HS Sophomore Jeff Bliss Gives His High School “Teacher” a Lesson in Teaching

“No I’m not wastin’ your time. I’m tellin’ ya what you need to do. You want kids to come into your class; you want ’em to get excited for this? You gotta come in here; you gotta make ’em excited. You want a kid to change & start doing’ better you gotta touch his freakin’ heat. You can’t expect him to change if all ya do is just tell ‘im.”

It’s going viral. A precious 1 minute, 27 seconds that says it all. Watch it in full screen.

Saw this the first time late last night, about 8 hours ago. Had about 27K views and now, over 60K—with a 60:1 ratio of likes to dislikes—from 28 lazy and worthless teachers, administrators and union officials, probably.

My 6th grade teacher wife, Beatrice, loved it. Aaron, her 1st-year principal and longtime friend and co-teacher will love it too. They’re running an experimental school with an all handpicked staff of the best teachers in the district, where learning is project driven. Their most recent was a restaurant design project (this is most of what they do…projects that integrate all the things needed to accomplish it: like readin’, writin’ & ‘rithmatic). They split into groups, about 8 or 10 groups in all, and had to come up with a complete business plan: theme, design, layout, menu, pricing…everything you’d need to do and accomplish in reals lifes, to get a restaurant idea off the ground. She’s there to facilitate things, including having experts come in to give the kids lessons on the process. Plus, they all have iPads and MacBooks and unfettered access to the web, and Google and Wikipedia get used profusely in the class. Beatrice has one of those smart whiteboards where the chalkboard used to be, that projects her own Mac onto it, and the computer can be controlled from right there in front of everyone.

The project was so successful that each group did a whole 1-table mockup of their restaurants—including an architectural model of the entire restaurant—and the school conducted an open house. 100% of parents showed up. Most of these are Mexican and Vietnamese immigrants (not a single white kid in the class), and the parents were overjoyed. They’re engaged, because they see in just under a year how the school has been transformed: from the worst in the district to one that has teachers from other schools and administrators from other districts showing up every day to see what all the rumbling is about.

I’m so proud of my wife. It’s her 30th year and she literally cannot wait to get to school every single day. She could retire now and get something like 70% of her pay (CA public employee pensions are insane). She’d rather teach her kids every day for 30 cents on the dollar. She has no plans of quitting any time soon.

…And guess what I did this morning? As she was getting ready to head out? Mapped out her lesson plan for the whole day. See, yesterday—and this is how things often roll—she asked kids what they wanted to learn about. “Legends” was the consensus and so they did. What she found is that it ended up being a kid-driven lesson on superstitions (many of them Mexican), and that the kids believe these things because their parents do, and so on down the line. She was trying to explain to them how these aren’t literally true, but at most based on a few grains of truth that then get blown out of proportion. But she wan’t satisfied, so I lent a hand this morning.

Within a few minutes and the help of Google, she has all the material she needs for today. Today, her 6th graders get a lesson in mass hysteria and popular delusions and the madness of crowds. In the end, I told her that what she needs to convey to them is that it’s true, “they can believe whatever they want,” but that what that really means is that they get to be as stupid—or as smart—as they want. That’s the true implication, and they’re better off choosing to be smart.

…It’s a small world. I had put that video out on my FTA Facebook Page last night and this morning, here’s a comment from Anna Holland, Jeff Bliss’ 6th grade teacher.


Well, just listening to Jeff in that video makes obvious that he had some care and real educatin’ come his way from a few good ones. It doesn’t even take many, and now he’s all set to give his own high school “teacher” a real & righteous lesson in the art of teachin’.

In other news, here’s a TED talk that may be worth a watch, Geoffrey Canada: Our failing schools. Enough is enough!

It sure is.

Perhaps this offers a clue as to where the spark for real change and reform will come from: morally outraged children.

Update: Tod Robberson of the Dallas News ( is quite a little fuckwit. How about click on the email link and tell him so? You’ll see I’ve even drafted your email for you, which you can edit any way you desire.

In the end, here’s what I wrote:

From: Richard Nikoley
Subject: Jeff Bliss
Date: May 10, 2013 1:11:04 PM PDT

Dear Mr. Robberson:

I’m responding to your opinion piece in the Dallas News in the matter of high school student Jeff Bliss ) …Jesus, what an ignorant fuckwit you are, aren’t you? See here, and find out why. If you dare. See the other comments now piling up, too.

Oh, and do note the comment from his 6th grade teacher on the FB page (highlighted in the post), and who also placed a comment in the blog post itself. I’m confident that most people of good will not only actually understand Mr. Bliss’ moral outrage, but would also agree that you need a lesson in news outlet opinion writing every bit as much as that teacher needed a lesson in actual teaching.

“The student was disrupting her class…” Indeed; and with moral standing, too. That’s something a fuckwit like you knows nothing about; and do you know why, Mr. Robberson? To an ignorant fuckwit like you, authority is the only valid standing, and anything that challenges it is “disruptive.” …Just like this email is disruptive of your waning, glory-days-long-gone perceived “authority” as a “newsman” working for a mainstream corp/state controlled media outlet.

And my blog post is surely disruptive; isn’t it, Mr. Robberson?

Well I—and the increasing millions who are not actually ignorant fuckwits—will say “let the celebration begin” and “Quicken the Disruption” (of fake, lazy, conventional “authority”).

You’re a dinosaur whose extinction is thankfully nigh, Mr. Robberson.

Lukewarm regards and have an ice day,

Richard Nikoley
-Blogger-proprietor of the wildly popular Free the Animal
-Husband of 30-yr 6th grade teacher Beatrice, whose competent teaching is highlighted in that post as well

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Bill Strahan on May 10, 2013 at 10:54

    Okay, more comments: First, a quick search turns up this was in Duncanville, a suburb nearby. I’m going to try to figure out how to meet this kid.

    Second, here’s the counterpoint to ours:

    To which I say, what a buffoon!

  2. Sean on May 10, 2013 at 12:35

    I’m going to take the somewhat contrarian position here and point out that learning can’t always be marching cartoon numbers while Mickey Mouse explains the Golden Ratio. A lot of it actually involves blood, sweat and tears. There’s no shortcut to mastering addition and subtraction nor the three Rs in general. Not that I have a hard time believing that this teacher, if only from a statistical standpoint, is a mindless drone miserably trudging through the motions whilst waiting for her juicy retirement package to kick in.

    I’ve had inspiring teachers and the common thread among them was a depth of subject knowledge and a true love of the subject. A history teacher who loved the Civil War and spent almost the whole semester on it, honors math teachers, a civics teacher who introduced me to logical fallacies in the 6th grade, an English teacher that really dug Shakespeare and made him accessible by spending weeks and weeks going over famous soliloquies until their beauty and meaning000 was released from the obscurity of the antiquated language. The public school system doesn’t do much to encourage these people for a number of reasons, and I witnessed several of these teachers quitting while I was still a student. A top heavy bureaucracy filled with petty, stupid tyrants–the kind of people who subsume government bureaucracies everywhere. And the idiotic requirements to getting a teaching degree–tons of mindless classes on education, with very little knowledge of the subjects they will be teaching being required. These two factors alone tend to weed out, or burn out, anyone who is more intelligent than a box of rocks. Plenty of other factors, of course, but those two are probably the most insidious.

    I’m currently teaching my kid to read using this book. 100 lessons of around 15 minutes each. Only been a couple weeks but after the novelty wore off, the bellyaching and whining began to creep in. My kid is still in preschool and unused to any sort of regimented learning, even 15 minute reading lessons. My aunt, and my mother, both retired public school teachers, think I’m being too tough, going about this in the wrong manner, and that learning to read should be fun. I do try to lighten things up, we each draw letters with swords and axes and have them do battle, he loves that, but I don’t go overboard on that because sometimes learning has to be about focusing on something when you’d rather be fucking off, especially for a six-year-old. Learning isn’t all sweetness and light.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, and my kid will spend years in therapy, but I think there’s a happy medium between being a neurotic Tiger Mom and thinking that “Letting kids learn what they want when they want it, in an environment that is as inoppressive as possible is probably the best way. ” I’m not planning to introduce my kid to the fast Fourier transform until he’s at least eight, and I’m willing to wait until he’s nine depending on the circumstances, which shows what a flexible nice guy I can be.

