Math has always been a roller coaster for me. I know that just like a roller coaster it can be scary for some and it can cause some anxiety. However, sometimes for a brief moment it is exciting and fun. I always thought math to be interesting and I was drawn to it.
As a child, I started my math journey in Mexico. The experience was more stressful than anything that I had faced at that time. Teachers would be strict and expected you to memorize facts all day long. If you didn't know your multiplication facts in 2nd grade you get smacked with a ruler in your palms. I remember once, I got hit with the ruler because I didn't know the answer to some math problem. Thankfully, by second grade we came to the States. But moved from place to place as my parents looked for jobs. My schooling consisted of a couple of months in one school before we moved on to the next. I really feel was out of sorts. Learning a new language was difficult. I don’t think I had the luxury to communicate with my teachers and classmates until about the 4th grade. I was never around people that looked like me until about the 5th grade when we finally settled down in Chicago.
In 5th grade, I caught up to my peers in speaking, reading, writing. Math followed shortly. I was good at memorization of math facts. I really liked competing against others or getting 100’s on my assignments. I thought I was doing well enough in class to think that I was good at math. However, when High School came around I learned otherwise.
In High School I struggled with algebra and geometry. I can honestly say that I don’t think I was prepared to tackle this confusing concepts. However, I got my self tutoring and manage to pass all my classes. I couldn’t ask for help from my parents because they weren’t able to comprehend the vast concepts of geometry and algebra. I didn’t take calculus or any higher courses. As a matter a fact I stayed away from it. I guess I began to doubt myself.
In college, I think I truly began to understand math as more than just procedures that needed to be memorized. I had a great teacher that helped me go back to the basics and install a strong foundation. Once, I graduated college and began to teach. I really wanted to pass on this new information to my students about math. I was send to our Networks Math professional developments in my first year teaching and have either volunteer or being send ever since then.
Today, I see myself more and more as a mathematician. I am more comfortable teaching math to my students. I definitely see myself teaching math.
How is your Math Journey?
My priority list goes like this.
1) Being a good person
2) Spending time with family
3) Health (Eating healthy, exercising)
4) Career (Improving as a teacher)
5) Friends (co-workers)
6) Hobbies (drawing, running, sports)
7) Saving for retirement
8) Learning to cook better
9) Taking care of my lawn
10) Cleaning my desk
At the top of my priority list would be to be a good person. I feel the best about myself after doing good deeds. I like knowing that I can get good Karma if I do good things. I would like to be remembered as a good person that tried to help others.
Next would be spending time with family. (Dosie, Charlie, Parents, siblings.) I think family is one of the most important things we have in this world. They help you when you are down and tend to love you no matter what. Most families try their best to support you and guide you down a good path. So, I know I have to be there for them.
What would you put on your priority list? And why?
So, when I was a child I really liked to watch the Chicago Bulls games because at that time (1990's) they were winning championships. They won 3 straight championships. Then Michael Jordan retired so that he could go play baseball. But 2 years later he came back to the NBA and led his team to 3 straight championships again. I use to look up to Michael Jordan because of his dedication to being the best. He would work harder than any other player to improve his shooting and defense. I thought if I could learn how he was successful then I could also be successful in other areas of my life. Later on in life, I really admired Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez because they all made sacrifices to help others. People who make a real positive impact in the world are the kind of people that I admire.
Who do you admire and why?
My life at home is always busy, full of things to do. Whether is going to the store to buy food for Charlie or for ourselves. We have to do the laundry, fold the clothes, clean, cook, throw out the garbage, pay bills, take care of the car maintenance. In the winter we have to shovel the snow, meanwhile in the summer we have to mow the lawn. After all the daily or weekly chores are done; being at home is a time to relax. We like to catch up on shows from Hulu or Netflix and a watch a movie once in a while. We go for walks or bike riding around our neighborhood, if the weather is fine. We do puzzles or decorate our front windows according to the seasons.
When I was a child my life at home was sometimes stressful. We lived in an area where it was much more dangerous. We use to hear random fights or acts of violence outside of our apartment. When I would come from school sometimes my parents were still working so it was hard to talk to them about my day. And sometimes I had homework that they were not able to help me with because they didn't understand it.
Most of the time life at home is peaceful. My life at home is re-energizing, life at home is safe. How is your life at home?
Okay, I would like to start off by sharing some of my things that I wish my old teachers knew. I always wanted them to know that I didn't speak that much in 5th and 6th grade because I didn't want to make a mistake in English when I spoke. I wasn't really that good at communicating in English because I only had a few years in the country. I think my teachers thought I was shy, but I wasn't I just didn't feel to comfortable to speak yet. I also wished my old teachers knew that I liked to draw so that they would've done more activities with drawing. I wish my high school teacher, Mr. Cesario knew that I was falling asleep in his class not because his class was boring but because I was always exhausted from the previous day after many miles of running. It was my first class and I never ate breakfast so I would always be tired. I never got a chance to tell him that. I also wish that my old teachers knew that sharing things about their life with us would make us like school more. (At that time they really never got to know us or us got to know them). I wish my teachers knew that I appreciate their hard work and how they helped me become a better person.
What do you wish your teachers knew?
When I was a kid I was really fast at running. I was so fast I was able to keep up with bicycles. I used that ability to run from my childhood and joined running clubs in Elementary and High school. I now am encouraging other students to find their own journey with running. I want you to reflect on your strengths. What are you amazing at? What things can you do in the future with those abilities?
If I could be an animal I wish that I was a Eagle or an Elephant. I think Eagles are very cool because they can see from so far away. They can fly fast and are really liked by people for their majestic beauty. I like the Elephants because they live in a society that seems pretty loving. They take care of each other. Plus, how cool would it be to be that big. They are intelligent and they make me laugh when I see them in the zoo. I definitely would be a free elephant though running in the wild. I like all animals but these are a few that I wouldn't mind being in their shoes.
What cool animal would you like to be? Why?
I like a lot of books but I'll focus on the novels we have read in 5th grade the last couple of years. I liked Esperanza Rising because the story is so similar to the story of Dosie's grandmother. When I read the novel of Esperanza Rising I feel like its telling the story of her life. I like Percy Jackson because it has plenty of action, suspense and twists. I like how the author found a way to make Greek mythology relevant to today's youth. I like Holes because it is a fun book that has different stories within the main story. However, I really enjoyed Wonder because it has to do with social injustices many students face in school or at home. I thought it was well written to show the characters different perspectives. I liked learning how another character saw the situation totally different than how the other character saw it.
What is your favorite books?
My holiday break was interesting. I was sick most of the time. When I say sick, I mean sick. I had a fever, cough, running nose and headaches. It really made me appreciate when I am healthy. I stayed home most of the time. I only went out a few times to celebrate Christmas eve and Christmas day with family. And I did go bowling towards the ending of the break when I was feeling better. I also went to the theater to see Star Wars. I played indoor basketball in a church gym. And went out to a really nice Italian Restaurant. Overall, it was fine. Oh yeah, I did get some cool presents like a nice shirt, sweaters, and a gift card. But the best part was that I spend some time with Dosie and Charlie. Although Charlie was a bad boy!
How was your Winter break?
Please write somethings that you like about 5th grade this year. And if there are somethings that you do not like please write those as well. I want you to reflect on your experience as a 5th grader. Please provide examples and details to further enhance your ideas.