Have a Slice!

… oh , you know, because that’s my totally lame pun for today, Pi Day!

I had three great teachers when I was a kid.

  • My third grade teachers.  It was a funky, team-taught class held in a wonderland that had been the school’s cafeteria that, when it was renovated for this education experiment that I got to be part of, was turned into six enormous learning centers with a huge central common area.  To this day, my all-time favorite classroom experience.
  • My 12th grade English teacher.  He was the first teacher who took me seriously as a writer and encouraged me to do more than just “get by” with my writing (dashing off something at the last minute without really trying because I knew my writing was good enough to pass).

Yeah, really.  Three.   That’s it.  I’m not saying every other teacher I had was awful (although there were some really awful ones).  I’m just saying those three were the gold standard.

In third grade I learned that “class” doesn’t have to fit a rigid mold of desks in a row and raising your hand before you speak … and I learned that I thrived in an environment in which I had freedom to think on my own and play while learning.  My English teacher reminded me just how much my friend language was and helped me see that I shouldn’t be lazy about using it.  Each taught me something that connects to my teaching, but they aren’t the reasons I became a teacher. 

I became a teacher because of the others, the teachers who humiliated me or other students in front of our peers, the teachers who wrote us off before the first class started, the teachers who didn’t care enough to challenge us with innovative lessons, the angry and burnt-out teachers who should have left the classroom years before I arrived.

So today is Pi Day. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been looking through lessons and resources to share with the Basic Ed and GED teachers in my program.  I’ve found some fun stuff (thank you, National Council of Teachers of Math!), and I’ve found myself thinking about those teachers who inspired me to teach, the ones who showed me what NOT to do in the classroom.  Why were they teachers?  Why couldn’t they have taken the time to come up with a lesson even vaguely as fun and creative as the ones I’ve been looking at for Π-day?  Being a teacher is hard and tiring, but it’s also challenging, energizing and fun … or it should be if you’re doing it even halfway right.

One of the things I love about my job is getting to work with a group of really fabulous and dedicated teachers.  One of the things I love about being part of Ruth and Stacey’s Slice of Life Challenge is that it connects me to a growing crowd of fabulous and dedicated teachers.  I think of the students lucky enough to be in classrooms with the slicers, and I have to smile.

Happy Pi-day, everyone!

Check out all the excellent slices over at Two Writing Teachers!


6 thoughts on “Have a Slice!

  1. How clever to tie Pi Day to Slice of Life! Didn’t even think of that… I enjoyed reading about your favorite teachers. My favorite teachers was my AP English Teacher. He had high expectations, respected us, and was a Prince (aka “Artist Formally Known as Prince) fan! 🙂


    1. Kim, that would be because you, perhaps, hadn’t spent the last two weeks just itching for Pi Day to get here! Hmm … I wonder if any of my teachers would have been Prince fans? Seems doubtful, but one never knows!


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