+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy
Most Shared

Meet Mr. Joffee, fourth-grade teacher and living proof that teachers change lives.

Writing about my fourth-grade teacher led me back to my childhood neighborhood for coffee with Mr. Joffee.

A few months ago, I shared a story on Upworthy about how my fourth-grade teacher changed my life.

He gifted me with a lifelong love of learning, and he was a patient and compassionate mentor during one of the most difficult times of my childhood.

After the story came out, I was surprised to see so many shares, comments, messages, and emails from people who knew my teacher personally.


Photo provided by Tina Plantamura, used with permission.

Monte Joffee is remembered by many of his students as a teacher who inspired them, no matter how long it’s been since they were in his class.

Many people posted about him, and many more encouraged me to reconnect with my teacher.

Those who had seen him or worked with him recently had wonderful things to say about what he’s done as an educator. Those who, like me, had him as a teacher when they were young shared their memories of his classroom and the unique way he inspired a love for learning.

To my surprise, the morning after the essay was published, I checked my messages and found a heartfelt note from Mr. Joffee himself.

He did remember me (I didn’t think he would!). He wrote to me while he was attending a conference about education for global citizenship. It was great to hear (as I suspected) that he was still very much involved in education. Others who knew him left comments on Facebook and told me about his accomplishments.

I asked Mr. Joffee if we could get together.

Since I left my old neighborhood in Queens, I have only come back to visit a few times. I suggested that he choose a location since I hadn’t been there in years, and he chose a coffee shop right around the corner from the apartment I grew up in. I remember going there a few times with my parents.

I can’t say that Mr. Joffee looked much like he did 31 years ago, but I’m sure he couldn’t say that about me either!

Since the last time I saw him, his career had extended well beyond being an elementary school teacher; his dedication to students and education grew exponentially since my last day at P.S. 69 in 1985.

While he was teaching, Mr. Joffee saw many issues in urban education that he knew he could do something to help solve. Eventually, he left the public school to cofound the Renaissance School (which later became the Renaissance Charter School) in 1993.

Mr. Joffee’s new school was right across the street from where we were sitting.

He invited me to take a tour, and it was exactly the type of school I would have imagined he could create. There were so many open spaces. There was so much emphasis on creativity. We carefully walked through and greeted the staff and students who were there for the summer programs, and every child stopped to say hello to us. Every child knew they were important and that they belonged.

Andrew Ronan, a former classmate of mine, might have said it best after reading my story. He was a teaching artist at Renaissance for a while, and he wrote to me: “On the first day I walked in I felt like I was back in my 4th grade classroom. There was so much positive and productive work going on, students and teachers were on a first name basis and learning together. Mr. Joffee had a profound influence on me and my classmates many years ago, it was amazing to see that impact magnified to an entire school.”

Of course, Mr. Joffee furthered his own education, too.

When he finished his studies at Teachers College at Columbia University, he became Dr. Joffee.

Meet Dr. Joffee! All photos used with Dr. Joffee's permission.

Gonzalo Obelleiro, Ph.D., told me: “Monte genuinely loves people. He consistently shows interest in individual persons, in the unique point of view they have to offer, regardless of whether they write Ph.D. after their name, the jargon they use, or the shoes they wear. As a younger scholar I often felt the pressure to have to prove my worth amongst colleagues, but Monte always treated me as an equal. Despite his superior knowledge and experience—or because of it, I am sure he would say—he is the perennial student, always excited to learn even from his own students and juniors.”

Dr. Joffee (who insists that I call him Monte from now on) is retired now, but his passion for education burns brighter than ever.

He is working on a national K-12 education reform proposal called "The Will to Achieve." Monte believes this proposal will revolutionize American education by re-welcoming parents, communities, supporters, and entrepreneurs into the education tent. It will enable students to become autodidactic learners.

"The Will to Achieve" will also rebuild the schoolhouse in communities where there has been an uneasy match between the people and the school.

