I’ve been pushing some mean work days recently. 20 hours yesterday; 18 the day before. It isn’t the teaching, it’s video editing, my sideline hobby which recently turned into paid work.

So there I am, staring at Adobe AfterEffects and its attendant, x-, y-, and z-axes, linear motion palettes, bezier curves, inflection points, derivatives up on your derivatives, and I don’t care if all the interpolation is handled inside my computer’s noggin.

I couldn’t help thinking right then that, man, I’m glad someone bothered to teach me some math back when.

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. Show this to your students. This could be a great way to get the kids geared up to learn what you’re going to teach them.

    On my windshield last year, I found a business card with terrible spelling and grammar (“Fon,” “U’r,” and “Best Price Check Around” among them). I turned it into an overhead that I show to my students before I hand back an essay. I make reference back to that card all year. They observe that the card makes the business look ghetto, unprofessional, that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, that if he can’t proofread, how can he drive a limo (the card’s for a limo company)? Handing back their papers, they are dismayed when they understand the connection, but I think it works to prove the point. A little justification never hurt.

  2. I bet you toe the line real well, Todd. Personally, I find it really hard to resist the toldjaso impulse, the temptation to rub my content area’s importance in my students’ faces. It’s a little better than it used to be. Like, when a weaker student talks about wanting to go into engineering, no longer is my first reaction to point out how math’s, well, kind of a big part of engineering. It’s hard sometimes. Sounds like you let your students connect the dots on their own. Gotta work on that one.

  3. Yikes, “toe the line” sounds so negative! I think I take your meaning, though. I think. Wait…

    Any time we can show students the application of what we’re learning in class, that’s one more time students can see that school and “real world” are actually the same thing. Yeah, pounding the kids over the head with that info is no good, but let them see it as often as we can. Far too many students see school as completely unrelated to their lives.

  4. Nah, man, I promise it only sounds negative. Maybe there are some connotations I’m unaware of but the way I mean it, I think the difference between good teaching and great teaching lives along a lot of thin lines we’ve got to dance across. One of them is selling a product without coming across like a salesman. And that’s nothing small.