Interesting Teachers Are Interested

Russell Davies, all the way back in 2006, in a post called How to Be Interesting:

The way to be interesting is to be interested. You’ve got to find what’s interesting in everything, you’ve got to be good at noticing things, you’ve got to be good at listening. If you find people (and things) interesting, they’ll find you interesting.

A teacher emailed me after my workshop at the Alaska State Math & Science Conference:

As I mentioned after your session, I watched your CUE talk and have since worked to cultivate my Feedly account to provide more perplexing math content, inspiration, and lesson ideas. I have followed ed-tech and blended learning resources on Twitter for years, but am looking to expand my resources for engaging and interesting math content.

So I’m going to share a certain set of blogs. I follow these blogs with so much devotion, I’d be surprised if I’ve missed more than a handful of their posts since I first started following. And I’ve been following some of them for close to ten years. Some are written by math teachers but most aren’t. They share two features in common:

  1. They link. Much of their content isn’t original, and little of it relates directly to math or pedagogy, but they share links that reliably light up the cluster of my neurons that loves to design lessons for kids. (A tech blogger inspired my Joulies lesson, for instance.)
  2. They’re interested. Even more than they’re interesting, they are self-evidently interested people who have cultivated a way of looking at the world and being in the world that I want for myself. They are voracious, omnivorous consumers of their surroundings.

I started to share this set of blogs in an email reply to the teacher, but I’d rather share them with all of you, and then I’d rather all of you share your own set of links in the comments, links that fit the bill I’ve described.

About 

I’m Dan and this is my blog. I’m a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.

10 Comments

  1. At the moment, I’ve got 140+ feeds in my reader, from webcomics to design blogs to photography sites. I find casting a wide net means that there’s lots there to choose from. I tend to skim fairly quickly through my reads and open something in a background tab if it catches my attention. My go-tos for inspiration or eye-catchiness are:

    D’Arcy Norman
    Dangerously Irrelevant
    In Focus/The Big Picture
    Kottke
    PhotoFocus
    Practical Theory
    StillMotion
    The Fischbowl
    Toxel

    and, of course, here.

  2. After whittling back my RSS reader for a few years, these are the core group I still read each day at lunch:

    Teacher Tom (play-based co-op preschool teacher in Seattle) – http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/

    dy/dan

    Seth’s blog (bite-sized work advice form a marketing perspective) – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/

    Spencer’s Scratch Pad (teacher/writer becoming professor/writer) – http://www.spencerideas.org/

    I feel incredibly awkward that my current list boiled down to 4 white men, and have made a note to expand with an eye for diversity. I loved several anonymous blogs by new teachers, but they all eventually stopped posting (like http://mathinaz.teachforus.org/ , whose last post is chilling). :(

  3. Alyssa Schneider

    December 1, 2015 - 10:29 am -

    Thank you for this post! I am preparing to enter the field of mathematics education and looking into possible blogs/twitter feeds that I would be interested in following in the future. This is a great resource for me and some great ideas to keep in mind as I continue my search. I also agree with this idea about what makes someone interesting, it really gives you something to think about. Could you elaborate what you mean when you say that these blogs “link”? You say that they share links that spark your interest, so does that mean that they lead to further information or that they make connections/provide additional resources?

  4. Alyssa:

    Could you elaborate what you mean when you say that these blogs “link”?

    Hi Alyssa, I mean that these blogs link out to other blogs and not just in to their own posts and ideas. These blogs, in particular, link out to ideas that trigger the part of my brain that creates math experiences for other teachers’ students.