  3. Anna Holland on May 10, 2013 at 09:11

    Here’s the interview he did with his mom for the news here. Obviously, this is a big deal for us at my school. 🙂

  4. James Steele II on May 10, 2013 at 09:24

    Great video!

    When I am interacting with my students I make it damn clear that I’m excited about the topics being discussed, their ideas and how I can help them in developing, learning, and learning to learn.

    From observation I’ve noticed myself and other staff who are actually excited about their subjects and convey that have far better relationships and responses from their students.

  5. Kevin on May 10, 2013 at 10:10

    Props Richard for posting this. I wish I had the balls to do this when I was in school. His frustration represents millions of kids out there and adults who never got an education in schools.

  6. Alex on May 10, 2013 at 10:13

    After having read books by John Holt and John Taylor Gatto, (both former public school teachers) as well as having learned about the Sudbury Valley School paradigm of schooling, I’m 100% convinced that the way regular public schools are taught is one of the worst ways you can possibly learn anything. Letting kids learn what they want when they want it, in an environment that is as inoppressive as possible is probably the best way. Public school is pretty much the antithesis of that.

  7. Chris Tamme on May 10, 2013 at 10:40

    My parents were both teachers and I was just having this discussion of what it takes to be a good teacher with my Dad. His former distract thinks they are having issues because they can’t get the “smart” teachers. I believe it doesn’t matter how smart you are you have to be able to engage your audience in order to be an effective teacher. Yeah you need to be knowledgeable on the subject but if you can’t read your audience it doesn’t matter.

    My best teachers were always the ones who got me engaged in a subject and didn’t just teach it to me.

  8. Bill Strahan on May 10, 2013 at 10:49

    I’m gonna tell a long story here. I can’t help myself.

    When I was in 2nd grade, I was horribly bored during what my teacher called “reading”, which meant we would all read aloud one paragraph from a story in our book. My parents had taught me to read a couple of years before, and in 2nd grade, my reading material consisted of The Hardy Boys, Doc Savage, Readers Digest, and National Geographic. What a lucky kid.

    So every time we read aloud I would try to follow along, but I would get so bored that I would read ahead and not know where we were when the teacher came to me. She would call on me, I would realize I was finished with the story and didn’t know where the class was, and would try to turn the pages back and play back my memory of the last thing I heard read aloud. She would sigh, admonish me to try to keep up, and move on to the next kid.

    That must have happened 5-6 times and once I recovered from the embarassment, I would go back to reading whatever story I was on.

    One day my parents told me that we had a meeting with my teacher because she had sent a letter saying I needed to be moved back a grade because I couldn’t read. I didn’t put it together, so I told them I had no idea why she thought such a thing.

    On the appointed day, I nervously entered the room where my dad and my teacher were already sitting, and sat down. My dad (my hero to this day!) smiled and asked me if I would select a book at random from the shelves in the room. I did as he asked, wondering what the heck was going on. He asked me to open it to any page and begin reading. Again, I did as he asked. In a few moments, he chuckled and said “Okay, Mr. Literal, read it out loud.” Again, I did as he asked, and the teacher gasped. I kept reading until he asked me to stop, and the next moment was seared into my memory forever. It’s as vivid now as it was then, though I didn’t understand it entirely at the time.

    My dad turned to my teacher and said “Ms. French, you may be employed as a teacher. You might get a teacher’s paycheck. But I suggest that you are, indeed, not actually a teacher. I believe we’ve resolved whether or not my son can read. That was pretty simple. Do you need anything else?”

    It was incredible. Ah, my dad. He is still my hero, and he set me on a path for success in that moment that has served me for my entire life.

    Of course the teacher said that she thought I couldn’t read because I never knew where we were when reading as a group. My dad asked her if she had ever asked me why that was the case, and she said she hadn’t. So he asked me. My answer was “It’s really hard to read that slow.”

