I'm taking part in a study with four other teachers with a nearby university, focusing on strategies to engage students in the classroom. It's as exciting as it sounds, and includes a videotaped lesson of yours truly which I will refer to for the rest of my career as 'How It's Done'.
Today I had to choose a student to shadow so I could get a glimpse of what his life is like on any given day. We were supposed to choose an at risk student, and I chose a 10th grader who is sweet and hard working, but struggles.
First period biology-- easy. They were studying a family tree and deciding whether or not the child of 'X' and 'Y' would be born with attached earlobes. I thought of L and me, and how he has attached earlobes and I don't, and how smart I was for remembering how basic genetics work.
Then came second period-- geometry. My only memories of high school geometry are of writing long notes to K that I would pass to her between classes. By 10th grade I had mastered the art of tuning out during any math class. Today, I thought, I would be able to prove to myself once and for all that I'm not a complete math dummy. I was going to sit through the lesson and figure it out, just like I should have done all those years ago.
Unfortunately, as soon as the teacher began referring to 'pi' (and not the banana cream kind), I found myself reverting back to the same frustrated kid I used to be. Even the student I was focusing on, the one I previously referred to as a struggler, understood how to find the area of the circle on the board. I left the class defeated and wishing I had a friend to pass a note to on my way out.
Despite such setbacks, a woman in her thirties knows she must focus on the good things about herself. Sure, I might have forgotten my multiplication tables (shh), but I choose to believe that all those notes to K about boys might have been precursors to this blog. And this blog will someday make me rich and famous, and I don't need a protractor to figure out that will be awesome.
So thanks, Geometry teacher, whatever-your-name-was. You must have been as frustrated with me as I have been with the student I shadowed today, but you cut me a break. Thanks for passing me with a B because I tried most of the time, and thanks for realizing that I would eventually be defined by more than base times height. This teacher intends on returning the favor.