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San Clemente, CA, United States

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My Week

I had a pretty good week this week.  This is noteworthy because as a high school math teacher, I’m pretty much the most hated man in America.  (After this election I may be down to number two or three.) 

In my Honors Algebra 2 w/ Trigonometry classes, I continued my deliciously exciting lectures on the conic sections.  We explored, graphed, and wrote equations for circles, parabolas, ellipses, and hyperbolas.  This is tough stuff for kids when even after they show understanding of the basics; we raise the bar and challenge them to write the equation of the hyperbola only given its asymptotes and one of its vertices.

The kids are working on conics and systems of conics both in and out of class and they are improving every day.  I taught using chalk and I taught using technology.   I taught from bell to bell.  More importantly, they learned.  Each check for understanding along the way has been outstanding.  I had a pretty good week this week teaching Honors Algebra 2 w/ Trigonometry.

In my Calculus classes, we concluded our curve-sketching unit.  Students graph nasty functions by finding both the first and second derivatives.  They find where a curve is either increasing or decreasing and where it is either concave up or concave down.  They combine this with all intercepts, asymptotes and relative extrema to sketch impressively difficult functions. 

They are killing it.  They are killing it working alone and they are killing it working in groups. Next week we review for the chapter test but we are close to ready right now.  They are learning math while not hating life.  I had a good week this week in Calculus.

Today, Saturday, me and about 40 of my colleagues hosted our Open House / 8th Grade Welcome, “Dolphin Experience” at my school.  Incoming 8th graders and their parents heard presentations from each department, and every sport on campus.  The band was playing and the cheerleaders were cheerleadering and we did a pretty good job of showing off what we do well both in and out of the classroom.  I  answered dozens of  from  parents about the Mathematics program here.  It was fun and I think I repped my school pretty darn well.  I had a good week this week. 

Then I went on the internet and found out I’m a horrible human being.  It seems that the debate over Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has re-ignited the conversation about how badly I do my job.  Me, the classroom teacher, I’m the problem.  I am the reason public schools are failing.   I read how lazy I am.  I read how overpaid I am.  I read how I’m a union thug drinking from the public trough.  (I really read that)  I read story after story from people who think public schools are failing because of public school teachers. 

I thought I had a pretty good week. 


  1. Dear Mr. (Coach) Schwartzberg,
    My name is Jeff Carmichael. You may not remember me, but you left a lasting positive impression on me when I was a student at Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas. I was in your geometry class and I was a football manager (water boy) as well as one of the two softball managers. I did not enjoy mathematics then and I can't say that I love it now. However, I will tell you this and I hope that you believe me; you are not the problem, public school teachers are not the problem. I simply would like to tell you that I appreciate all of your efforts, and that I have recently begun to relearn what I have forgotten, I plan to further my education by studying engineering and hope to work in the aerospace industry. I hope you keep your faith in your students, and know that we remember you and you inspire us. Thank you, again.

  2. So..., what do we Republican teachers do?

  3. It sounds like your an amazing teacher. Just gauging everything inlight of recent political events, can you really give credence to the liberalist ideal? And parents who actually believe their kids? And kids who are disgruntled because of the grades they earned ( you just posted what they earned)?

  4. Thanks for this post Queader! Now I've got to get on and implement more thank you..

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