back to the car, commenting on how much we enjoyed this experience and the behavior of Henry. This is something that we will continue to do in years to come. A truly great day.

High Road or Middle Road


At the beginning of the ETEP program, I was certain of my desire to teach at the High School level. During the first semester, we spent a week visiting different schools, after which I said that if I were to teach Middle School it would have to be at KMS or another Expeditionary School. Now that I’m in, and slowly becoming a part of, the school, I am not so sure what level I prefer. It is early in this placement and I’ve not yet seen too many classes. I will begin teaching in the coming weeks and that should provide the necessary experience to determine which I like better.

My thoughts right now about the different levels are:
In High School we can really dive into a text and get our hands dirty – words and language all over them. The conversations are good and the kids have the cognitive ability to make inferences and critically examine and interpret a text.

The Middle School kids, on the other hand, enjoy reading!. Big tip of the scales there. The kids haven’t been stripped of or had their curiosity and enthusiasm for school squashed. It will be interesting to see what kinds of discussions we have surrounding the book Speak. I’ll be teaching literary terms as we read in addition to the heavy topics of Rape, Friendship, High School social structures, and anything else that comes up for the students.

With that said I think I’ll continue my re-reading of the book and making notes for myself. I’ll soon have to start creating lesson plans, ugh. I dislike planning in that way. I much rather have an organic classroom experience, though I see the benefits of having a plan. I’ve just had too many of my plans get thrown out because of how the class was going or how (un)prepared the students were.

Honor the Role


Homework Club/Detention. Students can voluntarily come for help, each teacher has a day that they stay after school specifically for this, I suppose these kids are part of the HW club. Other kids are made to stay after school when they do not have their homework done so that they can complete it, these kids are in detention. I think that it is a weird dichotomy to have. My mentor says that some kids use the time as a quiet time to get work done. Whether kids are in detention or members of the elite HWC the result is the same, kids are getting work done. This was in evidence when, during a house meeting, High Honors ( all grades above 93), Honors (above 85), and effort/conduct (a 1 in every class, one teacher prefaced the distribution of these by saying that it was a great achievement and in some ways more impressive than the ‘honors’) certificates. A large percentage of kids received at least one of these certificates to the applause of their York house-mates.

During the house meeting (just the teachers) Progress reports came up. It was mentioned that many of the students who were on the honor roll were not at the moment. Particular kids were discussed. At this point the Special Education teacher interjected a reminder of a students learning disability and what that meant for the work load of that student, particularly work involving reading. My mentor and the SE teacher discussed possible accommodations, including my mentor volunteering to read aloud to the student after school, to help keep the student up to date.

It is really amazing to see the comradery of the teachers. They support each other in many ways and all seem very invested in the kids, their colleagues , the school, and what the school stands for.


Building a Sense of Community


Today is the third Tuesday of the month, that means Community Service at KMS. The entire house participates. In groups of seven or so, along with a teacher, they were bussed to PROP, Preble Street Resource Center, Ronald McDonald House, Nathan Clifford School, Reiche School, to help out in whatever way they were needed. I think that it is fantastic that the school fosters this sort of community service.
The group I was with went to Preble street and helped organize the clothing ‘store’. They have a room that is filled with unsorted donations and another that is set up like a big walk-in closet with donations that have been sorted. We helped to straighten up and organize the closet portion, this is where clients come to pick out clothes: shirts, pants, coats, hats, gloves, shoes, etc. The kids did a great job, one in particular was really motivated and worked at motivating his classmates too. He and two others tackled the mountain of shoes, matching them up and organized them on the shelves. He stepped up and made sure it was being done right and called out those who were not doing a good job. I was very impressed by this seventh graders involvement in what we were doing.

Lunch room and beyond


During lunch duty on Friday I noticed that the vast majority of tables were grouped by gender. A couple tables had boys on one half and girls on the other but they were not interacting. One table however had two boys and 8-9 girls. There was a boy at each end and the entire table was talking to each other. It was this table that made me notice the gender split. I was not surprised at the majority of students sitting with kids of the same gender, it was this table with it’s two boys that caught my attention.
Back in the classroom: Today was catch up day again. But let me tell you the thrill I had when kids who were finished asked “Can I read now?” and towards the end of class a students suggested “Lets read now!” seriously- goosebumps. What a different attitude about reading than what I experienced at the High School level. I wonder, is it the age group? the environment? these particular kids? Will they lose this enthusiasm for reading? I hope not! This makes me even more excited to begin Speak with them. It also puts pressure on me to make sure that what we do with the novel is exciting, I don’t want to be the one responsible for squelching their love of reading. I have to make sure that my own excitement about reading and this novel comes through during class.

%d bloggers like this: