Skip to content

Silent Sunday

Sun, 16 Jun 2024, 07:28 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

cowpen daisies against the green background of the yard


Silent Sunday

Sun, 9 Jun 2024, 07:39 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

anole lizard in the sun on a bench


Silent Sunday

Sun, 2 Jun 2024, 09:17 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License


Some Goodbyes

Sun, 26 May 2024, 10:04 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

Some goodbyes from students in no particular order…

Alma & Jasmyn overheard someone say I’m not returning and glanced each other with tears in their eyes. They left quickly, returning later with Blanca who had tears under her long eyelashes. “Mister,” she said. “They told me.” The next morning they brought cards and snacks and tamales.

On the first day last year José grumbled, “Don’t say my last name, Mister.” He was proud of it and didn’t like the way teachers pronounced it. Then he heard me roll the r. This year he came by during finals week. “Mister,” he said, peering through the doorway. “Mister, I did it!”

“Well,” Ronald said, “I’m finished with the final.” He stared at me, and I stared back and said, “We a good year-and-a-half.” He stared some more. I reminded him of our conversations about limits and derivatives and sines and cosines and hyperbolic trig functions. “Right,” he said. “A year-and-a-half.”

Emma. Emma finished the test quickly which was no surprise. She asked if she could go to cheer. I said yes. Later she sent a note. “If I had known you’re leaving,” she wrote, “I would have said more before I left. You made a yucky curriculum into something good.” 

“Mister,” Cristofer whispered, handing me a paper airplane with writing under the wings. His instructions told me how to read it. I didn’t need the help: Grac1a5 por 53r m1 ma357ro. All year he had translated for a group of Spanish speakers at his table. As he returned to his seat, I said, “Y tu también. Gracias por ser el maestro!”

“Mister,” Evelyn said. “Do you have colors?” I gave her what was left of the pencils. At the end of the period, she and Jasmine gave me a card with Prismacolored flowers thanking me for being patient even though (in their words) they talked a lot.

After the exam John came up and asked if I would pose for a photo. I could barely hear him. “I’d like a picture of you to go along with this,” he whispered, pointing to the goodbye card I had just handed out. 

Abby wrote a letter that began with the stick-figure teacher dude at the top. She writes well, and her letter ended with another stick-figure teacher dude at the bottom. She slipped the letter into a handmade envelope decorated with a string-ribbon and gave it to me along with a brand new set of colored pens. 

I hadn’t talked to Emory much since last year. When she walked into the room, it was with her usual confident stride and broad smile. She handed me a card which included a tiny bouquet of tiny flowers in a cone of graph paper. “Because you’re a math teacher.”

As promised, Alessandro brought his family by. They had flown in from Italy. His father shook my hand vigorously. I kissed his mother’s and grandmother’s and sister’s cheeks. They smiled and nodded as he translated my description of how wonderful he is. 

Kairo held out a sketchbook opened to a page divided into quadrants. She pointed at the lower-left. “Like a yearbook?” I asked. “Yes,” she said, “but cheaper.” I wrote a goodbye note and drew a stick-figure teacher dude holding his hat in the air in salute to her. She smiled.

When Trevor came into the room, everyone was gone. I was taking posters off the walls and packing up the last boxes. “Mister Hasan,” he said, “I made you snicker doodles.” They were gone before the end of the day.

Kiwi gave me a card that said, “Things are tough and so are you.” We hugged. She looked at her boyfriend. “You see? He gave me a hug.” So I opened my arms and gave him one, too. Not sure what he thought about that.

“Mister,” I heard Kevin say from the doorway. Seniors had been done for a couple days, yet there he was. “I told you I’d come back,” he said. We slapped hands. “You did it,” I said. “With your help, Mister.” 

I was at a long table at the end of the hall. Yoselynn set a box on the table and opened it. “Want a cup cake?” she asked, smiling her smirky smile. I took the one with the tallest, bluest frosting. 

Parents were arriving in the stands. The band was warming up in one end zone, and teachers were sheltering from the sun under a tent in the other. Keranys came walking up the field. “Trevor just told me you’re not coming back,” she said. “But please tell me you’ll come to my graduation.”

Silent Sunday

Sun, 26 May 2024, 05:38 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

spider on a tropical milkweed


Bill’s Blooming Bergamot

Sat, 25 May 2024, 09:10 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

Bill Rose lived down the street. He was a nurseryman, and he had a wild yard. This was many years ago.

One day Bill stopped by to introduce himself, thinking that we owners of wild yards should get to know each other. He brought bare-root wildflower gifts that have bloomed gloriously every year since then. 

Bill’s Bergamot (Bee Balm) are some of the last springtime flowers to bloom, which they suddenly did in lavender profusion yesterday.

Blooming Bergamot (Bee Balm)

Thank you Bill. We miss you.

Silent Sunday

Sun, 19 May 2024, 11:07 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

Horse Mint blossom


Card and Cookies

Sat, 18 May 2024, 02:40 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

The teaching is done. Has been for the better part of a week as [some of] the kids have been working on a review packet. Finals start Monday. 

As an extra source of inspiration and a boost to get them across the finish line, I will hand out the usual Oreos as they work on the test. And as a token of thanks, I will continue my tradition and hand out approximately 160 cards to thank them for being in my class.

The cards are hand-drawn but copied on the copier. And they are hand-colored, including a different function in the graph of the cover of each card. And they are hand-signed, including a left-hander’s checkmark that some of them have joyfully complained about all year long.

Although some of the cards will be left on the tables when the students are gone, in my experience there won’t be many.

One thing I can say with absolute certainty: no Oreos will remain.

Leisure Reading

Wed, 15 May 2024, 09:23 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

The students are reviewing for their Algebra 2 final exam. All week, they’re reviewing. Every day, all week, they’re reviewing.

For some of them, there’s nothing left to do after they’ve finished the 59 problems on the review packet. Many of them have finished. There are three more days of this left. Hence…

My father would be proud.

I’m not good at math

Tue, 14 May 2024, 10:05 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

“I’m not good at math,” she said as I posed a question to the class.

“Nope,” I said. “None of that.” 

“Ok,” she said, looking down at her scratch paper.

“Hold up,” she said to herself after a minute. “I need to discuss this with my brain.” And she proceeded to work some more.

And then she got it, coming to the whiteboard to show everyone her work.

© jumpingfish by David Hasan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License