    Yeah, I should have said “slowly”, but I was in 2nd grade. Cut me some slack.

    To her credit, Ms. French recovered, and after a bit more investigation she did the right thing. She exempted me from reading out loud in class and had me read a book of my choosing during that time. So, thanks also to Ms. French for not blindly adhering to the process.

    That set the tone for all of my dealings with teachers, and for how I taught my children to deal with them. I have an even better story about my son, but I don’t want to blab too much.

    As to the video, hurray for that young man! I’d love to buy him lunch and talk to him about what he wants to do with his life. That attitude is hard to find, and he has a great future ahead of him. Would be fun to be part of it.

  9. Sean on May 10, 2013 at 13:03

    One day my parents told me that we had a meeting with my teacher because she had sent a letter saying I needed to be moved back a grade because I couldn’t read. I didn’t put it together, so I told them I had no idea why she thought such a thing.

    When I was in the second grade my teacher recommended I have my eyes checked because I apparently never paid attention to the chalk board. The appointment was duly fulfilled and I was measured having 15/20 vision (those were the days). As I recall, my parents were relieved that I didn’t need glasses and joked about me being bored, but being the good card-carrying liberals they were, never thought to question the public school system itself or the waste of their son sitting in a daily zombified stupor.

  10. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 13:23


    Now go see the update to the post, along with my email to that reporter.

  11. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 13:33


    I think it’s high time that kids be asked nicely and with wide and bright, excited eyes what _they_ are most interested and excited about learning, as the very starting point. Truly learning about _anything_ comes with all the necessary prerequisites to then learn about _everything_.

    Then, later on, perhaps they’ll have a better grasp of whether they _really_ want to undertake the demanding work of geting an engineering or science degree (rather than thinking it’s what they “should” do), as well as understand that once that threshold is crossed, it’s likely going to be a whole different sucky ballgame at times.

  12. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 13:35


    Thanks for the news report. Interesting video. What a thoughtful young man who obviously chooses his words carefully.

  13. Sean on May 10, 2013 at 14:34

    Truly learning about _anything_ comes with all the necessary prerequisites to then learn about _everything_.

    Maybe feelings are feelings because we can’t control them.

  14. ladysadie1 on May 10, 2013 at 14:36

    We have to learn as parents that our schools don’t necessarily teach our kids. Real learning takes place at home. Schools only teach the kids to regurgitate information, and only ‘government-approved’ information at that, so it’s not so effective at helping the kids actually learn or problem solve.

    Please, keep being your disruptive self, Richard!

  15. tt on May 10, 2013 at 15:04

    I’m kinda with Sean on this.

    I was only good at school because I was competitive and wanted to beat every mother-fucker (school dux, uni prize etc)! I only have average intelligence but I worked fucking hard. That’s how I got what I got. Fuck all you cunts that want life handed to you on a platter in fun-packaged lessons.

    Want something? Then get off your fucking ass and get it yourself you lazy pricks. Lazy people who don’t want to learn will always be lazy people who don’t want to learn.

    I had good teachers and bad teachers. My solution for bad teachers? Go read a book and shove it back down that lazy ass teacher’s throat. I never asked a teacher to do anything for me other than mark my exams fairly. My teachers either loved me or loathed me but the cunts could never give me bad grades.

  16. tt on May 10, 2013 at 15:09

    BTW, my solution for lazy ass people who don’t want to learn? Send them out to the field with a hand plow and make them do hard labor. Let them back in the classroom after the realize the value of an education.

  17. Tim on May 10, 2013 at 15:28

    Mrs. Eis, Mrs. Ruby, Mrs. Zachrich, Mr. Spiller, Mrs. Gherkin, Mrs. Emil, Miss Schwartz, Mr. Vocke, Mr. Schaatz, Mr. King, Mrs. King, Mr. Harpring, and Mr. Bauman.

    Those are the names of my K through 12th grade teachers. I’m almost 50. Why is it I can remember these names? Oh, yes, I know–they gave a shit, they made a difference in my life and got me excited about school.

