You don’t hear me use the word “hate” very often. In fact, former students and my child will usually tell you my response to it is “Hate is such a strong, ugly word…” And it sticks with them.
I apologize for the scattered-ness of this post. I simply am not able to clean it up. But that’s okay. This is more for me – to reflect and remind myself…
My thinking with this post is the struggle I have when a challenge such as #MTBoSBlaugust is made. Wow. The participation is great. But overwhelming. So many good ideas being shared. But I fall into the trap of “wanting to do it all.” And I can’t. And as a seasoned teacher, I accept that.
I Want (to do) It All and I Want (to do) It Now…
Julie & Sam & others reiterated this sentiment at #TMC18 – we simply cannot do it all. And that is okay.
I believe it was @mathprojects who shared from @steveleinwand – 10% Challenge.
It is unprofessional to ask teachers to change more than 10% a year. It is also unprofessional to ask them to change less than 10% a year.
I interpret this as focusing on 1 thing at a time for me to improve. When I feel I have met that goal, I can move on down my list of want-to-do’s.
In February, I shared my thoughts about getting away from this pull to do more and more. I listed some questions I began using to weigh the value of a task/lesson, etc. This summer, after reading Why Don’t Students Like School (D. Willingham) and reading some thoughts from @druinok’s tweets,
I would adjust my questions a bit to include – what are students thinking about and focused on during this activity? Will it lead them to think / discuss about concepts leading to the learning goal?
When I am restructuring an activity – I have to keep in mind my own goals for the school year. How is this adjustment better than what I currently have in place? How will this support my classroom goals & our school wide mission? How can I ensure this will lead to student thinking? And the piece I was missing for years – after I have implemented the new resource / task – reflect. How did it impact student learning? How do I know?
What if I forget the thing I wanted to do?
Find a system – to record your reminders and want-to-do’s.
- pinterest (became overwhelming for me),
- one note or drive – see Jenn & Mary’s TMC18 session,
- a post-it note wall,
- notes in a planner (I make a list and keep in the cover of my planner so I see it often – I also do this for my books I want to check out at the library),
- bullet journal
- Set up a reminder in your device calendar for a few weeks into the school year and ask if you’ve tried ___ yet.
- Find an accountability partner and chat online/slack/hangouts/email…
Then ask yourself questions as you plan and implement. Give yourself room – knowing there are not enough school days to do it all. File away your favorites, the ones that had students thinking, working together and asking questions…the ones that had the most impact on their learning.
But also remember, when you try a new structure / lesson – you learned about from someone else – your students are not their students. It may not work out exactly as you had it in your head the first time. But don’t give up completely. Adjust it and try again in a later unit. Give yourself permission to not be perfect.
Just think about our students…we don’t ask them to be perfect. We ask them to try. Persevere. Learn from mistakes. Become a better you.
Goals & Focus for the School Year
Write them down.
And hold everything you do up to it. How is this supporting my goals?
And I will soon being finding a mantra for the year…a focus… my friend @druinok often does this. I have learned to put it in a frame on my desk as a daily reminder.
Math by the Mountain shared here: