Friday, February 5, 2016

Life Of A Math Teacher: What I Do

The measure of a central angle is equal to the length of its intercepted arc. 
Also, circles are pretty.

I am a high school math teacher.

I don't teach math because I love math.
I teach math because math makes my students' dreams come true.

I happen to love math too, but that's just a bonus.

Here's the thing. While young children are blessedly content to live in the moment, teens begin to dream about the future. They imagine living out their true selves in all sorts of interesting ways, and one of the most common expressions is vocation.Trying this job and that profession on for size, teenagers visualize themselves as adults and consider how they might make a passionate and meaningful contribution to the world.

I love that.

Truth be told, my job is not really about teaching teens to use the quadratic formula; I am actually in the business of helping my students make their emerging dreams come true.

I am, I suppose, a dream catcher.


Another truth to be told is that a dream is not worth much unless you have to work for it.

And that work often involves doing math.

No, I'm not going to drag out that old, tired argument that we must learn to solve problems about trains going north and south from the station because math is involved in all walks of life. That is mostly true but it's not what I'm getting at.

Parallel lines project stability and calm. They also have matching slopes. 

What I mean to say is this:
In order to make most dreams come true, a person needs education beyond high school.  
In order to qualify students for that training, most institutions of higher learning want to see proof of academic competence. 
And that almost always translates into admissions folks asking to get a peek at students' math scores.
We can debate all day whether standardized test scores are an accurate or fair way to measure a human being's potential for success. But that's not my point either. 

My point is that you will be more likely to make your own dreams come true if you can rock out some algebra.

A person who succeeds as math is considered smart.
And when a person is considered smart, doors will open.

The rule of thumb in decor is to group objects in odd numbers. 
But an even-numbered pair of things can be quite satisfying also. 

So maybe that is the best definition of my job.

I'm a doorman.

Because what I really do, most of all, is help my students open the doors of their dreams so they can step into their own bright and shining futures.

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