I’ve been incredibly busy lately. I knew that my first year of teaching would entail incredible amounts of work on my part and it has definitely proved to be all of that and more. I’m happy to say that I’m loving every minute of it, though!

Teaching high school students has proven to be one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences in my life thus far. I learn something new every day and there is never a dull moment both in and out of the classroom. What has surprisingly proven to be one of the most difficult things for me in my teaching experience so far is how my students have this incredible talent to somehow get me completely off topic. One second I’m talking about algebra and the next minute I’m talking about how New Zealanders call all candy lollies which I find confusing because whenever someone says lolly I think of a lolly pop but a lolly is really any kind of candy over here besides chocolate. I think? See – I don’t even know. Wait, was I talking about triangles? Where am I? You darn kids!

Today, I was teaching a Trigonometry lesson and hilarity ensued.

A plane takes off at an angle of 41° with the ground. It travels through the air until it is 8m high. How far has the plane traveled through the air?

Don’t worry. We don’t actually have to do math. I will show you my beautiful picture that I drew on the whiteboard, though. I demonstrated how our diagram should be drawn (with some feedback from my students, of course), and then I drew in a plane because you’ve got to illustrate your triangle pictures!

The problem is… I can’t draw. That is my plane. (If you play me in Draw Something then you will understand.)

A couple students started laughing.

One student said, “Miss! Haven’t you ever been on a plane before?”

Laughter followed. Because, of course, here I am – a foreign teacher standing in front of the class. This New Yorker teaching a class of New Zealanders while in New Zealand. Have I ever been on a plane? Gee, I wonder. (Maybe I should have taken it as a compliment that they think I fit in so well that I belong here.)

I looked at the student quite seriously and replied, “No. I actually swam here.”

More laughter.

Then I continued with my board work.

The best thing about writing on the board is that you can turn around and smile and smirk while you’re writing but the students can’t see. Then you can turn around all calm and composed and make a perfect, premeditated remark at just the right time to make them not know what to think. Turn around and write again. Throw in some math. Catch them off guard. Rinse and repeat.

I love teaching high school.

Comments on this post

  • I would have loved to have you as a high school teacher for math. In college, I had one math teacher who didn’t use a whiteboard or chalkboard, but powerpoint. We weren’t allowed to interrupt his presentation to ask questions, and had to wait until the end of class and remember what it was that was confusing us about whatever topic (it was algebra, functions and the like). Except that it took him the whole class period to get through all his slides >.< I ended up going to the math lab for extra help and had another teacher basically teach me his class. Oy. But, yay that you're having fun and learning with your students!

    • See, that is why so many people hate math! It’s such a shame! I’m sorry you had such a bad experience!

  • I’m so glad to hear that you’re happy and enjoying yourself on the other side of the world! :)

  • I’m pretty sure that you’re the coolest math teacher in the world. I imagine it takes a lot of guts to teach high school students ANYTHING, let alone math, and I so totally admire you for it! :D

  • Aww, I agree with the others that I would have loved you for MY math teacher. :D It never was a fun subject for me (still isn’t my fave thing to do, even the basics) and it sounds like you would have def made it enjoyable. Glad it’s going so well for you!!

  • I wish we had more teachers like you!

  • I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying it. I’ve never taught math in a high school classroom, but I’ve always loved tutoring groups in algebra, geometry, and trig. When the kids understand something new and their faces light up, it’s great.

    I label all of my drawings because they’re absolutely horrific. I’m shameless, though.

    • Tutoring math in high school is what made me become interested in teaching in the first place! I know what you mean about their faces lighting up. It’s definitely such a rewarding thing to see. :)

  • I would like to teach English someday. I think it’s a job I would be passionate about. I wanted to become a translator but, since most (if not all) translators work for home (and the idea of working from home doesn’t sound appealing to me), I changed my mind.

    • That’s awesome! I think teaching is so much fun. You definitely should teach a subject that you’re passionate about and I’m definitely excited and passionate about math. Sometimes my students are a bit “scared” at how excited I become over math. Good luck!

  • You must be a great teacher ;)

    If it makes you feel better, I think that being laughed at means they like you? I never laughed at teachers I didn’t like – laughing shows that they are comfortable.

  • If I could put up with the kids I’d love to be a high school teacher. BTW, your Draw Something pictures are better than mine.

    • What subject would you teach, Cori?
      Haha, it depends. Some of my Draw Something pictures are pretty horrid.

