Monday, January 28, 2008

I Love Crushing the Other Children


My students at IS 318 (a grade 6-8 school) won all three sections of the New York City Chess Championships last weekend: elementary, junior high, and high school. All three. hahahahahaha.

In your face, New York City schoolchildren who do not attend IS 318k.

39 comments:

anjiaoshi said...

I assume students can play up whenever they want, but how did they win the elementary division? Does it include sixth grade?

Tom Panelas said...

What's that Susan says about winning with grace?

Fuhgedaboutit.

Anonymous said...

I guess winning is what its all about, eh? Great lesson for the youngsters.

Marty

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Correct, the sixth graders play the elementary section.

And I agree, my feelings of glee are childish and reprehensible. However, cut me a small break please: it's not so easy to stay enthusistic and energized teaching middle school, especially when you do it for sixty hours a week and have done so for nine years.

Tom Panelas said...

Point taken and conceded. My wife is a public-school teacher, so I have some idea of how hard it is. And sixty hours a week is about right, unpaid time being something the egregious ideologues at cushy reactionary think tanks like the Hoover Institution never consider when they study teacher compensation and conclude it's adequate.

I'll bet you also spend some of your own money (unreimbursed) on the classroom for things you simply need but that aren't in the budget.

Anonymous said...

Your feelings aren't reprehensible. Feeling gleeful about winning is natural. It's the over-the-top public expression of these feelings ("hahahaha") that leaves something to be desired.

Marty

anjiaoshi said...

Teacher compensation is adequate. Teaching conditions are not. The latter can't be solved solely by adjusting the former.

Would I turn down another $20,000 a year? No, but it wouldn't change how I feel about what I do. The parts I enjoy, I'd enjoy just as much, and the parts I can't stand, I couldn't stand any better.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

I really can't complain about the money, especially because the 60 hours I work are on the clock. I guess I do a fair amount more in planning and grading, but whatever. I also work at a fantastically well-run and supportive school, so the conditions aren't my issue either.
It's just such an energy-sucking job. I come home from work and I just want to sit in the dark and not have to answer any more questions.... soon I'll be one of those grumpy bitter women who make their students do word searches all day long.

Tom Panelas said...

It's energy sucking even in a well-run school. In an ideal world is there anything that could be done to make it less so? In the real-world-as-we-know-it? Does teaching have to be so hard?

I know teachers get a lot of satisfaction from what they do, but it's such high-burnout profession it seems that something has got to be wrong. Or is it simply in the nature of the thing?

Polly said...

It is fantastic what your students have accomplished and you have every right to be proud of them. I offer congratulations on their championships. However I think you could have announced it in a more humble fashion.

Maybe you think your headline is humorous because of some of the USCL antics of a similar vein. However I think as a coach you're not setting a good example of sportsmanship in the tone of this posting. Sportsmanship is not only being a good loser, but also a good winner.

Is this the type of behavior you want from your players?? If I ever heard my players say something like that about their competition they would not be my players for long. Confidence and a winning attitude are important, but not at the cost of grace and sportsmanship.

Sorry, but I don't buy into trying to stay energized and enthused as an excuse to post something like this. I'm sure you can come up with better ways to stay excited about your work then to get in the face of children and coaches from other schools.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Maybe you should get off your high horse and stop telling other people how to behave?? This is my blog. My students don't know about it or read it. If you don't like it, you shouldn't read it either. If you don't have the perceptive skills to see that "In your face, New York City schoolchildren who do not attend is318k" is a joke, I don't see why you would enjoy it anyway.

But don't tell me what to write; it's obnoxious and self-righteous.

Tom-- my suggestion would be more teacher preparation time, as is done in Europe. A big reason it's exhausting for me is that I teach so many classes back to back with few breaks.

Ex-Chess in the Schools supporter said...

I am deeply saddened by your lack of concern for our city youth. I now see why IS318 exhibits poor sportsmanship over the board, at award ceremonies and in general. I am thoroughly disgusted. I imagine other philanthropists will be as well.
It is time for you to start thinking about the kids instead of yourself.

Anonymous said...

The tone of your response to Polly reminded me of the "America, love it or leave it" crowd. Of course, it is your blog. But I thought the "Comments" portion of the blog was intended to solicit honest feedback. If you only want positive comments, perhaps you should indicate this. No blogger wants to receive abusive or petty feedback, but Polly's feedback seems both well-intentioned and on point. Clearly your blog post was intended as a joke, but jokes made at other people's expense are often funny only to the joker.

