It was a bit strange to wake up the last few days and not have to go to school. Last night I dreamt I was going to work on the first day of my second year of teaching high school. The weird thing is that I was a passenger in a car with two strangers and we were very lost. It was clear that I wasn’t going to make it to school on time and I was freaking out about missing the first day of school. Then I woke up…
Just in case you were wondering, I will be going back to my home university in September and will not be teaching high school again in the near future. This summer, I will be traveling and attending various teacher professional development workshops. During that time, I hope to process all that I’ve experienced over the past 9 months so that I can give a more coherent answer to all the people who have been asking and will ask me, “So, what have you learned?” (Maybe the dream I mentioned is an indication that my brain is trying to work through things.) If you see any common threads in this blog, I hope you’ll also write to me to tell me your thoughts.
In the meantime, I probably won’t be updating this blog regularly. So, let me take this opportunity to thank you all for joining me on this adventure. I’m very grateful for all of the kind words of encouragement that many of you have sent to me this year. Thank you!
P.S. And please do me a favor–next time you meet a teacher, please tell her/him how much you appreciate the work that she/he does.
2 thoughts on “Dream”
I wish that I had checked out your blog earlier in the year! Your passion, honesty, humility, and reflection all made your entries really though provoking and a great spark for dialogue. It also makes me wish that I would be seeing you at PCMI with the opportunity to talk about your adventures. Being on the other side of not teaching high school this fall (due to retiring after 34 years in the profession), I, too still have these dreams about school. But, I also know that I loved what I did, it made me a better person, I learned more than the kids, it kept me young, and I would do it all over again. Thanks for sharing and I’d be interested in what new insights you come up with as you process your experiences. Enjoy your summer!
I just found your blog today and read through a lot of it. I’m a middle school math teacher. I’ve been teaching for the past 10 years, it’s a second career for me. The most interesting thing I found in your comments was the frustration you had because students did not retain most of what you taught. I’ve said the exact same things you did many times, “what do I have to do…..”
I’m lucky that I teach in a small K-8 district in a rural area and have few of the discipline problems you have. However, I do have common family/parent issues. Last year I had 5 students that had one or more parents in jail!
I’ve been spending my summer reading blogs and going through information on how others are dealing with the difficulties of teaching math and I think the retention problems stems from the fact that we don’t teach math “reasoning,” but math mechanics. We need to find ways that make students want to know how to find the area of a circle. Just telling them how to do it because it’s a standard does nothing.
I always tell my students that I want them to think. By this I mean I want them to understand WHY they do what they do, not just what the answer is. My students get frustrated when I tell them I don’t want the answer, but I want them to tell me how they got the answer and why they did what they did. I’d rather have the wrong answer but a logical thought process of how a student got the wrong answer than just a quick correct answer.
I also tell my students that when they get to the real world, their boss will not be paying them to give him/her the answer to what is 3 times five. Instead, their boss will want them to figure out that to get the answer, he/she needs to multiply 3 times 5.
I plan to link your blog to my website so that I can direct parents to it. I’d like them to see an “outsiders” view point of what most public teachers are up against. I love teaching middle school (I know, call me crazy) but I think our education system is critically broken and needs to be torn down and re-structured. There will be a lot of resistance to this, but I think your experience shows that what we’re doing is not working and we need to change it. Thanks for the insight.