Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 14 2012

The Yard Sale Math Book

In the office today, we had a kid spend a few extra hours at school making up some work he owes. This is not often a kid who even shows up at school, which means he’s also often not a kid with all his work done. He also might be a record-holder in a couple of disciplinary Olympic events.


When he finished his work, it wasn’t quite time for him to leave yet. I was in the middle of working with some teachers, so I sent him to my bookshelf and told him to sit alone in my office and find something he wanted to read. In between all of my Math Teacher books and Behavior Theory books, there are also plenty of fun student books. I have comic books and science books and fun-fact books and young adult reader books.


When I stopped by the office later, he wasn’t reading any of those. Instead, he’d found this little, leather-bound book called Solid Geometry. It’s probably from the mid-1900s and I’m almost positive my mom bought it for me at a yard sale. It is dense reading, full of some pictures and a lot of math that definitely looks like gibberish to a middle schooler. I don’t think I’ve opened it more than twice.


Yet there this kid was, oblivious to me peering through the window behind him, patiently paging through the book. I didn’t interrupt and never found out how long he stuck with it, but I’m pretty sure he looked at that book for longer than any other human ever has.


Seriously, little dude? Who are you, and where on earth did your interest in math books come from? I am fascinated. I hope this goes somewhere good.

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