7 Reasons Why You Want to Teach

ab7d6a02ab895ff5367598d3a0efeddb

I would never argue that teaching is the easiest job in the world. In fact, I believe it is one of the most difficult jobs out there. It is also the most wonderful, rewarding, and exciting jobs possible. Which is why I can’t believe it has a terrible reputation.

But that reason is plain and simple: other teachers.

I remember the summer before I started my first year, one of my mentors told me stay away from the older teachers that have been here too long. They have a negative view of this job and will bring you down. Don’t let them dim your enthusiasm! I have stayed true to this and I believe I still sparkle in the classroom! I currently teach Algebra II at inter-ciy, urban school. I am coming up on my third year on the job and I love it. Sure, there are many tough days but what job doesn’t have tough days!

Today I read on article from Huffington Post by Melissa Bowers, a former 12-year English teacher: 7 Reasons You May Not Want to Teach Anymore and I have to say, it broke my heart. Not because someone had this opinion of teaching, but because they were actively publicizing how awful this job is. It’s articles like this that turn off younger, passionate, enthusiastic potential teachers from ever considering teaching as a profession. I have expressed my love for this job to so many people and the vast majority of them are shocked that I love it so much. Shocked! Can you believe that? A job that I pour my heart and soul into and they are shocked that I love it.

The reality is, if you poorly run your classroom, your students, lower your expectations of your students and yourself, want to take the easy way out and not put any effort into your lessons, and fail to adapt to changing times, yes, teaching is going to be awful for you. But if you are willing to adapt and grow with your kids, give them high expectations and hold them accountable, there is truly no better job.

First, let’s get the obvious reason that Bowers doesn’t discuss out of the way: below average salary. For the record, teachers do not have a below average salary. In fact, for my town my salary is above average! Of course I feel like teachers should get paid more than what we get. We are the epitome of under paid and over worked. But that does not mean we get paid poorly. It just means we probably should get paid more. Who isn’t in a job where they feel like they don’t get paid enough?

Now on to her list:

1. You are an “authority figure” with no real authority.

Bowers argues that in your classroom you are not really an authority figure. You are actually run by the parents, school board, and state or national standards and students can sense it. Sure, I can see how you really work for these people and what you do can be dictated by them, but only if you let them! Of course you have to abide by state standards. All jobs have directives from their bosses! Even CEOs have to be conscious of what their market needs which drives what they do. Parents can be a boss, or they can be an asset. If your child is struggling, it is certainly the job of the teacher to hold their students accountable by reaching out to the parent and keeping them in the loop of their child’s performance. And if you fail to do so, obviously that parent is going to try to run you. You are not doing your job! As far as the school board, other than funding the schools and responding to concerns, I have never felt personally “run” by the school board.

Here’s the truth: run your classroom properly and you are definitely the one and only authority figure that students will see. If you improperly run your classroom, students can sense it! Students know when you are only there for a paycheck or if you truly care about them. That’s the only thing that would ever drive a student to say something like “you know, my father pays your salary.” As for me, my students sense it day in and day out how much I love being their teacher. I once had the school secretary call me about something to do with compensation for tutoring after school. My class overheard me saying the word “paycheck” and they literally gasped. It was as if my students forgot that I get paid to do this job. I have to admit, that was one of the proudest moments of my career thus far.

2. Your day does not resemble that of a typical white-collar professional.

And that is so fantastic!!! I get to work super early but that means I get to go home at 3pm when no one is out yet. I go grocery shopping, go to the mall, schedule my doctor’s appointments and get first dibs on everything!

Here are some specific things she says a typical job can do but teachers can’t:

1. Pee- Sure I may not get to pee whenever I need to, but that’s so easy, I call in my neighboring teacher to watch my class for a split second and run. Honestly, I don’t want a job where I have all the free time to run to the bathroom whenever I want. I like that I keep busy and half the time I forget I need to pee anyways.
2. Get coffee- Again, all the free time in the world at work to go get coffee? I get off at 3 anyways. I go home and make coffee!
3. Spend fifteen minutes chatting leisurely with a colleague- 15 minutes? Try 90 minutes every day for planning. I plan effectively and spend most planning periods relaxing, talking to my work wife the Geometry teacher while we make our copies.
4. Go out to lunch- Yes, the 25 minutes for lunch as opposed to the 1 hour sucks, but you get used to it and most days I can’t wait to get back in the classroom to continue my lesson.
5. Complete paperwork and other job-related tasks during the actual work day- again, effective time management is essential.
6. Sit down occasionally- But I get my steps in!!! My FitBit loves this! Seriously, teaching has so many health benefits!