Marty

anjiaoshi said...

Anyone here ever see the movie "Mystery Men"? At the end of the movie, the Sphinx proclaims, "We are No. 1! All others are No. 2, or lower!"

I "heard" Lizzy's boast in the exact same tone.

Also, a teacher talking about crushing children's spirits is either joking or in phys ed.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

It's totally different to say "love it or leave it" about America because the speaker clearly does not own, or have some kind of greater right to, America that the "negative" person. I, however, do have some level of ownership in my blog.

I did not delete Polly's comment, but I do feel it's condescending, and I think I get to express that. She doesn't "buy" my "excuse"? I don't care?

As to the deeply saddened philanthropist, boo hoo.

Polly said...

It is your blog and you can say what you want. It's true I don't have to read your blog if I don't want to. Most of the time I've found your blog entertaining and interesting. I enjoy reading your chess analysis, and last night I came to see what new things you had posted and this head line comes screaming at me.

Maybe you don't think your children read it, but you might be surprised to find out differently. I was surprised to find out how many of the parents and kids that I come in contact read my blog. I had not even told anyone about it, but was surprised when a parent came up to me at tournament and thanked me for the nice things I had said about her son on my blog. I suspect your blog gets more traffic then mine so even if your students don't read it other coaches, parents and kids do.

I don't really care if you think I'm being condescending. I am not humor impaired and I did get the idea behind the "in your face" remark, but I still think the headline was over the top. I place a high value in sportsmanship in both winning and losing. You may feel that I'm being self-righteous. That's your opinion, and that's fine. I can do what I want with it. I gave my opinion, and you can do what you want with it. I just feel it's wrong for a coach of such a prominant chess school to be saying things like "I love crushing the other children." But that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Polly, I wonder if the parents of the student you reprimanded about his poor behavior appreciated you writing about that in one of your posts. I agree that Ms. Vicary's post were a little over the top but were clearly just being silly. But as a self appointed guardian of sportmanship, perhaps you should refrain about embarrassing children in YOUR posts as well?

Anonymous said...

Surely you know that stuff that gets posted on the internet does manage to get read by scholastic kids and their parents. I get the humor but I wouldn't be surprised to see this post circulated among the chess programs of some of the other schools competing at Nationals. I think I remember reading an article after last year's High School Nationals that the team from Arizona read some of the examples of trash talking in the book about Edward R. Murrow's team to psyche themselves up before Nationals. This could have a similar effect in team rooms at Nationals.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we can psyche up the children! Really fire them up for a four hour game of chess. It is often said that the angriest teams win many chess nationals.Ill bring the "we will rock you" and "the eye of the tiger"music and some punching bags that we will decorate with Ms. Vicary's face! What team will you be with Anonymous? We can share the opening secrets of her team!

Anonymous said...

I agree and then we will all say "NO Elizabeth Vicary. IN YOUR FACE!" so loud that even her own children will agree with us. They will even ask to leave her school and transfer to ours. They will ask politely, though. Any rudeness will not be tolerated.

Mary P

Anonymous said...

Be as snarky as you want. School administrators generally take a dim view of trash talking by chess players. Principals and other administrators are uneasy with the over-the-top competitiveness which manifests itself in language like "I just crushed that boy" or "you're playing my friend in the next round. He is going to crush you." I'm sure that Ms. Vicary is not condoning trash talking by her students but having a blog post entitled "I love crushing the other children" doesn't do much to improve the image of chessplayers as anti-social freaks but maybe that's not on her agenda. Maybe those who promote the values of sportsmanship -- the handshakes and "good game" at the end -- are the ones who are deluded.

chessdad64 said...

What an interesting exchange here!

My own view is “Lizzy Knows All” ……--- after all this is her blog...and I for one enjoy Lizzy’s blog for its edgy, personal, and unplugged style --- and for me that’s one of the things I enjoy about the world of blogging. I would hate to see Lizzy succumb to the political correctness that I think may be suggested here. But at the same time, such provocative statements are inevitably going to generate heat. So Lizzy…if the kitchen’s too hot, get out – but I venture it isn’t and she won’t.

