Guest Blogger: Sirens in the Distance

[This week’s guest blogger is Dan Meyer, a 21-yo student teacher from Sacramento who believes his tall frame will save him from this forthcoming school year.]

If you ever plan to be a student teacher, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you be six feet seven inches tall. Taller’s fine, but don’t you dare come up even a picometer short. When they ask how tall you are (and they will ask), tell them you’re seventy-nine inches tall and watch them freak out trying to work the math.

Walk around the outdoor campus, but don’t smile, don’t let your face betray anything. Let your height, your posture, do the talking. Your height says you’re strong, not the sort to be pushed around or screwed with. It says you’re going to run this class like a small nation and you’re not gonna let up until their GDP is up there with the U.S. of A. [kinda dating yourself there, brah – ed.]

(Only half true, in my case, but please don’t tell the kids, okay?)

I was introduced as “Mr. Meyer” in second period — the algebra class I’ll be taking over in mid-October — but nobody believed it. We played a People Search game where you find someone who’s gone to Fiji, or has a twin, or aspires to interstellar travel. When they came to me for this or that, I told them to write down “Mr. Meyer” (“no s, two e’s, if you please”), but no one bought it.

So, in third period, when the punked-out cheerleader said, “Mr. Meyer, I didn’t get a handbook,” I was so taken aback I almost vomited. I mean, I may never forget this, the very moment I became my father.

You want weird? Weird is calling people twice your age by their first names but insisting that people four, maybe five years, your junior call you “Mister”. Fairly freaking, creepy-ace weird.

But I’m still a fraud, be sure of this, and there’s little doubt I’ll be arrested soon.

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. Four years your junior? My inaugural teaching experience was at an independent school where one of the students (a foreign national) turned 21. “No, you can’t drink on campus, even if …”

  2. Two years ago I went to the office to get some referral forms or some such, and one of the people there (I think an assistant principal) asked me “so are you here to try out for sports?”

    That is why I got a beard. It helps with the age thing.

  3. I’m naturally around 59 inches, but I wear platformed high heels to look taller (and so I don’t have to hem my pants, which cover most of the shoes). During my first round of student teaching in a freshman algebra class, I held a lanky student after class to talk to him about speaking respectfully to other students.

    He didn’t say anything for a moment. Maybe I made an impact, I thought. I felt pretty proud of myself. Then he said, “Miss, you short.”

    “Yes,” I said. “But my boots are tall.” I have no idea what I meant by that, but he nodded sagely. He didn’t give me any behavioral issues the rest of my time there.

    I had a student in the same freshman class hit on me before he realized that I was not a new student.

    Another time I was stopped by an assistant principal as I was walking to my car mid-day. I had already taken off my ID badge. I explained that I was a student teacher, “but I’ll take that as a complement!” He still made me show him my
    ID before I could leave.

  4. My first days of student-teaching at 22 years of age were interesting as well. I kept having students try to fix me up with their older sisters to date, and the parents tried to help the students in this regard by talking about their eldest daughters frequently. I was only 1-3 years older than my students in the alternative school in which I worked, an odd experience to say the least–same music, movies, and the like did help though.

  5. I’m short too, Katie, but my standard response is, “Good things come in small packages.”

    DrPezz — When teaching my students the difference between mixtures (can be separated physically) and pure substances (cannot), I often mention a time in my youth where I paid my brother a quarter to sort birdseed into its component seeds.

    Most students get the concept of physical separation right then and there, but there is always at least one girl in every class who raises her hand and asks, “Is he cute?”