An unemployed high school teacher can be given a job and tasked with teaching a curriculum while managing a new group of students in the blink of an eye. It was a few years ago when, literally overnight, I went from job beggar to the Special Education teacher at a small conservative private school.
Shockingly, at the time, I was told that I would mostly be a math teacher for the few Special Education students of the school. I had never been a math teacher and math was even something of a weakness of mine during my own high school experience, but their desperation for a teacher met with my desperation for a teaching job, we shook hands, and I went home to prepare.
I was competent, as a somewhat intelligent adult, that I’d be able to “stay a few pages ahead of the kids,” as the Rabbi Principal had suggested, but I felt a sad void in my enthusiasm for mathematics. I had never really studied math, and while I was certainly excited to grow intellectually while getting paid for the privilege, I didn’t think my own enthusiasm for learning was enough for High School students to manifest the same enthusiasm.
I had anticipated the inevitable question: “why does any of this matter?” And, outside of intellectualism for the sake of intellectualism, I didn’t have a reasonable answer… Until I came across a quote from Euclid that engendered the first cracks of daylight that would ultimately transform the way I thought about everything:
“The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.”
Something clicked, I had an epiphany, and I saw the beauty in mathematics.