Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Page out of My Life—Teacher Call Home

Math used to be like the big bully waiting at the back of the bus to give me a wedgie. Let’s just say I’ve never been a huge fan of numbers. (This is not something I advertised as I calculated figures for the Microsoft Giving Campaign. I’m excellent with a calculator.)

Words. Words I can do, but numbers, well, they scare me. That’s why the following stuck in my memory.

During my junior year of high school, I’d spent almost every Thursday staying after school trying to master my favorite of the math courses—Plane Geometry. I’d received some Dogs and a few Frogs on my homework and some quizzes. I wanted my GPA to remain strong, but math remained my nemesis. I stared dreamily out the window as Mrs. Lippencott graphed and spoke the foreign language of numbers to me. Fellow classmates tossed Frisbees, lounged on the grass and chased each other to their cars to flee the school zone.

Not me. I was stuck learning about the thing I loathed most.

Our final exam counted for something like 98% of our final grade (you know how that logic goes). My face caught on fire as I hammered out theorems and made pretty shapes on the page. In my gut, I hoped all those hours of staying after paid off.

But then the bell rang. I left school behind and thoughts of the beach flooded my mind.
It wasn’t until later that day, after I’d finished my third bowl of ice cream, that I got the call.

In something like two hours I’d forgotten all about school. I washed all thoughts of the plane geometry out of my mind. But someone else hadn’t.

I snatched the phone when it rang. Mrs. Lippencott greeted me.

I felt like a dump truck slammed a load of parallelograms and rhombuses down on my head. I wanted to forget, I ached to scream. Let me forget. It’s summer for goodness sakes!

But this time the news was good.

I aced my final.

Aced it!

Made the Dogs and Frogs come up to a Bat. I was ecstatic about a Bat.

I remember thinking how cool it was she bothered to call (it was summer for her too). She could have waited for me to see the results on my report card. But my teacher wanted me to know I got an A, to see the results of my hard work. She started my summer with that and I’ll forever be grateful.

Did a teacher ever call your home for a positive reason?

*photos by flickr
**Thank you for your sincere responses to my last post!


  1. What a great and thoughtful teacher!

    Sometimes the working hard and achieving it is much more satisfying and memorable than the things that come easy to us. Maybe that's why publishing is so rewarding. :)

  2. For some reason I do feel like a teacher called me to let me know I did well on a test, but I can't remember who! LOL
    Math is my nemesis too. I really struggled with it in school.
    Three bowls of ice cream, huh? *grin*

  3. I love that feeling!!! I still get it after completing big things.... ice cream and all.

  4. Yes! When I was in college and for the same reason! I went from terrified to exhilerated in two seconds. =)

  5. Hi Wendy -

    With so many kids in our school, telephone calls were out of the question. Report cards and parent/teacher conferences provided the feedback.

    I do remember struggling with Algebra. About a month into the semester, something clicked. After that, I made high marks.

    Susan :)

  6. Heidi, I think you're right. It's why keeping at it is so important. Fruit tastes good!

    Jessica, Yeah, it was a weakness. Loving your news lately.

    Jennie, You've got some great big things coming down the pike. Can't wait for them. So pumped God is blessing your vision!

    T.Anne, Yep. Exactly the feeling switch.

    Susan, My daughter is in 3rd grade. She'll bring home simple math and ask questions about her homework and I point her to her father. I think it brings back too many stressful memories. ;)

    Thanks for stopping in. Still kicking around whether I'll keep up with these pages out of my life or I'll return to solely I 8 Wednesdays (the lists).

    Off to horseback riding lessons.
    ~ Wendy

  7. No, but as a teacher, I LOVE calling home for a positive reason!!! It's so much more fun than the negative ones.

  8. Nope, and only once at all. But I made some positive calls as a teacher. I agree with Katie--fun!

  9. Ahhh, a positive teacher experience. I'm all over those. Loved doing that when I was was a lot of fun...

  10. I know what you mean about numbers. As a teacher, I called home often with positive things to say about my students. But there were the other calls, too...

  11. I don't recall a teacher ever calling me with good news, but that must have been a great feeling after all your hard work.

    I also just wanted to thank you for visiting my blog and your gracious comment. Have a great day!

  12. That's awesome. If you were anything like me, she was probably in shock and figured she'd better call you before she flashed into another world. I am sorry to say that I never had the privilege of acing anything to do with mathematics. And here is my favorite quote on the matter:
    "You've got many refinements. I don't think you need to worry about your failure at long division. I mean, after all, you got through short division, and short division is all that a lady ought to be called on to cope with." Tennessee Williams

  13. I once had a teacher in fourth grade ask me to stay after school and drove me home. She said she wanted to talk to my mother. When I got home, she walked me to the door and all my friends yelled, "Happy Birthday!"
    Oh back in the day!

  14. When I was about 14, teacher called my home in the middle of the school day to tell my mother he was shocked and impressed by how I'd stood up for myself over a particular issue and exhibited incredible initiative and heart. I won't share the details of what happened, but I still remember coming home from school and my mother telling me what he said. She was so proud of me and I was, frankly, surprised that this teacher had even noticed me or thought what I'd done was exceptional. It was a nice feeling.

    I haven't thought of this for years. So thanks.


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