3. Everyone thinks they know how to do your job. EVERYONE.

Yep- this one is true. Everyone at some point has taught something, learned something, and/or gone to school so everyone thinks they know how to teach. But here’s my question- WHO CARES?!?! It doesn’t mean you have to listen to them! At the end of the day it is your classroom, your lesson, your kids. No one else has the authority to teach them but you. It’s like being a first time mom. Everyone wants to give you advice. Whether or not you take it is up to you. Sure it can get extremely annoying especially when you feel like they’ve never been a mother before and have no right to give you advice. But that’s just the nature of the beast.

4. You wanted to foster imagination, not slaughter it.

It’s true, there is a huge pressure for teachers to teach to the test. I remember my first year, I had so many ideas on how students can learn different topics and I had so much pressure to focus on the test. I remember playing math games with my kids and actually being told we don’t have time for fun and games, focus on the material, give them worksheets, quizzes, and notes. Nothing else.

Well, this year I totally changed things up. I focus on the material I am required to, but we play lots of games every day, we have mini-projects, class experiments, and group competitions. My kids love coming into my classroom because they know their limits will be tested and they will have fun. Yes there are ways to “slaughter” imagination: take the easy way out and only give your kids notes, worksheets, and tests. I spend hours upon hours to create lessons that will challenge the way my students look at math, but at the end of the day, I know that what I am doing is best for my kids.

And in case you’re curious, my test scores ROCK!

5. The technology obsession is making you CRAZY.

CRAZY IN LOVE!!! Honestly, Bowers make me really mad in this portion of her article. Especially when she argues this generation doesn’t need any more technology, especially when they are using their cell phones in your class already and the technology is more a distraction than a learning tool.

Here is the reality: you need to meet your students where they are at. The fact that they have “enough technology” is the reason why you need to integrate it in the classroom. This is how they are used to functioning in their every day lives, so of course they would learn better if it was involved in their learning as well.

This generation does not learn the way you and I learned. Notes on the chalkboard, worksheets afterwards, tests and quizzes don’t cut it anymore. All of my kids have some form of ADD… heck! I have ADHD!

Technology can be the best thing to keep your students engaged in your lessons Bowers makes it sound like the only technology out there is a cell phone. WRONG! There are SMART board, SMART Response clickers, and oh so much more!  I even have a class Instagram, Twitter, and LiveBinder so my kids can keep track of the class at home!

The beauty of math is that it’s not stationary; it is all around us which means it should be interactive! No matter how hard I try, I can’t put that on the whiteboard. This is why technology is so crucial for this day and age.

I completely agree that cell phones are a huge distraction in the classroom. That’s why I collect every single cell phone when they walk into the classroom so they’re not tempted to use them. And most importantly, if your students are using their phones in the classroom while you’re teaching, you did not plan an engaging lesson. Yes, I’m blaming you! Even on the rare occasion that I forget to collect cell phones, my kids are not on them.

Bowers admits that technology is wonderful but not necessary. I have never felt like it was mandatory for me to use technology in my classroom, but I definitely see it as a necessity!

6. All the entitlement and the trophies and the apathy and whatever.

I know, this generation is full of kids that feel incredibly entitled. But how can you base your love for the job on the students that you teach? Not all students are entitled, and not all students are wonderful. But I promise, there are some incredible and talented students that deserve a quality education. Just because they are surrounded by entitled, disruptive, disrespectful peers doesn’t take away from the education they deserve.

7. There is no reliable way to assess who is ACTUALLY good at this.

I’m not sure why this is a reason to not want to be a teacher. If you know you’re great, your students know you’re awesome, student assessments are wonderful, that shows how effective your teaching is. I know that I am one of the best teachers, I feel that in my heart! I don’t need any administrators telling me that I’m good at it.

