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Don't Shoot Me, I'm Just The Math Teacher!

Joe Pagano

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Yes, all you high school math teachers out there. The time has come for another year of teaching that dreaded of all dreaded subjects: math. No matter you teach basic math, algebra, or pre-calculus, the reaction of the students on that first day is always the same: fear. And because of the pain, you the math teacher, are going to inflict all year round on the students, with all those nasty tests, dreaded homework assignments, projects, and what-have-you’s, those thirty or so pairs of eyes in that first class are going to drill you so deep on that first day that you are going to want to shout, “Don’t shoot me, I’m just the math teacher. ”

But hey. It doesn’t have to be this way. Okay. You might have to deal with those nasty looks the first few days or weeks, but you can quickly establish yourself as a different kind of math teacher, one not hell-bent on destroying all the high school kids on the planet. You see, once kids learn how much you truly care about them through the teaching of your subject then they care little else about whether you are the best teacher in the world, or even the most knowledgeable about your subject area. True, we should know our field well, and we should walk the talk with our students by living what we teach: that we too are students and constantly striving to learn more about our fields every day. Once we do this, we will have achieved something few teachers ever really do: a commanding respect from most if not all of their students.

You see, kids—especially young adolescents—hate hypocrisy. Don’t expect your kids to do their homework if you don’t do yours. But show your students that you are constantly keeping up with your field by reading and studying in it. Carry around interesting books in your field and share excerpts from them in your daily lessons. Relate something in your lesson plan to a book that you are reading. Rather than have your students be dis-connected, re-connect them to the subject and their worlds. Fire those students up by showing passion and a genuine enthusiasm for the field you teach. Once you do this, you will command high respect from your students as well as your peers.

Teaching math doesn’t have to be a ho-hum routine of lesson giving, test taking, and paper marking. Fuel your lessons with life—with passion for a subject that intricately explains just about everything around us. Teach your students that math teaches them to problem solve, and this rare trait is responsible for all the progress in the world. This objective having been met, you will soon find yourself among that rare breed of teachers who not only move mountains but explain the physical process involved.

See more at Interesting Math Site and Interesting Math Ebooks

Joe is a prolific writer of self-help and educational material and an award-winning former teacher of both college and high school mathematics. Under the penname, JC Page, Joe authored Arithmetic Magic, the little classic on the ABC’s of arithmetic. Joe is also author of the charming self-help ebook, Making a Good Impression Every Time: The Secret to Instant Popularity; the original collection of poetry, Poems for the Mathematically Insecure, and the short but highly effective fraction troubleshooter Fractions for the Faint of Heart. The diverse genre of his writings (novel, short story, essay, script, and poetry)—particularly in regard to its educational flavor— continues to captivate readers and to earn him recognition.

Joe propagates his teaching philosophy through his articles and books and is dedicated to helping educate children living in impoverished countries. Toward this end, he donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every ebook. For more information go to


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