How much of yourself do you share?

The first post of a new career-switchin’ math-teacher blogger carries a good question: how much of yourself do you share with your students on the first day?

My answer, which extends waaay past the first day:

Me, I share very little, especially at the start, where I find a teacher’s mystery and allure to be a very specific but very effective form of classroom management. Once the students feel like they have you figured out, they’re less inclined to chase you or what you’re teaching.

Share something of yourself over at his/her/couldwepleasegetagenderatleast? blog.

[Updated to correct the blogger’s gender, which is well-hidden on his about page.]

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.


  1. Dan,

    Why, why, why is it important that the blogger disclose gender? I’d say if it makes a difference for how the blog is read, that could be all the more reason not to reveal it.

    As for the question about how much to tell the students, I don’t know: you have to let them know something in order for them to guess that there is anything worth chasing or any element of mystery there. How much time did it take your students to find out that you were not that easy to pigeonhole, that they had not actually figured you out?

  2. Depending on how much this person plans on disclosing about his/her work conditions, gender neutrality may also be an important part of maintaining his/her job, or at least getting through the first year without the added pressure of parents figuring out identity and saying, “So I read this on your blog last night…”.

  3. Re: gender nondisclosure,

    It just makes citation an annoying matter of “his/hers” and “he/she.” Pollutes my writing, frankly, though I guess I understand why that matters less to the blogger than his/her total anonymity. (Probably just gonna start using “its” hereon. As in “its total anonymity.”)

    (I mean, I realize revealing gender eliminates somewhere around half the world from our worldwide (wo)manhunt but I’m pretty sure that still leaves a few dozen candidates to sort through.)

    Re: mystery,

    I reckon being 6’7” and young-looking enough to pass for a peer has me well-stocked with mystery from “hello.” If I didn’t have both of those going for me (and here’s hoping I soon won’t) I guess I’d carefully deploy whatever else I had.

    I let ’em believe I do anything else at night beside go to a coffee shop and plan the next day’s lesson. When they ask me if I have a girlfriend, I tell ’em, “One girlfriend? Oh no.” I dunno if everyone’s got a Guinness World Record or a hip-hop music video to dangle in front of her kids, but everyone’s got something interesting to withhold.

  4. I suppose I’ll share what seems relevant at the time. I’m not that easy to pigeon-hole either, but I’m certainly have nothing to hide.

    And I say it’s high time that the language mavens of English hand down a non-gender specific human pronoun.