When I asked Monte to estimate how many students he had inspired throughout his career, we were both surprised when the number added up to about 7,600.

What if even a third of those students went on to make the same type of impact he made? Do teachers know how many lives they touch and how many people they inspire to do just as they do? Do they know that the children in front of them will remember those compassionate moments and valuable life lessons when they become adults? Do they know that they aren’t just teaching — they are building character, sculpting hope, and helping to raise young men and women?

An African proverb says “it takes a village to raise a child.” Teachers like Monte prove that sometimes, the greatest inspiration can come from just one person in that village.

Photos from Tay Nakamoto

Facebook is no longer just your mom’s favorite place to share embarassing photos.

The social media platform has grown in popularity for young users and creators who enjoy forming connections with like-minded individuals through groups and events.

Many of these users even take things offline, meeting up in person for activities like book clubs, brunch squads, and Facebook IRL events, like the recent one held in New York City, and sharing how they use Facebook for more than just social networking.

“Got to connect with so many people IRL at an incredible Facebook pop up event this past weekend!” creator @Sistersnacking said of the event. So many cool activities like airbrushing, poster making + vision boarding, a Marketplace photo studio, and more.”

Tay Nakamoto, a designer known for her whimsical, colorful creations, attended the event and brought her stunning designs to the public. On Facebook, she typically shares renter-friendly hacks, backyard DIY projects, and more with her audience of 556K. For the IRL event, she created many of the designs on display, including a photobooth area, using only finds from Facebook Marketplace.

“Decorating out of 100% Facebook Marketplace finds was a new challenge but I had so much fun and got it doneeee. This was all for the Facebook IRL event in NYC and I got to meet such amazing people!!” Nakamoto shared on her page.


Also at the event was Katie Burke, the creator of Facebook Group “Not Wasting My Twenties.” Like many other recent grads at the start of the pandemic, she found herself unemployed and feeling lost. So she started the group as a way to connect with her peers, provide support for one anopther, and document the small, everyday joys of life.

The group hosts career panels, created a sister group for book club, and has meetups in cities around the US.

Another young creator making the most of Facebook is Josh Rincon, whose mission is to teach financial literacy to help break generational poverty. He grew his audience from 0 to over 1 million followers in six months, proving a growing desire for educational content from a younger generation on the platform.

He’s passionate about making finance accessible and engaging for everyone, and uses social media to teach concepts that are entertaining yet educational.

No matter your interests, age, or location, Facebook can be a great place to find your people, share your ideas, and even make new friends IRL.

Pop Culture

What is 'Generation Jones'? The unique qualities of the not-quite-Gen-X-baby-boomers.

This "microgeneration" had a different upbringing than their fellow boomers.

Generation Jones includes Michelle Obama, George Clooney, Kamala Harris, Keanu Reeves and more.

We hear a lot about the major generation categories—boomers, Gen X, millennials, Gen Z and the up-and-coming Gen Alpha. But there are folks who don't quite fit into those boxes. These in-betweeners, sometimes called "cuspers," are members of microgenerations that straddle two of the biggies.

"Xennial" is the nickname for those who fall on the cusp of Gen X and millennial, but there's also a lesser-known microgeneration that straddles Gen X and baby boomers. The folks born from 1954 to 1965 are known as Generation Jones, and they've been thrust into the spotlight as people try to figure out what generation to consider 59-year-old Vice President Kamala Harris.

Like President Obama before her, Harris is a Gen Jonesernot exactly a classic baby boomer but not quite Gen X. Born in October 1964, Harris falls just a few months shy of official Gen X territory. But what exactly differentiates Gen Jones from the boomers and Gen Xers that flank it?


"Generation Jones" was coined by writer, television producer and social commentator Jonathan Pontell to describe the decade of Americans who grew up in the '60s and '70s. As Pontell wrote of Gen Jonesers in Politico:

"We fill the space between Woodstock and Lollapalooza, between the Paris student riots and the anti-globalisation protests, and between Dylan going electric and Nirvana going unplugged. Jonesers have a unique identity separate from Boomers and GenXers. An avalanche of attitudinal and behavioural data corroborates this distinction."

