My musical background in Tyler, Texas was quite outstanding. Uh, I grew up with, uh, with high school teachers who were in bands, they could play music. And we had a nine piece band there in Tyler, and I joined them when I was about, oh, 15 years old and traveled all over Texas in that band, playing for the elite oil people. Hah. And um, I was making about 50 bucks a night, and uh, it taught me, they taught me how to find my timing and to learn the songs that I wanted.
I think we need more math majors who don't become mathematicians. More math major doctors, more math major high school teachers, more math major CEOs, more math major senators. But we won't get there unless we dump the stereotype that math is only worthwhile for kid geniuses.
I was attending the University of Alberta. I was going to be a high school teacher, like my parents. I failed - no, I didn't fail a class, I just barely passed. I really didn't try. It was Canadian history, through the plays of the time. My God, those were boring plays.
I would start by writing to an adult, maybe a high school teacher, or maybe an aunt or uncle, and writing and telling them why you want to go to a particular university. That's probably what you would actually sound like. Then write your letter to the university, and put those 2 versions in front of you, and look at the difference between those 2 things.
As a former high school teacher and a student in a class of 60 urchins at St. Brigid's grammar school, I know that education is all about discipline and motivation. Disadvantaged students need extra attention, a stable school environment, and enough teacher creativity to stimulate their imaginations. Those things are not expensive.
I was fortunate that when I was first starting out in New Orleans, I had a remarkable high-school teacher. And she was a great, great influence in my life, and I think she gave me the courage and the confidence to go forward into the real world. She instilled in me that my dreams were important and that what I was passionate about was most important.
High school teachers who want to get reluctant readers turned around need to give the students some say in the reading list. Make it collaborative: The students will feel ownership, and everyone will dig in.