I told my 7th period today about teaching in Las Vegas.
I told them that students had long-term subs who didn’t know what pi was.
I told them that some classes watched movies all year.
That the kids didn’t graduate from high school because they couldn’t do basic math. “You have knowledge that most people don’t have. You have power. You can make a child’s life better by sharing it with him. Imagine if your parents couldn’t help you with math or find someone who could or PAY for someone who could. Imagine if they didn’t speak English, didn’t know that you should do your homework and never went to your school.”
The kids were a little shocked. I was bursting their happy bubble. Perhaps I’m not on the front lines. But I’m telling my students about what I saw and encouraging them to tutor for a low-income apartment that recently was recruiting on campus. The mission lives on in my soul even if I spend most of my time delighting in browsing wikipedia for wonderful intersecting mathematical topics because these kids can be invested in math just for the sake of math.
I tell the teachers at my school here about what it’s like on the other side. Some of them have never taught in the public schools. One assumed that getting free food from the administration was a perk that all teachers enjoyed. Others expect it and think it’s normal for kids to come to class with homework every single day without exception. Wow. I still love it.
I get to really think about math and almost never about behavior and that makes me happy.
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Learning more about life than math…