Now what?

About a month ago I wrote this post. I had a student come back to visit. It was a nice interaction until the ending awkward moment.

At the age of 38, you have to at least appreciate being asked for your number by a 24 year old. For a second. When you tell people that this happened, there are the usual comments, congratulating you on the feat. The word cougar is usually mentioned with a little nudging. But when I tell my teacher friends, it’s a completely different reaction. Ewww. Creepy. Ick.

About a week after school started I got an email from said student.

R U there?

I replied to this email: Yes, you have the correct email, Adam.

What happens? I get another email.

how was your first week of school?

Huh? What? Does he want a pen pal? I waited around and asked my friends while we decompressed from a week of school over a beer on a Friday. We agreed that I should wait until the end of the weekend to respond. That way there wouldn’t be any time left to get together. Honestly, I completely forgot to respond.

This morning when I got to school, I checked my email.

i haven’t heard from you in awhile, how have you been?

Geeze! I thought he would just fade away. Dkzody recently got an email from a former student. I want one like hers. Want to trade? Pretty please?!

So now I need to contemplate what to send to the former student. I don’t think I can pretend that I never got it. They sure don’t teach you how to deal with this situation in teacher school.

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You’re the what?

Student:  Hey Ms B.  Can I go to the bathroom?

Me:  Can you sneak there without getting caught?

Student:  Fo shizzle.  I’m the Hamburglar.

Homecoming Week

It’s over. Woo hoo! Homecoming week is always interesting. It’s very different than what I remember as a teenager in high school. We have spirit days all week. The amount of participation varies on the day.

Monday was “Not Your Style” day. The participation level was pretty low. Some girls dressed in boys clothing and vice versa. Tuesday was class color day.

Class color day is the one that gets the most involved. Seniors – maroon, Juniors – blue, Sophomores – orange, and Freshmen – green. The most interesting part is reading what they wrote on their shirts. They use glitter paint (or whatever works) to declare their class and superiority. Sassy Seniors – the last of the greatest. The Juniors had a variety of things on their shirts. Juicy Juniors. Ummm… Ick. I prefer the one that I saw that said Jaw Dropping Juniors. What did the sophomores come up with? Sexy Sophomores. I had one in my Pre Calc class that wouldn’t ever say that and her shirt said Superior Sophomores. The Freshmen were doing well to have green shirts with 2012 on them.

Wednesday was crazy sock and tie day. There was more participation than I thought there would be. Thursday was Hawaiian Day. And Friday was dress up day.

We have dress up day on the same day as coronation. Dressing up is a relative term. I actually did it this year. It was supposed to be 84 degrees and I figured it would be cooler in a skirt than pants.

Coronation had to be in the auditorium this year. The gym was being painted, so we had to have the change of location. The ceremony went well. It’s always interesting to see the antics of the candidates to try to get more cheers or some sort of reaction from the crowd. They always look nice. Some have more interesting selections. I didn’t really care to know that one of the girls has a lower back tattoo. TMI.

So here I sit on a Saturday, in my comfy chair, glad the Homecoming week is over.

Glasses rookie

glasses

Well, I finally got them.  A few months ago I had an eye exam.  I got a prescription but delayed getting glasses until now.  I can get along fine without glasses.  But I figure, since I have a prescription, I’ll try them out and see how it goes.  I tried them out for a little while this afternoon.  It was weird.  I’ve never worn glasses.    This is going to take some getting used to.

My Greeter

I have a student in my Trig class. She’s a junior now. When she was a freshman, her older brother, who was a former student of mine, brought her into school during workshop week to introduce her to his former teachers. He was being a protective older brother. It was so cute when he brought her in.

I’m sure big brother thought he would try to make her transition to high school as easy as possible. She’s a special girl. I’m not sure what kind of medical condition she has. But she is only 4’9″. She is the tiniest girl and she has been that size for the two years that I’ve known her. She’s adorable and has a fabulous smile and is friendly to everyone.

She usually gets to my class early. So one day she was standing by the door with me and greeting kids as they came in. I mentioned something about her being my greeter for the class. So ever since, she’s been standing outside my door, saying hello to everyone walking by. She’s so cute that you can’t help but smile. It’s so great to have my own smile generator at the door!

