Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 76: Reflections of Reflections

I've been thinking lately about the kinds of impact that I make.  I don't just mean with my students, but also with my coworkers, my administrators, the parents and other teachers throughout the world.

Megan Schmidt has been trying for months to get me to realize that I'm doing good for the teacher community as a whole, but I have mixed feelings about how true that is.

And then yesterday happened.  It wasn't a good day for me.  My energy and willingness to teach were very low.  I spent some time casually browsing non-teaching job postings on the internet.  I got home and sat quietly on the couch for a while.

Then I got a tweet from Dylan Kane posted a link to his blog.  Dylan is doing incredible things and thinks about wildly deep and important ideas.

And he wrote about me.

So I made a decision.  I created a folder of links to the various blogs that have mentioned me or this blog.  Even as I type this sentence I realize how obnoxious and arrogant it sounds.  I reworded it several times and couldn't come up with a different way to say it.

I will keep these links the way I keep tweets, letters and emails from students; as something to look at when I'm questioning myself.  It will remind me that I'm working towards something and that the transparency of my journey is helping others as well.

I've been toying with the idea of skipping a day or two on the days when I'm feeling bad.  I've been told that skipping a day wouldn't be a problem.  It's my blog. I can skip a day if I want.

Dylan's post reminded why I don't skip days, especially when I'm feeling bad.  Part of my journey is talking about what I feel, whether it's good or bad.  He points out that the majority of teaching blogs are about lessons that were great or interactions that made teachers feel good.  I think there's an incredible amount of value in that.  There are so many factors trying to drag down teaching and our profession that it's amazing and refreshing to see teachers doing well and loving what they do.

The purpose of my blog isn't that.  It is, and always has been, a chronicle of my journey to become a better teacher.  On any journey, there are pitfalls and perils.

Imagine if Tolkien had written "On the way, they met some folks, escaped from some orcs and got hurt a bunch."

The struggle is the story.

In geometry, I gave a problem from GoGeometry that looked like it was level appropriate.

I thought it would be a great opportunity to have the students struggle while I did as well.  I told them I would be working on it too and one of my students asked if he could watch my process.
After a while, I got stuck (as I was trying to do the problem without trigonometry) and so did the group of students on the other side of the room.  We got together and started talking some things out.

It turned out to be more complicated than I was originally hoping for, but it pulled a ton of kids in and they got to see my actual struggle rather than a contrived one.

When we finally came up with an answer, I looked it up to see if we were right.  The two comments on this post had solutions, one obtained through trig and another through complex numbers.

Both had the same answer that we developed through algebra.

It was very cool.  This was a good day.

1 comment:

  1. So glad that you put your everyday journey out there. I haven't been blogging too much lately and some of it is out of fear of not being good enough to be able to contribute to the MtBoS, and some second-guessing about my own abilities as a teacher. Hearing about the pitfalls and perils helps put things in perspective.


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