We often hear about U.S. teachers being paid poorly for all the work they do to educate children. But did you know that 63 percent of teachers report buying food for the classroom each month with their own money?
I know at my mom’s school, teachers worked with parents to make sure children had food, clothes, school supplies, medical care. Kids who didn’t have running water in their homes (no, I’m not kidding) were given access to the showers in the gym and teachers would do their laundry. Teachers drove families who didn’t have cars to their doctor and dentist appointments, allowed kids in extracurriculars who needed to be at school early to go to band contests or football and baseball games to stay at their house overnight so they could drive the kids in early the next day. At Christmas, teachers pooled resources to help parents get together Christmas presents and dinners, so kids could have Christmas meals. My mom, an elementary school principal, drove her former students in high school to distant colleges so they could see campuses they couldn’t visit otherwise and helped them with college and financial aid applications. My parents gave families, free of charge, a car, a washer and dryer, musical instruments my brother and I no longer used, and they weren’t the only teachers or other parents in the community who did the same for kids and families in need.
I know there are bad teachers, but my experience being raised by an educator and being surrounded by teachers was that teachers love their students and want what is best for their students. They will do whatever they can for kids and their families if they think it will help the kids succeed. The teachers in my life were overwhelmingly examples of dogged, selfless dedication. I know so many teachers now who have worked well past when they could retire because they still love teaching, because they love the kids, because they want to make the world a better place.
Teachers are amazing people, and instead of discrediting them, blaming them for all the problems with our education system, and replacing them with less expensive and less qualified people who will be in and out of the profession in a couple of years, we should be doing our best to seek out and support the people who have this kind of passion and commitment to the hard work of educating children.
What this should also tell us is just how many kids are going hungry right now, and how vitally important it is that we continue to invest in children. SNAP benefits, Medicaid, subsidized housing…all of these things are vitally important to school success. A child can’t do well in school if they are hungry, sick, and homeless or worried about becoming homeless, and you’d be hard pressed to find teachers who have never encountered students who have dealt with one or all of these challenges, except maybe in the wealthiest school districts. Taking care of kids should be one of our biggest priorities, and sadly, it’s turned into some sort of political game to see who can be the most committed to poverty shaming and anti-government, no matter who is hurt in the process. It’s sickening.
Education is important. Children are everything. We need to invest more into both. Now I’ll get off my soap box.
My partner teaches special education, and this is overwhelmingly true. He buys those big bags of apples or bananas to take to school. He hands out granola bars. He makes popcorn in an air popper. He has bought students bus passes. He has taken a kid to an anime and comic convention that was out of town because the kid was so excited about it and wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise. He works 12 hours nearly every day.
Respect teachers and the work they do. They have big, generous hearts.(via thingspeopleasklibrarians)
Source: The Huffington Post
Plants lack muscles, yet in only a tenth of a second, the meat-eating Venus fly trap hydrodynamically snaps its leaves shut to trap an insect meal. This astonishingly rapid display of botanical movement has long fascinated biologists. Commercially, understanding the mechanism of the Venus fly trap’s leaf snapping may one day help improve products such as release-on-command coatings and adhesives, electronic circuits, optical lenses, and drug delivery. Now a team of French physicists from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille University in Marseille, France, is working to understand this movement.
Like other plants, Venus’ Flytraps gather nutrients from gases in the air and nutrients in the soil. However, they live in poor soil and are healthier if they get nutrients from insects. Carnivorous plants live all over the world but the Venus Flytrap is native to select boggy areas in North and South Carolina. Because of people’s fascination with these plants, they collected many of them and they became endangered. Venus’ Flytraps today are grown in greenhouses.
The leaves of Venus’ Flytrap open wide and on them are short, stiff hairs called trigger or sensitive hairs. When anything touches these hairs enough to bend them, the two lobes of the leaves snap shut trapping whatever is inside. The trap will shut in less than a second. The trap doesn’t close all of the way at first. It is thought that it stays open for a few seconds in order to allow very small insects to escape because they wouldn’t provide enough food. If the object isn’t food, e.g., a stone, or a nut, the trap will reopen in about twelve hours and ‘spit’ it out.
