Common Core Geometry and a Long Day

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So, besides the fun that eMATHinstruction gives me at night, I also have a day job. For those of you that didn’t already know, I am both a high school math teacher and the coordinator of the math department at Arlington High School. AHS is the 99th largest high school in the country, at roughly 3,600 students. Lots of students, lots of math classes, and lots and lots of tests.

Yesterday we gave the Common Core Geometry exam to around 600 students and today I and nine completely awesome Arlington teachers (and an administrator) graded from 7:30 until 4:00.

And we still didn’t get done. I know many of you know the feeling of a defeat like that. We did get most of it done, just not the Part IV’s. Although before I left I had a fun time grading a bunch of volume/density problems where I became convinced that students needed an entire year of work just plugging numbers into formulas.

I also happen to be the father of two children, Max and Evie. Besides making innumerable cameo appearances in word problems, they happen to be 7 and 10 and full of activities, including soccer, karate, ballet, gymnastics, and Shakespeare. So, after grading for 8 straight hours, I then negotiated their ever complex schedules.

We had pizza for dinner. I know many of the parents out there can appreciate that.

After they finished, worked on homework, and (finally) went to bed (I really do love them), I got down to work. I’ve been pounding away at the answer key for Common Core Algebra II for months now. It is tiresome and not especially creative work. But, it takes time.

And, tonight, I finished the first draft of the answer key for the first draft of the book. I’m exhausted, but happy it’s done. I’ll start working on a few side items next week before writing a few more lessons to address some topics I feel need to be included.

We have to celebrate the big and little triumphs these days. We have to find the energy and the humor to go on. Our jobs have become almost unbelievably more difficult in the last three years. There have been times this year when I literally didn’t think I could get up and go to work (4 hours of sleep a night don’t help). And, yet, the work we do is important. Never forget that.

So, to all you hard working teachers out there, all of you who spent countless hours today grading proofs and constructions, who repeatedly slapped their heads at circular reasoning, crazy terminology (opposite interior angles), and poor handwriting. I tip my hat to you. Sleep well tonight and get ready for tomorrow.

It all starts again.

3 thoughts on “Common Core Geometry and a Long Day

  1. After spending nearly 3 full weeks teaching the area/volume unit and giving a test re-take after the majority of the kids failed the first time, I feel your pain after also spending 8 hours grading the Common Core exam and coming to the same conclusion: that unit could easily be a year-long course in itself for some reason. My mantra: Plug in for what you have, solve for what you need. Repeat. Thanks for all your hard work! Cheers!

  2. Hello Kirk,

    Do happen to have a course on Geometry, I was looking through the website and I could only find Algebra I, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry.


    – Abdullah

  3. Abdullah,

    Not yet. We do plan to start one in the spring.

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