  • :D glad you’re enjoying it! Though that turning around and smirking trick doesn’t work when you’re laughing :P

    • Haha that is definitely true. That has happened once or twice where I just burst out laughing. :P

  • Sounds like a lot of fun, Caity. I’m so happy for you, you get to do something that makes you really happy and that’s what it’s all about. :)

  • You are seriously such an awesome teacher. Not that I didn’t like my high school math teacher, because she was pretty hilarious, but you are just so great. I think I would hate math no matter what, though, haha. I’m just not good at it.

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying your job and everything is working out for you!

    • Oh, thanks so much! I definitely think a teacher can make such a big difference. I have had both teachers that made such positive influences in my life and teachers who just taught the subject matter – and although those teachers were doing their job I don’t really remember a thing.

  • So happy to hear you’re enjoying your job!! (my cousin is a bit more stressed with her first year of teaching…of course she’s filling in and has to learn the stuff herself before she teaches it every week). I love that you get to use whiteboards! I always remember the horrible days when the teacher would have squeaky chalk *shiver* And I am in awe of your math talents…I’ve forgotten a huge chunk of what I learned in school, even though my mom says I was good at it when I was doing it lol.

    • Yes, whiteboards are great but there are times when I wish I could use a chalkboard too. Making graphs are easier on chalkboards, I think. I hope that your cousin gets less stressed as she goes along. I’m finding that I am!

  • The world would have more math-fans if there were more teachers like you. <3

  • It has been said a million times already, but GOD I wish you were my math teacher! I am currently having the most horrid experience with my own math teacher, and I can honestly say I have never had a positive math experience, ever. The only times where I have had a positive experience has been when I have been by myself and then having an epiphany. I get nothing out of the classes what so ever.

    My point is, I wish there were more teachers like you, who are passionate and dedicated and FUN and down-to-earth, etc, etc, etc.
    I’m so happy for you that you are having such a good experience!

    • Thanks so much! I’m sorry to hear that you are having such a bad experience with your math teacher. It really makes me so sad to hear about these things because math is so hard for lots of people already that a teacher shouldn’t make it even more painful!

  • I would’ve LOVED to have you as my math teacher. I am dyscalculate and my teacher didn’t take that into consideration and she was overall the dullest, most monotone and unmotivating teacher there is. She failed me at math but the principle changed it to 5 (which is almost-fail-but-still-pass) because you can’t fail a dyscalculate person in math. It’s not my fault I can’t handle numbers, just like a dyslexic person can’t handle words/letters and whatnot.

    I have a feeling Caity Awesome would’ve been much more gentle with a brain-melt like myself. :) Can I come study math in your class, please? <3

    • Ahh, I’m sorry to hear about that. I actually make up a few different lesson plans for a lesson to accommodate the different levels of learning in my class. So yes, I would have. <3

  • Except for my first year, I really enjoyed subbing at the high school I worked at. The high school students are all a blast, and they are so amusing. They are not wonderful when they are testing me, though! Still, your entry made me smile, and as someone who cannot draw, I could really relate.

    Now, I cannot relate with maths. I looked at that triangle and my brain shut down LOL.

    • I did enjoy subbing when I did it, too! Both junior high and high school students are really fun to be around and can definitely be amusing. You’re right though – it’s not fun to be tested or have your limits pushed.

  • Well, it’s wonderful that you are having a good time while teaching. It is so important to love your job :) Busy is better than bored!

  • I read this and HAD to comment. I am a high school student and my precalculus teacher sounds like you. She constantly says she can’t draw. We were working on parabolas this year and she was drawing on the board, to over exaggerate the fact they the don’t ever though she grabbed a chair and began writing on the wall. Everyones jaws dropped. Anyway it sounds awesome that your having a great time teaching. Its nice to know that high school teachers actually do enjoy their job. :)

    • It’s so great to hear that you have a teacher that you love so much! Most of us teachers really do love our jobs! :)

  • I couldn’t respond to the recipe post because I don’t cook. I will say the picture looked YUMMY.

    This post, however, really caught my attention. It’s nice to see you so happy as a teacher. Not a surprise, but just nice. This whole post made me smile and I can feel how much you enjoy what your doing. Because of that, I bet your students will also learning. I think you learn best when there’s fun in it. It sounds like you make learning lots of fun. I loved the picture. I was so bad at math. Algebra was a disaster. I never understood it. Geometry, on the other hand, I loved because it made sense to me. I wish I’d had you as a teacher:~)

    Have a great weekend!

    • Haha! Thank you so much! It really is my aim to make learning fun. I think if students want to learn then they will learn more. If I have to fight them the entire way then we’ll get there a lot slower. :)

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