Monday, September 2, 2013

Pheaturing Dr. Beverly Wixon

Happy Labor Day, everyone, and welcome to the Phile. Man, I still feel like shit, coughing and feeling dizzy. I think as soon as I'm done with this entry I'm going off to the walk-in clinic.  U.S. warships are heading toward Syria. It's going to be kind of an enjoyable switch for Obama. Now he can start a war that the next president will be stuck with. They're saying now that the war against Syria will last no more than two days. It's going to be a two-day war. You know what that means? We'll be there for another 10 years.  The attorney general of New York is saying that the Trump University is a fake. They say that it's fraudulent. If you're thinking of going to Trump University, it's easy to get into. All you have to have is a birth certificate and you get right in. Vice President Joe Biden said that “Syria must be held accountable." Unfortunately, the Obama administration has never employed an accountant, so they have no idea how to do that.  The secretary of the treasury told Congress that we will be out of money by October. And of course a lot of Americans are shocked by this. Didn’t you think we were already out of money? Here's my question. What happened to all that money we gave them last April 15, huh? Before we give the government any more money, show us some receipts.  Man, this is gonna be a quick entry. I can't focus... I feel high on cough medicine. But I'm not Johnny Cash eating cake in a bush high.

So, it's football season and I was thinking, there's a lot of teams on this planet with weird names. Take this one for example.

Deportivo Wanka is a Peruvian football club, based in the city of Huancayo in the Peruvian Andes. It has been giving Manchester United a run for its money in the replica kit market, although the Huancayo-based outfit has no idea why more than 1,000 British footie fans might want to sport a Deportivo Wanka shirt. The team is, according to UK tabloid The Sun, named after the Wanka tribe which once occupied Huancayo. A spokeswanka said, "It is very strange. Everyone in Britain seems to think we have a funny name." The team's ignorance of the true meaning of its delicious moniker was confirmed by Subside Sports, which punts the kit online. "The club just doesn't get the joke," The e-commerce operation admitted. The Deportivo Wanka shirt is currently sold out, although hard-core Wankas can pre-order now for March delivery. And now let's see who ate it.

David Frost
April 7, 1939 - Aug 31, 2013

This is an easy one, but if you see it email me at Now, football season starts on Thursday so that means once again it's time to invite my good friend Jeff to do our picks. This is the third year we're doing this. So, please welcome back to the Phile Jeff Trelewicz in a pheature called...

Me: Hey, Jeff, it's that wonderful time of year again! Before we talk football I have to congratulate you on your engagement. How's it going?

Jeff: It's always great to be back on the Phile talking football with you. Thank you very much for the congratulations. Things are going real well with the engagement and we are very close to our wedding day, so we are both excited.

Me: Alright, this is the third year we're doing this, Jeff... The football picks. Tell the readers what it's about in case they don't know. And I won the first year, you won last year.

Jeff: Yes, you won the first year. I won last season. And this season we are adding to the fun by including my fiancée Lori to the picks. She is a die hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, so your team will play her team twice this season. Over the course of the football season, the three of us will make our football picks based off spreads that we make. If I pick the Saints to win a game by seven and they only win by six, I don't get a single point for it. The team we pick must win by the points we set prior to the game. Since we all have our favorite teams, if the Pittsburgh Steelers win I get a point no matter what. The same goes for Lori with the Eagles or you with the New York Giants.

Me: What can we look forward to this year in the NFL?

Jeff: I am definitely looking forward to seeing how the three star rookie quarterbacks perform in their second seasons. Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III all had great rookie seasons. Can they put up the same numbers the second time around? We will see.

Me: Okay, the picks. I say the Ravens will beat the Broncos by six and the Patriots will beat the Bills by 12. What do you two say?

Jeff: My picks for week one are Chicago Bears by three points and Indianapolis Colts will win by ten points. Lori's picks for Week 1 are Denver will beat the Vikings by three points and Houston over San Diego by three points.

