Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015 Student Letters

So once again my students have reminded me why I keep returning to the classroom each year. This job continues to be draining, so the affirmation from my students is what drives me to keep going. Again this year I had all of my students write me a letter at the end of the school year. Here are excerpts from many of their letters. I tried to include the ones that were most thoughtful, kind and encouraging-- or in some way made me laugh. In the order in which I read them:

You can be witty at times, and at other times quite scary. I hope I can have you next year.

You were the most exciting teacher, because I never knew when you might explode or throw a marker at someone, or stand on a chair and move your arms a lot while you yelled. I think you made coming to this class every morning kind of unique and in a way my 7th grade year. So, thanks for being cool and funny and yeah.

p.s. you made it fun to learn some of the hardest stuff ever.

One last thing I want to thank you for is pushing me to do my best and never give up and for that I am thankful.

Also, I’m sorry, but first period is just the easiest to ditch.

You’ve shown me how to make complex math seem simple. I like how you always got to the point with your lessons, and how you could make a serious math lesson seem funny.

You are the best teacher ever. My favorite part of your class is when you tell stories that most of the time have nothing to do with math. You’ve taught me a lot over this year and hopefully you get to be the advanced 8th grade math teacher. If I had to choose a class to be in for the whole day it would probably be this class. Also, you are way more fun and engaging than any teach I have ever had.

You have been one of the best teachers. Not the best, but still good.

I’ve learned a lot this year though I admit the majority of the time I felt stupid and often wondered why I was in advanced math, but now I know the answer is because you were the one that inspired me to do many things….I just want you to know that many things that I’ve learned within these four walls will live with me forever. Thank you Mr. Burrill. J

I should also mention that you made math easy and fun (or at least bearable).

You have inspired me to chase my dream of going to college and doing my dream job.

I liked how you put so much love in teaching math, and had a fun time doing it.

I look up to you for taking in all of the student teachers. They are lucky to have a teacher like you to teach them about teaching. I liked in the class how you are always chill. You don’t freak out about little things like a lot of teachers. In this class I felt comfortable asking questions. If I get the question wrong I know you will teach me how to fix my mistakes. Thank you for teaching me 7th and 8th grade math.

Hopefully I have you as my 8th grade math teacher because I wouldn’t want to learn from anyone else.

I genuinely enjoyed being taught in your class. It was refreshing to see everyone so enthusiastic to learn math. I thought the class had an excellent learning environment. I hope you will teach the 8+ class next year.

I never really understand what you teach, so I just look online how to do it.

Thank you for this wonderful year of math teaching. You were a very funny teacher. A lot of things you did encouraged me to want to learn more. I think my favorite part of the year in your class was around the winter because when I was cold and tired, third period would always wake me up. I wish I could’ve had you for 7th and 8th grade. So yea… thank you for this fantastic year, and I hope you keep teaching the way you taught us.

The best thing you ever told me was to not be so mean. And I’ve been through a lot so my initial instinct is to have an attitude. But you really taught me to be nice to people. Thank you!

Thank you for being my teacher this year for math. You have taught me a lot in math because last year I was bad at it and now I am good. Sometimes I get frustrated cause I don’t know what to do and I get mad but you still help. You are a great teacher and I’ve had lots of fun learning new thing from you! Thank you!

Everyday I went to your class and it made me realize that I wanted to do better in my life and thanks to you now I am. The first day I came to your class I was shy and scared that I wouldn’t go to high school. But you helped me go through those struggles. I now have to say goodbye to the teacher who made me a better person.

Thank you for being such a good teacher. You were very understanding and helpful during this crazy and difficult year.

Thank you for being the best math teacher in the world. Thank you for all the tutoring and help you have given me. I really appreciate it. Also thank you for making math fun and not boring.

You are the funniest, the smartest, and the most awesome teacher ever. Thank you for making this year so great.

You have really taught me things out of math and in. When people say this is what you’re meant for this is it. I really do appreciate what you did for me, you have had the biggest impact on my life outside of my family. I came into this year knowing nothing and right now I’m feeling confident about next year’s math.

