The MEGnitude of Change

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 18 2013


“I’m glad I came — intersession’s been a lot of fun.”

Over this past week, my friends were exploring the streets of San Francisco and snowboarding along the Pennsylvania mountains. I, on the other hand, was still waking up before the sun rises and trudging with sleepy feet into John Marshall, spilling coffee onto my clothes as I sauntered into school.

I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

This week, what did we accomplish?
– We learned to two-step (…with equations), solve for inequalities, read word problems, and use the distributive property. BAM.
– We bridged the gap between “red shirts” (middle school) and “blue shirts” (high school).
– We mastered objectives — dropping at least eight more 100%’s into my tracker.
– We did arts & crafts, decorating prizes for the 8th graders and making a prettyyyyy solid poster for a teacher who got injured on the job.
– We jammed out to Beyonce.
– We laughed. A lot.

On Friday afternoon, around 1:30 pm (an hour before the buses arrived), a student came into my classroom and said “Mr. Pete says that, at the teacher’s discretion, the students can be dismissed early.” A free hour — for playing basketball and goofing around. I shrugged, looked up at my students, and said “Alright, guys, you did great work. Feel free to head out.”

No one moved.

“…Well, I might as well stay in here. Practice isn’t for another hour…”
“…Yeah, I’ll just stay in here and keep solving these area problems…”
“I’ve almost mastered this objective, so I’ll just get that done right now…”
“This book is really interesting, so I’ll just keep reading it here.”

My classroom is taking on a new life. It’s a place for critical thinking and objective mastery, but it’s also a place for good food, good music, and good laughter. Slowly, it’s starting to become a home for my kids.

DC was right — this intersession was fun. Something is happening, and it feels good.

About this Blog

My journey in mathematics and beyond

High School

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