I often wonder why we spend so much energy trying to have our recent high school graduates decide “what they are going to do for the rest of their lives.” I sincerely hope that other people follow a more direct route than mine, but, for me, my time in school looked like this:
- get assigned to take 9th grade algebra in 8th grade
- take four more years of math, but stop taking science after two years (the guidance counselor said I would probably never get into college as a result….)
- switch from Latin to Spanish after two years, when the teacher and the long-term substitute both died in the same year (no more Latin program)
- go to Keene State College on a full scholarship (um, about that “never get into college” thing)
- begin as a theatre major
- consider adding economics as a minor
- change my major to English
- add a math minor
- add a Spanish minor
- drop all minors and graduate a year early
Fast-forward a few years later and I realized I needed to return to school to get a Masters degree in order to keep a decent job, even in Ecuador.
And it began again:
- graduate with a Master’s in English a Second Language (ESL)/Bilingual Education/Multicultural Education
- realize I couldn’t get full-time work teaching ESL
- return to get a second Masters in Math (5-8)
- take the MTEL to get certified in Math (8-12)
- and more!
So, if that is the sort of path we end up on, and I doubt I am the only one, then why do we pressure our kids to the point of distraction about making choices that we tell them will be for the rest of their lives? Clearly, the road can change.
With that in mind, please enjoy these three for-fun videos on math, posted here by a former English Major/former ESL teacher! If I can end up teaching math, then your students should never have a reason to say they “don’t do ________” (fill in the blank with whatever you hear the most).