Yesterday, one of my discussions sessions was talking about the fear associated with wanting to be a math major, but not thinking of themselves as ‘math people.’
I told them I was never ‘math people,’ that I learned trig at age 23, calculus at 24, higher math at 25, and started graduate math at 26. Being ‘math people’ is a decision, and it’s never too late to decide to be just that.
…Then they asked me what I did before age 23, and I told them about my law career…
…They expressed surprise that I had walked away from a very well-paying career to go back to school, then stayed in school after finishing my program.
…I might have gotten too real. I say it all the time on here, but I said it to them:
There is nothing more important to me in this whole world than their understanding of mathematics. It is the reason I exist. It is everything to me that they will, in this lifetime, witness mathematics as I have come to know it. It is my life’s work that they meet this beautiful, indescribable thing that I love with all I am and everything I will ever be. I quit my career to dedicate all my time to it, traded my house for a one room efficiency so I could afford tuition and books, lost my marriage because my spouse didn’t support my decision to do this, and it was still a steal of a deal because what I got in return is the most valuable, important thing I could ever possibly do with my life. I’d live in a gutter and eat sticks and leaves and think myself a king as long as I could teach calculus all day and work on research all night. As long as I felt like I was doing a good job and my students were building a better understanding of mathematics, as long as I was ever refining my understanding of the inner workings of this incomparable abstract creature called mathematics, I would feel like a millionaire.
I told them also that they already are math people. We talk about math all day, and we teach each other in the process. They bring new problems that I had never considered before, challenge me to think in different ways, and (for crissake) help me improve my shitty arithmetic abilities by keeping me in consistent practice. They make me a better mathematician, and it my greatest privilege and joy to think that I help make them better mathematicians, too.
…Anyway, there were some interesting expressions on faces in that room, so they might think I’m a lil’ cray. But I don’t regret that, because I like to think it was obvious already (both that I am cray, and that I care a LOT about their learning calculus). My students deserve educators who feel that their learning of the subject matter is the most important thing in the entire universe, because it is.
i overheard one of my students talking with his mom in the hall at pick-up:
child: mom, can i kiss ms. c?
mom: hmm. i’m not sure.
mom: because different people are okay with different things. you’d have to ask her if it’s okay.
child: can you ask her?
mom: me? no, you can ask her. you and ms. c are buds!
then they came back in together. he still didn’t want to talk, so she asked me what my policy was regarding getting kisses from students. i said i liked when students blow me kisses. he peeked out from behind her while i demonstrated how to blow a kiss. then he blew one back to me! it was a good way to end the day.
856. Some NEWT charms students from Ravenclaw figured out how to make a magic-deadening field in a corner of their common room, where none but the most powerful wizards can practice magic. Even then, their powers are greatly weakened. It’s useful because they can adjust how much it blocks magic, and is helpful when practicing non-verbal spells because students can say the incantation out loud, make the field stronger so they have to concentrate more, do this over and over again and they’ll have to concentrate harder to make spells work as the field gets stronger. Then when they step out of the field they can easily concentrate hard enough to do non-verbal spells. Of course, this was not originally the intended use. It was made so that people could use WiFi at school. Teachers who are smart enough to get past the door of their common room regularly go there to unwind and check the latest updates on social media. The students with more Slytherin-like characteristics offer to put these fields in the common rooms and dormitories of other houses for a exorbitant monthly fee, because the fields require regular maintenance and reinforcement and only Ravenclaws taking NEWT Charms can do the spells.
I just want to tell every single blogger that is currently a student: Good job this semester, you guys did the best of your abilities and it’s alright if you didn’t get the grade you desired because in life people won’t see you as a letter but as a person that gained genuine knowledge, whatever you guys learned will serve for future needs, it will make the best of you. Continue to be yourself because there’s something special that shines and maybe you may not know it but everyone around will do. Never compare yourself with someone else, just strive forward from the best of your abilities- you will all succeed .