Me: I will see you here next weekend, Jeff. Good luck.

Jeff: We will see you next week and may the best player win!

Today's pheatured guest is the author of "100+ Tips for New Teachers", the 29th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Dr. Beverly Wixon.

Me: Hello, Beverly, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Beverly: I’m fantastic, Jason. How are you?

Me: Fighting a bloody head cold. Alright, so on the cover of the book "100+ Tips For New Teachers", it says Dr. Beverly "Wixy" Wixon. First of, should I call you Wixy and second, you're a doctor?

Beverly: I’ll answer those in reverse, if you don’t mind. Yes, I am a doctor... Educational Leadership. “Wixy” is an old nickname from childhood. For my coaching business, I didn’t want to simply use my full name; I prefer a bit of whimsy in life, so I used Dr. Wixy, but you can call me Bev.

Me: Does anybody call you Wixy?

Beverly: Oddly enough, it does still pops up now and again. Generally, from people who think they’re the first to ever call me that.

Me: You live in Florida, right? I have seen you many years at Disney.

Beverly: Yes, I currently live in Central Florida, so I get to visit Disney quite often. It’s my happy place.

Me: Are you originally from Florida?

Beverly: No, I was born in Japan.

Me: Japan?! When did you first come over here? Was your dad in the military?

Beverly: Good guess. I was born an Air Force brat, and spent the first two years of my life in Japan. Obviously, I don’t have real memories from that, but there are videos, so I have those.

Me: Have you ever been back to Japan?

Beverly: Yes. While living on Guam (another Air Force Base), we visited Tokyo for R & R (Rest and Relaxation). I have some very vivid memories from that trip, and, hopefully, I’ll get to go again as an adult some day.

Me: Okay, you wrote a book to help teachers and I know you are a teacher yourself, Bev. What do you teach and where?

Beverly: I currently teach ninth grade (freshman) English at Tenoroc High School in Lakeland.

Me: How long have you been a teacher?

Beverly: Longer than I ever imagined or planned. Twenty plus years.

Me: When did you first decide you wanted to write a book about teaching?

Beverly: I’ve thought about it for years. Originally, I thought it would be filled with humorous stories about students. However, after mentoring several interns and new teachers, I realized how many “common-sense” things new teachers don’t know, and I saw how much frustration those simple things caused.

Me: It's has 100 plus tips. Was it hard to come up with that many, Bev?

Beverly: Not at all. In fact, my intention was to stop at 100 exactly. Plus, I have a few others already written for either an update or a sequel.

Me: What kinda tips are in the book?

Beverly: The book has sections on dealing with students, dealing with guardians, preparing and working with substitute teachers, working with one’s colleagues, and a section on the teacher himself or herself. They aren’t the normal teacher tips, like “Don’t smile until after Christmas” or lots of classroom management and lesson plan ideas. Instead, these 100+ tips are what many veteran teachers consider “common-sense.” Of course, they aren’t common sense when you’re first beginning a career. Honestly, a few of them, I just learned in the past couple of years. For instance, I have been guilty of saying “your parents” or “you mom” to students when the fact is many students today do not live with their biological parents, so I’ve learned to say “the adult in charge of you” or “your responsible adult.” That little change made a difference to several of my students who feel defensive about not having their real mother or father around... for whatever reason.

Me: The book is mainly aimed at new teachers, am I right?

Beverly: Yes, the intended primary audience is prospective or new teachers. “New” generally means a teacher with 5 or fewer years of experience, but it can also mean a veteran teacher who is changing schools. That said, the sections on colleagues and self could apply to other fields, also. I know a vice-president of a company who bought copies for their new employees, and the company has nothing to do with education. She just believed there was enough in the book to apply to non-teachers, so she gave it to them.

Me: Do you wish when you started out there was a book like this?

