In my classroom this week: Frustration, Budgeting, and Basketball

This week was seriously never-ending and super frustrating. But thank goodness it ended on a high note and I can’t complain too much. So I’ll complain just enough.

You know when you spend a bunch of time on something only to realize that all of that hard work (physical, mental, and emotional) was a waste? That happened a lot this week.

Students and adults alike who don’t want to/can’t be helped even after spending so much effort on doing everything in our power (within reason, duh) to get something accomplished. That’s the most frustrating of everything that happened this week, and I was ready to pull my hair out. It didn’t just start this week either; it’s been culminating since September, but this week just exhausted me beyond belief. I mean, I was physically drained by Monday afternoon, each day becoming more and more drained.

I’m human, so I’m not perfect either – you wanna know how many times I created a lesson, typed up the note/worksheets, and made copies only to realize that I had made some sort of mistake that wasn’t easy to just have the students make small edits? Too many. For example, in Algebra II, the coordinate grid I included on the word problems didn’t work with them (totally Desmos’ fault because why, oh why would they only put 3 grid lines between 0 and 5?), so then I had to re-make the grids, re-print, and re-copy the notes. I know it sounds like I’m complaining about stupid little things, but as a teacher without much time to spend doing something more than once, it’s annoying. I just made so much extra work for myself because I wasn’t careful and instead I hurried through. Dumb-y.

This week was all about introducing functions to my Algebra I class – we talked about what functions are, practiced filling in function tables given a function rule, and on Friday we learned how to create the function rule given a full table. They’ve been doing really well, and even those students who struggled in the beginning have improved so much!

Algebra II focused on solving, graphing, and answering questions about systems of linear inequalities word problems. They’ve been really disliking this mostly because each problem is very involved and takes quite awhile to solve. But they’ve also liked it because they get to use colored pencils to color in the shaded regions.

My Math in Everyday Life (MIEL) students finished their budget component this week; I asked them to each choose two jobs: one was a job they really want to do in the future, and one in a fast food restaurant. They chose movie actress, veterinarian, TV sports broadcaster, ASL interpreter, and surf-lesson instructor for their desired jobs. For fast food, they chose places like McDonalds, Starbucks, and Five Guys.

They were asked to find the average salary for each of their two jobs, and from there we calculated the monthly salaries. I then gave them a list of expenses they could choose from and the corresponding prices (estimated, of course). They could choose things like owning a car versus buying a subway ticket every month, owning a pet, having a cell phone, having cable TV, and other things.

When they added up their expenses, they then were to calculate the amount left over every month when subtracting expenses from their salaries. They quickly realized that they were spending way too much, even with higher salaries at their “desired” jobs. None of them could afford their desired expenses when working solely at fast food (which we calculated came to about $15,000/year or about $1250/month).

My student who wants to be an actress realized that with the starting salary, she would not be able to afford her expenses, so I asked about where she thinks the term “struggling actress” comes from. She made the connection that usually actresses are also waitresses, and that’s because they can afford their expenses if they work two jobs. This was true with her acting and fast food salaries combined. It was really cool for them to see all of this and realize that they can’t always have everything once they’re out on their own.

Finally (FINALLY!), yesterday was Friday. We had a student-faculty basketball game after school to raise money for an organization in Red Hook – people had to pay to play and to watch. I signed up to play but was actually quite nervous because I’ve never been good at basketball. I’m better at the endurance portion necessary for running back and forth, bursting down the court to knock the ball out of students’ hands. I don’t think I played horrible, but I didn’t play amazing; I did a good job on defense, and also almost made a basket.

But it was really cool being in a different setting with students, seeing their talent up close, and having fun with them while also getting to be aggressive with them. Teachers won by about 5 points, still holding the championship 2 years running now (it started last year, so teachers have had it from the beginning). We also had a great crowd including a bunch of awesome teachers with signs and other paraphernalia to cheer us on. It was a great time.

This week is going to be crazy – we have a volunteer project Monday, regular day of school Tuesday, half-day with parent-teacher conferences following Wednesday, full day of P/T conferences Thursday, and a regular day on Friday. Only 2.5 days of lessons to prepare, but P/T conference days are exhausting. I’m just hoping it’s not as frustrating as this week was.

I hope everyone had a great week; what was the most (or least, we can be positive here!) frustrating or fun thing that happened to you this week? It’s good to let it out, get it off your chest, and seek help of others – I’ve learned that big-time this year working at my school with some amazing co-workers acting as my rocks to vent to and lean on.

Living in Brooklyn forever?

I like living in Brooklyn. I like my job in Brooklyn. I like being so close to everything and that most places are still open at 10 or 11 at night. I like that there are parks nearby and that we’re a 30 minute subway ride away from Manhattan. I like that it’s busy and city-esque here but not as touristy and annoyingly crowded as Manhattan.

BUT Brooklyn is flipping expensive!

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Brooklyn is the least affordable city in America to buy a place to live (followed by San Francisco and Manhattan at #2 and #3). Like, what????

The article also mentions that 70% of Brooklyn residents rent and that the median rent is over $2800. No wonder people are being priced out of Brooklyn into other boroughs (or homelessness!)…

Rent is too damn high SNL Kenan Thompson

I mean, that median number makes me feel a bit better because we pay about half of that for our 2 bedroom at the moment. Our lease is up soon (so the featured image is almost a year old!), and therefore Tom and I have been discussing what we want to do next – do we renew our lease for another year or do we want to look at moving elsewhere? We are ready to stop putting that money into rent every month, knowing that we’re not getting any of it back when we decide to leave. So obviously, a house or condo would be the next step.

But it’s practically impossible to find decent places within a decent price range without maxing out our entire bank account and signing the next 10 years of our income away to a mortgage. Going back to that Bloomberg article, the median price to buy a place is $615,000. Who can afford that? Not a couple of mid-20’s newlyweds (one with a student loan from Columbia, might I add), that’s for sure!

Plus, neither one of us wants to live in the city for the rest of our lives. When the time comes, I really don’t want to raise a child in the city. And we both agree that we really don’t want to spend such a large amount of money on a condo that’s not much bigger than our current apartment. We want space to grow into, we want a yard, and anything close to what we want in the city would be a couple million dollars. For real. It’s disgusting.

We’ve been searching Zillow for about 2 months now, seeing what’s out there and how much we would need in order to buy something. The low end of what we’ve found has been around $300,000 for 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom condos with no decent amenities (elevator, dishwasher, on-site washer/dryer, etc.).

Zillow Brooklyn Prices Zillow Prices Brooklyn

The criteria that we have settled on is 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and preferably all the mentioned amenities, plus close proximity to the subway, and in a good neighborhood. Oh, and they need to be okay with pets because MAMA WANTS A CAT AND/OR DOG!!! For all of this, we’re looking at around $650,000. Ouch.

So we’ve decided that we will continue to rent for another year and then see what happens. Whether that means moving towards the outskirts of Brooklyn, out of the city, or out of New York State altogether, we’re both on the same page in that we want to be smart with our money. We started a budget and are going to keep better track on how much we spend and where our money is going every month.

We definitely know we want to stay on the northeastern part of the country, thinking as far west as Illinois and as far south as the Carolinas. Anywhere will seem like a steal outside of NYC, so we’ll feel like millionaires! But, no matter when or where we move, we’ll be together, and that’s what matters. (Cheesy, yes. You may either ‘aww’ or gag now.)

So here’s to another year, Brooklyn. (Unless I lose my job or something else unfortunate happens, then that’s a whole other can of worms…). Ending on a positive note. *thumbs up*