Good Bye to Ms M

Posted on: 30 January, 08

Today was a bittersweet day.  J’s math teacher, Ms M retired today.  After 30 years of trying teach algebra and geometry to a bunch of hormonal teenagers, she is definitely entitled to retire.  While it would have been nice for J to finish out middle school with her, I understand her reasons for leaving in the middle of the year.  She is a tough teacher, gives lots of homework and pushes the students….hard.  She does not give extra credit and is not easily swayed by sob stories, but she is fair.  You know where you stand with her at all times.  She is incredibly clear about her directions and expectations.

J learned so much with Ms M.  A couple summers ago, I got a phone call from the math department recommending that I let J skip a year of math.  I am not a pushy mom and do feel the need to rush my children through the curriculum.  I debated.  I called a few of J’s former teachers for advice.  They all said “do it” because the school would not suggest it if they did not feel it was right for J.  But they did not know Ms. M.  I did.  I had heard the stories about how tough she was.  After much angst, I reluctantly agreed.  It did not take long for me to realize it was the exact right thing to do.  J blossomed in her class.  He had always thought math was boring.  As it turns out, math *is* boring if no one challenges you to think, if no one lets you use your brain.  Ms M challenged him and made him think….really hard. 

J still doesn’t “love” math, but he no longer thinks it is boring.  Sometimes, his homework takes forever because he is reading ahead in the geometry text book.  He recently scored really well on the AMC 8. Ok, I don’t really know what that is.  Ms M said it is a big deal and that I should be impressed.  This means he gets to/has to take the AMC 10.  Again, I am clueless about these math competition things.  I will make sure he goes to bed at a decent hour and has a good breakfast before the test. Aside from that, it is just an ordinary day.  Some students study and prepare for these tests.  J just walked in and used what Ms M has taught him.  Clearly, she has taught him well. 

For her last day, her geometry students brought in snacks and balloons.  With middle school classes being only 46 minutes, we had to blow up the balloons and put out the food at a record setting pace.  That only added to the excitement.  It was so sweet to see how these young teens pulled together a celebration for their teacher.  Last night, in the midst of my Vicodan trip, I helped J make blueberry muffins.  (This morning I had some concerns about those muffins since I was not totally cognizant while baking.)  J does not cook, but he cooked for Ms M.  He does not like math competitions, but he will take the AMC 10 for Ms M.  He wants to do well not for what it will bring him, but to make her proud. 


2 Responses to "Good Bye to Ms M"

Congratulations to J! The AMC tests are very challenging. I will keep my fingers crossed for him for the AMC 10. He should be very proud of himself.


Wow! That is such an inspiring story. It’s so nice to hear that he has had a math teacher that can challenge him and meet him where he is and make him want to work hard. I’m sure she will be sorely missed. Sounds like the party was fun.

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