Mister, why are you teaching math if you could be a singer?

SunsetBronxRiverParkway_walkinggeekYesterday, Mr. W started his trigonometry class by singing.  He sang “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain acapella, in a beautiful tenor vibrato. “It’s the song I used for my American Idol audition,” he told the class.

At their best, this particular group of 11-12th graders are curious and excited about learning.  At their worst, they can be cynical and complaining, and can wear a teacher down.

As Mr. W was singing, though, the students visibly melted, and  smiles broke out.
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Be like Omolaja

wpid-wp-1446810698816.jpgMr. Omolaja is a presence.*

The other day, I was in the cafeteria with Mr. Omolaja, and our radar went to Manuel, a student with  his pants halfway down his thighs.  He was slouching.

Mr. Omolaja gestured for Manuel to come over. Manuel ambled over cowboy-style, the only option for walking given the level of his pants.

Mr. Omolaja gestured to his own belt, which was at his waist.

“Manuel, pull your pants up,” he said.  “Be like Omolaja.” Continue reading

I think we’re all going to get 100% in this class

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Today I visited a 9th grade Economics* class.  Students were working in groups helping each other figure out a word problem.

“How do you get a good grade in this class?”  I asked a group.

“Oh, it’s easy maam,” said Hassan.**   “You just have to pay attention to the teacher, do your homework, and when you have a question, you can’t just sit there and be quiet, you have to ask the other kids.”

“So how do you think you’re all doing?” I asked.

Hassan looked around the room, tilting his chair back, then looked at his group.  “I think everyone in this class is going to get 100,” he said confidently.

I liked Hassan’s answer. Continue reading