Beverly: Jason, if I had known about these not-so-common-sense tips all those years ago, my stress level would have been much less. Seriously, teaching should be fun and no more stressful than any other profession; however, teachers wear so many hats... at any given time... that it becomes frustrating when one has no clue how much there is to learn and that learning those points will make life easier.

Me: How long did it take you to write this book, Bev?

Beverly: Once I finally made the decision to write a book of tips, and committed to that decision, it didn’t take long to write the 100+ tips. That part probably took a few weeks. However, the editing and revision took much longer. Just deciding on how to section the book and placing tips insome semblance of order took a few months. I kept creating self-imposed deadlines, and kept changing them. I guess from the time I committed to theconception to the time of publication was about a little less than a year. Maybe 10 months or so.

Me: This is your first book, am I right?

Beverly: Unless you count my dissertation, which took much longer to write and takes much longer to read.

Me: I always said if it wasn't for teachers the world would be full of stupid idiots like me. Haha. There's a portion of your book about substitute teachers, Bev. What do you think of them?

Beverly: Haha No one... certainly not you, Jason... is a stupid idiot. Oh, I don’t even like that phrase. Everyone has an area of brilliance. When my car won’t work correctly, believe me, the person who can fix it easily is a genius in my eyes. Substitutes can be a Godsend. They are a necessity because when a teacher is sick or needs to attend a meeting, we cannot simply leave the students without supervision. I believe it is the regular teacher’s responsibility to prepare the class for a substitute. This not only means preparing the students for appropriate behavior with a substitute, but it also includes creating “just right” lesson plans, not too simple and not too complicated, storing items and papers that the substitute should not have access to while making sure the substitute knows about various student behavior modifications and accommodations. It’s a bit tricky to get everything “just right.” It took me a few years of losing staplers, markers, and candy to figure that all out.

Me: I used to want to be a substitute teacher, but I didn't know what I wanted to teach. Definitely not math. Did you ever come across a sub teacher who paid no attention to the work plan?

Beverly: Definitely. Most substitutes will sub for whatever subject area or grade level calls. After all, they only get paid for that day’s work, they are often college students or retirees, and very were ever teachers. So, I can certainly understand why a sub chooses not to follow a complicated lesson plan. Trust me, when I have to cover a math or science class, it better not be too complicated. I don’t want a bunch of questions I can’t answer; I want the answers with explanations. And, I have had subs who didn’t follow my plans even though they were simple enough for the sub to understand. I have to admit that I have gotten a little irritated. If necessary, I do that lesson the day I return, or I skip it, if possible. For instance, if I have to miss a day during the drama/Shakespeare unit, I’m not going to ask a sub to carry on with the play, unless I know the sub is capable of doing that, which is rare.

Me: Is there a section in the book to help with students who do not give a shit?

Beverly: Not exactly. There are a couple of tips within the student section that can help with the those type of students; however, teachers receive constant professional development aimed at engaging reluctant students, so it was not a focal point of my book.

Me: There's been a number of school shootings in the last few years, and some schools I know are having teachers carry guns. When I was in school we only had to worry about spitballs. Why do you think everything got so bad?

Beverly: Wow! Tough question. Basic math gives us some answers. The population has exploded since I was a high school student. With the increased overall population, there is a natural increase in the number of people with mental issues. Secondly, too many people and not enough jobs equals anger and frustration. I’m sure that’s not the entire answer, but I believe it has to be part of it.

Me: Bullying is also a big thing in the news. Again when I was in school bullying was going on, but it wasn't all over the media. What changed?

Beverly: This is so difficult to answer, Jason. When I was a kid, bullying seemed to be physical. Today, it’s oftentimes verbal or emotional, and it’s often carried out online instead of in person. Anyone with a social media account can attest to how people will make comments that they would never actually say in person. That’s a real problem with teenagers. Society has changed and grown and bullying has changed and grown with it.

Me: Do you hear a lot about bullying?