I will agree though, that one of the toughest parts about this job is how much it relies on student test scores and assessments.I agree that we can’t control our student’s unexpected circumstances such as how much sleep they got or their breakup the other day, however, in my experience, my students’ test scores have been pretty accurate to their academic performance and potential + 5%. I very rarely have a student not pass the standardize test that doesn’t deserve it.

This job is really about the kids, the immeasurable impact you have on their lives. This job can be hell sometimes. The insane about of work administration wants you to do at the last minute, paperwork the state brings down on you for almost no reason, lesson plan after lesson plan after lesson plan. It can be draining, but I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!

If you are an older, tired teacher, I urge you, please stop talking about how much you hate this job! If you hate it that much, QUIT! Move over so the next new teacher with the energy and enthusiasm to shape our future can come in. I truly believe no other profession shapes the future of this county and this world the way teachers do. That is both a privilege and an honor, but definitely not a burden.

 

Advertisements

The Trump Card

donald_trump_108984675_1

Let me start out by first saying I do not support Donald Trump for president. He has no political experience to be running a country. Plain and simple.

But I fully support what he stands for and his use of the political system.

Donald Trump has serious feelings about what is wrong with this country and has no issue standing up in front of the entire country and making these issues known. He has made a plethora of inappropriate comments and does not apologize for it once (sure, some of his comments he should apologize for. Poor Rosie O’Donnell didn’t even do anything… and Megyn was just standing up for all women). How many politicians have had something they’ve said been twisted? Donald Trump is the first time I have ever seen someone say, “no, I didn’t say that. Who would say something like that? You would have to be disgusting to think something like that” and pointed out how everyone knows the media manipulates everything anybody ever says for their own political agenda. Trump is a real person who isn’t afraid to say what the average American believes.

At the GOP debate, when candidates made an oath not to run as an Independent if they do not receive the Republican Party’s nomination, Trump was the only one to raise his hand. Was he the only one who wanted to? Maybe… but maybe not. How many of those candidates can honestly say they would rather not be president at all than not get the nomination and run? I’m willing to bed the majority of candidates want to be president so badly because they want to change America in so many ways they are willing to go to any length to do so. Any candidate who does not want to be president this badly is not someone I want to be my president. Sure, there is something to be said about Republican Party loyalties. But if you care about impacting this country, nothing should stand in your way.

We don’t have to look through red-white-and-blue-glasses anymore. Trump isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. And that is extremely refreshing. Even though Trump will (most likely) not win the election, I think there is something positive Americans can learn from him. If you believe in something strong enough, go out and change it, no matter what the cost may be. Donald Trump has committed Republican party suicide by going against FOX news and as a result the majority of Republican voters, but he isn’t afraid of standing up for himself and what he believes in.

That is inspirational.

Why Everyone Needs to Stop Criticizing the Common Core

By now I’m sure you have seen videos plaguing the internet bashing the Common Core. As a math teacher, I would like to say that every last one of these videos insults me.

I would say 7 times out of 10 (10/10 if they’re parents of elementary school children) as soon as someone finds out that I am a math teacher, their first question is “so what do you think of the Common Core? Isn’t it stupid/unnecessary/tedious/revolting?”

To which I politely say, “you think the math that you were taught in school is simple ‘mental math’ but do you know WHY you do math the way you do?” And their response is either 1) “Yes,” and then they proceed to explain the process by which they do math (which, by the way, is not an actual answer) or 2) I don’t care WHY it works.

And that is exactly what is wrong with the current education system and why Common Core was created.

After just one week and a semester, I can already see why the Common Core is so necessary. I teach kids who lack the basic understanding of arithmetic. My students are mostly juniors and seniors who are learning advanced algebraic concepts. They can handle “solving for x.” They know that what you do to one side you must do to the other. But once they move their 7 over to the other side, they ask me for a calculator (ask is the wrong word. They flat out state they cannot do it without one) to figure out 7-13. Better yet, when they balance equations they never stop and ask why we must do it that way. WHY? Because these students lack the basic number sense that was missing from their early education, and by the time they get to me, the damage is almost too great. Students have become so used to not caring why math works the way it does, it’s so hard to turn them back. They are numb to the greatness of math.

