Teacher By Day, Everything Else By Night

Jose VilsonEducation, Jose6 Comments

batman.jpgA common misconception amongst those that have had a math teacher is that they have no lives or aspirations outside of the classroom. Their second bias is that we know nothing about any other subject area except for math, to which I often need to sound a big buzzer. Math teachers, unfortunately, are often the most pegged into their subjects, and it’s a shame because they’ve often shown me to be the most talented.

Some of them, like my former high school math teacher, actually played chess in his spare time. Unfortunately, that fell in line with what we thought about him. However, I also had another high school math teacher after him who sang, acted, and directed, and played a mean set of keys (piano) in his spare time.

So of course, where does that leave me? Let’s just say I’m not big on chess. For those unaware of what math teachers do in their spare time, here’s a little rundown of my latest activities:

1) I’m taking one more class to get done with my masters’ education. It’s not just important for my salary, but my standing amongst my academic peers. Kinda boring, though.

2) I make speeches. I’m still proud of that moment when I got to stand in front of future fellow Fellows and let them know the possibilities we have to turn so many students’ futures around. And of course, it was in Lincoln Center. It’s getting exciting.

3) I party. And a lot. It’s one of those underground secrets amongst people in urban academia. We party like nobody’s business as a means of purging our souls from the exhausting weeks we have in school. I’ve been out of school for 2 weeks, and yet it was only last week I remembered my first name. And this was my second year

4) I travel. Last year alone, I hit Chicago, Sacramento, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. This year, it’s been Miami and Detroit, and I have yet to take my summer trip. Next year, I’m leaving the country, and hopefully more than once.

5) I write. And lots. If it wasn’t evident already from this blog, I believe there’s more evidence here and here.

6) I network. That’s such an important part of life; meeting others and getting as many opinions as possible gives one a world-view that’s necessary. Because of my Aquarian nature, I meet people on the street and ask them their opinions on certain topics. It’s NYC.

7) Other things include: going to games (let’s go Yanks), going to parks, playing basketball, working out, eating different cuisine, catching up with old friends …

In other words, teachers have lives! Our society has become so concerned with work that now we’re living to work instead of working to live …

jose, who’s going to actually do some of these things on his list

p.s. I’m part of the Carnival of Education. Check it out.

Comments 6

  1. I never thought of what we do as you so pleasantly put it, “Carnival of Education.” Yes, math teachers are usually labeled by their students-even I have been guilty of said behavior. In general, our students forget that we actually have lives outside of the school building that have absolutely nothing to do with them. If we did not, then we would really go insane because our jobs as educators are extremely challenging every single day. It’s a non-stop carnival and we have the luxury of not knowing what new ride is in store for us any given day. Yet we manage to get on those rides and remain standing. Even though there are days that we need someone to hold us up, just a little.

    In general, it is important for us to live and enjoy “our personal” time in order to be a better functioning member of society, educator, daughter, sibling, lover/spouse, friend, parent, and any other hat we wear. One of the things that has resonated for me after reading Defining Moments by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr. is the following quote: “Daily life, many people feel, is accelerated and fragmented. Managers everywhere are under pressure to provide an action and answers now.” Due to the nature of our jobs, we have the tendecy to be so consumed by them. As a result, we do not have the ability to seperate our personal from our professional life. We are always in a rush, looking at our watches, and sending text messages that many people have forgotten how to have conversations. Or some of us do not know how to be spontaneous because it goes against the ways that we have become programmed.

    Thank you for this post, Mr. V.-keeping it real!!!

  2. hey, i used to swear up and down my teachers lived in the school. of course, this was in elementary school but still.

    we were shocked when our 40ish year old 10th grade history teacher showed up to school with pink hair and simply answered our persistent questions with “i lost a bet.” best teacher ever.

  3. I totally feel you. When I was teaching, one day after school all a bunch of us (teachers) snuck out and went to happy hour. Our prinicpal was yelling after us like “where are you all going!” We were boozing it up at buy one get one for a penny, and all we could think was our students would DIE if they saw us.

    And math teachers are way cool. My high school math teacher was the shiznit! He rode a Harley to school, would us really cool proofs and the say “now, THAT turns me on”, and he tried to talk several people into getting y=mx+b tatted on their forearms. I loved that man!

  4. Maybe it is because those of us who do poorly in math are intimidated by those who understand it.

    I would be interested to know what you think of LA Teen magazine, which was developed by a teacher who thought Latino teenagers needed positive material that would make reading fun. Please shoot me an email and I will send you an advance copy.

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