Thursday, February 18, 2016


Lisa, my friend, mentor, and boss, challenged me to answer five questions about this school year.  We'll see how far I get before baby awakes.  Also, I apologize in advance if my writing is sub-par.  Sleep deprivation, folks.  I suggest we all go treat our moms and dads to a steak dinner for all the sleep they sacrificed for us.

Without further ado...

What has been your ONE biggest struggle during this school year?


Or maybe more accurately:  FOMO (fear of missing out).

I fear I'm missing out on my students' lives while I'm on maternity leave.  I know there are milestones in their learning (of math and of life) that I won't get to witness.  And then, when I return to school, I fear missing milestones in my son's life.  He's only two weeks old. I get that he won't remember any of this.  But--as exhausted as I am--it kills me to leave him.  I can't win either way.  I want both worlds.  But I can't have them simultaneously.

Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of this school year.

  1. I made it to four hundred posts on the One Good Thing blog.  The blog honestly changed my life.  Every day, I--along with several other educators around the country--post one good thing that happened at school.  Our mantra is, "Every day may not be good, but there's at least one good thing in every day."  I recognize that life is hard and that some days are...not good.  But searching for the good regardless has been incredibly therapeutic.
  2. I've had four students this year tell me they want to be a math teacher because of me.  (I know it's not only because of me, but I'll take it anyway.)  Each of these students is bright, compassionate, and fun-loving.  I know they will all make amazing teachers, should they continue on that route.  But, even if they don't, I'm so humbled that they think enough of me and of my career choice to want to emulate it.  In a world state where teachers are often undervalued and certainly underpaid, I'm proud to say that I'm helping the next generation see our worth.  I'm hoping they'll join us in making a positive difference in Oklahoma public education.

What are THREE things you wish to accomplish before the end of the school year?

  1. I'd like to make it to five hundred posts on the One Good Thing blog.
  2. I want to have at least as high of a pass rate on the AP Calculus Exam as I did last year.
  3. When the school year is over, I don't need my kids to remember me.  But I would like for them to remember how they felt being in math class:  I hope that they leave knowing that their teacher will always love them, respect them, fight for them, and be there for them.  I hope they feel that on a daily basis.  And I hope I act in such a way as to never cast any doubt.

Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today's rough culture.

  1. I love being around teenagers.  I think they're funny, vulnerable, smart, and completely inspiring.  I know I learn more from them then they could ever learn from me.  They challenge me to be the best version of myself every day.  It's an impossible challenge, but one that I'm thankful for regardless.
  2. I love mathematics.  I would be hard-pressed to find a job where I get to do this much math every day.
  3. I'm stealing this one from Lisa:  If not us, then who?
  4. I believe we're called to repair the brokenness that exists in the world.  I'm a Christian.  And while I openly apologize for the insensitivity, the irrelevance, and the complete asinine behavior that often accompanies the church, I won't apologize for what I believe.  What I believe is that God created this world to be perfect and whole, but when He created human beings He abdicated His right to control (this is where some Christians may disagree with me).  That abdication was necessary for humans to be able to love...but that must mean we are also capable of hatred.  And, hence, we've created a "brutiful"--a brutal and beautiful--world.  But, God entered the world again through Jesus, and Jesus called us to continue bringing heaven to earth--to continue to repair what has been broken.  For me, this reconciliation means teaching.  It means helping students discover their worth.  It means letting them know that they are kind, important, valuable, and smart.  It means showing them that they, too, have a role to play in the repairing of the world. 

Which FIVE people do you hope will take the challenge of answering these questions?

I'm going to just ask two other women who also teach math in Oklahoma public schools.  I challenge @druinok and @mathequalslove.  Both of these ladies are incredible math educators and fight for the rights of their students on a daily basis.  I admire them deeply and hope to hear their answers.