Take a look at this video:

I found this in an article in which the last line states “Heaven help us.” They criticize this teacher because she took “56 Seconds to Explain 9+6=15.” 56 SECONDS! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

But what absolutely no one seems to consider is how these students who learn addition this way will handle math later in life. Sure, you learned how to add in 10 seconds as a first grader and maybe now your first grader’s teacher is spending 10 days teaching your daughter how to add. But think about it this way: do you know why you used to add the way your teacher taught you? If your answer is “yes. You add the ones side and then the tens and you carry the one if necessary” then your answer is completely and entirely incorrect. THAT is not the basis of addition. That is not HOW addition works.

Let me explain: Common Core takes the concept of decomposition and allows students to analyze each individual number in a problem. Instead of looking at 9 at face value, it shows students to look at 9 pictorially (e.g. IIIII IIII) and also in terms of other numbers e.g. 9 is 1 away from 10, a number that is much more comfortable to work with. There’s a reason why we all learned the concept of estimation and rounding. We can then work with numbers that are easier for us to deal with. It’s essentially the same thing here but it takes into account accuracy and what good is math if it is inaccurate?

It’s the same concept when it comes to subtraction. Instead of looking at 34-16 and carrying the one, we want to decompose these numbers and analyze their position with regards to other numbers. 16 is 4 away from 20, which is 10 away from 30 which is 4 away from 34. We take 4, 10, and 4 and get 18, and guess what! 34-16=18!

Doesn’t that actually make more sense instead of trying to subtract 4-6 and borrowing a 1 from 3? Why do we do that anyway? Because some old dude a long time ago realized that works. Why do we teach it that way? Because someone somewhere realized it’s much faster to teach kids subtraction this way instead of showing them why it actually works.

The problem with this is students take number operations for granted and later in life never stop to question anything in mathematics anymore. This is why so many students hate math. It doesn’t MAKE sense to them because no one taught them TO make sense of anything. Or that there is any sense in math at all. We take an already abstract concept and keep it as abstract as possible. The “old fashioned way” of learning subtraction works, but who cares if it doesn’t even make sense?

In a couple of years (or maybe by the end of the year) your first grader will have a better grasp on subtraction than you do. THAT is what Common Core is doing for this generation. THAT is what Common Core was designed for. So that in 10 years when I teach the student that learned arithmetic from the Common Core, he will have a much better grasp of the advanced algebraic concepts I send his way. Because he will have the number sense to understand and even question why it works the way it does.

Thank heavens for the Common Core.peace, love, math, Miss K

Goodbye iPad and Scrubs… Hello Algebra and Heels!

In less than 45 minutes I will no longer be an ER scribe.

Gone are the days of long 10 hour shifts in the hectic ER in my scribe uniform. Gone are the days of driving to work with 6 inches of snow outside.

And intead I get to look forward to 6 hour work days in a wonderful classroom following my passion to teach mathematics to young minds in Richmond city. Not to mention, wearing cute dresses, high heels… and oh yeah, SNOW DAYS!

This been such a pivotal year for me. I have been able to decide what it is that I want to do with my life, what I value in life, and what is most important to me.

It’s so hard for me to believe these days are behind me. This job has done so much more for me than I could have imagined it would when I first walked into it. I took this job as an ER scribe to find out once and for all if I want to become a physician. I taught for a semester while in college and absolutely loved it. But for the greater portion of my life I had only ever considered becoming a physician. So before I moved forward with my life, I had to be 100% sure which career to choose and which to leave behind once and for all.

After having the opporunity to work closely with several female physicians, all of my reservations quickly became realities. Nearly every one of the female physicians I had worked with told me “if I could do it again, I wouldn’t,” and even “if you want to be a physician, make sure you freeze your eggs.” It wasn’t just them, but even male physicans I had heard say things like, “well, my shift is over now. I’m going to go home to see my 6 month old baby girl that I haven’t seen in 2 days.” Family aside, the physician I worked with yesterday has two kids and at the age of 42 just paid off her medical school loans. This is not a life I want.

One thing is for certain: if you want to go to medical school you have to beyond all else have a passion for it. I always thought I did, and don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved this job and definitely have a passion for medicine.

However, this job made me realize my passion for medicine does not trump my desire to have and be there for my family.

