do the math


I generally don't share much life stuff on my blog because I basically want to stay on topic.  I have recently, however, started something that may have an effect here and wanted to share what's going on behind the scenes.  

I've told everyone before that I'm a retired engineer…not retired in the traditional sense but in the I-looked-at-my-401K-one-day and said "I'm good".  And we all know what happened there recently.  While I am confident that times will get better, I'm also very practical.  

As we face what will be about 13 years of combined high school and college tuition, I need to contribute.  The easy answer is to hop back on the engineer bus but there are plenty of engineers with manufacturing experience already looking for jobs.  And, for reasons I can't even begin to explain here, I just can't do the whole office environment thing again.  

I have looked at teaching a few times before and ruled it out because it would take too much time and money to start over again.  And, not to sound like a smart ass, but I already knew everything I needed to know to teach math or science.   I looked into it again recently and found that the state of Missouri has approved a program to get more qualified teachers into secondary classrooms. Briefly, the program allows anyone with a college degree to earn a teaching certificate in a "needed" subject area.  I registered last week to begin the program to become certified to teach math.  Deep breath…are you still with me?

The program is pretty rigorous and, not being the most patient person, I plan to knock out the math test in the next two months.  What does this mean blog-wise?  I still plan to create and post, still plan to read blogs and share, still plan to read (and love) comments.  The only thing that may drop off is replying to comments and blog projects (that I recently promised to start…ack).  I'm also the kind of person that gets more done the more I have to do so, who knows, there may be an increase in activity here.  But, just in case things get quiet, I wanted to let everyone know the reason. 

Me as a math teacher.  What do you think?  While my dream would be to teach Calculus to a well-behaved group of high school seniors, I know that not everything turns out like you plan…but I'm optimistic.

34 thoughts on “do the math

  1. That’s great. I am a no-longer-in-the-rat-race mechanical engineer. I also contemplated becoming a teacher through the “alternate route to certification” here in Connecticut. I think the biggest issue was that I didn’t quite have enough math or science to particularly qualify for one or the other, though I am qualified for both. In Connecticut, all teacher must have a masters in education and with the ARC program, I would have to take courses at night and finish the degree in a certain time limit.
    I think you’ll find a job right away. Not nearly enough people who are good at math and sciendce choose the hassles of public school. And I understand that high school is preferable to middle school.
    I think your real world experience will help those kids immensely.


  2. Well done! Good math teachers are sorely needed everywhere. If you do end up teaching calculus, you probably won’t have to worry about student management. I’m a middle school teacher-librarian who happens to love this age group, but I don’t think I’d want to teach them math! I really enjoy your blog.


  3. Julie, good for you! I teach in the public school and it’s a good job. One thing I will say is that I actually enjoyed middle school in my student teaching MUCH more than I expected to and actually more than my high schoolers. πŸ™‚ Also, teachers tend to be crafty people so you’ll have a whole new forum for swapping ideas! πŸ™‚ Kelly


  4. Good luck to you Julie. I know what you mean tho…we have our own business which is still doing okay…but, I have been sending my resume out. Who knows just what might happen.


  5. This actually sounds exciting, Julie. I think it’s a great idea, and heck… you’ll still have summers off. And those lucky kids. I know this is something you can do. πŸ™‚


  6. Like anything in life, it’s worth a try and if you don’t like it or just can’t abide it you can always look into other options.
    My approach to life has always been, ”expect the worst, hope for the best”, things usually fall somewhere in the middle.


  7. I hadn’t seen this before I went to see you (was it up yet?) and it’s been interesting to see everyone’s comments. πŸ™‚
    Calculus on the other hand…lol, you already know I how feel about that!


  8. I think this sounds like a great plan, especially if you have those kinds of skills. It seems to me the kids in my son’s HS math classes are pretty well behaved and attentive – they have to be if they want to have the grades to get into college. Good luck!


  9. wow! best of luck to you! my dad was a high school math teacher for 35 years. then he did some community college courses in his retirement. i’m not sure all his calculus kids were well-behaved, but he always loved his job


  10. Wow… I wish you very well with it all.. but may I add an idea that might also work for you if you don’t need the benifits and want more flexibility?
    Have you thought of opening up a program to teach higher level math to homeschooled kids? I know a local lady who is doing it and makes her own schedule and just loves it.. still teaching, still making money, but not the pressure of some of the down sides that come with the *school* scene. Just a thought..


  11. Back to school is cool! Sorry, I know that is lame but, WOW, that sounds awesome! I know you’ll make a super teacher and I think you’ll really love it since you’re coming from an office environment. I, on the other hand, will probably be looking for an office job when I need to head back to work–I taught 1st grade for 4 years but have been home 10. . . my license is LONG expired!
    Best wishes!!!


  12. Hey, the other day on NPR I heard that math related jobs are some of the ‘healthiest’ careers – biologist & accountant were in the top 10, (part way down the list) – basically job satisfaction, few injuries, etc πŸ™‚
    & math skills are something eVERYONE needs πŸ˜‰ when we have a job shadow (I’m a massage therapist), a ? they usually have on their sheet is “Do you use math skills in your job?” (well, duh!!) & it’s always fun to name the ways πŸ™‚
    You’ll do great, & I think you’ll enjoy it!
    I just have to ad – when I was taking HS geometry, I was also in 4-H, & adding a placket to a shirt front, was pleased to use my geo. skills! My (male) teacher wasn’t as impressed, but I was still happy about it!


  13. I know how you feel about not always having time to blog but I’ll keep checking in. Good luck with the emerging path and creative spirits never die!
    Take care,
    Susannah (Malphi) x


  14. I have been teaching and in education for 20 years. WE need creative people with a fresh approach to teaching. I learned to create lesson plans as a science teacher that tapped into a student’s way of learning – no one learns the same way. Anyway, tap into your creative spirit and teaching will be a lot easier. Make math fun and your kids will adore you.


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