Imperfect Subtleties

I appreciate a good story. Be it in the form of TV/film, a good book, a long video game,1 or an equally long Netflix binge, I live for a good story.

Closing Book

We all have ideas about how the stories in our lives ought to end, and about the timing with which they ought to end. This week has been a personal reminder that life does not always respect one’s personal opinions about the how’s and when’s with which these stories ought to end.

I’m a fan of intelligent writing, witty characters, and carefully measured subtleties. It’s why I’m a huge follower of Chris Nolan (and simultaneously despise Zac Snyder).

One day I’ll walk into a coffee shop and I’ll spot Neil Caffrey and Mozzie sharing a table and sipping lattes with Alicia Florrick and Carrie Agos. Or so goes the dream.2

White Collar is my favorite TV show of forever. The Good Wife — which I have followed since the start,3 and which ends this weekend — is a very close second.

This week has also reminded me that — at times — having a personal life4 and being a teacher are akin to oil and water. There are maybe a day or two in each campaign5 where you just don’t want to put on your professional daytime facade… and while doing so is sometimes nigh impossible, refusing to do so simply isn’t an option. And having to continually brush everything aside and not being able to properly deal with things until Summertime is… less than ideal, to say the least.

Yet another story comes to a close this Thursday, when our students take the Statistics AP Exam.6

When it comes to guiding our cherubs towards the finish line, the anxiety-riddled portion of my soul fears that this is one of those things where you can do everything right and execute flawlessly from week one all the way to week 35… only to have things fall apart just short of the ribbon. No, the numbers from the previous five campaigns don’t really back up these irrational fears… but perhaps that is what makes them irrational.


Five days~

  1. Uncharted 4 comes out this week… but it’ll have to wait ’til after Thursday’s AP exam…↩︎
  2. The closest we got was when the character who plays Alicia’s son was a student in a White Collar episode that went to Peter and Neil for help… that was a fun episode. Season 3, episode 12: “Upper West-Side Story”.↩︎
  3. I was never big on Will G. I do miss Kalinda. I wish Finn would have stuck around longer. Lamont Bishop was a bit overplayed but he’s better off as Luke Cage. I think Jason’s a cool cat. Lucca was underutilized – her rant on polar bears and baby seals was all-time greatness. This show and — to a lesser degree — Suits almost made me wish I’d gone into law…↩︎
  4. or rather, trying to have one↩︎
  5. Only one or two, of course… not any more than that… -_-.↩︎
  6. number six, on my watch.↩︎

Sideways Infinity

Kobe VI Lightbulbs

My morning class noticed my kicks1 and one of the kids joked,2

Mister Youn’s retiring? 34

Tomorrow our students take major exam number nine.5 This one focuses on inference with means, and shouldn’t be nearly as tough as our last major exam a month ago. Invariably though, students by-and-large perform worse on this exam. The two main culprits, by my estimation:

  1. Lack of urgency — the last exam was just before the end of the devilish fourth six weeks,6 thus it demanded their honest best. This time around, the end of the marking period is another month away. A LOOOOONNNNNNGGGG month before any second semester high school senior dares to flip their brain on…
  2. Spring break starts later this week. 7
  1. Kobe VI’s… maybe the third time I’ve worn them out.↩︎
  2. I think he was joking…↩︎
  3. Kobe is retiring after next month… in case you don’t get the reference…↩︎
  4. And as for the title – I will always associate Kobe with the number 8. Twenty-four forever belongs to Keifer…↩︎
  5. of ten↩︎
  6. good gosh how many blog posts can I write that reference the fourth six weeks?↩︎
  7. For some it started a moon ago, based on the way they’re acting…↩︎

25 down, 12 to go

Sassy Student during quiz: “Mr. Youn, can you tell me if this answer is right?”
Me: “Uhhhh…”
Sassy Student: “What? I just wanna know if this is right!”
Me: “And I just want a million dollars.”
Sassy Student: “Okay well at least I’m being reasonable.”

Mmmmmm hmmmmm.

(One week until Spring Break…)

What happens when you DON’T lose any days to bad weather (or any other garbage)

There’s an extra class day1 leading up to Spring Break that I build into our class calendar, just in case.2

So since we had some space to breathe this go-round, I gave my classes a break earlier this week and did not assign homework.3

Two of my students — in different classes — asked, “What’s the catch?”

Some of them flat out didn’t believe me.

Well today, a few of them came back and said,

“Yeah, that felt really weird.”4

Three more lessons to go — all after Spring Break.

  1. or two?↩︎
  2. Née, 2014, anyone?↩︎
  3. Technically I just moved it to the next day and made it “in-class work”, but most of my students simply heard “no homework”.↩︎
  4. One kid who has never done any homework retorted with, “That felt normal.” -_-↩︎

“Lebron doesn’t run this organization.”

After getting out of a movie1 at the Drafthouse this evening, I checked my news feeds, and that was one of the first headlines that I saw.2

Having always been of the “more action, less words” ethos, it reminded me of a moment towards the end of the 2012-13 school year, when a very nice and humorous student of mine exclaimed during class,

“I’m precious!”

I gave her a half-sarcastic smile, and said — in good-natured jest:

“You know… if you have to TELL people that you’re precious… you’re not precious.”


So on that note,

Here’s a short list of similarly duplicitous statements that I’ve compiled:3

I’m not violent. I’m gentle.
Another female student, after punching a male classmate in the shoulder full force during a friendly dispute)

Read: I’m violent.

We care about our users’ privacy.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

Read: We don’t give a $*** about your privacy. Actually, we make TON$ of money by violating your privacy, so we DO care about violating it.

Lebron doesn’t run this organization.
Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Read: Lebron runs this organization.

I care about getting my teammates involved in the flow of the offense.45
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Read: Just get the damn rebound.

  1. “The 5th Wave”, if you’re curious. Decent. Well… a little better than the 18% it had on the Tomatometer when I walked into the theater.↩︎
  2. Yes, the Cavs fired David Blatt. Finally.↩︎
  3. I’m sure to add to this list as I remember more↩︎
  4. I don’t’ know if Kobe actually said this, but is anybody going to tell me that this is outside of the realm of plausibility? … Didn’t think so.↩︎
  5. I also throw this one in here because today is the 10th anniversary of Kobe’s 81-pointer against the Raptors.↩︎