There’s pretty much two kinds of people in this world:
Bravado vs. sadness. Learning opportunities, or more evidence that the world is unfair. You pick.
This week we celebrated 25 years of marriage. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything on the planet. But, would I change some things if I could?
Honestly, I’ve messed up plenty of times. And learned something from the pain every time. I’d rather not hurt. Or have the people I love hurt. But I’m thankful for the chance to learn, and grow as a person, and grow closer to my loved ones. So: “My Way”? Or “A Lot Of Things Different”?
We’re at the time of year when buyers remorse is setting in for some of my Algebra II students. They are recognizing that they’ve blown off the last math course they need to graduate, and (170 days in) it’s too late to fix.
The options are summer school, credit recovery, or alternative school.
It’s not fun. When everyone is counting days to summer vacation and you are looking ahead to a 6:30 wakeup call and a bus ride across town and a teacher going on and on and on and on about math.
And it’s not a fair trade. 180 hours of social time, versus doing the work that needs to get done to move the ball forward, and get a step closer to walking across a stage with a diploma in hand. I think, given the chance, they’d have made some different choices.
I can tell they are feeling pain, because their frustration is directed at me these days. What I know after doing this for a while: 17-year-olds are great at “IDGNF” bravado, but they suck at hiding true feelings.
Which all has me thinking: What “Teacher Habits” do I have that I would change? I make a list for myself at the end of every school year, as I’m making copies and filing grade printouts and filling up my recycling bin: what worked and what didn’t? What could I do different next year? After 15 years there are some areas that I’m pretty set in my ways. But the greatest benefit of being a connected teacher is: there’s always someone with a different way (and maybe, a better way) out there. Is this the year to flip the script?
I’ve got a change coming next year. I have a straight schedule of math. No PLTW. Which is a little odd, since my district’s efforts to re-launch PLTW is pretty much how I ended up here, but hey, Teaching Motto since Day One is: “Roll With It”. They tell me what to teach, and who to teach, and where, and I take care of the rest.
Two of my sections will be an Algebra Lab for incoming freshmen who hate math and hate school and probably will hate me. (I know, they haven’t met me, but give them time). My department chair approached me with the proposal: a supplemental class to shore up their Algebra I class. No homework. All project-based. DOK 3. Grade is based on in-class participation.
She knows me so well. It took about two seconds to say yes.
I’ve been training for this my whole life. And I know where to turn for ideas:
*cough* #MTBoS *coughcough*
It’s gonna be a year to do a lot of things different. And to do it my way.
Satchel Paige said “Don’t look back. You never know who might be gaining on you.” But honestly, sometimes a look back is the best thing you can do to put yourself on the right pathway in the future.
Plus, every now and then, the view is fantastic.