At my core, I chose to be a teacher because I love to learn. I know that sounds odd, but think of the things that you lea as a teacher every day! The relationships you build with your students and the things they teach me are more valuable than gold in my eyes. I love my students, and I love to interact with them. They come by in the morning before school starts just to chat and ‘spill the tea’ which apparently means they just gossip and tell me about their lives for 10 minutes straight. I don’t know if they know how important that is to me, but hopefully, if they’re reading this they’ll understand. They teach me so much every day about culture, and the world, and give me new perspectives on life. I don’t know how I truly lived before I developed these relationships. My world must have been so small. 

As such, I think that it’s important to me that the learning in my classroom is much more than just the absorbing and regurgitation of information, but a transference of ideas and knowledge that stem from something greater than just mathematics. I like to think that through my silly stories, conversations, and the examples that I set for them, students lea life skills too, and more about how to be themselves. I think of myself as a role model for these students. So, I make mistakes – and I recognize and fix them. I do my very best to be balanced and principled but am unapologetically myself in every instance. My high school math classroom involves so much more than math. Mastery of the course content, of course, is always at the center of every lesson, but there are unspoken principles that I find to be an integral part of the learning environment that I choose every day to put as my priority in the classroom. 

I base everything on these principles. I try to be true to my students and expect them to be true to me. I am HURT when students are dishonest academically, just as they would be if I purposefully taught them incorrect material. I tell them that. I push the necessity for organization and balance and give them the tools to help them remain organized.  I show them that it’s possible by staying organized myself. I don’t use a teacher’s desk, because I don’t like the implication. I simply chose a desk to sit in and engage with students rather than going back to my desk during independent work time. I also have the ‘mega desk’ as a reference to the office, which is just a bunch of extra empty desks that students can come up to if they’re struggling and I provide 1:1 or small group support for them. 

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