Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The Education of America

English: A special education teacher assists o...

English: A special education teacher assists one of her students. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve got a question for the two Presidential candidates.

How much is a teacher worth to a child who would be a statistic if she/he didn’t teach?

Obama for Teachers!

Our teachers are underpaid and overworked.

When will the powers that be recognize that the education of our children is more important than the deployment of our troops overseas?

If we don’t educate America on what is important for the future of our great society, then we will fall down to the levels of those emerging countries trying to survive austerity.

Is the salary of a novice teacher enough to provide for her family of four?

The typical hourly rate for a teacher living in Chicago is roughly $23 per hour, and the cost of living wage is $20.35.   Living Wage Calculator

There is not much leftover to do any other non-essential activities that a family of two adults and two children would enjoy doing while living in a metropolitan area.

This Presidential election is very important for many reasons, but especially because we as a nation need to make sure that our teachers and other educators are paid more than just a living wage. They need a salary that is worthy of the knowledge that they impart to our youth.

Make your vote count and vote for our teachers.

Vote for the candidate who truthfully addresses your concerns.

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Educator eff

Educator eff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week in America.


The US Department of Education wants people to take to Facebook and Twitter and thank a teacher who made a difference in their lives. Teach Me About Teaching


There have been many teachers who made sustaining impressions on me, like my third grade teacher Ms. Woods; eighth grade science teacher Mr. Boyd; and eighth grade home room teacher Mr. Pollack. My college professors were also instrumental in shaping my views of the world, but I can’t remember their names. Isn’t it something that I can remember the teachers’ names from early childhood but not from adult education.


Anyway, here is a poem I’d like to share about teachers.



Confessions of a Teacher’s Pet


She was very beautiful

She had the widest smile

Her class was never dull

I sat in the first aisle


She let me be her helper

My classmates would frown at that

I jumped at the chance to help her

They knew it was because of where I sat


Life in her class was full of laughter and joy

When she spoke, her words came out as a song

The girls were jealous, since they were not a boy

We got to run errands, and stayed gone for twice as long



She’s old now and still beautiful

Her smile’s just as wide and plum

She still lets me help her

Because she is my Mom

©latifahafital 2011


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I recently returned from a journey to Mecca KSA. It was, as always, a spiritual enlightening experience reminding me and other pilgrims of our limited knowledge and even more inconsequential existence.

Being in such a place surrounded by people from all walks of life; listening to them speaking many languages; watching exhibitions of unfamiliar cultures; and smelling a wide variety of aromas coming from foods and humans, I’m reminded of the Tower of Babel.

Babel, the biblical ancient city where its’ inhabitants, after the Great Flood, were one people speaking one language. Then God, in His almighty wisdom, decided to have them speak many different languages.

He created diversity of our tongues and colors as a sign for those of us who are endowed with knowledge to recognize the wonders of creation. Divided into linguistic groups and unable to understand each other, each group spread out in the lands to set up their own communities.

Today, we have thousands of spoken languages in the world and when these speakers converge in Mecca and are able to communicate with one another by simple gestures or a friendly smile, it is amazing.

To see a woman from a remote village in Kazakhstan communicate with a woman from a big city in America reaffirms how small the world is in which we live. Not only did I know exactly what she wanted, but she understood my response and acknowledged her gratitude.

Verbal communication is important for business, government assistance, and for buying and selling.  It is one of the best ways to quickly get your point across, but non-verbal communication is also essential.

In America, we have ASL or American Sign Language for the deaf and hard of hearing. In the Arab world, there is Arabic Sign Language for the deaf. These two forms of sign language are similar, but there are also a lot of differences just as the spoken languages of these two peoples.

Languages are meant to bring cohesiveness to common groups and to communicate with outsiders. Human language is a learned symbolic communication system. Teaching the English language, I find that new words are invented daily and the meanings of old ones have changed.

New symbols are created just as quickly as its meaning. It’s important to keep up-to-date vocabulary in planning new lessons to keep them fresh, and students excited about learning.

Have you ever been at a loss for words and had to revert to some sort of non-verbal communication to get a point across?

Are you aware of the new additions to the English language, these new words which are really old words in different forms? Like taking yesterday’s leftovers and adding gravy to it to make it a new meal.

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Tax (Photo credit: 401K)

In the United States April 15 of every year is the day most dreaded by most people. It is tax day.

Many people put off filing their tax returns until the last minute, and/or file an extension, or some are totally against the government telling them that they should disclose how much money they made for the previous year and don’t file at all. This article is about the usage of words in the American English Tax Code.

Some of you reading this post have probably never heard of our illustrious tax code, or probably don’t care about it. I’m with the latter. However, because I write about all things English I felt the urge to share some of our quirky behaviors as Americans.

As  a former corporate accountant I know the tax code can be –  and who knows it may be purposely done, indecipherable. For the average American all they want is a tax refund, even if they have to pay an insane high fee to get it tomorrow instead of waiting a couple of weeks to get it at no cost to them.

This year tax day, April 15,  falls on a Sunday. Therefore taxpayers will have until Tuesday, April 17, to file their 2011 tax returns and pay any tax due. By law if April 15 falls on a Sunday or holiday then taxes are due the next business day.

But this year Emancipation Day (never heard of it), a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falls on Monday, April 16. According to federal law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do; therefore, all taxpayers will have two extra days to file this year.  YIPPEE!

Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Oct. 15 to file their 2012 tax returns

What inspired me to write about the American Tax Day was a post I read about how the IRS (Internal Revenue Service for those not familiar with our taxman) outdoes Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare and he only had to use 900,000 words to say everything that he needed to say in all of his plays and poems. The IRS tax code uses a whopping 3.8 million words. No wonder people are confused.

Maybe the IRS never heard that “Brevity is the soul of wit” (Hamlet)

Check out this article by a British expat living in the United States filing his very first income tax return. How the IRS Outdoes Shakespeare?

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Countries, Nationalities and Languages in English

This chart shows the CountryLanguage and Nationality of some countries from around the world.

DID YOU KNOW? Demonym is another name for Nationality – demos (Greek for populace) and onym (suffix for ‘name’)

  • Language and nationality names are often, but not always similar. For example: French – the language, and French the nationality are the same in the case of France.. However, English – the language, and American – the nationality are not the same in the case of The United States.
  • All countries, languages and nationalities are always capitalized in English. This is because country, language and nationality names are proper names of countries, languages and nationalities.

        All country names are unique, otherwise there would be confusion about where you were.

 Nationality Pronunciation  Country  Language  Nationality
One syllable
France French French
Greece Greek Greek
ends in ‘-ish’
Britain English British
Denmark Danish Danish
Finland Finnish Finnish
Poland Polish Polish
Spain Spanish Spanish
Sweden Swedish Swedish
Turkey Turkish Turkish
ends in ‘-an’
Germany German German
Mexico Spanish Mexican
The United States English American
ends in ‘-ian’ or ‘-ean’
Australia English Australian
Brazil Portuguese Brazilian
Egypt Arabic Egyptian
Jordan Arabic Jordanian
Hungary Hungarian Hungarian
Korea Korean Korean
Russia Russian Russian
ends in ‘-ese’
China Chinese Chinese
Japan Japanese Japanese
Sudan Arabic Sudanese

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Did you know that the English language really came from German, with a little French and Latin thrown in to make it sweeter?

Check out this funny video on how the English language came about.

The Anglo Saxons

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