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Feb 17 2010

Related Rates Wrap Up

What do explosions, Calculus, cookies, Tetris, raps songs, ballet, and 16 excited teenagers have in common? My classroom. All in one day. I came home thinking that it was the most exciting day of teaching yet. Mainly because of the dry ice and water explosion. As far as I can remember no one has even…

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Feb 09 2010

Making the Most of This

Finally teaching makes sense in my life. Teaching is so much fun now that I know I only have a few more months of it left. (Of course, I’m sure I’ll be involved in teaching, tutoring, etc) in some regards forever. I wake up in the morning and walk into my school bubbly happy because…

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Feb 02 2010

Sweet Success

I woke up to an amazing email this morning. Admission with possibility of fellowships at UC Berkeley to study math and math education. Scary Amazing. Do they really think I can hang with Berkeley math PhD students? Free school. What could be better? And the chance to learn the things I need to know to…

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Jan 30 2010

Reminded of the gap again

I agreed to drop my roommate off at a bar tonight thinking I’d grab something to eat and then head home to relax because I was tired from parent night and teaching a full week. Four or five teachers showed up and once the discussions got rolling I didn’t want to leave. One teacher had…

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Jan 30 2010

Facebooking old students….

Because of facebook I learned a number of things about my students who I taught at the high-need school in Las Vegas: 1. One became a math major with a full-ride and will be attending a college I might go to for grad school. 2. One is at MIT and was excited to hear from…

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After years of frustration, reflection, experiments, reading, failure, and observations I finished a day of school ecstatic and even sent and email saying “I LOVE my job.” If you read through the posts from my first three years teaching, you’ll see that while I had good moments, and thought that my job was important, I…

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Today we had a big faculty meeting after school to discuss grading practices. Our principal believes that grades should be based more on achievement than on effort. He worries that there are a lot of students at our school who play the “game” well but don’t have a deep conceptual understanding. He basically wants teachers…

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Oct 01 2009

Teaching as Improvisation

My school has awesome flex periods in the middle of each week where instead of taking the normal class load we spend a period doing something fun. Today it was watching an improv team. I waxed nostalgic about my days as drama club president and decided to be a drama teacher for 10 minutes. We…

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Sep 29 2009

What do grades mean?

I love talking about ideas. I stayed late at work today again to be a part of the committee on grading. It was a mixture of students, teachers and administration who are set with the task of deciding what grades mean and what they should mean. The mission of our school is to prepare people…

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I adore professional development days. I think it’s because teaching is always so hard and I get to sit back and reflect. I adore reflection and writing about teaching. Really I don’t mind reflection and writing about anything and maybe it’s just teaching because that’s what I worry about. Today I lead my very first…

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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…

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Sep 26 2009

Football to me is like math to students

I agreed to drop my roommate off at a bar tonight thinking I’d grab something to eat and then head home to relax because I was tired from parent night and teaching a full week. Four or five teachers showed up and once the discussions got rolling I didn’t want to leave. One teacher had…

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Sep 19 2009

Rain is falling…..

And that means that the school year is starting again. When people say that teaching at a new school is a lot like starting over they are probably speaking with experience. It’s now year two at my new fancy private school and year four teaching math. Things are certainly getting easier. I’m not quite as…

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Jun 06 2009


One of the interns at my high school who graduated from college last year and is just finishing her first full school year is exhausted. I told her that it was totally normal. In fact even though I’m finishing my third year of teaching and figured I’d be seasoned by now I feel exhausted too.…

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May 30 2009

a good fit?

I haven’t been writing as much now that I work at a fancy private school. I worry that my kids will find it and that the parents will find it and that all my weaknesses will be exposed. And right now I have a lot of weaknesses. And it’s hard to write about because it’s…

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Mar 30 2009

What is my life’s work?

I feel like I’ve grown up faster than I wanted to sometimes. I’ve taught 400 kids mathematics. I’ve dedicated my health and sanity to their education. I’ve put aside my writing projects, my cycling dreams, my mental health, and my dreams for them. And I’m not saying I regret it. I’ve learned so much. Teaching…

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Thursday my school had an art and music day. No one goes to any classes and instead spend half the day listening to their peers create music in the theater and spend the next half creating art in workshops. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to listen to surprisingly talented students and paint and…

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Today was music to my ears. So was yesterday. Yesterday I found out that I would be offered a contract next year after months of worry if I was good enough to teach at my exclusive private school. It had been months of feeling inadequate, demoralized and as if I were in the wrong profession.…

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Mar 20 2009

Teaching teaching teaching

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do lately. The students at my school are very curious. They want to know why the world works and they want to know new things. They have dreams to be scientists and business people and astronauts. I love looking up new interesting things for my…

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Mar 15 2009

No cheering in my room…

The teacher next to me who teaches the same Algebra class as I do had his students laughing and cheering during their review session. I just taught the same class and couldn’t make the game a go. My kids are not bad, they just did their homework, kind of paid attention, didn’t want to play…

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Feb 08 2009

Wow that was some strong Kool-Aid

I drank the Kool-Aid. If you don’t know what I’m referring to it’s an inside joke in corps members. Once you’ve experienced the organization, become a part of the movement and struggled day in and day out to make a difference in your students lives you are changed forever. You are committed to the idea…

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Nov 25 2008

They were right about tracking.

Initially when I got my job at my new fancy private school I thought I would keep tracking and maybe even finally get it right. Then I realized that my kids were invested and did their work if I wrote it on a homework sheet and passed it out to them. In fact they’d do…

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Our director of intercultural affairs held an assembly last week to discuss Umbrella, the club for students of color at my new high school. He explained that they were not excluding white students because they were racist, or because they wanted to talk badly about whites, or plot the overthrow of the school, but because…

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Sep 29 2008

near my limits

Teaching limits is hard. Teaching delta epsilon proofs is hard. When kids come in and say, “I can’t do any of my homework” it’s hard to hear. It makes me leave the day feeling kind of bad. Like I’m a failure of a teacher. I think I know what the problems are. The Calc book…

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Sep 26 2008

Bursting the Bubble from the Inside

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…

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Learning more about life than math…

Las Vegas Valley
High School

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