You are inspiring and amazing. I don’t know why people wouldn’t like you for any reason.
Your math techniques are proper even though I wouldn’t know what proper is for math but I like it J.

This year was my favorite year in my entire life that I actually liked math class.

You were better than my 7th grade teacher Mrs. Kosiewik because she would be doing the most with homework and your more chill and really funny your like the next Kevin Hart

You were the best teacher ever. Your funny you tell us jokes and you are always energetic even though I’ve only known you for 1 year I felt like I’ve known you forever because youre that teacher which pushes us to keep going every day and helps us succeed. I can’t wait in 20+  years where I tell my kids all about the best math teacher I ever had. And that’s you. Thank you for teaching us new tricks in math and new words tell us jokes and stories you’ll always be my #1 math teacher.

I really enjoyed this class and I wish I wouldn’t have to leave so soon. You are hands down one of the best math teachers I’ve ever had. You changed my life. Thank you!

You are the best math teacher ever. You have taught me so much stuff that I’m probably going to forget over the next 3 months. You are my second favorite teacher. Your not my first because I don’t’ like math but if you did not do math you be number one.

This year was the best year of my entire life. You are definitely by far my favorite teach of all time. Thank you so much for being my teacher.

Thank you for teaching me over the year. I hope I have you next year even though sometimes you are crazy.

I just wanna thank you for everything you have taught me. One thing that I really enjoyed was your personality. You are a very positive and wise man. When I first came into your class I just knew I was gonna like it. Mr. Burrill, you’re just a great person to be around. I was really blessed to get a teacher like you, Thank you again.

Thank you for helping me with math and for giving me life lessons along with what to remember in life. This class has been my favorite class of the year, it not only helped me with math but it lightened my day and it gave me something to look forward to. This is my best subject because of the environment I am in and I thank you Mr. Burrill for everything.

I really want to thank you Mr. Burrill for teaching me how to be confident in my math skills. Before I came to Einstein, I lacked confidence in my work but now I am helping my younger sister (and my mother) with their failing math skills. You have inspired me to be my best and that is really the best thing a teacher can give their student. Every day when I come home I am eager to share some of the stories from this class to my family and I make sure to use my “Mr. Burrill” voice as I repeat your Mitch Hedburg jokes.  I would once again like to apologize for my mother’s humiliating e-mails… she sent them without my consent. Thank you for the adventure.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Personality Test

I hope you enjoyed taking the  personality test

Here are the very basics to the four personalities:

Yellows: loud, open, and cluttered

Reds: high energy, bold, practical and efficient

Blues: quiet, closed, neat and tidy

Greens: cool, calm, collected and all about comfort (and 
those that don't fit into the other categories)  

The quadrants look like this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 11.48.17 AM

The top two are extroverts, and the bottom 2 are the introverts. 

The left side tends to be more people oriented; the right side is usually more task-oriented

Most people have a primary and a secondary color with two personalities that touch each other on the chart. However, some of you will notice in your score that you have one Color that is clearly more dominant than the other three. 

This was an abridged test to make it quick and easy to do on-line. I'd love to hear your results and your feedback about the test itself. If you would like to hear more analysis or are interested in taking the complete test you can e-mail me at

You can learn more about each personality and how to apply this information in your everyday life by reading our book Personalities for Educators.

I would also encourage you to check out Vickie's page:

And you can find her first book Personalities for Business on amazon too.

I hope you're enjoying exploring personalities and learning more about yourself and others. Look forward to hearing from you.

Please click here and share your results with us. I'm curious to see all the scores.


View results here:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Essay Interview

Toward the end of the school year I offer my students one extra credit project. The directions are to find an adult in a vocation they would want to have when they are older. Then they conduct an interview and write a paper about what they learned about that career. Well... sometimes the stuff my kids write is just too funny to not share with others. So here is an essay from one of the kids. I didn't change anything. Believe me; I couldn't make this up.

