New semester resolutions for staff and students

By Josh Lederman

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Science classes need more Bill Nye videos. Photo courtesy of

I thought that just setting a goal on New Year’s Eve would magically make it happen.  That was until I resolved to watch an entire “Twilight” trailer without vomiting; unfortunately, I just couldn’t do it. After that, I decided to stick to resolutions that were realistic.  Following that model, I’ve made the school equivalent of New Year’s resolutions for some people around Whitman as we move to a new semester.

These “New Semester resolutions” are both relatively easy to carry out and free of any laughable teen vampires.

Maintenance: Turn the heat on! Jeez—this is how people lose fingers!  It seems like the D.C. area’s ridiculous, record-setting cold snap was timed perfectly with Whitman and MCPS steadfastly refusing to use heat—or at least enough heat to bring classrooms above the temperature of an Eskimo refrigerator.  And as fun as it might seem to take Scantron tests in hats, parkas and winter gloves, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

The classroom environment is downright arctic, which encourages wearing about 300 layers to school, not to mention using unorthodox methods to get warm.  Teachers, unless you want to know what those methods are (and trust me, you don’t), join the revolution!  On a related note, when it gets hot out, please don’t be afraid to turn on air conditioning before the students melt like a box of Milk Duds.

Science Teachers: More Bill Nye. Listen, you’ve taught us a lot of important things.  And we really try to listen all the time.  But it’s about time someone tells you that there’s just something missing from the good old days of middle school: Bill Nye the Science Guy.

It’s nothing personal; it’s just that his videos feature certain things that you just can’t compete with—namely, a lab full of random gadgets that will pretty much never be seen anywhere else, downright painful, groan -inducing science jokes and, of course, a deliriously cool techno theme song.  Bill Nye is local (Sidwell Friends, class of ’73) and he’s been bringing smiles (or is it grimaces?) to children’s faces since the beginning of time.  And don’t worry science teachers, we’re not asking you to let him replace you; we just want him to do your job.

Whitman Shorts: Find out what humor is. Either that or start incorporating cricket noises into your skits.  Your ridiculous overuse of the bleep-out device is so 2009.

Mr. Thomas: Keep bringing people to justice. Any student who has used a computer in the last few weeks couldn’t help but notice that the notorious “Accounts Suspended” count on our desktops has been stuck at 60 for the last decade.  Last decade!  This has led to worries around the school that people are no longer being suspended for sharing accounts.

Mr. Thomas, if you don’t lay down the law again soon, this school might never be the same.  Students are coming to school more tired than ever before because the terror of account sharing keeps them awake at night.  Others are just having panic attacks in the middle of busy hallways, which isn’t good either.  Long story short, the fear of shared accounts is throwing the student body into a downward spiral, and to recover, we need more updates, more mug shots, more discipline!

Foreign Language Teachers: Keep it simple. From learning about other cultures to doing all your projects in video form, there are a lot of good things about foreign language classes.  There is only one real problem that most students have with foreign language classes: sometimes it seems like they’re being taught in a foreign language. 

That’s why it might not hurt to do more things in English in these classes, like speaking English in the classrooms and encouraging us to ask questions in English.  Maybe give tests in English?  Enrollment would go way up, and so would grades.  Make these small changes, and thousands of students will thank you for helping them master the language—to which I’m sure you’ll be glad to say, “You’re welcomo.”

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