  18. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 15:51

    It always amuses me how people call the kids lazy and there’s no excuses, as a means, morally, to excuse the tax-paid teacher being paid specifically to do a job.

    The evidence that I live in a morally relativistic, upside down world confronts me daily.

    Moreover, Jeff Bliss does not strike me as the least bit lazy. He was righteously calling someone out for perpetuating a fraud: getting paid, not performing, all while holding herself out as a teacher which is a prima facie lie.

  19. tt on May 10, 2013 at 18:02

    It’s a parent’s “job” to motivate their kids, not the government’s. When I see a lazy ass kid, I see a lazy ass parent.

    My (very large) taxes pay teacher salaries. I don’t see why I should be subsidizing poor parenting.

    Instead of paying teachers to try and teach, why don’t we just pay kids to learn? At least then, as taxpayers, we know what we’re getting. Hard working and smart kids get rich and lazy kids get poor.

  20. tt on May 10, 2013 at 18:11

    Teachers could work for a commission of their student’s income from some sort of incentive scheme. The kids would get to pick their teachers by paying for them from their education income. Good teachers would get paid high salaries and good students would get good teachers. A mutually reinforcing (anti-fragile perhaps?) system.

    If the idea of money repulses you, you could do the whole thing in “points” based system and translate the teacher’s “points” into dollars at some later point. Students would get a lower monetary value for their “points” than the teachers.

  21. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 19:00


    The kid is motivated. The teacher is not.

  22. Dr. Curmudgon Gee on May 10, 2013 at 19:46

    Sean is right that there’re are some compulsory components; there is no “creative” shortcut. like memorizing of the multiplication table.

    although i do agree there should be a balance between 2 approaches of teaching.

    (i also used to just read ahead & finished all material in < 1 month in elementary school & got pretty bored for most of the time)


  23. Namu on May 11, 2013 at 10:08

    In related news, the Guardian has a very interesting piece on how to rise human animals:

    The secret is to let them roam free. Free-range humans are saner than CAFO humans, who’d have known ?

  24. John on May 10, 2013 at 20:42

    I get the feeling tt is just upset that this kid stood up to an authority figure, that he was challenging the teacher’s power.

    It’s pretty clear from the video that Jeff is anything but lazy. I like what he’s doing. Demanding an education, because it’s valuable, and so is his time. Why should he waste a single second on a teacher who probably doesn’t care about teaching him anything?

  25. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 20:45

    I agree largely with Sean as well. I just don’t think it’s a fit for this case. The kid is well spoken and smart, and remarkably thoughtful for that age. He dropped out of school, went back of his own accord, and he’s simply calling out incompetent bullshit and he’s right.

    Then you have Mr Strawman, tt, who hasn’t said a thing relative to this context I can find.

    I don’t think it’s government’s job to do anything and I think taxes should be zero. But dealing with the reality of the given, to the extent people are working a publicly funded job, then the public, every member, has the moral right to hold them accountable for doing it well.

    She’s a shitty teacher vs. a kid who insists that she earn her pay (as he said in the video). He’s exactly right about that.

  26. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 20:54

    Incidentally, it might behoove some to actually go watch the news interview of Jeff in the link Anna posted in comments, who was also his 6th grade teacher. And why not ask her if she thinks he’s lazy and wants a teacher to spoon feed him.

    And more incidentally, I think his outburst, again because of the interview and the way he phrased his teacher lecture, is best taken in the context of other students. That is “I’ve found my motivation.” You are a teacher and you need to help these other kids find theirs.

  27. tt on May 10, 2013 at 21:54

    @ John. Just to be clear, I never said Jeff was lazy. I don’t know him so I could not say if he is or isn’t. Also @ John. I encourage everyone to challenge authority. Anyone can shoot their mouth off for a minute or two but if you’re looking for a classy example to follow next time you want to challenge authority John, go and Google Rosa Parks. She got real results.

    If someone really wants an education, they don’t need a state sponsored program to inspire them to learn. They can get some fucking books and read their asses off. Inquisitive minds find their own way of feeding themselves. They don’t need to be spoon fed.

