A friend emailed today describing her current situation at school — student behavior issues, students who are in danger of being suspended, students who have so much going on in their lives that math is one of the last things they think about — what’s a teacher to do?

Her note reminds me that teaching math (or other subjects) sometimes comes in second to life. I remember that it’s such a fine line we walk. Does it help the situation to ignore it to some degree and create a “math environment” haven? Or, do we have to take care of some of the social issues before we can even imagine teaching math? It’s such a hard call.