January 30, 2024 Prompt

What decade would you like to be living in and what would you like to be doing?


Two days ago, Sunday, January 28th,  a dream, an aspiration, a passion that has been growing for 10, no 15 years, came true, the first session of a math enrichment program for elementary students taught by high school students. I am so sad for our current decade in terms of the social, political and environmental chaos. There are many times I long for the good old days when we traveled the world without fear.  But, watching sixty fourth and fifth graders engaging in complex math problem-solving being facilitated by 20 high school assistant coaches brought hope and emotional satisfaction beyond anything I’ve enjoyed for years. This wonderful feeling was reinforced by the email from a parent who said “My fourth grader was reluctant to go and came home so excited she can’t wait until next week.” So, in spite of all the turmoil, maybe the decade ahead is what I want to be a part of. I want the decade to evolve where my various students from over the decades take social, economic, political power, and bring about a utopian wonderful world so the reality for everyone everywhere is so much better.


March 16th update: Tomorrow is the last session of the weekly math enrichment program and I received an email today that says it all about whether all the time, stress and effort were worth it. As a teacher I am always wondering if I am reaching any of my students. It is so nice to have this reinforcement: “Hi Dr. Frand, my son is really enjoying this math program and so excited you have been offering this! I never quite imagined he would come home singing, a joyful song about math!”  (That’s our cheer at the end of each session: 


I then forwarded the email (with permission) with this note to all the high school students who participated: “YOU deserves a HUGE THANK YOU as you are the ones who interacted with the students and made our program the success for this boy and probably many others we will never know about.”


I think I picked the right decade.