An Important Message From A Tutor To A Bitter Middle School Math Teacher

An Important Message From A Tutor To A Bitter Middle School Math Teacher

Having tenure doesn't make you a teacher without flaws.
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To you, bitter tenured math teacher at the local public middle school.

Nora’s mother says you tend to take a while to respond to emails. I trust you’ll have the time to read what I have to say, then.

I don’t think I can blame you if you don’t remember what it’s like to be a kid. I definitely can’t blame you if you don’t remember what it’s like to be a girl in seventh grade. As a recent high-school graduate, I only remembered what seventh grade was like when I was hired as your student Nora’s math tutor. I think what jogged my memory was how unwilling Nora was to try and tackle the material. Nora isn’t a disagreeable kid, either; I’ve babysat her countless weeknights over the past few years. I’ve done homework with Nora before. I’m told that Nora has A’s in all of the rest of her classes, and a 67 percent in math.

Being a girl in seventh grade is not easy.

It’s not the first introduction of puberty, no; it’s just where it starts to get worse. Among all of the things that have changed for you and your female classmates, the girls haven’t quite grown out of being really, really mean. Middle school is way harder than elementary school; the absurd dress code means you’ll never dress comfortably when the temperature is above 60F, you’re confused and moody and lonely and somehow, still, you still feel like you’re going through this all alone. And don’t even get me started on seventh grade boys.

You demand your photocopied homework problems to be answered, step by painstakingly tedious step, on a separate sheet of lined paper. When checking homework, if you don’t write your name on the paper, you get a zero. If you don’t show all of your work, you get a zero. If you write in pen, you get a zero.

Nora is a tall, lanky girl. Taller than my last ex-boyfriend with an eight year age gap, she stands at about 5’8’’. The middle school dress code does not allow shorts or skirts that are five inches above the knee.

Let me remind you: Nora is a tall, lanky girl.

Nora spent her entire math class in the main office crying, waiting for her mother to bring her a pair of jeans. She wore a skater skirt to school that day, with bike shorts underneath. This is when I remembered my experience with the dress code in seventh grade: when I was in seventh grade, I was 4’11’’. My best friend was more than half a foot taller than me, and would have gotten sent to the office had she borrowed some of my shorts and worn them to school because of her height.

As sad as I was that nothing had changed in the years since I’d left that middle school, I wanted to outsmart you, her evil math teacher, the reason why she was afraid to talk to her father about school. I worked with Nora for a minimum of two hours a week, making flashcards, color-coding quadrilateral prisms, writing down step after painstakingly tedious step in straight, neat handwriting.

Nora knew the material. Every week I’d come back and she’d still be failing. I tried to get her mother to stop paying me.

Nora’s grandparents moved into her room this year, so her parents could keep an eye on them as their Alzheimer’s worsened. She shared a room with her (very) little sister while her grandparents milled around the house, oblivious to how their comments towards Nora might distract her. As Nora’s final in your class approached, she made more and more mistakes. She was acing the homeworks, and flunking every test, overcome with anxiety.

She’s just a seventh grade girl. She’s not an old woman, with tenure, who has known about variables for so long that they seem like second nature. Nora is just a girl, and being twelve is the hardest thing she’s experienced in her life. You, seasoned teacher, have the obligation to be able to tell the difference between a student who is trying the best they can and a student who really just doesn’t care.

Thanks for triggering the unveiling all of those repressed memories from the worst years of my life. Now I recommend that you retire.

Cover Image Credit: Math-Aids.Com

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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