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Teaching Angles

August 7, 2011

Students here are very good at memorizing. I noticed they could rattle off things about angles, but were drawing tiny ones and writing giant numbers next to them. So Wednesday I made a big chalkboard protractor for my trig class. They’d never seen one!

After class Amy, who had observed my class, suggested I make small ones for them. At the time I thought, “What’s wrong with you? Isn’t this enough?” But I slept on it and decided she was right. This was a gift I could give my kids. This might be the only time someone takes the time to literally connect the dots with them. So I spent about three hours making eighteen small paper protractors with my headlamp and Swiss Army knife scissors.

I gave a speech before handing them out, begging them to be respectful of my work and they stared at me. Stunned. It was obvious they rarely (if ever) drew and measured things in class. Even my struggling students tried excitedly as I circled the room offering gentle tips. I asked for a volunteer to put one of their angles on the board and was shocked to see one of my quiet girls, Eunice, raise her hand, smiling. I called her up and she drew a difficult angle, crooked unlike the neatly oriented ones I’d been making. I held my breath and watched. Flawless! I congratulated her for doing such a hard one and she beamed.

I have worked hard for model school, but I have gotten back my investments one hundred fold. I cannot wait to meet the kids that I’ll have the next two years. This is exactly where my life and my heart have been leading me. This is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

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