Busy, Busy, Busy

I’m having trouble finding time to write. That’s probably a good thing. I’m filling up my weeks with activity. My latest one is a drawing class. I’ve always wanted to learn to draw. My first class was on Monday.

So what did I learn to draw? Geometric shapes. As someone who has taught Geometry, this isn’t much of a stretch. I’ve been teaching students how to draw geometric shapes for years. But the new thing in the drawing class was paying attention to the shadows and different aspects of shading. It was cool to try out the different pencils and charcoal. The class meets for three more weeks. It will be interesting to see the progression.

Tuesday is my day for belly dancing again. It’s the same class I took last spring. But I think I can say that I didn’t master the moves. And I think it’s a good way to get some alternative exercise and use muscles that I normally don’t.

Wednesday I’m back to yoga. I had my first yoga class this past Wednesday. One gal said to me, “I haven’t come in from my day in two months.” I believe I could say the same thing. I mainly do yoga for the stress relief and stretching it provides. I’ve been doing it for about 3 years. I try to do some at home, but for some reason, it’s practically impossible to get similar results to a class. My instructor had been in Africa for 2 months. So we were all glad to have her back.

I guess that in between these regularly scheduled events, I’m fitting in my schoolwork and more fun. I’m sure that this coming week will provide me with some material to write about. It’s Homecoming. 😉

Teachers: The Ultimate Multi-taskers

This week I was teaching yet another review topic in my Pre Calculus class.  I realize that the first weeks of this class are not exciting to teach because it’s like re-teaching everything that they learned in their prior math classes.  All of the topics are ones that I know are taught in the earlier classes.  But you’d think it was the first time some of them had ever seen it.

So we work our way through Real Numbers, Exponents and Radicals, Polynomials and Factoring, Rational Expressions, Solving Equations, Solving Inequalities, etc.  We started Rational Expressions on Wednesday.  Fractions.  Everybody’s favorite topic.

After I taught my lesson and had time to think about all of the thoughts running through my head while I was teaching it, I decided that as a teacher you have to be the ultimate multi-tasker.

Here’s what was coming out of my mouth:

When you’re simplifying rational expressions, the key to your success lies in your ability to factor.  You must factor the expression on the top and the bottom of your fraction completely before you start reducing.  For example, let’s look at this problem:  x cubed minus 4x over x squared plus x minus 2.

I continue to go through the example.  I’m not going to write out every word I said because I think you get the idea that it’s technical and not extremely exciting.

Here’s what’s going on in my head:

What’s up with Sara and Jake?  Are they dating?  They’re sitting way too close and where are their hands?  I try to shift so I can see underneath their desks.  I can’t tell where her left and his right are.  I can’t exactly say something right now.

Oh… Carrie’s not paying attention.  Is she texting with her hand in her purse?  Do they think I’m that stupid?

Is it hot in here?  Do I need to open a window?

Scott isn’t taking notes.  I wonder what’s up with that.

Uh oh…  There goes another note between Jane and Bill.

Rose seems to be finishing up her homework instead of paying attention.

I know this is not exciting, but c’mon, let’s see you try to make a song and dance out of this material.

So the final answer is x(x-2) all over (x-1).  Now, when you have a problem where it asks you to divide two rational expressions you have to remember to flip and multiply the second fraction.  Here’s another example…

Ok… So I may be exaggerating a bit.  But in order to be a good teacher, you have to be aware of everything going on in your classroom while you’re trying to actually teach.  I’m lucky this semester because I don’t think I need to really worry about the possibility of a personality clash between two students escalating into a fight.  But that’s a key observation that every teacher needs to make to avoid the horrible situation of a fight in your room.  You also have to watch for cheating, how kids are treating each other, confused looks, light bulbs going on or off in their heads, and the list goes on.  Of course you have to do this all while you have numerous interruptions of passes being delivered, students coming in late, phone calls from the office, sick kids needing a pass to the nurse, …  And while noticing all of these things you have to decide when to confront the distracting behavior and when to ignore it and how you’ll approach each student who is not on task.

I have no idea if I had this talent prior to becoming a teacher.  I’m guessing I did, somewhat.  But I sure didn’t practice it like I do now.  After 12 years I think I’m getting pretty good at it.  And I must say that not everyone can do it.  For everyone who thinks that teaching is just that: teaching.  You’ve got another thing coming.  Even though it’s a common opinion – not everyone can do this job.