Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 27 2009

Julie, Julia and me

I suppose that the title of this post is a bit presumptuous but there is no sense in not feeling inspired. I just saw Julie and Julia with my mom. I think she was trying to rescue me because the today was the first time I saw the man I thought I’d end up with since we broke up. That was an unexpected shock to the stomach when I glanced over and saw him in his new sunglasses not waving back or smiling at me. Later we spoke and he said “I didn’t see you wave” and the pain feelings subsided a bit. After seeing the movie with my mom I thought that maybe being single and injured was the perfect excuse to pour my heart and soul into a technologically advanced geometry curriculum. The only real problem is that I’m teaching Geometry for the first time and I don’t know what kids get confused about. I had no idea how hard if then statements were for them to grasp and that the idea of a counterexample was decidedly unintuitive.
Of course Julia Child struggled with reading French cookbooks and was turned down repeatedly on her way to publishing Mastering French Cooking. And Julie felt lost and confused and 30 without a plan while she blogged her way into a publishing contract. I know I’m not the only one out there thinking all these thoughts about how to harness my energy and ideas into something that I can stand behind. I really think it might be math education. There is so much that can be done to make it better and I absolutely adore talking about math. I spent 30 minutes talking to a young engineer about how he used arc length formulas in his start up company designing turbines to harness water energy without building dams or damaging the environment. I’m so excited to go back to school and inform the student who wondered “how will we ever use this” that there is indeed a use in a real life person I happened to know. Part of the excitement is it’s nice to be reminded that my ex is not the only brilliant fascinating man who loves to talk to me about science. Or at least loves to talk about science. He does have a girlfriend.
Julie was chastised for not having time to be married. And I guess I don’t have time thought it would be nice to have that amazing caring husband who believes in me and encourages me. But perhaps I’ll get that later and this year is the year to make an amazing Geometry curriculum. Or Calculus curriculum. And I’d really like to have a website to share this all.
The task is really monumental. It could be my life’s work. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all of the wonderful books written on math and all of the excellent lesson plans already written for Geometer’s Sketchpad.

When my students talk about being engineers or professors or scientists and do these amazing summer internships I’m jealous. I see myself in them. My enthusiasm and ability and I wonder if they look at my job as something to fall back on because there will always be a teacher shortage. It’s not that I don’t think teaching well isn’t one of the hardest things one could imagine it’s just that maybe I always viewed it as my back up career. Of course I had no idea that it would push me to my limit and teach me about myself and hopefully lead me on my real path.
Today listening to my friend talk about the start up company that could revolutionize hydropower made me want to be a part of that. Not hydropower, but being an entrepreneur. I suppose there is no reason I can’t sell math books. And as hard as it has been for me I might need to teach a few more years until I can do that. And sometimes I wonder if I only have this dream because it’s all I know. I spent my youth immersed in math books was encouraged to read more by my college professors and now still work in a school. I literally don’t even know what people do outside of education at a real job. People talk about loving their jobs and I just wonder what the real world even looks like. And of course my kids are the real world too but I suppose with all of the job drama and observations I’ve never felt like I found a perfect fit. At least it’s endlessly difficult and I’m not like so many college graduates working at Starbucks or Barnes and Noble.
Alright. I’m inspired. Time to lesson plan.

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    Learning more about life than math…

    Las Vegas Valley
    High School

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