  28. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 22:17

    “She got real results”

    This is choice. Someone who really doesn’t have a clue about the situation is already comparing Jeff to Rosa Parks. And it’s only been a day.

    So you’re comparing a 4 decade legacy of results to a day of results, like the tens of thousands of YT views, 2 interviews so far by local media (that I know of).

    Cheeses. I don’t even know what to make of that. Could be idiotic, or accidental insight (so not brilliant). Racial segregation was stupid on so many levels that anyone with a brain at the time knew it would topple. Did Rosa have a brain? Opportunist in what was obviously inevitable, or quietly morally outraged against a system she thought would never improve?


  29. tt on May 10, 2013 at 22:54

    @ Richard. If your measure of results/impact is number of YT views then I have some videos of cute little kittens I’d like to show you.

    An opportunist that gets a result is far more effective than some bone-headed idealist that achieves no result.

    Putting bad teachers in schools is “so stupid on so many levels that anyone with a brain at the time knew it would topple”. Is this the benchmark you’ll be using to measure Jeff’s impact on the education system over the next 4 decades?

  30. tt on May 10, 2013 at 23:08

    Look, I’ve got work to do (and money to make) so I’m out of here. One last word, if the world had more outbursts like Jeff’s what would get done?

    I’ll take one Beatrice for 1,000 Jeff’s any day. I like someone who just does the things (Beatrice) they believe in instead of talking about it. Will Jeff give up 70% of his free time to help the disadvantaged kids or lobby for better teachers? I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him. Beatrice is working for 30 cents in the dollar to make REAL changes.

  31. BE on May 10, 2013 at 23:45

    I see one very large problem with the excitement surrounding this video; we only have one side of the story, if that! Everybody is so quick to label this guy a “hero” (a term we Americans throw around much too losely), yet we know nothing about the teacher. Have other students been interviewed as to the efficacy of this teacher? Not that I have seen. This guy could be a punk-ass bitch for all we know, yet because he said something that may resonate IN GENERAL, he’s immediately some authority on education, and the teacher is immediately the villian. (Can’t wait for the vote-whore politicians to come out of the woodwork for this guy)

    I have seen both good students and bad students challenge both good teachers and bad teachers when I was in school. Many times it was justified. Other times it was just a student not happy that they may acutally have to do some work!

    I read one article that said this rant started as a result of the teacher requiring them to complete a project in less time than another class was required to complete it. If this is true, did anybody stop to think that the teacher felt they were up to the task, and needed to be challenged a little more? Maybe, maybe not. Or maybe, perish the thought, shit happens, and for whatever reason they have to work a little harder than another class.

    I agree that our educational system is severely broken, but with many things it takes two to tango. I see a lot of people (parents and students) too quick to blame the teacher for lack of an intended result, when sometimes you have to also put some of the onus on the students to actually do some work. I think we all have seen (largely asian) students, who could barely speak english, get STRAIGHT A’s with both good and bad teachers. There’s something to that….(but I digress)

    Hero? Maybe we should wait a little longer and get some facts before we give Mr. Bliss such a compliment. (We can barely call our veterans heroes, but a guy who had felony battery charges against his wife is a hero because he called 911 when Amanda Berry escaped from captivity. FUCK YOU, A HERO). However, I don’t put much trust in the media to really allow the facts to get out. Ratings are too important.

  32. Richard Nikoley on May 10, 2013 at 23:59


    You made the comparison, not I. You made the comparison to after-the-fact, 20/20 hindinsight, not I. I think it was dumb, but you did it, not I. Rosa made an impact in her time, Jeff didn’t even know he was being filmed. There have been a million other Rosas and a million other Jeffs in history. Those two were just in a particular place at a particular time and the impact is determined on numerous factors but how they handle the attention themselves is likely key. In a word, humility. That would have been the only valid comparison, but that would have required knowledge of the material you don’t have.

    You still haven’t watched the interview. Weird to me, because I never engage when I _know_ there is info, context and perspective on the table the other guy has that I don’t. Moreover, I always love the line of thinking where whenever something remarkable surfaces, it says: well, ‘it’s not shit….Ghandi’. ….As though every changer of the world did it in a day (took God 7), so the real implication is: never promote anything decent and good. Everyone will laugh at you because it didn’t outdo Parks or Ghandi in a day.

