888 Days: My Journey to Become a Teacher

Yesterday served as the first official day in my new career as a credentialed, mathematics teacher.  My journey to yesterday started 888 days ago when I took the California Basic Educational Skills Test (“CBEST”) on March 6th, 2009, shortly before I chose to end my twenty-five year career in high-tech.  Little did I know then how long the path could be.

The path between then and now twisted and turned, and rose and fell as I negotiated the multitude of hurdles those desiring to enter the teaching profession must overcome.  With perseverance, support from family and friends, and a helping hand from above, I neared the end of the first stage of my journey with receipt of my preliminary single-subject teaching credential in secondary mathematics, as well as in physics (specialized).

When I began this trek, I naïvely thought I could start teaching in the fall of 2009 since I had a BS in electrical engineering, an MBA in finance and marketing, and a quarter century of experience that could translate well into the classroom, such as my experience supporting youth in Boy Scouts and Little League baseball.  From everything I read, our nation was clamoring for teachers, math teachers especially, and yet try as I might, the only path open to me, of which I was aware, was through a traditional education program; no district close to home was hiring for intern teaching positions.

Yet as with any dark cloud, the silver lining turned out better than any original plan I conceived.  Stanford’s Teacher Education Program (STEP) accepted my application leading to one of the most intense twelve months of my life from June 2010 to June 2011.  Prior to starting STEP, I spent eight months volunteering at a local charter high school in its math department.  The school had greater than 95% Hispanic population and over 65% free and reduced lunch.  During their 2009-2010 academic year graduation, watching the eight or so seniors I helped pass their first and second semester geometry finals walk across the stage capped off my entrée into the educational field.  This work brings true meaning to my labor, filled with moments helping students to grow and to learn what it takes to be productive citizens in our great country.  Just over a year ago, one of the students bumped into me in our local mall and spent twenty minutes telling me how he was doing and thanking me for helping him graduate.  What a wonderful gift to receive for sharing my time.

While Stage 1 officially ended yesterday with my first day of employment in my school district, Stage 2 begins with two years of Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (“BTSA”) in pursuit of my clear credential.  I welcome this next stage of my professional advancement in the teaching profession.  More importantly, I am very excited about the first day of classes for students which is just around the corner, on Monday August 15, 2011.

Look for more posts from me as I venture forth in my latest journey.


For those familiar with numerology, the number ‘888’ is replete with hidden meaning.  As an example, for the Chinese, the number ‘888’ has a most fortunate meaning of “three times the prosperity,’ which equates to “wealthy, wealthy, wealthy.”

A Google search for “888 meaning” turns up plenty of interesting attributions.  According to one site, 888 is the number of Jesus in the Greek alphabet.  In the Greek alphabet each number is assigned a numerical value and when Jesus is spelled in the Greek, which is the original language of the New Testament, his name comes out to the sum of 888.

The numeric sum of the letters spelling Jesus in Greek is 888.

Iesous = I (10) + e (8) + s (200) + o (70) + u (400) + s (200) = 888

(The "e" is not the Greek epsilon, it is eta.)

Per the same site, the number 8 turned horizontally symbolizes infinity, which they also refer to as Endless Life.  They go on to state that “It means all time, past, present and future, centered in the present moment of NOW.  On the Highest Spiritual level all time is NOW.  Everything that ever happened is occurring NOW and everything that ever will happen is happening NOW. We create our present from our past and our future from our present.  It is Karma. So 888 is a Triply Karmic Day. Karmic to the third Power. This is a very powerful occurrence.”

From a mathematical perspective, 888 = 2^3 × 3 × 37 and is the sum of eight consecutive primes (97 + 101 + 103 + 107 + 109 + 113 + 127 + 131).  It is also known as a Harshad number.

In a serendipitous moment, after picking up my eldest son a few moments ago from his friend’s house, the friend came to the door to prevent his two dogs from escaping.  I could not help but notice the “888 Monkeys” emblazoned across his t-shirt.  Some things are more than coincidence.

The 888 day period was calculated using this site.  It provided the following data.

From and including: Friday, March 6, 2009
To, but not including : Thursday, August 11, 2011

It is 888 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date

Or 2 years, 5 months, 5 days excluding the end date

Alternative time units

888 days can be converted to one of these units:

  • 76,723,200 seconds
  • 1,278,720 minutes
  • 21,312 hours
  • 126 weeks (rounded down)

About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Independent consultant and junior college adjunct instructor. Former secondary math teacher who taught math intervention, algebra 1, geometry, accelerated algebra 2, precalculus, honors precalculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Statistics. Prior to teaching, I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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10 Responses to 888 Days: My Journey to Become a Teacher

  1. John Berray says:

    Congratulations! Well done.


  2. Rufus Dogg says:

    Congratulations and congrats on the shout out from @DianeRavitch on Twitter!

    I started out wanting to be a secondary ed English teacher and completed the degree, only never got credentialed. Teachers started out at $18,000/yr when I finished and I had a family to support. So, I sold out to a corporate gig. My company is well-established now and can run without me, so I started poking around to see if I could pick up the dream. Turns out an English BA is worth almost nothing now to become a teacher and I would need to go back for a whole year, maybe even get an MA just to compete. They sure do throw a lot of obstacles in your way…. And given the current political winds that beat teachers down as leeches and incompetents, I’m not sure I want to do that anymore.

    But I probably will anyway… I’ll be following your first year on the blog. Perhaps it will be inspiration to make that first step off the ledge….


    • The pay is wanting for sure. I am starting (in real dollars) in my first year making what I made over 20 years ago; adjusting for inflation, it is much less. Thankfully, I could adjust my monthly expenses to match the significantly reduced income (I now will make approximately 25% of what I made in high-tech in 2009) without compromising our quality of life too much. More importantly, we were able to keep our two boys in a close by neighborhood and in the same schools to minimize any disruption in their lives.

      I hope you are able to follow your dream someday. I am so glad I took the first step. Best wishes!


  3. Congratulations on securing your credentials! I look forward to hearing what your experience is like as a first-year teacher and how it compares with what you expected. May I add you to my blogroll?


  4. Reblogged this on Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher and commented:

    In celebration of Chinese New Year, I’m re-blogging this post from 2011.


  5. ~MIAH~ says:

    About year before this I went from teaching at the university to high school and experienced some of the craziest moments in a transformative year. By my second year, I bounced back and felt I was making progress, by my third year I was on track to figuring out what I knew I didn’t know…ironically, my journey took six years to be considered “highly qualified” which I may consider sharing. That being said, your vast amount of real world experience would be an incredible asset to share with your students and I hope they can appreciate that.


  6. Pingback: Is it Worth Being a Teacher? | Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher

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