John Lennon with Sean

A Dozen of One, a Half Dozen of the Other [On Parenting and Teaching]

Jose Vilson Jose 7 Comments

Before my 25th birthday, I thought to myself how much I’d like to have my own son. The closer I got to finishing my 2nd year of teaching, the more I wanted to have a little nugget to teach the ways of this Vilson. My son started appearing in my dreams in different forms. My nephew Jaiden. My godson Josiah. My boss’ babies. My fiancee’s nephew Brandon. The first baby …

Smiling Breakfast

A Little Breakfast. A Little Water. A Little Air. A Little Time.

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

A huge struggle I’m having in my class is kids coming in late. OK, it’s actually been a problem since I’ve started teaching. It’s been exacerbated by the fact that we no longer have homeroom, so students don’t feel attached to the teacher who sees them in the morning and teachers don’t feel as attached to the students (even if they still care). Every morning, I see a similar pattern: …

Kids Fighting Teacher

Top 5 Reasons Why The Kids Don’t Like You

Jose Vilson Jose 13 Comments

To Teachers This May Concern, Pardon my candor, but there’s a reason why the kids just don’t like you. At first, I couldn’t understand the dynamics of certain teachers and classes, especially if they stick together and bond for a few months. The general theory states that a good teacher is a good teacher irrespective of who’s in front of them. If they have high-level students, then they get them …


Whereupon I Might Encourage Bodily Harm to a Teacher

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

Today, after another long day at the grindhouse, I saw some of my former students, a pair of girls who haven’t grown in stature, but hopefully in status. Students who graduate from your nest are a great gauge for the effect you’ve had on present and future students. Fortunately for me, these students actually admit that I’m their favorite math teacher ever, and I bowed lightly. Then again, not having …

RIP Jaime Escalante

RIP Jaime Escalante, Famed Math Teacher

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

It is with regret that I report about Jaime Escalante’s passing today. He was 79. He lived his life inspiring all types of people within the education system, but with little money left to treat his terminal bladder cancer. I am amongst that number of people who he inspired through the seminal work about his work, Stand and Deliver. Certainly, I don’t base my knowledge entire on a movie starring …

Tin Foil Rex

Tearing the House Down pt. 1: No (Limiting) Math Gimmicks!

Jose Vilson Jose 12 Comments

I could have easily declared the following as a math teacher, but I’m being more demonstrative now: No. More. FOIL. Anyone who’s followed these posting in the last couple of years knows that I’m all for finding efficient ways of remembering how one works through different elements of math. I’m also for remembering processes so long as, later on, there’s a stronger element of true understanding there. Yet, what inevitably …

Lost At Sea

The Doldrums

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

She sits there, black marker in her left hand, pencil in her right, switching from one to the other like a pendulum, clocked to the rhythm of her observant teacher’s sustained looks in her general direction. Days after an extended conversation with her teacher about the merits of putting in her effort, weeks after a summer her teacher hoped might give her a little time to reflect and grow, months …

Man's Heart

G-d Takes Care of All [The Letters Series]

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

This week, I’m writing a few more letters to different people, whose names shall be removed from the post, but who nonetheless are amalgamations of real characters. I won’t be mincing words this week, and in these letters, I hope to address some issues I find in education as a whole through these letters. If need be, I’ll apologize later. Actually, I probably won’t. P.S. – As a special note …

Retirement Pencil

Si, Vale La Pena (Yes, It’s Worth The While)

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Last week, at least officially, a great man and teacher retired from the NYC public school systems. I think about him, and the others who’ve retired from my school (at least the ones who we’ve celebrated), and even the one who died early last academic year, a year removed from retirement, too. They leave a lingering memory, a charisma about them, and an undeniable care and work ethic for their …

Soldier Gives Child Materials

The Material That Makes You

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Here’s my best attempt at putting a positive spin on a topic that’s probably irked anyone who’s had to help facilitate the growth of fellow colleagues or teachers who see the odds and punch a hole through that proverbial glass ceiling. While I’m trying to figure out the nuances of being the math coach of my school, my mentality’s still in the classroom, because I still teach a class. For …