Box Spring Problem

Everyone knows, deep down in their gut that math teachers are liars. We tell you that solving bullshit ‘real world’ problems in a textbook will somehow help you in life. When pressed about how the specific problems or the techniques given in the chapter will ever be useful, we say stuff like, “it’s good for developing problem solving skills.” Or, “math will help you be ready for all kinds or real challenges.” No one believes us and that is why they would rather tag our desks than factor special polynomials. Real problem solving happens everyday, regardless of someone’s grade on that polynomial quiz. Here is an example from my world this past week. Continue reading

Off to the Editor

I finished writing my first book, “Confessions of an Anarchist Math Teacher,” and have sent it off to a professional editor. Since I have done that, I have thought of more stuff that I could have written about. More projects to talk about, more funny stories, and anecdotes about kids that can be inspiring or soul-crushing, but that is the whole point–the kids. Continue reading

God Doesn’t Care if You Eat Your Vegetables

Last night at dinner, my son was just pushing around the food on his plate. I had made stuffed potatoes. They were stuffed with beans, cheese, avocado, salsa, and roasted broccoli, which I put on the side. Kind of like nachos in a potato. I absent-mindedly made some comment to him about how he shouldn’t waste his food because there are other kids who don’t have a lot of food and he should be thankful. I couldn’t really believe I said that. It was the kind of thing I told myself I wouldn’t say as a parent. This appeal to some mass of people who aren’t eating because, why? Because my kid won’t eat his broccoli? But there are people not eating, some of them are probably kids in his kindergarten class. So how do we handle it as parents or teachers? Continue reading