A letter preserved: where I thought I would be

I did a summer program at Collegiate (a fancy private school in Manhattan) after my first year of teaching. Let’s see, that must have been in June 2008. On the very last day of the program we were asked to write a letter to ourselves, which would be mailed a year later. We were supposed to write some goals down.

Mine letter was mailed to me in June 2009, as promised one year later. I didn’t open it until today, on February 17, 2010. (I was scared to see if I had lived up to who I hoped to be when I wrote the letter.) What I wrote then… it’s a fascinating read.

Dear Sam-in-the-future,

These things are always pretty corny — write to your future selves. But whatever, I have 30 minutes and nothing really to do but this. I’ve just finished the Collegiate Summer Teaching Institute (“new teacher boot camp”) which came on the heels of my first year of teaching. Since it’s summer and I haven’t yet had a day to myself yet, I can say I’m exhausted and ready to return home to Brooklyn.

I can say that after this first year, I’m exhausted but not burned out. My enthusiasm about teaching is still there, as is my creativity (althought I don’t really have to time to think through or actualize my ideas). At CSTI, I got to create a lesson on Matrices, which I did using Facebook and social networks as an example. Meera R. and Antonio W. suggested I develop a unit on it and present it at NCTM. So, with that said, here are some goals I hope you’ve achieved or are on your way to achieving by the end of your next year.

*Join SFJC [Student Faculty Judiciary Committee] or FSAC [Faculty and Staff Advisory Committee]
*Successfully integrate the Algebra II video project in the classroom
*Go to the People of Color Conference (if only for networking)
*Start the non-fiction journal at Packer
*Look into attending the Exeter math teacher conference next summer
*Keep current with my teaching blog
*Talk to people and look seriously into becoming a tech integrator
*Come up with a really solid, investigation-based, computer-loving Multivariable Calculus curriculum
*Finish that damn Calculus curriculum map (ha!)

Just remember — because nobody really tells me this outright — that I am a good teacher. I work hard, I have the instincts, and I can break mathematical concepts down. Don’t let anyone sell me short, and don’t stay at Packer because of loyalty (stay because it is still an amazing place to work), and don’t leave just because I want more money.

Here’s to hoping next year is slightly less exhausing as this year was!


Gotta love it. I haven’t achieved all my goals, but I did accomplish a lot on the list. I am a member of both the SFJC and FSAC. I seriously investigated starting the non-fiction journal at my school, but the English and History departments weren’t really gung ho about it, so I had to give it up. I did go to the Exeter conference the following summer (which was amazing, by the way). Heck, I am still writing this dang blog! And I have come up with a pretty dang solid Multivariable Calculus curriculum, which is based on problem sets, but it is definitely not “computer-loving” yet.

One thing that still holds true: My enthusiasm about teaching is still there, as is my creativity (althought I don’t really have to time to think through or actualize my ideas).

We’ll see where my career goes in the future. It’s fun to see where I hoped I’d be when I wrote this a year and a half ago, versus where I am now.

PS. If you want to get a flavor of the Matrices thing that I created, I blogged about it ages ago, but I think this was a much more rough form than what I crafted at the summer program. I think I have a much better and more updated version, if anyone who is teaching matrices wants to see it. Just put something in the comments and I’ll see if I can’t dig it up.


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