Anecdotally Speaking

Bad Habits. Apparently a winter break’s worth of late bedtimes and late waking isn’t that easy to shake. I set five alarms over the last two days and didn’t wake to any of them. I’ve never been late to a class, not even in the last two days, but 30 minutes to grab breakfast, make worksheets, and set up shop is far too rushed for my liking. I don’t know how some of y’all veterans manage it.

Veering Off Content. My algebra class and I played review basketball yesterday in order to shake off the I-Totally-Forgot-This. The rules are pretty much what you’d expect: answer a math question correctly, shoot a plastic ball into a trash can for points, maybe prizes. Just a little circus with their bread.

I dip into other content areas since 40 minutes of straight math review is too tedious even for me. (Heaven knows how my kids suffer.) We’ll break for a one-question spelling bee, for example. At least once, every teacher deserves the pleasure of thirty students each trying and failing in succession to determine the first letter of “pterodactyl.”

Because I love graphic design and because Africa has some of the wildest pastel flags I’ve ever seen, I swapped out math slides for a two-question foray into “Name That Flag!” At the exact moment I was hinting my students toward Botswana’s converted-teeshirt masterpiece, my principal walked in for an impromptu observation.


Fortunately I’ve got enough credibility with the administration — even on my temp contract — he assumed I had some lofty mathematical tie-in that would’ve become apparent if he had only stuck around long enough. The benefit of the doubt doesn’t feel so hot when it’s totally undeserved.

All of this has been written in case I’ve given anyone the impression I adhere perfectly to my first important ratio.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.