Back-to-School Resource Round-Up

Hometown teachers here in Oakland, CA, started teaching again this week, kicking off a school year that promises to be at least 2% less challenging than the last. I’m over here at Desmos, worried about all of them, gnawing on my paw, trying to stay level by reading interesting people reflecting on the start of their school year.

In case you don’t have the same time or inclination to refresh twitter dot com as often as I do, here are some of those interesting back to school reflections and resources.

Fawn Nguyen wrote a note to new teachers.

You can measure the students’ enthusiasm for your class quantitatively: time how fast they arrive at your door the next day. :) What teachers do is really hard, and I hope you’ll reach out to people who have your back. Always make family and yourself a priority. The students and the lessons should bring you joy. If they don’t, I hope you’ve saved up to start a vineyard. 

Howie Hua posted a thread of back-to-school activities.

Sarah Carter is one of the craftiest math teachers I follow and was probably more bummed than most by the turn to remote learning last year. She’s clearly back in her element now, thinking about a yearly “Statistics Scrapbook” and back-to-school experiences that are tuned up for in-person learning.

The first week is one of my absolute favorite parts of the school year. I love crafting a fun and engaging experience for students that usually involves a little math and problem solving, too!

Chanea Bond wrote What I Wish My White Colleagues Knew, which includes lots of useful advice for White teachers working in multi-racial departments this next school year.

Alex Shevrin Venet invites us to reframe the common icebreaker question, “What do you wish your teacher knew?” to “What do you wish your teacher would do?”

When we ask students in the first days or weeks of school, “What do you wish your teacher knew?” we’re essentially asking for a disclosure. The question itself implies a secret. It acknowledges that there are things that are hidden between student and teacher, things that aren’t shared for some reason or another. The question asks students to vault over those barriers and share anyway.

Sarah Strong turned her Dear Math icebreaker into a Desmos activity as well.

What Else


Author Nihshanka Debroy reached out to interview me about my path in math education and as I answered I found myself pretty curious how the thoughtful folks who subscribe to this newsletter would answer as well. Here’s one of his questions:

How did your journey with math and numbers begin? Where does your enthusiasm, your passion come from?

Hit reply, send me your answer, and I’ll send you mine.


Chanea Bond reached out on Twitter to mention that teachers in predominantly white institutions should also benefit from her post.