We had a faculty meeting this morning. One of our principals, Gart, addressed a situation that occurred on Monday afternoon. The details aren’t important right now; what really struck me was Gart’s words: “We are school that serves one student at a time…” I felt good leaving that meeting, knowing that–even though there are over three thousand students grades 10-12 in this building–we really are here for every single kid. No one should fall through the cracks. Every single one of them should be overwhelmed by the love and generosity of their teachers every day. That’s no small task. But I work at a place where that is our heartbeat…
We looked at arithmetic sequences today in PreCalc, and one of my kids said something that I thought was just so enlightening. He really got at the nature of arithmetic sequences…that they are, essentially, linear functions. Just the way he put it gave me a new approach to teach a topic I’ve taught for years. It was exciting. Yesterday, I read some words by the wonderful Sam Shah. He said, “I make sure they [students] lead me to deep mathematical understandings, rather than the other way around.” And today, I got to experience that, too.
I used to teach at the community college here in town. There was a lady (many of my students were my elder) who came to me quite frequently for tutoring when she was in College Algebra. Then, when the time came to take Business Calculus, she took my course (and did beautifully). She has been steadily taking a class or two a semester as well as working full-time and raising a kid. Today, I got a Facebook invite for her graduation open house! I feel so very proud of her and her accomplishments.
My calc kids took a full-length MC test yesterday. I got cheesy “Certificate of Achievement” awards at the dollar store yesterday for all the kids who raised their score a full point from the mock (from a 3 to a 4, for example)–because I told them that was their goal. I had fifteen kids raise their score by at least one point, so they got certificates! I thought they were hilarious, but sometimes my sense of humor is lost on teenagers. This time, however, we hit a home run. The kids loved them. One of the girls asked, “Can you please put “In calculus” on this certificate. I’m going to frame it. And I want everyone to know THIS WAS IN CALCULUS.” Yes, I was beaming with delight.