Myself aside, this job taught me a lot about the horrible public health system. Drug seekers trying to take advantage of their Medicaid/Medicare/etc., to come to the ED and fake illnesses so they’ll given a medication induced high or be prescribed drugs for them to either OD on and come back the next day or sell on the streets. People who clog up the ER with ilnesses that need to be treated by their PCPs. The ER beaurocrats that want to run the ED based on numbers instead of patient care. This is not an enviornment I want to be a part of and not what I expected medicine to be.

In any case, I am so excited to start following my dreams and pursuing my passion of mathematics and education. I know this is what I’m made for. My life is about to change and I’m so excited for it!

Well, my shift is over! When I walk out of these ER doors, I’m leaving behind the life of medicine. Not only do I feel great about that, but I know 100% I am making the right decision. And that’s something I am grateful to be able to say.

Watch out world, Ms. K is ready to rock!

Lessons I’ve Learned from my Best Friend…. And Chelsea Handler

I just finished reading Chelsea Handler’s book “Uganda Be Kidding Me,” (by recommendation from my best friend, Jill) and wow, I don’t remember the last time I was in tears laughing so hard from a book. I quickly learned that this was not a book I should read at work. I’m sure the people in the ER don’t need to listen to a 20 some year old’s high pitched laugh while they’re sick with the Flu or are in the middle of a GI Bleed.

In any case, surprisingly enough I learned a lot from Chelsea Handler! A lot of these things I already knew though because I had learned them from Jill.

This is Jill.

This is Jill.

Let me start by saying Jill is my everything. She is totally the kind of girl I would take home to meet my parents, just so they would know that I do indeed make great life decisions. She’s the person I seek guidance from in all things. I have told her numerous times that I want to tattoo “WWJD” on my wrist, until she so sweetly in that very Jill way informed me that I cannot do that because that acronym is already taken.

This book is about the several trips Chelsea Handler has taken throughout adulthood from Botswana to Switzerland. But she never goes anywhere without her best friends, specifically her best friend Lesbian Shelly. Their relationship is much like mine and Jill’s in that Shelly is a lot like Jill, minus the lesbian part.

Jill and her fiance. Just to clarify, Jill is not a lesbian.

Jill and her fiance. Just to clarify, Jill is not a lesbian.

So between Chelsea Handler and Jill, I have learned many life lessons. Here are just a few of them:

A best friend is someone you can call in case of emergency. At one point, Chelsea Handler brought home a new puppy that overnight tore apart their whole house. Chelsea immediately woke up Shelly and asked her what to do. I remember one time I dropped candle wax all over my dresser because I accidentally closed the window on a burning candle. It got all into my eyes, down my dress, and all over the carpet. I texted Jill, “umm. How do you get candle wax out of stuff…” and she said “oh dear, we’ll figure it out.” I was so comforted by the fact that we were now in this together.

Animals are life. If you’ve ever seen Chelsea Lately, you are probably already acquainted with Chunk Handler, Chelsea’s adorable dog. She is so in love with him that he flies on her private plane and Chelsea will fly commercial. Chelsea also believes that Chunk is the spirit of her mother. Well, the only other person I know that is nearly as obsessed with her pet is Jill. I don’t think Jill thinks Henrietta is her mom, although I have seen Henrietta and Jill’s mom (who by the way, has a sense of humor to rival Chelsea Handler) together and they are two peas in a pod. I mean, who wouldn’t be obsessed with this adorable face?

1620378_10102616869230562_1580927250_n

Don’t be fooled by her ridiculous good looks.

Every conversation with Jill consists of what Henrietta is up to these days, what she’s doing now, and how she can’t stop talking about me. If you talk to Henrietta in front of Jill, Jill will fill in the voice for Henrietta, and it always makes sense.

“Hi Henrietta! Remember me?”

Jill’s response: Hi Meow-vanti!
Henrietta’s response: HI(SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS)!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and for your Birthday and Christmas, you just might get a card from Jill and Henrietta. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

All things can be fixed with laughter, alcohol… And a razor. Whenever Chelsea finds herself in a pickle, her first solution is to find the closest Bloody Mary or margarita. They found themselves in the middle of Africa on a horrible resort where the coolest thing to see was a squirrel. Chelsea’s response was, “we didn’t fly all the way here to look at a squirrel,” and they proceeded to tell the tour guide to take them home so they could drown in their miseries.

