Math Teacher Thanksgiving

We are only a few short days away from our annual Thanksgiving celebration here in the United States.  I am aware that we have readers in Canada, England, Australia, and many other countries throughout the world and I know that you also have many things to be thankful for.  It goes without saying that many readers of the blog are thankful for their God, their family, their friends, and their health among other things. 

In this post, however,  I want to take a few minutes and reflect on things that all math teachers can be thankful for.  So let’s dive right in. 

Here is my list (in no particular order) of 10 things that we, as math teachers, can all be thankful for.  Feel free to add your own items to the list by commenting below the post. 

1) I am Thankful for My Students

Without students, their could be no teachers.  When I survey my classroom, I am amazed by the talented, funny, kind, potential-filled kids that I have been entrusted to teach each day.  In 45-minute chunks, I am given the opportunity to build into their lives, to share stories, to encourage them, to help those that struggle, and to make math come alive for them. 

In short, I have the chance to make a difference in the lives of over 200 students each year.  It is an awesome responsibility and a privilege at the same time.  The longer I teach (27 years now) the more I realize this.

2) Technology

Wow, have things changed since I started teaching!  Today I take attendance online, do grades online, email parents, post homework on my website, perform Google searches, and use hand-held student response systems that look like TV remotes. I use an Airliner wireless tablet to teach my lessons, project them on a screen, switch over to my Elmo projector, or pull up a relevant video clip to instruct my class.   Math software programs can enhance my teaching and I can also use my Mathegories PowerPoints to play a Jeopardy-style game with a few clicks of the mouse. 

All of this technology is a far cry from the time when I considered upgrading from a blackboard to a whiteboard to be high-tech.  Many of these technological advances save me time or help me to present the curriculum in a more engaging manner.

3) Evidence of Our Work Everywhere

People all over the world use mathematics as a tool to help them live their lives, manage their money, make business decisions, weigh the probability of events, peruse sports statistics, purchase goods and services, and so much more.  I can find the math in almost any aspect of life.  All those millions of people running around this globe doing math each day had math teachers that equipped them to navigate this life.

4) Our Enhanced Abilities to Do Mental Math

If you’ve been teaching kids how to work with fractions, decimals, percents, proportions, etc. for a number of years (as I have) then you know that your mental math muscles can grow HUGE!  Now, I don’t want to brag, but I can probably out-math most of my friends due to the sheer volume of practice that I have had.  I’m sure you can too. 

5) Supportive Parents

Teaching mathematics to our students is a team sport.  Dedicated teachers, supportive parents, and conscientious students combine their efforts to ensure the successful mathematics learning of our students.  Most parents are very appreciative of the work we do to benefit their children.

6) There Will Always Be a Demand for Math Teachers

We are in the midst of difficult economic times that have seen school districts all over cutting programs as they continue to look for ways to lower expenses.  With all the proposals that are discussed in closed-door sessions of the school board, I’m quite sure that no one has said, “You know, I’ll bet we could really save some money if we just eliminated math from the curriculum.”  Reading, writing, and mathematics will remain the cornerstones of our educational systems.

7) Colleagues at Our Schools

People are the most valuable thing on this earth.  Building strong relationships with some of those that you work with is fun, fulfilling, and will bring more joy to your workplace.  I have friends at my school that are teachers, custodians, classified staff, teacher’s aides, and even administrators (that’s just a little joke).  We enjoy each other at luncheons, staff parties, and events unrelated to school.  These positive relationships add so much to the overall environment and feel of our school.

8) Math Itself

Mathematics is a beautiful, orderly discipline.  I love math because there are often a wide variety of methods that can be used to arrive at the correct solution to a problem and yet their is often a single, distinct answer.  As math teachers we labor to equip students with as many mathematical tools as possible so that they will be able to take the mathematics and apply it to real life.  Mathematics allows for creativity but it relies on systematic processes.

9) Our Teachers

I am thankful for the teachers I have had.  Most of them were not math teachers, but they all took what they knew and transferred their knowledge to me in a way that opened up new pathways of thought and new possibilities for my life.   Mr. Cuneo, Mr. Tagami, Mrs. Cunningham, Mr. Uhlander, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Wadsley, and Mr. Favour are just a few of the school teachers who made a difference in my life.  Think for a moment about the teachers that made a difference in yours.  Be thankful for them today.

10) I’m Thankful for You!

Finally, I’m thankful for you, one of the readers of my blog.  Each school day you perform the heroic job of being there for the students in your classroom.  You teach them, guide them, help them, praise them, discipline them, and so much more.  You make a difference in the lives of kids every day you stand in front of them. 

Happy Thanksgiving Math Teacher!


Please share what you are thankful for in the comments below. Thank you!

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  1. Janet Gott says:

    Thank you, Mark, for all your inspirational contributions! Your insights and postings are right on the money and seem to come at the best times.

    • Mark Tully says:

      Thank you, Janet, for taking a moment to comment. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. نرگس says:

    with best wishws for all math teacher around the world

    • Mark Tully says:

      Thank you, Narciss. Best wishes to you as well.

  3. Gail says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Sometimes we need to be reminded to stop our busy lives for even just a few moments and be thankful for what we do have.

    • Mark Tully says:

      Gail, I couldn’t agree with you more.

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