Pontell describes Jonesers as "practical idealists" who were "forged in the fires of social upheaval while too young to play a part." They are the younger siblings of the boomer civil rights and anti-war activists who grew up witnessing and being moved by the passion of those movements but were met with a fatigued culture by the time they themselves came of age. Sometimes, they're described as the cool older siblings of Gen X. Unlike their older boomer counterparts, most Jonesers were not raised by WWII veteran fathers and were too young to be drafted into Vietnam, leaving them in between on military experience.

Gen Jones gets its name from the competitive "keeping up with the Joneses" spirit that spawned during their populous birth years, but also from the term "jonesin'," meaning an intense craving, that they coined—a drug reference but also a reflection of the yearning to make a difference that their "unrequited idealism" left them with. According to Pontell, their competitiveness and identity as a "generation aching to act" may make Jonesers particularly effective leaders:

"What makes us Jonesers also makes us uniquely positioned to bring about a new era in international affairs. Our practical idealism was created by witnessing the often unrealistic idealism of the 1960s. And we weren’t engaged in that era’s ideological battles; we were children playing with toys while boomers argued over issues. Our non-ideological pragmatism allows us to resolve intra-boomer skirmishes and to bridge that volatile Boomer-GenXer divide. We can lead."

Time will tell whether the United States will end up with another Generation Jones leader, but with President Biden withdrawing his candidacy, it has now become a distinct possibility.

Of note in discussions over Kamala Harris's generational status is the fact that generations aren't just calculated by birth year but by a person's cultural reality. Some have made the argument that Harris is culturally more Gen X than boomer, though there doesn't seem to be any record of her claiming any particular generation as her own. However, a swath of Gen Z has staked their own claim on her as "brat"—a term singer Charli XCX thrust into the political arena with a post on X that read "kamala IS brat." That may be nonsensical to most older folks, but for Gen Z, it's a glowing endorsement from one of the top Gen Z musicians of the moment.

Pop Culture

Man's epic rant about streaming services is so relatable people are applauding

"Everything was faster and easier and worked better 20 years ago and we ruined it. We were all scammed."

Representative Photo credit: Canva

Man's epic rant about streaming platforms has people applauding.

Something happened nearly two decades ago. There was a shift where video rental stores were shutting down because Netflix (who used to deliver literal DVDs) and Redbox were causing a significant decline in customers. Then Netflix became a streaming service, making it even easier for you to get access to the movies you would normally rent for a flat fee and reducing the stress of losing or damaging a DVD.

This jump into streaming created the demand for more streaming services at a time when cable rates were skyrocketing. It made practical financial sense to move over to a couple of streaming services and let go of cable. That is until the streaming services became obnoxiously plentiful.

Anthony Robustiano recently went on an epic rant about his frustration with streaming services after he tried to find a movie to watch. He explains that in order to even know which streaming platform to watch the movie on he first had to Google the movie. That's when the rant turns up a notch.


"To then finally finding the movie on a streaming service that you own and you get excited and you go to the movie and then Prime Video is like, 'well we're going to need an additional $3.99 from you.' Why? I'm already paying you a monthly fee what are you talking about? And they're like 'well you can rent it or buy it for seven grand.'"

You know someone's a peak frustration when they're making up ridiculous numbers to express how expensive something is. But Rubstiano wasn't alone in his irritation with the high price of multiple streaming platforms. Commenters joined in and agreed that maybe cable was actually superior to streaming services after all.



"Also? The entire appeal of Netflix was ‘no ads.’ As a single person I relented and subscribed to Netflix sometime after COVID screwed the world, when tired of having to put up with ads while watching ‘free’ movies on cable or YouTube or a few other free show sources online. Now, they want me to choose between paying a lot more, which I cannot do, or…. Putting up with ADS. Good-bye, Netflix," one person writes.