    Y’all are pussies, that’s all. It’s easy to celebrate Parks. Ghandi. Who can laugh but you?

    I have a better idea: promote literally everything decent and good at every opportunity. See what happens. But it only really ever matters that it was decent and good.

    Oh, by the way, go ahead and get your stuff done. At 23.08 PST. Must be urgent. And thank you for telling me what a value my wife of 12 years is, as though it wasn’t me who gave you that information.

    Cheeses. What a piece of work you are.

  33. Richard Nikoley on May 11, 2013 at 00:30


    I have no problem with the video and will be happy to discuss its context, if not its _transcript_.

    I’m sure there is a forum somewhere to discuss any hypothetical anyone can imagine.

    But be sure and exercise EXTREME caution. You might actually fall victim to an idea or conviction.

  34. tt on May 11, 2013 at 01:33

    @ Richard. I agree with all your last points. Especially “easy to celebrate Parks” , “humility” and “what a piece of work [I] am”. As a general rule I agree with most of what you say most of the time anyway.

  35. Maki on May 11, 2013 at 03:19

    “Sean is right that there’re are some compulsory components; there is no “creative” shortcut. like memorizing of the multiplication table.”

    Actually there is, you don’t need to memorize it at all, just figure out simple ways to make calculations simple enough to do them fast in your head. For example when I solve 7×7 first add 7 3 times it looks about like that in my head:
    then add 21 to 21
    add 7

    Takes seconds to calculate.

  36. Mo on May 11, 2013 at 04:02

    @tt. “I’ll take one Beatrice for 1000 Jeffs any day.” Strange choice you’ve set up there, tt. Why do you feel the need to choose between them at all? Is it to make Jeff, a teenager, look less accomplished than a successful teacher of 30 years? Mission accomplished, tt. Your work here is done.

  37. tt on May 11, 2013 at 04:20

    @Mo. It’s economics 101. I am not choosing between the two, I am choosingbetween one Beatrice and 1,000 Jeffs. If someone offered me 1,001 Jeffs I would exchange one Beatrice for them. If you valued Jeff and Beatrice equally I would buy all your Beatrices off you at a price of one Jeff per Beatrice. You would be no worse off since you value them equally and I would be better off because I value Beatrice more highly. We could also exchange at a rate of 1 to 500 and we would both win.

  38. Nigel Kinbrum on May 11, 2013 at 04:35

    I like Jeff Bliss’ style. I also enjoyed the interview. I hope that he doesn’t get discriminated against because of his appearance.

  39. Mo on May 11, 2013 at 08:34

    You’re still choosing between them. You just want to make sure we understand how little you value the Jeffs. As I said, mission accomplished.

  40. Dr. Curmudgon Gee on May 11, 2013 at 09:44


    a trick that takes seconds is not a trick.

    it’s just adding up multiple times => multiplication. sure.

    although prolly a good idea that a teacher makes a student understand this before requesting them to memorize.

    ps. would be interesting to know the the context (of the video)


  41. Richard Nikoley on May 11, 2013 at 12:02


    “Free the Animal”

  42. Maki on May 11, 2013 at 12:49

    @Dr. Curmudgon Gee

    I don’t see a problem with taking 3sec to calculate. I had never memorized multiple tablets, and I aced at math. I don’t see much point in telling students that you can find ways to multiply numbers fast, and that you also need to memorize those equations. I was told to memorize it. I had figure out on my own how to do the calculations without it, and nobody had noticed, seems like a creative shortcut to me. There is a little trickery in making the calculations easier. If I would try to add 7 16 times I would most likely make plenty of mistakes, but not if I will do 7 14 21 42+70=112.

    There is plenty of unnecessary memorization in many subjects that could be replaced with more creative thinking in school, and there is plenty of memorization that is not needed for anything, that time should be used on explaining theories, and axioms. No wonder that so many people think that evolution is just a theory if they had few hours on it in school, and rest of the time was spend on memorizing birth cycles of fish or so other useless information, if you would learn about it from evolutionary perspective then you would have interesting question on how it evolved that way, but without context it is just an empty information.

