After 25+ years in high-tech (wireless and GPS mostly), I am embarking on a second career to which I feel a calling: teaching. Something called to me for many, many years but I was never tuned in enough to figure out what. Now, I know. It’s teaching high school students how to make the most of themselves in life as capable, competent citizens, full of self-esteem and self-confidence tempered by some humility and empathy for those who have less, and eager to serve their nation and this world in their life, whatever career path they choose. While the subject I will teach is mathematics, it is simply the conduit for my wish to impart to students, of all socioeconomic backgrounds: knowledge, the ability to think independently and in groups, the confidence to make mistakes and fail while pulling oneself up so as to never give up entirely, the wisdom to seek help, and the desire to do your best.

Now, as for why math? My experiences in life struggling with math, overcoming it, successfully applying it in various technical and business fields, and now, as a teacher, looking at it as an art, in addition to my experiences of math as a science (or a set of tools for use in solving problems), provide me with a range of knowledge, applications and techniques to help the most challenged in math to the most gifted (to a point…). I am passionate about delivering an equitable and accessible math curriculum and instruction, taking into account other pedagogical, special needs and English language learner considerations, so I can be a math teacher for all students: rich or poor, self-confident or self-conscious, struggling or excelling, excited or bored, math hater or -lover, English conversant or not.

Carpe diem!

**NB:** *I purposely use pseudonyms for students, teachers, administrators, colleagues, myself, etcetera, as well as the locations at which I interact with these folks to keep my postings anonymous. I respect their privacy and need for anonymity. At the same time, my experiences with these individuals and institutions are the raw material for my reflections on how to become a better educational professional, so I incorporate real-world situations into my postings. Please respect this anonymity, especially if you know me, where I teach, etcetera. Thanks!*

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Hello Dave a.k.a. Math Teacher,

I really appreciate your desire to teach math based on your experiences with it. I can very much appreciate your point of view. Your concept of having students understand why the math rules work, rather than just memeorizing the rules, is so foundationally wonderful.

I would like to mention your section on flipping a fraction with negative exponents. As wonderful as the explanation is, I was hoping that you might consider a couple of steps that might even further clearify why flipping works. It helped me tremendously to keep in mind that any fraction multiplied by its denominator of opposite esponetial power equals one. Therefore, when a fraction to a power [(a/b)^2] is placed under one (for example), it is really the numerator to the power as well as the denominator to the power.[(a^2/b^2)] and that the denominator and numerator of this can be multiplied by the negative power of that denominator. Making [(a^2 * b^-2)] then you can do the same with the same with the numerator (a^2) making[(b^-2/a^-2)], and this explains clearly, exactly where the flip took place. Now, of course you can consolidate to say (b/a)^-2 all over one. The rest is easy because of the principles you just used to get this far. By multiplying the opposite power of the denominator (b/a)^+2 to both the numerator and the denominator you get (b/a)^2 in the numerator and 1 in the denominator.

I hope that you do not mind my thoughts on simplyfing your explanation, but I feel that this step to actually seeing the flip take place might be a great visual aid to struggling students that need to understand where,when, why and how it actually happens. I know that I did.

Please let me know what you think of my comment. You can reach me at erroltennisjazzman@yahoo.com

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Thanks for your comment, Errol. I can see where that could help many students.

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Mr. Dave AKA Mr. Math Teacher – can I contact you via email? My email address is abhay DOT patil AT gmail DOT com. I would greatly appreciate if you drop a line so I could reach out to you. Regards. Abhay

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Hi Abhay. I prefer not to correspond with readers via email. As appropriate, we can do so via the comments section. Best, Dave.

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I do understand and appreciate your email policy. Let me tell you you are doing great – both as a teacher and as a communicator! Thanks again.

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Thank you, Abhay. It is nice to receive the kudos. Last year wore me out, and I have not fully recovered so your kind words truly help.

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Hello Dave! I nominated you for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award. Please follow this link to accept and review the rules: http://mathedconcepts.com/2013/02/09/very-inspirational-blogger-award/

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Thanks so much. I’ve been under the weather for a bit and swamped with teaching so have not had time to blog or check on my site. Hope all is well!

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I understand! Get well and thank you for responding! All is well. 🙂

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Help us promote math education with the Math Video Challenge!

As a proponent of math education in the United States, we need your help to promote our nationwide math competition by blogging or posting about it on your blog/forum.

As you probably already know, despite the fact that the US spends the most money on education per capita, our students are ranked 25th globally for math proficiency. The MATHCOUNTS Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to improving that statistic. MATHCOUNTS’ third annual “ Math Video Challenge” is a math competition for 6th to 8th graders that encourages student innovation as they create and star in their own math videos, thus exciting them to pursue higher education in math.

As the webmaster of Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher, we are asking you to help support this effort by mentioning us in your next blog or forum post or promoting our logo with a link to the site. So far this contest has gathered over 500

submissions and millions of views on the videos. Our goal this year is this year is to do even better. With your help, we are confident we will reach this goal.

For more information on MATHCOUNTS or the Math Video Challenge, visit our webpages at mathcounts.org and videochallenge.mathcounts.org/math-camera-action.

Respectfully,

Jake Byrnes

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This is a busy time for you, but know that your fans are eagerly awaiting your next blog post. Please keep us informed how the year is coming along.

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