"THIS!!!! It’s awful. There’s nothing to watch. Mostly because I can’t find it and get overwhelmed," another says.

"Everything was faster and easier and worked better 20 years ago and we ruined it. We were all scammed," someone complains.

"ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS CAFETERIA STYLE CABLE. Let us pick what we're paying $70/mo for. GOSH," another person shouts.

The consensus seems to be that since the streaming services now all come with ads and additional fees, bringing back Blockbuster or cable would be preferable. Although some people shared that they kept their old DVD/Blu Ray players so they could physically own a copy of what they purchased, pointing out that when a streaming platform loses rights to a movie or show, you no longer have access even though you may have purchased it.

In a perfect world, a cable company could strike a deal with the streaming services giving you access to all of the platforms for one price along with basic cable. Until then, stores still sell DVD players.

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

A Big Mac value meal with a fudge sundae.

For nearly 70 years, McDonald’s has been the place for an affordable, quick, and predictable meal. However, since 2019, McDonald’s prices have risen drastically, and in many places, it now charges fast-casual prices for fast food, even though the quality is the same. What gives?

Over the past five years, the prices of McDonald’s most popular items have risen an average of 141%.

The Food Theorists, a YouTube page with over 5.4 million subscribers that debunks fast food myths and tells the stories behind your favorite food brands and mascots, explains the hefty price hikes in a 9-minute video.


The primary takeaway is that McDonald’s locations are all franchises, so the individual owners have the right to charge what they wish for a product. That’s why a McDonald’s in Darien, Connecticut, charged $17.59 for a Big Mac value meal. There was no nearby competition and consumers driving by on the interstate had fewer food options.

Food Theory: Why Did McDonald's Get SO Expensive?youtu.be

Conversely, in San Jose, California, one of the most expensive places to live and do business, a Big Mac is still relatively affordable ($5.79) because competition in the area keeps prices down.

Therefore, in an inflationary environment where prices are going up on everything, McDonald’s franchises can raise their prices to whatever consumers bear without facing any business consequences.

“If owners see one place is still thriving with higher prices, they'll increase theirs to get more money, especially when there's a need for what they're selling,” Food Theorists say in the video. “Basically, they can drive up prices to match competition because customers won't stop wanting McDonald's.”

The question is, when does the cycle stop? If businesses continue to one-up each other by raising prices with little consequences, at what point does all fast food become super expensive? When companies with lower prices begin to thrive, the expensive businesses, like McDonald's, are forced to return to Earth.

Family

Mom’s blistering rant on how men are responsible for all unwanted pregnancies is on the nose

“ALL unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period. Don't believe me? Let me walk you through it."

Mom has something to say... strongly say.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, are a conservative group who aren't known for being vocal about sex.

But best selling author, blogger, and mother of six, Gabrielle Blair, has kicked that stereotype to the curb with a pointed thread on reducing unwanted pregnancies. And her sights are set directly at men.


She wrote a Cliff's Notes version of her thread on her blog:

If you want to stop abortion, you need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And men are 100% responsible for unwanted pregnancies. No for real, they are. Perhaps you are thinking: IT TAKES TWO! And yes, it does take two for _intentional_ pregnancies.

But ALL unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period. Don't believe me? Let me walk you through it. Let's start with this: women can only get pregnant about 2 days each month. And that's for a limited number of years.

Here's the whole thread. It's long, but totally worth the read.

Blair's controversial tweet storm have been liked hundreds of thousands of time, with the original tweet earning nearly 200,000 likes since it was posted on Thursday, September, 13.

The reactions have earned her both praise and scorn.

Most of the scorn was from men.

But Blair wouldn't budge.

For other men, the tweet thread was a real eye-opener.

Women everywhere applauded Blair's bold thread.

This article originally appeared on 02.22.19