Math = Love: Advice from Algebra 1 Students

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Advice from Algebra 1 Students

At the end of each school year, I give my students a writing assignment.  They moan.  They groan.  They complain that this is child abuse.  But, I think they actually enjoy it in the end.  Maybe.  I do know they enjoy making fun of my jokes, at least.  If you're looking for particularly interesting commentary from my students, be sure to check out the "Ms. Hagan" comments below.

The assignment: Write a letter to a future student taking Algebra 1.

I instruct students that their advice needs to fill up 3/4 of a page.  This year, we actually had to fold our papers into fourths so students could tell if they had written enough.

Here are the highlights.  I broke the comments into several main categories.


You should always take notes.  If you miss a day, then go to someone who has the notes.  These notes will help you mainly at the end of the year near testing time.  Make sure you grab a composition notebook instead of a spiral notebook.

You should always take notes and if you miss a day go to someone who has the notes you missed. 

You are going to think this is an art class because we had to do so much art stuff in this notebook.  I really hated it BTW.   

This class is very colorful and artistic.  Make sure you keep up with your notes because you're going to need them.

The notebooks.  They aren't fun.  They're boring.  No one likes doing it.

We make notes that take a long time to do, but they help us understand things better.

You need to take all your notes.  They will help in the end.

Do the notebook because it helps out a lot.


Do not talk during class because she will not continue the lesson if you do not be quiet.  By the way, encourage your neighbors to be quiet during class because you'll get in trouble just as much as they do.

She won't keep teaching if you are talking.  She will sit and wait forever.  But Ms. Hagan is a great teacher, and she will make sure you succeed.

Don't sleep in class because teachers get mad at you for being tired.

Stay awake.  Teachers tend to frown upon sleeping in class.  

Do not throw pencils through the hole in the floor by the windows.

Oh, and don't cuss; well at least not loud enough for her to hear you, or you'll get a slip.

You have to pay attention in this class to pass.

Phones, if you want to keep them for the rest of the day, you might just want to keep it up.  She will take it and keep it.

Well, be good and keep your phone put up, and you shouldn't have a problem.

She doesn't like racial jokes, annoying sounds, desk or chair flipping, throwing, tossing, kicking, or shooting, leaving stuff out of place, yelling in class, constantly wearing hats, ignoring her, or making fun of her and saying she is worshiping the devil.  If you do this, you will FAIL.

If you want to be in trouble, then you're in the perfect class.  She doesn't like people talking while she is giving notes.

Don't shoot trash in the trash can cause if you miss you will have to pick up two things in the floor. 

Never wear hats, throw trash, or play on your phone.  She'll take your stuff and keep it forever. 


This is by far my easiest class.  The teacher in this class makes everything simple.  If you're in here, just know that Ms. Hagan is the sweetest and funniest teacher here.  

Words of advice: Be quiet!  She does have a mean side!  

I will miss being in her class.  

When she is in a bad mood, she will send you in the hallway for your death.

Ms. Hagan's class is never fun, so don't count on it.  Math is terribly boring.  Always get answers from the hot girls (if any in class).

Listen to Ms. Hagan.  She is usually right.  She doesn't like me because I'm a genius and very good looking.

This teacher has literally never ate any kind of meat.  She hasn't had the experience of eating a good ol' fashioned deer steak which I really think she is miss out.  She doesn't like to fish, so I really don't think she is American.  

She lets you listen to some really cool tunes, so if you get the chance to listen to music on the smartboard, make her let you listen to the slope intercept form song.

Be nice to Ms. Hagan, and she will be nice to you.

Don't make her mad or she will give you a lot of work.  

Ms. Hagan isn't really a bad teacher.  If you heard certain things, they are wrong.  Never, I mean never, get on her bad side. 

Ms. Hagan can be hard to get along with sometimes, but she's not too bad.  

This note is a waste of time beyond this point.  Ha Ha Ha Ha  I put bacon in Ms. Hagan's coffee.  Don't laugh at her because she's a vegetarian, has a tractor fetish, and has a boyfriend who lives in Australia.

If you don't understand something, ask about it.  She'll try to help you understand.  Sometimes, trust me, it doesn't work!

If you don't understand, ask her for help, and she will try and help you.  But, you have to give respect to get respect.

You have to pass the Algebra 1 EOI, and if you don't, you have to take this class again.  Ms. Hagan does NOT want that to happen.

Ms. Hagan is a nice teacher, and if you pay attention this class will be easy.

Ms. Hagan is a vegetarian and sometimes brings food but won't share. :(

Don't get on her bad side or you will have a bad day.  Trust me.  I know.

In order to pass this class, you have to pay attention to her when she is giving instructions or giving you advice to put in your notes.  But, more than anything, you need to stay on Ms. Hagan's good side.  If you don't, then you will get in trouble a lot.  Even if she doesn't like you, she will stay after school and help you with whatever you need.


Watch your back.  People are untrustable and stupid.

If you're gonna cheat, at least put your name on the paper.  

You get to do origami at the end of the year.  So, hang on.  

Don't use the bathroom on the first floor.

You'll do some fun things sometimes.

Warning: You will have to do this stupid assignment.  

Basically, it's impossible to fail unless you try to or you are lazy like me and just don't care.  Then you will fail pretty easily.  

This class can be easy or hard based on what you decide.  

We bring pie on pi day and get to eat it.

The graphing part of the year is very hard.  No sleeping in class.  It never works out well for you.  

It will be hard, you will fail.  


First, you need to know about her grading scale.  I don't agree with it, but you might.  It starts at A, then to B, then to Not Yet or NY.  When you get an NY (Not Yet) on your paper, you basically failed it, but she'll let you redo it until you get an A or a B.  What gets me is that until the time that you get an A or a B on it, the paper is put in as a 0 (zero).

Your grades have to be an A or B or you won't pass.  I don't know why.  It's dumb.  It really is.

Her grading system is kinda stupid.  You pass or fail.

Ms. Hagan's grading system is actually helpful because she lets you re-do work until you get an A or B.


On Funny Friday, Ms. Hagan usually has a cheesy joke in mind.  Just laugh at it whether it's funny or not.  It will make her laugh.  

You will need to be funny in this class because the only way to get through this class is to make everything a joke.

Pretend to laugh at her jokes because they are horrible.  Just remember that her jokes such.  Just pretend you like her and do the scatter plot.

Algebra 1 wasn't a struggle.  Act like her jokes are funny.  THEY AREN'T.  Listening to them was bad.  

Don't tell any racist black jokes.

Make fun of her jokes.  Maybe one day they will get better.  If you tell jokes make sure that she can't hear you, or they need to be G-rated.

On Fridays, don't say racist jokes.

Oh Lord, her jokes.  They aren't funny.  I think people just laugh at them to make her feel good.  Her jokes aren't good.  Help her out!

BTW Laugh at her jokes even if they aren't funny.  Guys, help her with them.

Ms. Hagan makes wonderful jokes, so be sure to laugh at them.

Oh!  And, Ms. Hagan's jokes aren't that good.  So help her out and laugh anyways.  Sorry Ms. Hagan, gotta put a smile on your face somehow.


  1. I laughed at this post a lot... I think I will totally try this with my class :)

  2. Mari SchroedingerJune 6, 2015 at 4:56 AM

    I used to have my students in South LA do a similar assignment, and their comments were always amusing and actually somewhat helpful as far as feedback. Heard that you got the key to the city. Just wanted to say Congrats!!! Have been so inspired following your blog. It's great you're receiving the recognition you so clearly deserve :)