10 things I wish you knew as my students

Earlier this month, I saw a thread on Twitter titled “What I Wish My Teacher Knew” from the inspirational Mrs. Hall @MrsHallScholars and then read her blog post Dear Scholars I wish You Knew….  I believe 100% that in order to teach my students math, they need to trust me and that trust is founded on a relationship first.  So I need to let them in first.

I wrote this letter to them on the day of their first test.

Dear math scholars,                                                                                           September 10, 2019

I am writing you this letter to share with you 10 things I wish you knew about me as your teacher.

 

  1.  I wish you knew that you are the reason I love my job.  You are my reason why I come to work every day and think about math and how to teach math constantly.
  2. I wish you knew that my daughters are 8 and 3 and they are also the reason why I work so hard every day.  I want to be their example of a strong woman who is passionate about her work and is a lifelong learner.  
  3. I wish you knew how difficult it is to parent a 3 year old!  She is adorable and funny and also loud and frustrating and throws lots of tantrums right now.  So if I come to work tired, it is because she is in a difficult stage right now. (If you don’t know about 3 -year-olds, go home and ask your parents what you were like at that age.)  
  4. I wish you knew how fun and amazing math is.  It’s puzzle solving and making mistakes and thinking and arguing and being creative.  I hope you get a glimpse of this side of mathematics in this class.
  5. I wish you knew how fast high school goes.  Don’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up. You are only this age once.  Enjoy this time at school with your friends, learning about things but also figuring out who you are and what you want to do when you grow up.  
  6. I wish you knew that it’s also ok if you don’t have your life figured out right now.  There will be lots of opportunities to change your mind about your path, to change your major, to switch schools, to fall in love with a hobby, etc.  I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since the 3rd grade, but that is rare. And it’s ok if you don’t know yet.
  7. I wish you knew that my only regret in college was that I didn’t study abroad in a Spanish speaking country.  I let our family’s lack of resources stop me. I could have researched financial options, etc. I’ve never had the opportunity to do that again, and it’s the only thing I regret.  But, I learned from that experience that I don’t want to live with regret.
  8. I wish you knew that if you focus on learning the content in this class, your grade will follow.  It doesn’t always work the other way around.  
  9. I wish you knew that for my New Year’s Resolution this year, I set a goal of reading 52 books (1 for each week of the year).  I enjoy reading for pleasure and just finished my 32nd book this past weekend.
  10. I wish you knew that this room is a safe place for you to make mistakes and learn.  And I hope you know that if you need an adult to talk to, you can speak to me about anything.  Also, every adult on this campus is a mandated reporter, so if we suspect that you are in an unsafe position, we are obligated to report it.  This isn’t to get anyone into trouble, but it is to guarantee that the children in our care are safe. I want you to be healthy and safe.

 

I am fortunate to be your teacher this year.  I look forward to working with you and seeing everything you accomplish.

 

Mrs. Verti  

{On the notecard I will give you, please write a few statements you wish your teacher knew about you.  Start each statement with “I wish my teacher knew….”. If you want to make it anonymous, that is ok. }

Even though many of my students responded anonymously, I will not share what they wrote here.  Many were funny, heartbreaking, sad, hopeful, and a lot of other descriptors.  Some described past experiences with math that were good and/or bad.  Some described outside responsibilities that are mind-boggling for any high school student. Some describe hopes for their future and fears about leaving home in the next few years.  All seemed open and honest.

I am now officially 1 month into my 17th year as a classroom teacher.  It’s getting more difficult to learn another group of names and more difficult to muster up the motivation to grade those quizzes, and I’m feeling older and less sure in my ability to relate to some of their interests in music and shows (lol)… but as I think about the next 13ish years of my career, I still love my job and wouldn’t want to miss 1 day with my students.

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