Finding the fun

When my sixth-graders started their summer countdown last month, I’ll admit that I got butterflies, eager for the season ahead.

I’m a math teacher in my hometown school district, and I just love the nostalgia that comes with the end of the school year. The first day the neighborhood pool opens, the last day of homework, the familiar tune playing as graduates march bravely across the stage and into the unknown.

This June, I relate to those graduates moving on to bigger and better things. Next fall, I won’t welcome a new group of wide-eyed sixth graders into my classroom.

It’s time for me to stay home and be a mom for awhile.


For the past eight years, my classroom has been a stage where I convinced my sometimes skeptical audience that math is fun! Even (or especially) when the math is challenging.

A friend and colleague taught me that we get to choose our attitude toward learning. For better or worse, this choice affects the way we practice, and ultimately, what we accomplish.

If there’s only one thing my students learned from me, I hope it’s the desire to

find the fun in the challenge.

My oldest daughter simply loved everything about being in kindergarten this year. One of her challenges has been listening to directions the first time they are given.

So, imagine my pride when this “to-do list” came home in her backpack last week:

  wake up, get dressed + shoes, brush hair and teeth, get backpack, go to school,  listen to teacher ,  have fun , come home from school

wake up, get dressed + shoes, brush hair and teeth, get backpack, go to school, listen to teacherhave fun, come home from school

When the bell rang on the last day of school, my sixth-graders scrambled out the door, ditched their backpacks, and hollered with glee all the way to their best friend’s house, the pool, their Playstation, who knows.

My celebration this year feels much quieter. I’m humbled by the opportunity to focus on being a wife and mom.

I anticipate many challenges this summer (and beyond).

For starters, practicing any sort of patience with my five, four, and one year-old daughters, while they work on sharing, getting along, and listening to directions (!).

You’d think after years of wrangling classrooms full of middle schoolers, I’d feel confident about teaching my own kids how to behave.

The truth is that part of me is completely terrified by the vast, unstructured time on the horizon.

One version of my near future involves listening to my girls scream over who gets to do the last puzzle piece, folding a basket of laundry only to have a toddler sneak up and dump it all out, and me literally crying over spilled milk.

Where is the fun here? Perhaps a greater teacher could show me!

In the mean time, we’re brainstorming a new “to-do list.”


Happy summer!