Sanity through math

Why is Jonathan Halabi called “Mr. D.”?

I mean, it’s an excellent way to refer to a math teacher — isn’t it? — but I’m puzzled by “D” as the abbreviation for Halibi.

Oh well, who am I to object? The point is that his fascinating blog,, always has a lot to say about public-school math teaching, teacher unions, and all sorts of related issues. The union matters can sometimes leave readers lost in the woods if we don’t teach in New York, but never mind. I just want to focus on one of his recent posts, all about how we can achieve Sanity through Math in these difficult times. As I transition into Zoom-based teaching for the first time, I am feeling a bit like a first-year teacher all over again. Thank goodness I have a colleague and two TA’s who can support me. After one day of this new experience it was a bit daunting to read this:

My work has been exhausting. The grading — absurdly slow. Lessons?  Maybe I’ve figured something reasonable out. I’m not certain, not about that. It’s taken me twelve weeks.

I don’t have twelve weeks. But then Halabi quotes his former professor, Roman Kossak: “sometimes when the world is falling apart around us, the best thing to do is some math.”

So go do some math. And stay sane by keeping in mind the Randall Monroe cartoon that Halabi quotes:

Categories: Life, Math