Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I am dedicating this blog to all the hardworking teachers out there who work tirelessly to the bone just to get all that is expected of them done, particularly urban teachers. I am especially proud of those who not only get it all done, but still dedicate time to helping students by being innovative and creating meaningful learning experiences for their students. They work long hours for students who do not seem to have any intrinsic motivation at all. They live in frustration as students bash a subject they love but still push though it to teach it anyway; They want their students to learn. Most are forced by policy to teach some particular topic on a particular day like a robot by a district that 'knows best". All too often teachers work in an environment that feeds them disrespect from all sides: student, administrators and parents and punishes them when they choke on it. In some urban areas teachers have to all but beg a student to learn just one fact. (How good it feels to think you may have accomplished something) They are blamed for what others do or fail to do. They are underpaid, overworked and rarely have the support and materials they need. Public education is a sinking ship! To those who stay in it anyway bailing water to help our children, You are heroes!

I have been a math teacher for 7 years. I will likely keep teaching until this June because I lost faith in the systems ability to right itself from the inside. I don't believe anything short of gutting whats there and restructuring the way we all manage from superintendent down to teachers in the classroom will solve the problems our great nation faces. Education is a mess, until I feel like I can be productive as a teacher again I will not return to the profession. There are also other personal factors involved with my choice to leave like starting a family.

Teaching is the hardest job in the world!!! PERIOD!

One fellow at a bar I was visiting said "Teaching is easy! Once you get started you just have to dust off lesson plans and do the same thing every year until your 3 month vacation" People like him have no knowledge of the reality of any classroom. It kind of reminds of when Rush Limbaugh told a caller that the price of his recent doctor visits were less than the cost of an SUV and were perfectly reasonable. Hey Rush, $15,000 is a lot of money to OTHER people.

Attention teacher haters: I have a challenge for you! Name one other job where you are charged to manage a bunch of workers who don't get paid anything, are forced to go to work everyday, can't usually be fired, aren't usually screened before they are hired, and, worst of all, know if they don't work it will be you who is blamed for it. As a manager you can't use tough language or physical force to get them to work. You are also held accountable to at least three entities who often have conflicting interests. (peers, parents, administrators, district policy, state standards, district standards, etc.) In addition, you will have to pay for all of your training and must take college courses to keep your job.

Good luck!

The purpose of this blog is to create awareness of and spread ideas that educators may find insightful and helpful. To this end, most of my posts will be about or connected to at least one of the following ideas.

1) Choice Theory and the Deming management model must used in education.

2) Math must "grow up"! I mean that as a statement of where math is and also as a challenge to professors and others in the field to be aware of technologies ever-changing role in the process of mathematics. Currently we are teaching things "by hand" that students have no use for. They have calculators. Soon they will all have access to smartphones 24-7 and free websites like (which can solve most math problems like a click of a button.) What will happen when a kid can just punch in "2x+3y=5 and 5x+3y^2=9" into a search bar and get an answer? Maybe we should spend our time on meaningful problems in the REAL world and leave raw, intense computing to... computers. Maybe that's why they call them computers, because they compute for you. Isn't that the point?

I will address these points in posts to come, but I hope you will find this blog insightful, witty and most of all I hope it give you faith to keep moving forward. You are not alone.

Keep the faith.

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