Friday, June 11, 2021

Life Of A Math Teacher: Math Awards!

It doesn't matter how many times you win an award; it's always very special. 
-Zinedine Zidane

I don't know if you've heard the news, but most teenagers consider studying math to be...boring.

I know. That's a shocker, isn't it.

Despite my utter fascination and boundless enthusiasm for solving for x, graphing nonlinear functions, and figuring out exactly what happened to those two trains - northbound and southbound, no doubt - which left the station at the very same time, my students do not always love to do math.

More precisely, I should probably say that they they don't always love to wade through the heaps of homework, and I certainly understand that.

Because the simple truth of the matter is that studying math is not always fun. 

I try my best - and Gracie helps - to inject some levity into the endless hours of droning lectures, but by the end of the school year, I feel I've built up a considerable deficit of amusement in my students' lives, and this year, as I often have in the past, I've attempted to remedy the situation with math awards.

What are math awards, you ask?

A perfectly reasonable question, considering that I made them up.

A math award is a light-hearted acknowledgement of what makes each student special. It takes shape as a collage-y bit of paper scraps, at the heart of which is a sentence or two that explains the specifics of this student's unique and spectacular mathiness. Hopefully, words and images come together to bestow honor and prestige upon my young Newtons and Einsteins, and they bask in the glory of this celebratory token. 

In past years, I've chosen themes and dovetailed each student's particular award to suit the overall motif. I've done fairy tales, Star Wars, Harry Potter, nursery rhymes, and Lord of the Rings, just to name a few. This year, which was particularly challenging because of our online format and limited interactions, I went with a series of random objects - flowers, cookies, Stealth bombers, topiary labyrinths - to coordinate the prizes.

Here, see for yourself:

Considering the hundreds of hours my amazing and deeply dedicated students pour into their studies, my little tokens barely scratch the surface of their commitment.

But in celebrating their hard work and accomplishments with my math awards, I can only hope my students feel just a tiny hint of how proud I am of them, one and all.
Ready for delivery!

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Read more stories about my life as a math teacher lately:

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