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Teachers

91-year-old calculus teacher connects with students using tried and true old-school methods

"If I had a wife, she'd probably leave me within a week. I mean I'm sitting there working all night trying to grade papers. Don't have time to run around."

91 year old teacher; teacher shortage; retirement; CBS Mornings; wholesome stories

91-year-old teacher is using his knowledge to connect with students.

There are some people who work well beyond retirement simply because they enjoy working. While many people look forward to retiring, not everyone is content sitting at home or spending much time traveling around the world. In fact, my own grandfather was one of those people who worked beyond retirement, ran five miles a day and boxed until he was well into his 70s.

But Lou Kokonis has surpassed people working into their 70s and even 80s. Kokonis is 91 and still working at the same high school in Virginia that he's been teaching at since 1959. We're not talking about coming in for an hour or so a day to teach a class and then going home to nap. The math teacher has a full class load, rolling in every morning before most other teachers arrive and staying up into the night to grade assignments.

Kokonis is the real deal, and while his handwriting may be a little shakier, his mind is still as sharp as ever. What's even more remarkable than his continuing to work into his 90s is the fact that he's able to build genuine connections with his students regardless of the multigenerational age gap.


Mr. Kokonis told CBS Mornings that he believes he is able to reach his students because he still offers free Saturday tutoring just like he always did. Turns out, his early arrivals and work on Saturdays are what helps keeps his students engaged, though he admitted cell phones are a challenge.

Of course, in the late 1950s, he didn't have to compete with cell phones or learn to use computers or Promethean boards, but then again, we also didn't have 50 states. In his 60-plus years of teaching, he has been a witness to ever-advancing technology in the classroom firsthand.

"To be working and teaching this long and to still like put in all this extra effort on Saturdays, I really admire that about him," Mohamed Eltireke, a student at the high school, told CBS Mornings.

At a time when there's a national teacher shortage, Mr. Kokonis is filling a vital role, and while one of the students he taught has already become a teacher and retired himself, Kokonis has no plans to do the same. He plans to finish out the year and says, "My mind is set that I'm going to do well this year and I'm going to enjoy it, and I'm going to try to come next year if they'll take me."

See Mr. Kokonis in action below:

Community

Decluttering top of mind for 2024? This Facebook group can help

This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

With the new year comes plenty of resolutions we all vow to keep up with the best of intentions. But by February 1, our resolve has often waned as life gets in the way and things go back to how they were. What we all need a little more of is motivation.

When we participate in something collectively, it’s easier to meet goals and maintain the enthusiasm to get things done. While the support of a friend or two is great, imagine having the power of an entire online community cheering you on and offering advice along the way.

This is where the Daily Decluttering Challenge Facebook group comes in. This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

“By building a network of people who can support and encourage you along the way, you can make progress towards your goals faster and more effectively. Remember, no one achieves success alone, and having a strong support system can make the difference in a goal set versus a goal achieved,” says Kristin Burke, a goal achievement coach.

In addition to tips for tidying up around the house, members share advice on how to tackle one thing at a time, where to donate excess items, and what they do to exercise more willpower to avoid buying new things.

For anyone hoping to declutter their lives in the new year, this Facebook group has the perfect challenge to get you started.

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The generational caption debate is a big deal.

If you’re a Gen Xer or older, one surprising habit the younger generations developed is their love of subtitles or closed-captioning while watching TV. To older generations, closed-captioning was only for grandparents, the hearing impaired, or when watching the news in a restaurant or gym.

But these days, studies show that Millenials and Gen Z are big fans of captions and regularly turn them on when watching their favorite streaming platforms. A recent study found that more than half of Gen Z and Millenials prefer captions on when watching television.

It’s believed that their preference for subtitles stems from the ubiquity of captioning on social media sites such as TikTok or Instagram.

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Gage Skidmore/ Wikimedia Commons

James Marsden and Thandie Newton at Comic-Con

There’s no shortage of stories of celebrities whose family members are wholly unimpressed by their fame.

“When I see myself up on a billboard, I have this complete dissociation with it ... I’m like, 'Who’s that?'” actress Emily Blunt told InStyle. "And I can see my children doing the same […] it’s not exciting for them. What’s exciting for them is when I can pick them up from school and take them swimming.”

Meanwhile, Matt Damon told Seth Meyers that his daughter goes out of her way to watch his flops. “She is very clear about not wanting to see anything that I’m in if she thinks it might be good,” Damon told the TV host. “If I get bad reviews in something, that’s the one she wants to see.”

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Samantha has trouble every time she gets a new work email.

The recent trend of parents going out of their way to give their children unique names has brought up a lot of discussion on social media. Some of these names sound cute when a child is 5 years old. But will Caeleigh, Zoomer or Rhyedyr look like a serious adult on a job application in a few years?

A recent viral video on TikTok is a unique twist on the current discussion surrounding names. Samantha Hart has a name that doesn’t seem like it would draw any negative attention in professional circles. However, her parents didn’t consider email conventions when they named her back in the late ‘90s when email was new.

“My name is Samantha Hart,” the 27-year-old said. “Most companies use the email designation of first initial, last name, meaning my email would be shart.” For the uninitiated, a shart is an unintentional release when one thinks they only have gas.

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Lunch looks a lot different outside of the U.S.

For those of us who grew up in the United States eating lunch in a cafeteria, the idea of looking at a bunch of trays of school food may be less than compelling. But what's surprisingly interesting, however, is what children from the rest of the world are eating instead. Check out these common lunch dishes from around the globe and let us know they seem accurate.

The photos were part of a project entitled "School Lunches Around the World" by Sweetgreen In Schools, a program "that educates kids about healthy eating, fitness, and sustainability through fun, hands-on activities."

This article originally appeared on 10.30.17

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.

The early 1900s were a time of great social upheaval in our country. During the years leading up to the Ludlow Massacre, miners all around the country looking to make a better life for themselves and their families set up picket lines, organized massive parades and rallies, and even took up arms. Some died.

It's always worth considering why history like this was never taught in school before. Could it be that the powers that be would rather keep this kind of thing under wraps?

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Pop Culture

6 songs that seem romantic but aren't, and one that seems like it isn't but is

Love songs are where we get our passion, our soul — and most of our worst ideas.

The Beach Boys (1965)

Love songs are where we get our passion, our soul — and most of our worst ideas.


Throughout human history, oceans have been crossed, mountains have been scaled, and great families have blossomed — all because of a few simple chords and a melody that inflamed a heart and propelled it on a noble, romantic mission.

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