Second Breakfast: Fresh Start

This week has been rough and I haven’t even done any teaching of high schoolers yet. I have been feeling more anxious than usual about the start of the school year for the past couple weeks and this week of in-service days made it a little worse. The sudden busyness of getting ready for the year and all of the tasks I need to do before I have learners in my class has me all turned around. I had a small breakdown in a department meeting on Tuesday, but I am doing better now. I have a really great department with supportive people and my administrators have been great as well. The anxiety has gone down to normal beginning-of-the-year jitters coupled with the frantic working of getting my classes ready.

Yesterday I gave a quick one hour session sharing Reader’s Theater from Elizabeth Statmore, Clothesline Math from Chris Shore, and One Hundred Factorial from David Butler. This went well and I was excited to share the stuff I learned at #tmc17 with other teachers from my district.

This year I am teaching Foundations Of Algebra again, but we have a completely new pacing guide, textbook, and supplemental curriculum from the state that we have to use so that is feeling like a new class. Or at least half a new class.

I am also teaching Geometry for the first time I currently feel like I am drowning in figuring that out.

There’s more I could blog to process my thoughts, but I still have a lot to do so I don’t want to spend too much time writing. I saw my two freshman classes of Foundations of Algebra today for Fresh Start. I only had 20 minutes with each of them and we just played Blobs and Lines for 15 or so. Then I spent the last 5 making sure they all knew where they were going next and not to bring their cell phones on Tuesday when we have the first day of class.

They are definitely chatty freshman and I’m going to be spending time getting them into shape.

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What About Second Breakfast? Blogging My Second Year Of Teaching

Now that the high of Twitter Math Camp 2017 has worn off, I am starting to feel apprehensive about beginning my second year teaching high school math. I have been feeling apprehensive all summer. I think I will continue to feel apprehensive for the first couple weeks of the year until I settle into a groove. (Assuming I settle into a groove.)

I’ve had people tell me the difference between first and second year is like night and day.

I’ve had people tell me that the above sentence is garbage.

I’ve had people tell me the truth is somewhere in between.

Bah. We’ll find out.

I know that I said at the end of last year that I wasn’t going to continue my habit of daily posts once I had finished teaching, but that was end-of-the-year fatigue talking and this is end-of-the-summer refreshed writing. So I am going to daily blog my second year of teaching too. I figure I should have a new theme though since I’m not a rookie anymore. I couldn’t come up with anything better than a second breakfast joke so I’m going with that.

I really hope this anxiety goes away once I start teaching again though.

Thanks for reading.

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Okay, fine. #mtbos is a club. We want you to be in it.

I have been tweeting along with math teachers since 2011 before there was something called the #mtbos. I used the hashtag to find educators I could learn from, resources I could use, and kindred spirits to draw encouragement from. I asked questions on the #mtbos tag and shared resources I found. Before there was #mtbos it was just people talking about math and math education on the internet to help each other and become better and I considered that to still be true after #mtbos was coined. If you were talking online about math through twitter or blogs then you were #mtbos. (Apparently some of you were #mtbos and didn’t even know it.)

Today, I use #mtbos for two things, which are basically the two things I have always used it for: community and resources. At the beginning of Twitter Math Camp 2017 Dan Meyer posted what has become a highly controversial blog entry for the math education twitter community.  Apparently the biggest criticism of #MTBoS or the Math-Twitter-Blogosphere is the perception that #mtbos is an exclusive club that you have to be worthy to enter. Many people have written on this better than I can and I have so many thoughts that I am afraid that if I let this blog post go on for too long it will go off the rails. So I will try to keep it short.

I saw some criticism of tweeting inside jokes from Twitter Math Camp. This frustrated me a lot. Inside jokes are a natural outgrowth of friendships and shared experiences, especially in get-away camp-like environments. They are not bad. I shared some of my thoughts about this on Twitter:

  1. The opposite of an exlusive club culture is a culture where no friendship is expressed and community is lost because we are afraid of excluding someone by expressing friendship.
  2. People in #mtbos are allowed to be friends. They are allowed to express that friendship publicly.

Fawn Nguyen responded that people were being made to feel guilty about having friends and she wasn’t going to apologize to anyone for finding friends in community. I agree whole-heartedly.  If you take away the community part of #mtbos then I can just get the resources from Google. The best part of #mtbos is the people in the community. They have completely transformed my teaching philosophy. When a community is as good as the #mtbos is, it is natural for others to see it and go, “Man I want to be a part of that.” When others want to be a part of your community that’s a good sign, not a bad one. It means the community is healthy. I think perhaps because of this discussion those of us who claim #mtbos are reacting against the label of a club. But let’s embrace it.

Fine.

We’re a club.

It’s a kick-ass club with great people and we learn a lot and tell dumb inside jokes.

There’s no fees to join unless you count your wireless carrier bill.

Please join us. We really want you to. Yes you.

 

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