Is it true that you will have a new staff member on your site beginning in the next week or two? And if it is true, what role will he/she play? (From what I read on a blog, this person's background is more in psychology than education and will play a very different role from the interns that are shown on your "about staff" page, that one page that can be accessed through the "About Mitch Adler page". So is there any truth to this, even though I know you don't like to post any information until the contracts or whatever you use to finalize the agreements are completed and there's no chance of revealing anything prematurely, it would be appreciated if you could share some information beforehand, even if it later changes.
Fred McM. (Prefer not to give full name)
Dear Fred McM.,
Sure, I'll reveal!
Though, you must keep in mind that, as you said, I tend not to reveal much until everything is agreed to, especially in a case like this, because the exact role of this 'new member' is TRULY not yet definite, and we are still brainstorming to develop the changing roles that almost everyone connected with this site has had as things evolve. It's never a bad idea to have a plan, an exact roadmap of where and when and how things are going to develop, but, of course, as you know if you've read a few consecutive Adler-n-subtract.com q&a's in a row, we receive such a broad range of questions from an even broader range of readers (elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, students from each of those levels, college professors, parents, homeschoolers, retirees who just enjoy sharping their mind with an occasional brain twister, people considering going back to school, principals considering changing curriculums for their school -- in conjunction with their superintendents, and mathematicians the earliest stages to serious professionals. Also, of course, on the verbal side, the standarized test takers have occupied a substantial share of the give & take on the site, as well as the people I call the "checkers", for whom I am always grateful, such as Mrs. ___, who is almost always the first to contact me to point out some error I've made -- and always in such a timely and respectful way, enabling me to fix mistakes before too many people rely on them)... So, the point is that following a road map when we receive a deluge of requests for a certain concept explained the week before an important standardized test, makes no sense. We simply pull questions that seem common and interesting, and as best as we can, we try to stick with a subject for at least a short while, because to cover an entire area in one Q&A would make the response far too long for a format like this...
So, without further ado, yes, I have been meeting with a 'new' person who specializes in various techniques to help the student who is anxious about math (or Language Arts, or almost any other academic subject) to see how we could answer some of the questions that come in from parents who manage to give the impression that they themselves are terrified of their own child having "test anxiety". TEST ANXIETY is a very real thing, and I vaguely recall experiencing it myself in certain classes that (for reasons unnatributable to perfectly competent teachers) made me feel I'd never make it through alive. Spanish, for example, is one example I recall from high school. I know there is a common belief that mathematics and foreign languages utilize the same part of the brain, but for me, well, I guess there's always exceptions to every rule.
I recently learned that this 'new person' also happens to have a lot of experience with teens and adolescents who are experimenting with various intoxicants ("drugs & alcohol"), and I think that this website, which, I believe, is one day older than three years today, is now established enough to tackle some of the questions I've been saving for the right time. After all, statistics show that these "intoxicants" are one of the most common methods that teens of test-taking age try in the hope that they will ease their anxiety or enhance their performance in some way. SO, I am looking forward to welcoming this new person aboard in the VERY near future.
On a personal note, I first became aware of her work when my previous office was in the same suite of offices in the town of East Hampton, and, I am pleased to say, we worked together successfully with two students, both of whom not only needed to learn how to take standardized tests, but both of whom also could not learn effectively until this 'new' person worked with them to be calm and open enough to realize that they could do a lot more if they learned a few relaxation techniques and had help putting previous phobias in perspective.
Lastly, the reason I keep putting the word 'new' in those single quotes, is because she is certainly not new to me; my office and her office were separated by a mere six-inch wall, and we shared a waiting room for some time. I am fortunate to consider her a friend. And, whether she ends up contributing frequently or just once in a while adding her comments (set off and clearly delineated from my responses), I am excited to welcome this new voice to Adler-n-subtract.com!
I hope this answers your question,