What to do Until a Really Good Teacher Comes

Dr. Jake Davis

“That teacher sucks. I didn’t learn anything!”

Whoever says that takes no more personal responsibility for their progress than a baby bird waiting for his momma to drop a worm in his open mouth.  Image courtesy

Yes, some teachers suck. A few really suck. By definition, half of all teachers are below average. Don’t let any of that stop your quest for knowledge. It’s up to you, not the teacher, to get the most from every course. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to squeeze every bit of useful knowledge from every course you take, regardless of the teacher’s skill.

First, realize that most of the learning will not take place in the classroom. It will occur as you prepare for class and as you review…in other words, when you study the material. You need to establish a study routine, including a consistent time slot aside during the day, a set location without any distractions, and whatever supplies you will need close at hand. Keep your class materials and notes together in one safe and easy to find place. Let others know that when you’re studying, you don’t want to be interrupted.

Second, make sure you are taking a course that is right for you. You should have an interest, or better still, an enthusiasm for the subject matter. Also, is the course at hand the right level for you? Not too simple and not too advanced. If this is an advanced course, make sure you have already taken the introductory course. Otherwise, you are wasting your time and taking up space better utilized by someone else.

Read More »

Transgender Prisoner’s Lawsuit Sparks BOP Policy Change

By Derek Gilna

A lawsuit filed by a transgender federal prisoner in Massachusetts has resulted in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) making appropriate medical care available “to [prisoners] who believe they are the wrong gender,” according to a May 31, 2011 memo issued to all BOP wardens. Previous BOP policy limited treatment of transgender prisoners to medical care that maintained them “at the level of [gender] change which existed when they were incarcerated.”

The prisoner who filed suit, Vanessa Adams, whose legal name is Nicholas Adams, had been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in 2005 by medical professionals at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners (USMCFP) in Springfield, Missouri.
Adams sought declaratory and injunctive relief under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202.

Her lawsuit noted that GID is a “recognized diagnosable and treatable medical condition listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).” Medically appropriate GID treatment options include providing patients with 1) hormones of the desired gender; 2) the “real life experience,” i.e. living full-time as the new gender; and 3) surgery to change the patient’s sex characteristics – often collectively referred to as “triadic therapy.”

According to her complaint, Adams “believed she was assigned the wrong gender,” which caused her “much emotional turmoil.” Those feelings intensified during her incarceration; she amputated her penis and attempted to castrate herself.

Read More »