January Blues

Why did I choose to teach math?

I don't even know how this stuff will ever be useful in life.

Do the little things like encouraging students, building relationship, supporting them, making class entertaining, etc outweigh the big things, i.e. being mathematical geniuses?

How many of my students will go to college, really? How many will be unprepared?

I am just filling time and handing out grades. Assignments are meaningless and just to keep students under control. Grades are attached so they will actually do them. I grade on completion only and I'm still behind in grading. Students could do every homework assignment and still fail the test. There is no self-assessment going on. The formative assessment is basically pointless.

I can tell a huge difference in the students since starting a new semester- they are more forgetful, less likely to participate, and harder to control. Say a big thank you to me being the nice, popular teacher. They now know there are basically no consequences to anything they do.

I don't even know what learning or teaching is anymore. WHAT IS THE POINT OF LIFE?

Sorry, had to get that out.

I don't know how to make it about them and not me.

I thought I could make them care and I can't.

I thought I could make them better and I haven't.

I knew I could make them like me and they do.

I hoped I was smarter than I thought, but I'm not.


  1. Elissa, it sounds hard. I hope you find your footing, because the questions you're asking yourself will make you a better teacher over time. But teaching high school sounds terribly hard. (I teach community college, and they still act up sometimes.)

    Wishing you well...

  2. Elissa: Some things for you to think about...

    1) Things are never as bad as you sometimes think.
    2) This stretch from now until spring break is difficult for everybody.
    3) It's never to late to fix things.

    I made a couple of videos about what you're talking about in your post. Hopefully these can help:

    Dear Mr. DeRosa 11-23-09
    Dear Mr. DeRosa 11-15-09

    I've been really impressed by how much you've accomplished in the past year. Hang in there!

  3. Thanks but I can't feel positive about things until I have solutions or at least new ideas.

  4. Would any of these unit plans help?







  5. Hang in there Elissa! We all go through these tough times at school...I am also having a case of the January blues! I have always thought that I teach my students so much more than just my content area. I teach them responsibility and how to be good citizens. The trick is figuring out how the content area can relate to their everyday lives...then it will be more meaningful for them. Chin up! You'll get through it!

  6. Hi Miss Calcul8,

    I've been reading your blog and total identify with how you feel. The first couple of weeks of this semester, teaching geometry without my usual passion and background knowledge of students' weak holes (I'm an algebra person), I would go home and say the same thing. Repeatedly.

    The one thing I can suggest is to spend time with students one-on-one. That's always what energizes me, and that's what woke me up from my slump last week.

    In groups, they will ALWAYS be a bunch of punks, as I like to say.

    One on one, you can talk with them and remember why you bother.

    Hope that helps!

    ~ Lib

  7. Lib,
    Thanks for the comment. I make it a point on Mondays to ask each and every student what they did over the weekend so I at least have that one moment with them. Although the rest of the class is usually going crazy while this is happening...I definitely make those moments happen on a personal level but it's hard to make that happen on a mathematical level. And seventh hour just sucks! lol

  8. Hang in there! Thanks for your blog, as a future math teacher I really enjoy it and it's been invaluable to me. Keep your head up!

  9. Hang in there Elissa. This is my third year teaching high school math and my first year at this new school. I am feeling EXACTly what you are feeling. The fact that you have this blog and get a chance to express your frustrations has got to be helping. I know that it has just helped me.

  10. Mr. R,
    I've never had a problem expressing my frustrations, I just express it now to a bigger crowd. lol I think February has been a little better but mostly I think, I hate winter!