Every so often I stop and realize that I have been at this for a decade. I have never been actively working on such a particular idea for so long. I think it’s safe to say the crisis of career I faced a long time ago has been settled. This is what I’m supposed to do. In recognition of this “holy crap 10 years” and the fact that I like making charts, I present a series of charts about things I’ve been doing for the past decade.

A simple one this week, answering the question “how many students have I taught?” It seems simple but it has a complicated answer. Every semester we submit grade sheets to the registrar, and every year I print a second copy for myself, just because it seemed like a good idea. I keep them in a binder that I never look at.

Twenty semesters produces quite a stack of paper, and I had the ambitious goal of trying to count everyone in there. Problem was, I have taught a number of students multiple times (in some cases progressing with them through Alg 2, Pre-Cal, and Calculus). I’ve had all kinds of kids for athletics, some of whom I was simultaneously teaching in a math class, but most of the time not.

After a lot of scanning and parsing ID numbers, here’s the results:

The real number is higher than 1124 and probably closer to 1300 or 1500. This is a count of students who had a seat in my class. This doesn’t include kids I coached but never had to grade, kids I coached in middle school and never taught/coached in high school, and kids I know through other roles, such as National Honor Society.

Despite all those qualifications, that is A LOT of students and part of what makes this job so hard to relate to people not in the field. Teachers deal with SO MANY people on a daily basis. People that you are very involved with, every day, only to have complete turn over a year later. The 2+ enrollments don’t tell the real story either. Many kids showed up 4 or 5 times (coached in 9th, taught in 10th, 11th, 12th). To be so responsible for a student’s high school math experience is really staggering, and a reminder that the work matters.

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AuthorJonathan Claydon