Monday, August 18, 2003

Random Thoughts

Just a few stray neurons floating through my brain to entertain you tonight:

I took care of the last piece of preliminary paperwork for my job this morning. It seems that the measles vaccination I received as a baby didn't take -- there are apparently thousands of folks of my generation in the same boat -- and I wasn't considered immune. But I got an MMR vaccination today, so I should be set now.

My first official task as a Marysville School District teacher is tomorrow morning. Last spring Marysville Junior High received a Gates Foundation grant to redesign the structure of the school. The first staff workshop on how this will all work is tomorrow.

Marysville teachers are talking a strike. The accept-or-strike vote is set for September 1, the day before school is supposed to start. What a way to start the next step of my career, on the picket line. Still, it would be a good way to bond with my colleagues. However, that's still two weeks away, so I'm not going to worry about it now. (Sylvan has already said I can keep working evenings during the week should there be a strike.)

So, my cryptic reference yesterday to my fondness for the history of mathematics? In 1984, I went to the national high school math convention in New Orleans. I was recruited by our coach to take the math history test, and he loaned me a copy of Men of Mathematics, the book that they had always taken the questions from. I don't think I finished, but I came close. Guess what? That was the first year they didn't use MOM (as I got to know the book) for the test. I only got fourteen of the forty questions right. And I still came in third in the nation! (The big surprise, however, was when I also came in fifth in the test on radicals!) Later on, I took a math history course in college -- in fact, it was the only course in the math department labeled as "Writing Intensive" -- and it was a blast. Between those two events, I've grown to appreciate the role of math in history and vice versa.

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