After the last dance. Starting over. Year 9. Maroon.

More signs that the end is nigh

While I was cleaning things out in my classroom, my cabinet was open and my students could see that I, in fact, keep a change of clothes handy:

Sassy Student: Why do you have an extra shirt?
Me: [pausing to think of an eloquent response…] In case of a coffee accident.
Sassy Student: Really?
Me: Yeah. Would you take me seriously if I was trying to teach class with a big ole coffee stain on the front of my shirt?!
Sassy Student: Mr. Youn, I don’t take you seriously when…
Me: DON’T finish that sentence.

And file this one under “I’ll take it as a win”:

I had a couple of students go out of their way to get my favorite poison:1


One of them explained:

“Every single math class before this one, I just cheated on every test. This is the first math class I didn’t do that in.”


  1. Yes, at a thousand calories, it just about qualifies as a “poison”…↩︎

Shark Attacks

A group of girls having a conversation near my desk this week, talking about horrible ways to die1

(I’m paraphrasing heavily…)
Student #1: I wouldn’t want to go swimming there because then I’d get attacked by a shark and die!
Student #2: Okay, there are actually only an average of two deaths due to shark attacks per year.
Student #1: (Look of lightbulb suddenly turning on…) But there have already been two this year,2 so that means it’s safe for us now!
Me: (Turning to my right, slowly…) Have. You. Learned. NOTHING in this class this year?!?




  1. Yes. They were talking about ways to die. It was weird, but to be honest, in all my years of having to listen to girls talk about weird things, this didn’t even crack the top 5 (don’t ask).↩︎
  2. I wasn’t paying close attention to the conversation up to this point so somewhere they must have established that there have been two fatal shark attacks this year thus far. :shrug:↩︎

You Draw It: College Enrollment vs Family Income


Here’s a cool one from the NY Times:

The Upshot [NY Times]: How Family Income Affects Children’s College Chances1

You get to draw a line/curve on a graph,2 and then see how well you did versus the rest of the general population.

  1. Although I’m not quite sure how I feel about the use of the word “affects”…↩︎
  2. and yes, this appears to work on mobile devices just fine!↩︎

Today’s sign that the end is near

Yesterday during lunch, a couple of strangers1 came by to take my picture2 and deliver this:


Teacher Oscars. 3 Apparently that’s a thing here.4

So today, during an afternoon class:

Me: Do any of you guys go to Teacher Oscars?
Students: Why, did you get nominated for something?
Me: Yeah…
Students: What for?
Me: “Most Knowledgable”.5
(cue scattered chuckles…)
Student #1: Hehe, nerd.
Me: [Inhales through nostrils slowly…] Jerk.

End times, folks… end times.

  1. student council members, so student strangers, not adult strangers, just to clarify.↩︎
  2. they also asked what song I wanted. That’s a secret…↩︎
  3. Clever! I mean… there isn’t a teacher alive that does this job for the recognition, but I do think teachers probably deserve more recognition.↩︎
  4. Although you wouldn’t have known, talking to some of my seniors.↩︎
  5. I am secretly convinced that this is one of those things that every teacher gets nominated for, and since they couldn’t find any other potential awards for me, they just pushed “knowledgable” on me… maybe because I’m Asian o_O?! Kidding about that last part… :) ↩︎

Rainy Day

There seem to have been a number of pieces in the media1 in the past year regarding the drop of enrollment in teacher preparatory programs, but the following caught my attention for a couple of reasons — one in that it’s from Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight:2 Are There Too Few Teachers (Or Too Few Good Ones)?

As almost anyone will attest — myself certainly included — we need more good teachers in the field — not fewer. Which is why the following excerpts tugged a bit:

The drop could be a holdover from the recession . . . [E]ducation budget cuts nationwide, both during and after the recession, left a bad taste in many prospective teachers’ mouths.

Mmmmmmmmm hmmmmmmm — but take it from me, that bad taste was not limited to the mouths of merely prospective teachers.3

“In Texas, around 2011, there was a lot of negative press around teaching,” said Michael Marder, the executive director of UTeach, a teacher preparation program that was founded at the University of Texas at Austin and has expanded to 44 universities in 21 states. “Students were going off on field visits and saying that their mentor teachers were upset, that pink slips were being handed out in anticipation of budget cuts. It left a strong impression.”

Yup. Spring of 2011. I don’t believe that we’ll ever be able to properly quantify the amount damage done to the teaching profession as a result of the political standoff that season. Personally, I’ll never be able to forget the incensed feeling I had when I realized that with 4 full years of experience,4 my job was still potentially on the chopping block.5 Ultimately, my job ended up being safe, but I remember telling myself that I otherwise would have said “peace out” and never looked back at the profession.6

There is one slippery hill that this article glances upon:

How do you even qualify/quantify one as a “good” teacher? That is again, a discussion for another day7

  1. Among others, from Education Week and NPR↩︎
  2. Another is that it features input from a former UTeach instructor, Dr. Michael Marder↩︎
  3. The title of this post is in reference to the “Rainy Day Fund”, which was of no small significance four years ago.↩︎
  4. and it was four-plus years of hard work.↩︎
  5. It was “last-in, first out” — the newest teachers would be the first to get cut. The only criteria for determining who to cut was years of experience. That’s it. It’s been a full four years now, and I can still taste the stink.↩︎
  6. Merely out of spite.↩︎
  7. perhaps the “end-of-all-days”.↩︎