Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reaction Reality Check

Today was our last day of school before the Thanksgiving break. Woo Hoo for 2 day work weeks! As I'm scurrying along in my flustered crabbiness from my November funk and getting ready for the day, a geometry student stops by to inform me that she won't be in class today and to drop off her homework because her family is leaving early for their long drive to visit family for the holidays.

What's going through my mind: Great! She's going to miss our important activity of constructing various triangles to see if AAA, SSS, ASA, AAS, SAS, ASS can give unique triangles or not! She'll not be able to make it up! She won't know how to do the homework!

What comes out of my mouth: Aye! You're going to miss a vital activity that you can't do by yourself. Well, you'll have to look through the book and figure things out. Look through the index for "triangle congruence". Good luck. Here's the homework. .... and honestly, I don't remember what else I said.

She leaves. Hopefully, I wished her a happy holiday, but I don't remember in my rush to have myself a pity party.

Time passes, and then I realize what a jerk I was. I send her the following e-mail:

Hi ***,

I feel like this is how I sounded on Tuesday morning when you came by to mention you'd not be in class:

"What?! How DARE you miss math? Family?!?! What's more important - Math or Family? Think carefully! Your WHOLE school career depends on what you do next!"

What I really meant to say was:

"How fun you get to spend quality time with your family on this family vacation. Have fun. Thank you for coming by to let me know. How responsible of you. I know you will have no trouble making up the work because you're THAT good."

Oh and by the way:

We did an activity in class that you'll have to hear about, but you can get the gist of the importance of it by reading sections 4-4 and 4-5 in your geometry book.

See you after break,

Ms. ***

Seriously, what goes through my mind sometimes? I teach math robots who live and breathe math?


  1. This is a very good reminder for us!

  2. I too, got a little frustrated by the large number of my students who missed one or both days before Thanksgiving. If we weren't learning something so important, writing equations of lines using the point-slope formula, it wouldn't have been so bad.

    I feel I let my frustration show just a little too much with some of them. I too, sometimes feel like their lives should revolve around my class and every once in awhile I need to remind myself that there is more to high school than algebra I.

  3. Mrs. H:
    But my TRUE (deep down and frequently bubbling towards the surface) feelings are leaning towards the math ....... and LINES ... that'll come up in everything math later on. You need it.

  4. What a sweet teacher to email your student! It is hard to not get frustrated when parents pull their kids out of school around the breaks. I agree that family is more important, but then I always think back to my mom telling me she never took us out of school to go on vacations or go on trips because that would send us the message that school isn't important. So maybe that one particular lesson the student missed won't ruin their high school career, but I personally wouldn't want to send that message to my sons.

  5. Jen,

    I like your mom's (and your) outlook. ... I'm sure I'll get frustrated again real soon, but hopefully I'll temper it with a "blank face".