    Heck after 12 years of education most people don’t even know what scientific theory is, if most people think that “it is just a theory” is a sensible position then there is something seriously wrong with the education system.

  43. tt on May 11, 2013 at 14:03

    @Mo. No Mo. I want you to understand how MUCH value I see in the Beatrices of this world.

  44. tt on May 11, 2013 at 14:09

    @Mo. If it makes you happy Mo I can tell you that Jeff has some value to me. You on the other hand have none. I would take none of you in exchange for any number ofJeffs.

  45. Dr. Curmudgon Gee on May 11, 2013 at 14:24


    if it works for you, that’s fine. your methods is orders of magnitude too slow for me.

    a lot of times, it is easier to make very young children recite than comprehend (sure, it also depends on individual)

    for us adults, it’s just the opposite,

  46. BE on May 11, 2013 at 19:27

    Richard, I think you missed my point completely. I ,too, have nothing against what he said. In fact, everything he said is spot on. He’s far from the first person to say it, including myself. The thing I take issue with is how quick people are to immediately label someone a hero, and label someone a villian, without having but a fraction of the facts. We see about a minute of a rant, and immediately we know all we need to know.

    I did see an interview with him where he said, “I don’t want to be called a hero, I’d rather be called an inspiration. You need to be your own hero.” Now that, I respect.

  47. Richard Nikoley on May 11, 2013 at 21:10

    I don’t recall labeling him a hero. He simply said something true with moral standing to say it. Obviously other people agree in vast numbers, so I promote it. It’s not a new message, it’s just the same message, this time with legs.

    I had already seen one local news interview with him before I posted this. While it wasn’t important to me that he be heroic, I didn’t want to promote a total asshole. I’m satisfied I got it right. Decent guy says something true and it’s inspirational enough to have legs.

  48. Mo on May 12, 2013 at 03:26

    tt: The value of the Beatrices of the world depends in no way on denigrating anyone else.

  49. Leibniz on May 12, 2013 at 10:55

    @ Maki
    The problem with taking three seconds to calculate something like “6 times 8” is that is time you can be spending thinking about more important aspects to a problem. Typically once you get past calculus, math problems become much more involved and having to search around for something basic like “4*3” is cumbersome and makes you much more prone to error. Even relatively simple things, like matrix multiplication , Gaussian elimination, and inner products require lots of little calculations like “6*9”; do you really want to be spending 3 sec for each separate multiplication problem when you’re multiplying two large matrices? That’s time you can be thinking about the physical interpretation of a problem or writing proofs about the system you’re working on. Certain things need to be automatic, or you’re just being inefficient and wasting time.

  50. TomRob on May 12, 2013 at 11:22

    From MDA:

  51. tt on May 12, 2013 at 14:05

    @Mo. I didn’t denigrate anyone. I just said Beatrices are more valuable to me than Jeffs. Given the choice of one more Beatrice or one more Jeff, what would you take Mo. And no, you can’t take one of each.

    I bet I earn more than you Mo. Do youfind that denigrating? If you do then we”ll have to agree to disagree.

  52. Paul C on May 13, 2013 at 11:12

    Tod Robberson won a Pulitzer prize in 2010 for editorial writing, with a long history of successful investigative journalism, which is confusing to me because the opinion piece doesn’t fit with any of that.

  53. […] I told the rest of yooz in the last post on this general topic: […]

  54. Noeleen on November 3, 2013 at 17:56

    This is a wonderful post, just wonderful. I remember when I saw first this too, and my God that teacher should be ashamed she has “come to that”. That kid was frustrated to death. GREAT to STAND UP, WALK OUT.

    Your wife is wonderful 🙂 The sort of teacher I’d wish upon my son.

  55. Noeleen on November 3, 2013 at 17:57

    Buggar, I commented without even clicking play as I knew which video you meant – but now I wanted another look after commenting, I see it says ‘This video doesn’t exist’. I HOPE AND HOPE AND HOPE it hasn’t been taken down.

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