What do you do with rudeness?

I am ridiculously optimistic.  I get it from my father.  I love the kids pretty relentlessly no matter what they do but occasionally my brain explodes a little.

I have a scholar with a tone.  Like everything I am doing is the worst.  I actually think she likes me and my class but literally all the eye rolls and pissyness and everything all the time.  I have not managed to convince her that her tone is a lot.

Today I lost my cool a little when while I was talking at my desk  this scholar got up walked to my desk violently pulled out all the tissues from the box and then threw the box away. All while huffing and stomping.

There are a myriad of annoyances here including that I don’t let kids take things off my desk at all ever.

It’s the entitled piece maybe? I don’t know but I called her out in a tone that was enough to make the rest of the class quiet. It was not my best moment.  If we’re being honest though I don’t know what to do.  It’s May there have been 20 conversations around all the things that she did in that moment that were rude.

So now I’ve damaged a relationship maybe?  I don’t know. I owe a kid an apology, maybe? Probably?  I don’t know. BLAH.


No, not male. Mail.

At the end of the play this semester we sat in a circle and wrote thank you notes to all the people that made it happen. I am working on teaching them life skills and one life skill is the handwritten thank you note. Everyone loves getting mail.

I love sending letters.  Short notes, fun cards, stamp and send.  It really makes people happy.  So I am giving you the chance to get some mail.  DM me, Facebook Message me, or email me your address and I will send you a card.


Because making people’s day is my fav.


Happy Tuesday.


Chalkline with Sadie Estrella.


Dudes, do you know anything about Hawaii? Well you will after this!  Sadie is here this week to tell you all about the school systems in Hawaii, the importance of relationships, and the necessity of following your gut. Her feelings of belonging and her sense of self are so envy-making.

Episode 3.

This Week’s Syllabus:

To Read:  Lots to read this week.

1) Check out the #MTBoS30 hashtag for a bunch of great posts from math teachers.  I’m going to do a weekly round up in my next post here.

2) Grace’s post here.  On why love is not enough.  And from that this piece by Jeff Duncan-Andrade on Critical Hope.

3) Lastly, in the podcast I reference this NYTs piece on poverty and school performance which is so important.

To Listen and Watch: I don’t have a ton at this moment.  Is there something I should be listening to or watching?  Let me know here or on the twitters.

Person Sadie thinks you should follow on twitter: Brendan 


I might not be the big thinker.

I had a really lovely conversation with Tiffany about mathematics education as a whole.  What we are teaching, why we are teaching it, and Rochelle Gutierrez.  It made me think, as talking with Tiffany always does.

Here’s where I’m at:  I love math.  I love teaching kids math but mathematics education is not my passion.  I don’t have a deep drive to examine math.  I don’t have a grand desire to delve into why we teach the math we do in the way we do.  Do I think it’s important?  Heck yes. Is it my life’s work? Nope.

I think, and I reserve the right to change my mind, that my life’s work is kids.  Possibly at an individual level, certainly on a relational level.  Don’t get me wrong I am in no way implying that thinking about math education on a large scale is not beneficial to kids or hugely important.  I am so glad there are people who want to do that work.  I am even more glad that there are people like Bryan Meyer and Tiffany who are willing to talk to me about it because I trust both of them to make me think about things that are important. But for me it’s different.  I don’t want to say I don’t care because that’s untrue but it doesn’t excite me.

For me it’s success for the kids I have now in the system I am in. For me it’s each scholar I have a relationship with.  For me it’s helping my school build in systems of support for LGBTQ students and students of color. For me it’s smaller? Maybe I’m a small system thinker?  Maybe I’m not as progressive as Lawler would like me to be but I am doing the work I love, in a place where that work matters, with people who make me better, and kids that know they are important to me.

So, I think I’ll keep thinking small for a while.  Focus on my interests and learn more about them because I think that might have been Tiffany’s point all along.

30 things that make you smile

I am using a prompt today from Tina’s List.

Considering today was it’s own personal hell.  Here I go:

Make a list of 30 things that make you smile.

  1. Students asking other students good questions
  2. Kids telling me jokes really badly
  3. Notebooks being passed around and talked about
  4. The children coming into my class with a story they’ve obviously been saving all day
  5. The number of people doing the #MTBoS30
  6. Being made fun of in Spanish by the people at work
  7. Misandrinks
  8. Texting my best friend and just getting it
  9. Thinking about Joanna’s upcoming wedding
  10. Cleanly painted nails
  11. Real long stories with terrible eatings
  12. Baby Feminists
  13. The stuff my former students are doing
  14. Tequila
  15. Seeing kids be really good at things
  16. Glitter and Sequins
  17. Taylor Swift’s extreme awkwardness
  18. Old fashioned folded notes
  19. Cards in the mail
  20. My friends having babies
  21. Adoptive parents talking about the pride in their kids
  22. A really good outfit
  23. Super silly snapchats
  24. Drama Monsters
  25. Mulligan laying on his back
  26. My brother’s really stupid dog
  27. New shoes. All shoes? Good Shoes.
  28. Lazy Sunday morning that become afternoons
  29. Clean sheets.
  30. Internet friends becoming real life friends

What would you have done differently?

Wendy posed this question at the start of her post yesterday.  I was trying to think of one small thing I would have done differently yesterday but I couldn’t.  Instead I kept coming back to one thing: I wish I had gone into more classrooms this year.

My kids were on a field trip Tuesday and I spent some time in my colleague’s room watching him teach Math 2 (sophomores) and man did I love it.  I loved the conversations that kids had I loved the conversations I had with him after.

Next year my goal is one classroom every two weeks.  This is a small goal but I think it’s worth it. My practice is better the more I see others.

Sometimes your opinion doesn’t matter.

Two weeks ago I put on a play and in class the next week a child said to me

Ms. Schwartz, to be honest, I didn’t really like the play.

He was not in the play he just felt as though I need to hear this. Here is the conversation that followed:

Me: [Child name] anytime you think to start a sentence with “to be honest” probably you don’t need to finish it.

Child: So you don’t want me to be honest? (no sass at all, genuine curiosity)

Me: Nope, that’s not what I said but any sentence that starts with “to be honest” tends to be mean.  And let’s talk about giving feedback.  Before you share think about the following:

1. Is what your saying helpful? Will it change the outcome of what you are giving feedback on? In this case nope.

2. Is it kind? In this case nope.

And lastly, maybe most important: 3. Did anyone ask? I definitely did not.

I promise if this sounds mean it wasn’t.

But sometimes dear child your opinion doesn’t matter.  More importantly it’s neither helpful, kind, nor requested.