- I’m currently a math teacher, in my
third fourthfifth year of teaching. I am credentialed in other subjects as well. I’ve taught at 34 schools including the one I spent a year at as a student teacher.
- I was, and am, a private tutor and test prep instructor in every major test except the MCAT. I worked for multiple companies and private clients simultaneously, tutoring in all academic subjects except science.
- I have extensive experience working with Asian American high schoolers of all abilities, white students from fifth grade through high school of all abilities, Hispanic high schoolers of all abilities. I have experience working with African American high schoolers of all abilities, but the sample size is much smaller; there just aren’t a lot of African Americans in my area.
- I’m a parent. I was a suburban parent of an originally under-achieving son long before I became a teacher and, as a teacher, I am extremely sensitive to the aggravations of the suburban parent.
- I have two Master’s degrees, neither of which I found terribly difficult, and I do not do well in formal education.
- Neither of my parents graduated from college, and I am the only college graduate of their four children. Only one of my uncles or aunts is a college graduate, and only 4 of my 21 cousins. My grandfather was a college graduate, and my son
will be. Real. Soon. Now.has an Economics degree. (whoohoo!) We’ve all done quite well for ourselves, with or without college degrees. My attitude towards education is best described as utilitarian. I snicker when people speak of the joys of lifelong learning as a goal for the general population.
- I’ve been registered as a Republican since 2000, although the first time I voted for a Republican presidential candidate was 2008. I’m not conservative–I say that not in disdain, merely to ensure understanding. I am not a fan of the left; I have disliked and in many cases despised it long before I registered as a Republican. The best way to describe my political outlook would be “Skeptic”.
- My content knowledge is pretty extensive. To put it in measurable terms, here are the scores I would receive if I took the following college admissions tests:
- AP English Lang/Lit or Lang/Comp: 5
- AP US History, World History, European History, Government: 5
- AP Calculus: 3 cold, 4 if I studied for a week, 5 if I ever went and actually learned calculus.
- Subject Tests in English Lit, Math 2c, US History, World History: 800
My IQ, for what it’s worth, is somewhere above 3SD, but my spatial and visual abilities are much weaker than the other tested IQ areas, which holds me back in really advanced math*. GRE scores 800 Q/780 V (and the V is much, much more impressive than the Q, really).
I am, in short, pretty smart. No one knows better than I do that “smart” and $4 gets you a large latte at Peets. Smart is useful to me, but I don’t feel even slightly superior. I am one of the many under-achieving white folk of the world.
Every so often some naysayer links in this post pointing to this bullet as evidence that I’m some sort of Mensa-obsessed IQ nut. Do these people not read the following paragraph? Good lord.
I write about cognitive ability and its apparent lack of relevance in teaching outcomes. I also accept as given cognitive ability’s tremendous impact on educational, financial, and life outcomes. If I didn’t mention my intellect, the same people who snark at this post would be demanding I throw down on IQ. So I oblige them, and take away all their fun.
But I’m also Exhibit A for those who point out that IQ isn’t everything, or I’d be accruing more assets than I can acquire teaching, blogging, eating great food, drinking good beer, and watching reruns of NCIS or Bones. I raised a kid, I didn’t work really hard, and I like what I do—and everything I’ve achieved in my life has been easier because I’m smart. I am, however, evidence that high IQs aren’t all running the world, saving the world, or making the world really rich. I’m absolutely fine with that.
- For most of my working life I was self-employed or a contract worker. I liked it. Still do; I have several part-time jobs.
- I like to argue about interesting topics. I find almost everything interesting.
- I have to fight the urge to smack people who declare that reading is objectively superior to watching TV or movies.
- “You were right” are words I get a lot. If only people delivered them more in the present tense, and took my advice first. Alas.
January 1, 2012
Who am I?