Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Day 177: The End

That's it! We're done!

I asked my geometry students, as a last assignment, to reflect on the year.  I got the idea Regan Galvan, who has been having her student blog about math all year, and has inspired me to try it next year with my students.

I was looking for their reactions to this year, giving me feedback that I could use to make next year better.  I should have given them more time, but the feedback that I got was positive.

Because I'm egotistical, I'm going to cherry-pick some sections from three different students.

Another great thing about this class is Mr. Aion doesn't let us off easy.  Just copying notes and doing worksheets would have drilled it into our brain and been much easier, but Mr. Aion challenged us and we had to work for our grade, which I respect.  [...] One of the best things about Mr. Aion is he doesn't do things the traditional way and he forces you to open your eyes to look at different things.  He is also really funny and all the students like and respect him, which is a good thing for a teacher.

I think that it was a pretty good year and I'm really going to miss this class.

I am a pretty big procrastinator, especially for school work.  Whenever we had projects for Geometry, I would usually get them done the night before they were due, resulting in "good enough" work, when "good enough" is never good enough.  I learned that from my teacher, Mr. Aion.  That quote is probably one thing that I will carry out from this class for the rest of my life.  After hearing him say that, I was motivated to try my best, and work my butt off.  [...] Because of this quote, I regret every single time I lacked in quality for one of my projects.  Not even in Geometry, but in every class.

No matter what else happened this year, I don't see how I could read these and not feel as though I've done well.  As teachers, we feel (intrinsically or extrinsically) that we need to touch every student, to change every life.

The harsh reality is that we can't.  There will always be students who slip through, who we fail to help.  That's inevitable and they will always haunt us.  We need to try for every student, but we can't despair when we fail.

All we can do is set an example for our students and use those failures to improve.

However, as look at our failures for ways to improve, we must also look to our successes for areas in which we have excelled.  We cannot change all of their lives, but if we can have a positive impact on even a single student, then we have done well and done good.

It's not good enough because "good enough" is never good enough.  But it's a great start.

I spent over an hour today writing in yearbooks, giving personalized messages of hope and confidence.

I have some pretty amazing students.


  1. Wow--an hours' worth of yearbooks to sign! Way to go, Mr. Popular--and it sounds like you didn't get that way by going easy on them but rather by making them ditch the whole concept of "good enough" ... Really impressive stuff, Mr. Aion!

    1. To be fair, they weren't just signatures. If I'm going to sign a yearbook, I like to leave a paragraph or so worth of personal message. My mom will be impressed since I have spent most of my life avoiding handwriting anything.

  2. I attended a memorial service for a very dear friend a few weeks ago and one of the women who spoke had been my friend's student in middle school. Not only did she feel like he changed her life, but she had her yearbook with her (from 20+ years ago) to show the beautiful, hopeful and confidence-building things he had written in it.

  3. Mr Aion,
    I just want you to know that you have touch my life in more ways than one. You were the first teacher I had that cared about me and not just how well I did in school. You always asked me what was wrong if I looked sad, you gave me granola bars when I needed one, and most of all you made it known that I could come to you for anything. No one has ever done that for me. (I'm starting to cry AGAIN, so if my grammar is worse than usual I'm sorry) You also taught me to be proud of myself and not worry about what others think about me. You also helped me come out of my shell and not be so shy and reserved about everything. Even though I will deny this if asked, you helped me actually made me like math! Geometry was one of my favorite classes this year. I've always been good at math I just never enjoyed and didn't do my best in it. In your class I can honestly say I did my best work. You taught me that "good enough isn't good enough" that you should always do your best work. You also taught me that I shouldn't judge myself based on grades. Two of my favorite things you taught me was that most of the people I go to school with are jerks, and to stay off of Jacob's side of the internet. This year we've been through a lot, including lectures, rants (which where both fun, yet confusing at the same time), pizza projects, park projects, we found out the ramps in our school were unsafe, we had a doodle day, we even had a mouse funeral and went to DC! You should have doodle day with your classes next year! It was fun! I just wanted you to know that you have helped us all this year no matter what you think. Good Luck with the 7th graders next year. I promise they're not all annoying. Heck, if you could deal with Gina, Juliette, Erica, Claire, me and the rest of our dysfunctional class, you can deal with my 7th grade friends. Just remember, Isabella is as emotional as I am, and probably more, yes you may find Ava's voice annoying but really smart things are said with it, and Kayla may have an attitude problem but she can be a really nice person if you give her a chance. I promise to always give my best effort in everything I do, to never drop a box on a mouse's head, to not forget that boys are jerks, to stay off Jacob's side of the internet, and most importantly, to be confident in my self. I won't say goodbye, because first of all it's too hard, and second of all everyone knows I'm coming back next year. I won't let you guys miss me to much.
    You dedicated student,

    1. Isabel,

      Words cannot express how touched and honored I am by this. I was so happy to have you in my class this year and have deeply enjoyed the time that we spent together.

      Teachers don't usually know what impact we've had on our students and them telling us outright is VERY rare (unless they're cursing at us or calling us weird as def.)

      This means so much to me.

      Know that you are always welcome in my class. I hope that you will keep in touch and keep me posted on your progress. You're a remarkable young woman and I know you will do great things.

      Thank you.

      Thank you.

  4. Justin, this is simply overwhelmingly wonderful! You are right -- you can't reach every single person. There are also many you reach but it takes some time for them to realize it, and you may never know about it. "Good enough isn't good enough" may not be internalized for some years to come and may well suddenly strike a chord with some students long after they've passed through your classroom, even though you'd prefer to see immediate changes. For the relatively few who remain completely unchanged for having you as a sincerely caring teacher, there are many, many who will remember you with fondness and respect for the rest of their lives. You are an amazing person, and you are encouraging others to be amazing!


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