Beverly: In Polk County, we have received some professional development about bullying. I’m sure most teaches receive some training. And, we show a video to students each year... to educate them on bullying, and its various levels. However, I know it must occur much more than I hear from students. 

Me: Alright, let's stop being serious. I saw a picture online of you on a trampoline. I have it here.

Me: What is the deal with that? Are you a trampoline model as well? LOL.

Beverly: Haha NO! You’ve done some research, haven’t you? I bought a Bellicon rebounder, which is sort of like an old mini-trampoline. When I bought it, the place where I purchased it offered a partial refund to buyers if we wrote a blog for a particular amount of time. I think it was 30-days, but I’m not sure any more. That’s what those photos are about. I never did receive my partial refund, but I do love my Bellicon.

Me: You are also belly dancer? How long have you been doing that, and is it fun?

Beverly: Okay. I didn’t expect you to get into this, but yes. I’ve been belly dancing for about 4 years, and I absolutely love it. It’s a blast getting all dressed up in the various costumes and entertaining people. Plus, I love to learn; it helps remind me of what my students are going through when they don’t understand something. I’ve certainly had my share of frustrations with certain moves in belly dance, so it keeps me grounded.

Me: And I know you are a huge Star Wars fan, Bev. Are you excited about the new Star Wars movies and Star Wars Land? Opps, never mind about that. Haha.

Beverly: OF COURSE!!!!!

Me: What's your favorite Star Wars movie?

Beverly: My favorite is still the original... Episode IV: A New Hope. Whenever I watch it, I’m transported to when I first met C-3PO, R2-D2, Leia, Darth Vader, Luke, Obi-Wan, Han (who shot first), and Chewie. Every time I watch it, it’s like it’s the first time again, and I’m all excited.

Me: Do you ever use Star Wars to teach? I am sure kids would love that.

Beverly: My colleagues and students would laugh hysterically at this question. I use analogies to Star Wars all the time. I have even taught the novel and turned on several students to Star Wars. For a couple of years, several boys began reading the Star Wars books because I was reading them, and I had to start a club for them so they would stop asking me questions about the books during class. In fact, that group of boys led to my dissertation, which was about using familiar characters in novels to get boys to read. Of course, I always tell them that Boba Fett, Darth Maul, and Anakin Skywalker are personal friends and will take care of problem children for me. Haha.   So, yeah. I use Star Wars to teach. I’m sure some students think I use it too much while others think I should use it much more.

Me: Alright, so with this book out, are you gonna write another book, or is this is?

Beverly: I hope to. I may go back to the idea of humorous stories about students. I’m not quite sure yet, but I will definitely let you know when it happens.

Me: Alright, so occasionally if I remember on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? Which celebrity would you most likely like to meet in person?

Beverly: Too many to pick one. Of course, all those Star Wars actors I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet would be on the list. Then, David Tennant because I am a also a big "Doctor Who" fan. Yet, honestly, if I could only chose one living celebrity to meet (and talk to for an hour or so), it would definitely be Michael York. I fell in love with him and Tybalt Capulet (Juliet’s cousin) when I was in ninth grade and first saw Romeo and Juliet. Since then, of course, I’ve seen him in so many other movies, and as an English teacher, how could I not love him. I remember asking Rick McCallum, at Star Wars Weekends, why he didn’t cast him Michael York as a Jedi in Episode One (York has been married to McCallum’s mother for over 45 years). He just looked at me and said, “You know, he would have been very good.”

Me: Bev, thanks for being on the Phile. Tell the readers how they can get the book and take care. May the Force be with you. LOL.

Beverly: Thanks bunches, Jason. It’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with you, even with all those tough and unexpected questions. Your readers may find "100+ Tips for New Teachers", in hard copy and Kindle formats, on again. See you at Disney and May the Force be with you, too.

There that does it for this shirt entry. Thanks to Jeff and Beverly. The Phile will be back next Saturday with Phile Alumni Burning Jet Black. Spread thw word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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