By the Numbers

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 11 2009

Day 3: “No, I just stuck a tack in my thumb.”

As I told this student, you are the early leader in the clubhouse for dumbest thing anyone has done this year. Let me explain how this conversation came about:

Step 1: Student shouts “Oh shit!” in the middle of the test prep session.

Step 2: I say, “Hallway. Now.” I have appropriated some angry teacher skills in the first year. Student leaves immediately.

Step 3: The above quote is uttered. I say, “Please, tell how this happened.” “Well, I found this tack in social studies…” “…stole a tack off the wall in social studies, continue…” “I was playing with it and it went into my thumb.” “That’s dumb. Give me the tack.” Student throws tack on floor. “It’s gone now.”

My eighth period is going to be interesting to say the least. Since there are no honors/remedial math classes for the sophomores, that class has a combination of kids who stick thumb tacks in their own thumbs, but also a student who recited the definition of absolute value as “the distance a number is from zero.” I made an angelic sound upon hearing that. Another girl gave me the “Mr. P, you crazy” look, which I am accustomed to at this point. Despite this wide range of skills, they paid the most attention and, outside of tack boy, had very few problems.

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    Teaching Math on the West Side of Chicago

    High School

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