The last awful series of events in my life was when I had gotten into a car accident, had a consecutive number of horrible days at work, and locked myself out of the house twice over the period of 3 days. The final time I locked myself out of my house, was right before mine and Jill’s Monday night girls night. I had just driven an hour back home from work only to realize that I had lost my key again. I was sitting in my front yard, inside of my car (not knowing that my house key was underneath my seat the entire time) on the verge of tears. Jill told me to just come right over even though I had nothing with me and desperately needed a shower and to shave my legs after working in the ER for 10 hours. Once I got there, she handed me a glass of wine, a towel, a razor, and one of her dresses. By the time I stepped out of her bathroom I felt like a whole new woman! Jill literally has the reset button on me. I guess you could say I’m her Gigapet.

Manners are our friends. Chelsea Handler having no manners needs no explanation and this book has so many wonderful examples of that, like being rude to tour guides, not powering down her cell phone before take off, and answering the door without bikini bottoms. Her friends are always there to steer her in the right direction. As for me, Jill has always reminded me to use my manners. Like the other day when she burped and said excuse me and I said nothing, she repeated, “I said excuse me.” And I, as any normal person would do, stared blankly at her as if I thought I knew the appropriate response in this social situation but all that came out was “goo.” Jill reminds me on a regular basis that I was actually raised by a pack of wolves and she’s in the process of re-raising me now. Thanks Jill.

There is no such thing as a dumb question. One of my favorite parts of this book is when Chelsea asks her sister, Simone, something that had been troubling her. “Simone, I need to ask you something but it has to stay between us. Is the moon… the sun? Like, are they the same thing?” After her older sister answered her question, Chelsea requested she not repeat that that had just happened Simone responded, “it’s ok Chelsea. You not knowing is a poor reflection on me.”

Everyone needs that person you can ask dumb questions to. Jill is mine. Yesterday I asked her “why are there so many cats?” She politely responded with an actual historical answer. I didn’t even know there was a history behind cats. Maybe she was just making it up, I don’t know. But Jill could feed me any lie and I would believe her entirely. If that’s not true love I don’t know what is. Later that day we also had the following conversation:

“Jill, do Pilgrims still exist?”
“What?”
“Like, how come when people introduce themselves they’ll say ‘I’m Irish’ or ‘I’m Indian’ but no one says ‘I’m Pilgrim’?”
“No, they don’t exist anymore.”
“What do you mean no? How can a whole race of people disappear??”
“It’s not a race. It’s more like a status. A Pilgrim is someone who crossed the ocean to come to America during the 17th century.”
“Oooooh! Well, my people crossed the ocean to come to America too. Am I Pilgrim?”
“No, Pilgrims with a capital P are the white people that came to America. But you’re ancestors are pilgrim with a lower case p!”
“Wow, Jill. That’s the most racist thing I’ve ever heard.”

At the end of the day , I don’t even need anyone else. Jill pinky promised me that if we out-live our future husbands that we can live together as old ladies and become lesbians. And, well, pinky promises are blood.

I guess Jill will have more in common with Lesbian Shelly that we thought!

Happy birthday, Jill! I love you so much!!! I don’t know what I would do with out you! And I can honestly say, I don’t know what would become of me if I didn’t have you.

10169360_10201513847002672_3808855832317370564_n

 

xoxo,
Avi

“The Collector” by Nora Roberts

Image

Why does Nora Roberts have a reputation to be some sort of “naughty” author? “The Collector” is probably the 7th or 8th book I’ve read of hers and she is absolutely amazing! Her writing transcends all generations so women from their early 20s to their late 90s can enjoy her stories. Sure, there are some “naughty” scenes and kissing and mushy love, but what well-rounded book doesn’t have that?

