Category Archives: Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing

I’m not saying I started a fashion trend by wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants almost every day, but ever since I started, I’m noticing more and more people sporting this no-nonsense combination.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing: Jan Bourg

Jan Bourg has been teaching Calculus brilliantly for many years, and it’s only recently that I’ve been invited to be her teammate. And what a team we make!

Our personal lives and interests are as different as can be – she’s a proud grandma who coaches the Golf Team and stays in excellent shape, and I’m a middle-aged dad who coaches the Math Club and watches TV – but each time we meet to create meaningful learning experiences for the kids in our classes, our minds are very much in sync as we come up with incredible activities that neither of us could create by ourselves.

I rely on Jan heavily for her knowledge of the curriculum. After all, she has taught Calculus BC for many years, and has graded the AP Calculus exams, so she knows all of the nuances and specifics of what will be tested and graded each year. She also has a library of resources from other Calculus teachers across the country that can inspire us to create something original. In return, I provide some technological know-how when it comes to modernizing instruction, by creating online resources and activities, with our own website to house all of it. I also create higher-level intuitive questions beyond what the AP exam would ask. It’s that combination of give and take between Jan and me that makes it a true pleasure to work with her for my second year in Calculus BC.

Jan and I share a philosophy that a college-level course like Calculus should be challenging for students, but the experience of learning it in high school should be fun and forgiving. Whenever one of us wants to take a risk in changing the assessment style, the lesson order, or the grading method – even if it’s a last-minute decision – the other is always on board, and that’s the kind of trust and respect that should come with every team. And even though we take our role as educator seriously, we also know how to laugh at ourselves, each other, and the silly things that our students do year after year.

I am truly honored to be working with Jan for a second year, and have nothing but admiration for her as a teammate and friend. She is one of the reasons I am excited to come to work every day.

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Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing: Sean Bagley … again!

The new school year has begun, and who should I see wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants (again) but the irreplaceable Sean Bagley. Sean is an Associate Principal at Coppell High School, and it’s a proven fact that the building would simply crumble without him. He is a rock, a pillar, a constant entity of dedication and joy. He never fails to greet me, and everyone else, with a smile and a witty comment. With every action, he exemplifies our role as educators to be there for the kids, building them up when the do right, and correcting them when they do wrong, helping them become the best possible version of themselves.

I look forward to yet another year working with Sean. And I hope this isn’t the last time I see him exercising his impeccable sense of fashion. See you in the halls, Sean!

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Lowell Johnson

I remember being the Math Department Chair, sitting in the room as we interviewed Lowell “Dr. J” Johnson. Within seconds, I knew that he was a talented, insightful, and unique individual, and would fit in with our math department perfectly. Since then, he has become a pillar of wisdom and humor on the campus as a whole. His classroom standards are unwavering, and his abundant kindness and pensive wit are always refreshing. I’m lucky to be in the same hall as him this year, and I’m honored to be his colleague and friend.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Michele Zugaro and Don Kemp

There are very few math teachers that would choose to teach AP Statistics. And there are even fewer who would be so enthusiastic about it that they would inspire students by the hundreds to enroll in the course. I’m so very lucky to work with two such people. They are both passionate teachers who love their students as much as they love statistics, to the point where the program has grown more in the past 10 years than any other course in any other subject area at Coppell High School. These two are simply magical, and it’s a joy to watch them work. I still have no desire to teach statistics myself, but if I ever do, I’ll have two of the finest role models right around the corner.

(Note: I am not snubbing Dr. J. He is just as amazing as these two. He just wasn’t in this particular photo. I will give him his props next time.)

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Suzanne Black

Meet Suzanne Black, my new next-door neighbor this year. If you don’t know her, you should get to know her as soon as possible to greatly improve your life. If you don’t love her the second you meet her, there’s something wrong with you at a deep emotional level. Suzanne is one of those teachers that can easily put things into perspective for you, with her vast Southern wisdom. She is always smiling and always cheerful, and she can tell a story in a way that would put Aesop and the brothers Grimm to shame. Even when the stress of AB Calculus get to her, it never stops her from being the kindest and warmest person. Thank you, Suzanne, for being one of the main reasons I enjoy coming to work every day.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants Day !!

I have the most thoughtful teammates and students ever!! In honor of my birthday today, they dressed up in blue and khaki, and it was awesome!! Thank you all so much for making today extra special!!

   

Thank you Michele Zugaro, Don Kemp, Krissy Baker, Paul Lidster, John Watkins, Eve Engelbrite, Lowell Johnson, Suzanne Black, Mary Jo Wilt, Ryan B., Tomas O., Grace H., and Stella Y.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Trevor H.

This young man is an AP Calculus student, a talented musician, a Coppell Red Jacket … the list goes on. He is smart, talented, and always puts his best foot forward. I was particularly humbled when he came up to campus on an exam day (from which he was exempt), to take this photo with me. Trevor has so many options open to him when he leaves high school at the end of this year; I’m excited to learn which path he pursues, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to teach him as a student and to know him as a person.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Dayna Bryant

This year, I’ve moved to a new hall with new neighbors. It’s been an adjustment, but all of the teachers have made the transition much easier. Dayna Bryant, AP Physics guru, is one of my new neighbors, and it is her blend of kindness and brilliance that inspires me daily. We sometimes arrive at school at the same time, so that gives us a chance to chat while we talk, and she is definitely one of the unsung heroes of CHS. She is knowledgeable and innovative, supportive and patient with her students, and helpful to me when I’ve needed it. All the while, she maintains a sense of peace and humility that is rarely seen. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know her this year, and I look forward to the rest of this year with such a fantastic neighbor and friend.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Michael Brock

I am happy for any opportunity I get to say great things about Michael Brock. He is the IB Coordinator at Coppell High School, so I have had the pleasure of working side-by-side with him over the past several years. He is a brilliant teacher, a devoted husband and father to his family, and a true friend and confidant. He deserves much respect and honor, but is content just to serve his students and family every day. It is a true joy to know him and learn from him every day. Thank you, Michael Brock, for everything you do to impact my life and the lives of everyone who knows you.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Raza M.

Another one of my fantastic students! Raza is always cheerful and eager to learn, even at the end of the day during my Calculus class. His smile and sense of humor are a welcome addition to the class, and I can honestly say that I’m lucky to know him.

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