Math = Love: Alive...

Sunday, March 31, 2013


To all of you who have been wondering, I want to assure you that I am still alive.  Seriously, though, the fact that some of you took the time to check up on me really meant a lot to me.  If you've sent me an e-mail and I haven't responded, sorry!  I'm working on getting caught up, but it's taking me longer than I expected.   

I could blame my lack of blogging of late on a lot of different things.  But, I think what it really boils down to is that the first year of teaching is overwhelming.  I knew going in that this year was going to be crazy.  I just didn't know in what ways that craziness was going to present itself. 

A lot of stuff has happened in my school district that I can't and shouldn't talk about on this public blog.  And, that's been hard on me.  I want this blog to be a transparent and true reflection of what life in my classroom is like.  Every school is different, and every teacher's circumstances are different.  Even though I already knew that, I have learned that this year from experience.  My classroom is not perfect.  My teaching is far from perfect.  And, my school district is not perfect. 

However, I shouldn't let myself stop blogging because I can't tell you the whole story.  That would be unfair to both you and me.  I learn a lot about myself from the act of blogging.  There is something almost magical about putting one's thoughts, feelings, and experiences into words.  When I write about a lesson, I see it through a different lens.  And, that helps me to learn from my successes and failures in order to become a better teacher.  So, I promise.  I'm going to keep blogging my lessons and reflections.   

So, what have I been up to? 

Algebra 1 has journeyed through linear inequalities, systems of equations, and part of a unit on simplifying radicals.  Algebra 2 has focused on logarithms, sequences and series, and we're preparing to start on conic sections tomorrow.  And, my math analysis students have been working with one-to-one functions and logarithms.  We test over logarithms tomorrow, but I'm not sure what the future holds for that group of students.  The next chapter in our textbook is matrices.  I'm thinking it may be fun to take a break and explore some discrete math, though. 

Pi Day was a bit of a disappointment.  Two days before Pi Day, I started feeling terrible.  My stomach started hurting, and I only felt okay when I was asleep.  I barely made it to school on Pi Day.  Seriously, it felt like I was dying.  Our amazing counselor came and checked on me half-way through the morning and suggested that I go home because I did not look well.  I took her advice.  I ended up spending five hours in urgent care.  They finally ruled out appendicitis.  But, they sent me to the emergency room when they could not provide me with a diagnosis.  The er doctor told me I had a stomach bug, and I needed to just go home and rest.  I'm not sure if that diagnosis was accurate or not.  But, I do know that I spent almost all of Spring Break sleeping and resting.     

We returned from Spring Break for a four-day week.  Our emphasis has turned to EOI review.  My students currently have only ten more school days until our state standardized testing takes place.  I'll be honest.  I'm nervous.  My test scores will tell a story.  I'm just not sure what story they will be telling.  For my Algebra 1 students, the stakes are high.  If they don't pass, they may not graduate.  My students can't afford that.   

My students and I have worked extremely hard this school year.  In both Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, I had to reteach a number of concepts that my students should have previously mastered.  This means that we are not as far in the curriculum as I would have hoped to be.  If you ask any of my students, they will tell you that we have not slacked off this school year.  Oh, they wanted me to, but I have not given in.  They know that Ms. Hagan does not believe in free days.  And, Ms. Hagan does not believe in movies.  (Of course, some students think that I literally  

I worry, though, about my students who have missed so much school.  I worry about my students who struggle with reading at an elementary school level.  What will their test scores say?  Will they fill like their hard work has paid off or will they feel like a failure?  Will college be on their horizon?  Or will they start to contemplate dropping out of high school? 

Questions.  Questions I may never know the answers to.  But, I will not let that keep me from doing my job and changing lives. 


  1. Here in the south, we would say, "Bless your heart!" SO, "bless your heart!" I am glad to hear that you are okay. I have been checking your blog daily and was beginning to get worried. You hang in there; you are doing a fabulous job as a first year teacher! Your students, schools and system are lucky to have you! Things will get better. Even after 27 years, I still wonder how I am doing and good teachers like us will always spend time reflecting to make improvements the next year so we help our students be their best. Keep believing in the good you are doing, stay focused on the task at hand, and don't fret over the small stuff and the things you can't control. Have a wonderful week and I hope to talk to you again soon.

  2. I'm SO glad to see you back, and to know that you're okay, too. I was also beginning to think you had abandoned us, and that you'd taken all your great ideas with you! I am supremely impressed that you even make the time to blog. I'm a 3rd year teacher and I still cannot fathom even the thought of doing so! But I am eternally grateful that you do. Keep up the good work, and try not to sweat the "small stuff". Of course, small stuff doesn't always look so small right now, but in 5 years, a good portion of it will be. I pray that your situation improves, and soon!

    p.s. Standardized test scores are not always a direct reflection of what we've taught them. Some of my students reported back to me what they were tested on, and they spoke of things that I have never seen in ANY math book, much less the one that we've been issued! So don't take poor results as an indicator that you're not doing your job. I do understand your not wanting them to feel like failures, though. We all have to work with what we have. Keep your head up and keep changing lives!

  3. Welcome back! So glad you are ok! I found your blog a few weeks ago through Pinterest and am so impressed by how much you are doing in your first year. I'm sorry things are tough in your district - hope that improves! First year of teaching is like an ultra-marathon, so remember to be kind to yourself. You're doing great!