Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reason #s 245,365.6, .7 & .8 why I still teach.

First of all I want to welcome all the new people who have come by to visit my blog thanks to Carmi, Written, Inc. and his Thematic Photos.  Carmi, Peg Cherre, Mustang Sally & Kalei's Best Friend: Welcome, welcome, welcome!  You all get a virtual fruit basket, a bar of virtual bath soap and a virtual tuna casserole from the Welcome Wagon.  Enjoy.

Now, on to the meat of this post…

Almost 2/3 of my students this year were also my students last year, so I know them pretty well.  This one student, who showed very little interest in math last year came into my class this morning and asked me if we were going to have test today.

Me: “Why?  You planning on sluffing?”

Him: “No, I just feel like I have a math brain today.  I was hoping we were [having a test today].”

I had already noticed that he was working a lot harder this year, but was still surprised (happily) when he told me that he just felt like doing math this year.

Reasons .7 & .8:

This year I’m teaching an Algebra A/B class.  The class meets every day rather than every other day like all the other classes*.  It’s meant for the kids that struggle with math, despite having good attendance and behavior.  Since I had most of the 8th graders last year, I pretty much hand picked the class and it’s one of those classes a teacher looks forward to.

Two of the students in the class worked hard just to pull a C or D in my class last year.  They killed themselves just trying to understand PreAlgebra.

Today they were simplifying square roots, and understanding it.  Not just plugging it into the calculator and getting 8.9442719, but doing things like √80 = 4√5.  Phenomenal.

Yes, today was one of those A+ days that make it worth having to work a couple days a week at the Chevron to make ends meet.

*We are on the block schedule, which means every student has 8 classes altogether, but only 4 meet on any given day.  They alternate days (A day, B day), so each class meets every other day.  On the other hand, my Algebra A/B class meets on both A and B days, so I see them every school day.


A Paperback Writer said...

Yea for you!
These are the days that make it worthwhile.

Note to other readers:
"Sluffing" is Utah slang for what other places call "ditching" or "skipping class." Once upon an ancient time, it was referred to as "playing hookey." But Utah has used the term "sluffing' for decades.

Mustang Sally said...

Aw, thanks for the welcome. I've been sick and am just now catching up.

Algebra huh? I remember my algebra teacher. She was very good but I detested math in any form. I took her class because if you passed algebra 1 as a freshman, you didn't have to take any more math for the rest of high school! And you can believe I was all over that.

And pass it I did, not because I "got" it, but because I was a superb 'crammer'. I know, it's sad isn't it? I hope you teach your kids that there ARE some practical uses for algebra ... that it's not just random math tricks.

Oh yeah, I paid for my "study" habits later, when I had chemistry classes that assumed a basic understanding of algebra. You know, I still hate math LOL

Max said...

Sally - it's always nice to see someone new commenting here, and I'm glad to hear you're feeling better.
That's the problem with teaching math - not too many people say "Hey, that was my favorite subject!" and to be honest, math wasn't my favorite subject in high school either (I just barely passed Geometry and never took anything higher.) It wasn't until college that I realized I wanted to go into math and that life would have been a lot easier if I'd taken it more seriously in high school. I try to impress on my students that they have no idea where life is going to take them, and the more they know, the more options their future will have.

Carmi said...

My wife's a teacher, too, so this entry resonated deeply with me. We certainly aren't getting rich, but rewards come in many forms. And knowing her impact on her students is often enough to know she's leading a life with meaning. As are you.

So glad our bloggy paths have crossed.

Max said...

Yeah, it always amazes me when people accuse teachers of just being in it for the money, that we really don't care. (Not that there aren't teachers that are burnt out and really need to be transitioned to the DMV, but most aren't).
Yeah, big bucks. But it's the small things like that day that make it the right job. Tell your wife she IS doing a job that makes a difference. Maybe not to all of the kids, but even one a year can make it worth it.