In “The Collector,” Lila is a house sitter-blogger-writer that witnesses a possible murder-suicide from her high rise apartment in NYC. Upon doing so, she ends up intertwined with the crime as well as the handsome artist brother of the victim, Ash, to discover the truth about what happened that night. They go on an adventure taking them as far as Italy to figure out the truth. What they find puts them in dangerous situations as well as a romantic relationship. Someone who is used to instability throughout her whole life, Lila finds stability and love with Ash, something she battles along with the dangerous criminals who put several members of Ash’s family in the grave. It’s a wonderful murder mystery and love story at the same time and one that I couldn’t put down if I tried!

Roberts recognizes that every female reader wants to place themselves in the shoes of the heroine. I’ve read several books where I didn’t like the main character and couldn’t stand being her in this imaginary world, so I would just stop reading. But Lila is doing exactly what I aspire to do: follow your own, unconventional path.

Lila created her own profession as a house sitter and sits for clients with gorgeous apartments in downtown NYC. While she hangs out and goes place to place, she’s also a moderately successful young adult-fiction writer as well as a blogger. The book recognizes she doesn’t make a ton of money doing what she does, but it also recognizes that Lila loves her life.

That’s exactly how I aspire to live my life. Sure, I didn’t decide to be the traditional indian daugther and become a doctor. I made my own path, graduated with a math degree, and now I aspire to be a teacher while blogging and writing books. I also want to travel the world and live from other people’s points of view.

And I wouldn’t mind kicking some assasin butt along the way. I think I got the chops for it! What do you think?
xoxo
Avi

This Mathematical Revolution Shall be a Legacy for Us All

Daily Prompt: Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/prompt-dont-foget/

Up until recently, I was in total denial of what sort of legacy I wanted to leave on the world. I, much like every other person of Indian descent, wanted to leave the legacy of being the world’s greatest cardiologist/neurosurgeon/plastic surgeon/physician. I wanted to travel around the globe and treat children in third world countries and make a lasting impact on their lives.

It took me a long time to realize this was the legacy my parents wanted me to leave on this world; not me.

I went to school to study Math Education and graduated with a concentration in teacher preparation. Of course if I as a high school-er even suggested to my parents that I wanted to be anything but a science major, it wouldn’t have gone over so well. So instead, I started out as a biochemistry major. I remember the first time I had the epiphany that I did not want to become a doctor.  I was sitting in Organic Chemistry class, working on Acid/Base chemistry when I looked to my partner and thought wow, this absolutely not what I want to do with my life, and that freaked me out more than I can explain. Pursuing a life of medicine was the only thing I knew. What was I going to do with my life?

So I ran to the one and only thing I knew I loved the most; mathematics. When I was in middle school, I remember my dad leaving for work in the mornings during my summer vacation. He would leave a ton of equations on the board and tell me I need to solve all these problems before he came back from work. I’m not going to pretend that my 12 year old self would rather factor and foil than watch Animaniacs, but through his persistence I found a love for mathematics.

Once I entered high school, I found that this was a love that few people shared with me. It took me a long time to realize why that was: because of the way math was taught. The age old question, “when would I ever use this?” is so poorly answered with “because it’s on your standardized test,” instead of taken as an opportunity to instill a passion for math and show real life applications. Instead of showing architectural applications of Geometry, students learn that they need to find the sin of an angle so they can get a 500 on their SOL. Instead of showing students how to find the velocity of the Atomic Bomb using Calculus, students learn they need to learn how to find a derivative so they can pass their AP exam. Students should learn mathematics through application, not drills, not standardized exams, and not without purpose.

This is not mathematics. This is not how it should be taught. This is not how students learn.

My mission in life is to teach mathematics the correct way. By showing students that math is all around us and intertwining math in subjects they learn already, students can gain a true understanding of what mathematics is all about. By using literature, world history, biology, students can explore the world and use mathematics as a tool. Instead of drilling, I want my students to learn math through application.

But it doesn’t stop there. The way teachers teach math to their students is not entirely up to them. There is so much bureaucracy at the state level that affects curriculum building for teachers. So much of this bureaucracy is led by individuals who have never taught themselves. I want to change that. After being a teacher myself, I want to change the politics that drive education in this state, and eventually, this country.

This is the legacy I hope to leave. Not just for myself, but for the future of this country. Without a solid understanding of mathematics, we are so limited in our knowledge of the world we live in, and thus, our effect on this world. And if it’s not our generation that teaches to life instead of to a test, who will?