Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An unlikely candidate

An unlikely candidate , ( my journey to becoming a math teacher )
I remember the Fine Arts department chairs reaction.”You want to teach what? Why? “ Another said  “I hate math!” and another teacher at my site said  “why would you want to teach math to these kids? “ Not too encouraging to say the least!

In  2003 a lot  of things happened . I got divorced, developed a gluten allergy , and became a Christian . I knew I didn't want to teach dance anymore, and my father's words echoed in the back of my mind from my senior year of high school. He looked at my SAT scores and said “you should be a math teacher.” At 18 that was the last thing I wanted to be. I wanted to be a musical theatre performer or choral director. But here I am 25 years later wanting to do exactly that!

My first year :Trial by fire.
My first year I taught three math classes in the choir room, and I had many observations from multiple administrators. I was so excited to teach math that I didn't care where I was, and didn't realize that I was teaching the math classes that the other more experienced teachers didn't want to teach,” the repeater classes.” These were students that had failed math over and over for many reasons, not all being math ability. It was quite a colorful cast of characters. The most memorable being a student who was on “house arrest” who wore an ankle bracelet and a Satan worshiper that dressed in black, wore a Pentagon necklace and read the Satanic bible for silent reading.We were doing Mastery Math at the time, so the students repeated and changed schedules every quarter. When I look back it was pretty nuts!

I tried to make learning math fun by playing games, doing card searches, and I even had them do a project in which they could; write a Math story, compose a math rap or song, or make a math poster. I developed a “heart” for these students. They just wanted someone who cared about them as people, not just math students. I got to know them, and many of them came back year after year to visit and to look at their “star” on the ceiling.( for passing the class)

Fast forward, I was allowed to teach a couple regular on track classes, and become part of the Algebra team. I was amazed at how easy it was to teach these classes, and fun. The students actually wanted to learn math, and I didn't have to “ convince them “ to do their work.

One of my favorite memories is the CMC Math conference. That first year I went alone, not knowing what to expect.I met a nice group of Christian ladies who taught math at a private school. They carted me around in their van, and invited me to lunches and dinners. I attended a session with Fulton and Lombard. At the end of the session he did this card trick where he asked us to pick numbers from our social security, birthday and other numbers .I ended up holding the Ace of spades,  and I got first choice on all their books for free! I knew then I was in the right place. This couldn't just be coincidence . I even started dating a math professor.      

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