I read the post of “Crushing Other Children” as clearly tongue and cheek….--- humor and irony is part of this thing called the chess blogosphere; and so is the word getting out…so I would not be surprised if Lizzy’s blog is a known commodity among those web-savvy middle schoolers at IS 318.

Some general chilling out may be called for here….and of course kumbaya….

Best chess regards,
Brad

Tom Panelas said...

Yes, Kumbaya.

Braden Bournival said...

Unfortunately we live in an age where people find offense to any comment a person makes..

Even if the kids read her blog, what's the big deal? A healthy competitive attitude is good for a chess player. Every strong player I know is a little arrogant and very competitive. Anyways, that's my 2 cents, Horsie Out.

Anonymous said...

As a big financial supporter of the IS 318 chess team, I am repulsed by the competiveness of Ms. Vicary. I will no longer be writing my big checks to her team.

Mr. HW Moneybags

Anonymous said...

Dear Elizabeth,

Congratulations for your team's impressive results.

FWIW, I just had my first-grader read your post. His first response was "Wow," in reference to your clean sweep. When I directed his attention to your headline, he laughed, realizing you were "just being silly."

Ray Cheng

Anonymous said...

Ray,

Granted the blog item would seem funny and rather silly to a typical first grader; now, if he had lost in that tournament....

Marty

Anonymous said...

Marty,

I appreciate your point (i.e., if my child had lost in that tournament). He didn't play in it, so I can't tell you whether he would have felt provoked or aggrieved or offended. But in any case we know that he grasped the post's humorous intent.

Ray

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Strange but great stuff. I especially enjoyed the contribution of Mary P(oppins?) and Mr. Moneybags.

Some thoughts:

1. My students do not know about this blog. I am certain of this because they are absolutely incapable of keeping secrets. Also, they think I'm a really boring old woman who has no life outside of school.

2. The blog is entirely inappropriate for kids to read. It mentions weed, alcohol and has pictures of half naked women. I would not encourage any parent to show this to their children, regardless of how pissed off you might feel.

3. The administrators at my school do know about this blog and think it's hilarious.

4. This is not a professional blog. I'm not Susan Polgar. I'm not running for anything, or representing my school. I'm not trying to be anyone's role model. Consequently, I am not going to censor my thoughts because they might hurt the feelings of readers I don't know, especially hypothetical first graders. I find the suggestion that I should bizarre but kinda funny.

Cheers,
Elizabeth

anjiaoshi said...

One sympathetic piece of advice: As a teacher, you are always representing your school, whether you like it or not. Occupational hazard.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bill Brock said...

This from the woman who gave me grief for my reference to "kiddies" in http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2007/10/slime_spillover.htm

:-)

As I have said on other occasions, there's a lot of f***ing money in kumbaya. But perhaps it's better to be poor and snarky.

Finally, crushing the other *children* makes a mess; crushing the other childrens' *egos* keeps the library spotless.

eugene said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think the Hunter school won... Junior High School

You guys can see the standings at chesscenter.cc

Elizabeth Vicary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Vicary said...

They were actually disqualified because Hunter is two schools: a K-6 and a 7-12, but they played as one team. Steve Immit made this ruling on Sunday and gave 318 the 1st place free Marshall entries.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Vicary said...

1. My students do not know about this blog. I am certain of this because they are absolutely incapable of keeping secrets. Also, they think I'm a really boring old woman who has no life outside of school.

2. The blog is entirely inappropriate for kids to read. It mentions weed, alcohol and has pictures of half naked women. I would not encourage any parent to show this to their children, regardless of how pissed off you might feel.


Whoa! I stumbled upon this page and I've read the arguments for and against. I'm sure you meant no offence, and in a perfect world none would be taken.

But THIS very page is ranked 12th in a Google search for "IS 318 chess" -- it is bizarrely naive of you to think that others might not find it, and that some of these others might not take offence and act vindictively.

To my mind it would be sage to not post photos of (or even references to) your winning chess team IN THE SAME BLOG that you admit contains references to "weed (and) alcohol" and has "pictures of half naked women."

Jonathan said...

I just found this blog while looking for articles about shawn Martinez so I guess it might not be impossible for a student to find it.

Elizabeth does an amazing job and all of you are just jealous that your kids are still falling for scholars mate. Get a grip , learn to laugh and stop drinking haterade.

Btw PS 166 will win elementary nationals mark my words

Check2Check said...

LOL... your'e awesome. Your kids must love you.