Essay Interview
Mr. Burrill

                Hi my name is Jordan Thompson, my dream job is to be a detective or maybe a pharmacist. I’ve always wanted to be a detective because ever since I was young I always watched Colombo and matloc, and I would always try to solve the cases.Ive decided to interview my uncle Dwayne and he is a call receptionist at Verizon wireless.
               I interviewed my uncle Dwayne, he is 52 and he has been a call receptionist at Verizon wireless. He has been in the customer service field for about 8 years now and has moved himself up.  He pretty much answers phone calls to customers that aren’t happy with their bill. Sometimes there just having a hard time with their phones. He has customers as mad as where they can be cursing him out. When people are complaining about their bill being high he tries to maybe see if there up for a new phone or he can do a 15% deal off.
               A typical day for my uncle is first to clock in and get his coffee.  When he sits down he usually checks his email and calls his daughter and wife and tell them he got to work safely.  Once hi is all settled he checks if there is any emails and calls. He said he gets about 45 calls on a good day, he gets yelled at at least 10 times a day. He has two 15 minutes breaks and 1 lunch break. During his 15 minute break he handles some of his bills and most of the time he has mandatory meetings. During his lunch break he usually brings his lunch to his daughter at work or goes out to eat with his girlfriend Sheela. After he goes back to work and finishes up some paper work he starts on his phone calls after he finishes up some paper work. Then he clocks out and goes home and chills at home.
               The perks and advantages of this job is that he can flex his hours, which is where you can leave work early and then make up the hours later. That is really cool because most adults can’t do that so I think that is really cool.  His money was really good when he used to be a lawyer for a very long time and he had to go back to help his daughter because she had a two twin kids.  He works about 10 hours on a good day 11 on a bad day. He and my family go on a cruise trip every year out the country.  He gets along with all of his coworkers, he thinks it’s cool because he usually a one man job except for his clients.  The rewards at his job is every Friday his job has a potluck I’m going to one pretty soon. He always has fun either if it’s happy hour after his job, or its clubbing with our family.
               This job requires 6 weeks of training you really have to know what you’re doing to have job so it’s a lot harder.  You have to have an AA you don’t need a master’s degree or a bachelors because it’s not mandatory for most people if they have been in this field before.  He ended up in this job because he wanted to get some extra money on the side and this was the easy because he went to law school so he got the job easily.  He originally wanted to be in the NBA but that didn’t work out but he played college ball. 
               He uses math every day because he has to count his customers, so that’s a pretty big part of his day.  Math is very important because he’s adding, subtracting and multiplying he said he feels like an accountant.  His advice to middle schoolers now is to don’t take middle school for granted what you learn will be essential to what you learn in high school and life.
               An interesting story I learned from the interview is it was his birthday and they put him down for working after he asked for the day off. Once he found out he had to go to work he yelled at his boss and he said Dwayne I gave you the day off this is for next month. My Uncle Dwayne called him and apologized later that day for all that cursing and yelling at him for. The most interesting thing I have learned from this interview is to always put in your full work because one day you will be so proud and it will pay off. Like in math class by grade dropped and it’s been so hard getting up and I want to keep doing my work so I can my make my mom proud. His worst day is when a customer called him and was cursing him out, and his temper was already high from earlier this morning so he snapped on the guy.  The customer gave him a zero on his survey and he had to have a meeting with this group manager and his boss, luckily all he had was a write up. His scariest moment was when he thought he was going to get fired because he missed 2 days of work and didn’t call in saying he was ill. His most successful story was helping a customer that had a problem that no one could really solve and the other one was giving a customer a deal to help them pay there bill when they didn’t have the funds to.
               The conclusions about this career is you have to have lot of patients and sometimes you will get very frustrated and and this job isn’t for everyone.  Also not many people are able to do this job my uncles boss said it is a gift. I wouldn’t want to this job the salary isn’t a problem I feel like I can see myself being a detective like I said in the beginning of this essay, or I maybe want to be a scout for high school sports I would love to do that. Thank you very much for taking up your time in your day to read this essay.