When the trap closes over food, the cilia. finger-like projections, keep larger insects inside. Fold your hands together lacing your fingers to see what the trap looks like. In a few minutes the trap will shut tightly and form an air-tight seal in order to keep the digestive fluids inside and bacteria out.
If an insect is too large it will stick out of the trap. This allows bacteria and molds on the insect to thrive. Eventually the trap turns black, rots and falls off.
The trap constricts tightly around the insect and secretes digestive juices, much like those in your stomach. It dissolves the soft, inner parts of the insect, but not the tough, outer part called the exoskeleton. At the end of the digestive process, which takes from five to twelve days, the trap reabsorbs the digestive fluid and then reopens. The leftover parts of the insect, the exoskeleton, blow away in the wind or are washed away by rain. The time it takes for the trap to reopen depends on the size of the insect, temperature, the age of the trap, and the number of times it has gone through this process.
If you feed a Venus Flytrap something that doesn’t move, e.g., a dead insect, it will not close tightly over it. You need to squeeze the trap and move the food around so it imitates the action of a live insect.
The lobe manufactures digestive juices and an antiseptic juice. This keeps the insect from decaying over the few days it is in the trap and purifies prey that it captures.
People still do not understand fully how the trap closes. The Venus’ Flytrap does not have a nervous system or any muscles or tendons. Scientists theorize that it moves from some type of fluid pressure activated by an actual electrical current that runs through each lobe.
How to keep your venus fly trap happy (and alive) - by flora-file
After my post about cutting the flower buds off when a venus fly trap flowers, I got some questions about how to care for this plant, and specifically people asked how I could possibly keep one alive for ten years. Just follow these handy dandy tips to keep your venus fly trap chomping small invertebrates for years to come.
- Sunlight - Unfortunately this plant is not a houseplant. It needs direct sun to survive, hopefully about 8 hours a day. Mine lives on my patio and gets a few hours of direct light in the morning, and then bright indirect light (which is different than shade) for the rest of the day, and it seems to do fine. Plants that don’t get enough light tend to have elongated leaves, stretched out by the plants hopeless attempt to grow toward some source of light. Happy plants have short leaves and lots of traps. They still need light to photosynthesize no matter how many flies or spiders you feed them.
- Distilled or Purified Water - These plants are very sensitive to minerals dissolved in water, especially the fluoride and chloride found in most tap water. Not even spring water is okay, as it contains trace minerals that may be detrimental to the health of the plant. Rainwater will probably work, as long as you don’t live next to a coal burning power plant or some other source of gross air pollution. This may be the most common form of venus fly trap neglect, as people that have killed their fly trap have usually not followed this important rule.
- Peat Moss or Coco Coir substrate - The venus fly trap is a bog plant that naturally grows in mucky, nitrogen deprived soil. The whole bug eating behavior arose from the need for additional nitrogen that was severely lacking in the soil. Both peat moss and coco coir have extremely low nitrogen content, making them suitable for the needs of this plant. I used coco coir when I repotted mine a couple years ago, and it worked great. Coco coir is much cheaper than peat moss, and also a better choice environmentally.
- A steady diet of…nothing! - Don’t give it fertilizers or chemicals, no Dr Shultz or Miracle Grow. And don’t feed it hamburger either, that’s just wrong. If it is healthy it will catch bugs all by itself, almost like its evolved to catch bugs or something. Keep the substrate constantly moist. I keep mine in a container that doesn’t drain and keep it in standing water constantly. Whatever happens, don’t let it dry out.
If you follow these simple steps your fly trap should grow old of the bulb and long in the tooth. I’m not saying this is the only way to take care of your fly trap, but its how I take care of mine. And after 10 years its still working. Good luck, and garden on!