Nagging at me for the longest time has been two separate-but-related remarks from RM, a student, and Jav, an inveterate sexual predator. Jav wondered why older teachers are so often useless creatures, permanently entrenched in rote methodology, cashing check after check, coasting on fixed pay increases, and grinding out thoughtless lesson after thoughtless lesson.
UCSC’s CalTeach program is knocking at the math department door, looking to install a few undergrads in math classes to help out, to see if teaching’s something they’re into. I got into teaching a while back through the same program so pushed along by nostalgia and something else I wrote ‘SC and said, tell me more.
That “something else” is the premonition that I won’t be a teacher much longer. I’ve got ideas, you know? Like forty of ’em. Stuff that blah blah I wish I knew when I first started teaching blah blah patronizing tone blah blah. They’re good, though. For a while I just wrote ’em down as they came to me. The most recent one is that you’ve really got to time how long you hold eye contact after telling a student to do something.
What do you mean you’ve never thought about it?!
The list of bloggables has been stretching for a while so this is kind of a grab-bag, help-Dan-process-a-lot edition. Best to keep moving, probably.
It was only a terrible day because of a terrible third period. I saw most of it coming, but not all. The day before any break is typically tough. Add to this the fact that I last saw that class a full week ago, thanks to block scheduling and a sub day.
As usual, no one got anything done unless by “anything” we’re talking about whining. My word what a bunch of whiny babies. In order to get them to get some classwork done, I’ve put the following incentives/punishments in place:
An interview in HOW magazine of current design heroes 37Signals:
A non-negotiable skill for the firm members is the ability to write well. “To be successful, you have to be able to explain things clearly,” Fried says. “Today most communication is written, through e-mail or online chats. If you can’t communicate clearly, it doesn’t matter how great of a programmer or designer you are.”
I told my freshmen they could go home and tell their parents they learned “dimensional analysis” in math today. We’re just converting units — meters to miles, etc. — but it sounds awesome. Your parents’ll be impressed, I said.
In terms of math obsession, I’m somewhere in the bottom quartile of math teachers. I’m low. There are those with the posters that show how every one of the high school math standards — even DeMoivre’s theorem! — is essential to some working sector. It’s phony. You need less math nowadays than ever before.