Shortly after the results were announced on some SecondLife island, a writer with The Guardian, Steve O’Hear, e-mailed all the winners (presumably) with the questions:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What does the award mean to you?

My answers, as well as the reasons why I’ve carpet-bombed this blog with “for your consideration” ads, have very little to do with egotism or self-validation. Since it’s as good a statement of purpose as anything I’ve written, here is my response:

I blog to make the long road shorter for new teachers. My four years teaching have been marked by a lot of failure and, only recently, some success. By writing about successful classroom management, lesson design, and general practice I hope others will find success sooner. Perhaps I’m trying to redeem my early failures in the process.

But these pieces I write are rather useless if no one reads them. Some find the award process and its politicking and lobbying irritating but for me it all serves one end – I can help more people if more people read. I care little for egotism and self-validation. I care about gathering a readership and building a richer conversation.

Thanks again.

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


  1. Congrats. I’ll keep talking up your blog to my new teacher friends. And my not-teacher friends. For what it’s worth, you’re making my conversations richer.

  2. Congrats and my thanks for making my road a bit shorter. I know you’ve had a profound effect on my views of design – for which I thank-you. I’m just beginning on this path, but I know I’m getting there. Last week I used a worksheet made by another teacher. One of the cherubs said, “You didn’t make this, did you?”. I asked how he knew. He replied, “It doesn’t look right.” I sent you silent thanks at that moment!

  3. Congrats, and thanks, Dan, for all the help and insight. I look forward to reading your blog, and I can’t even begin to count all the good ideas you’ve inspired! My precalculus classes love working for mastery, and I’m brainstorming now how I can do mastery with my non-AP calculus class next year. Any ideas?

    Oh, and another question. I know you use keynote for presenting, but how do you work out problems for the students? On a whiteboard, a tablet? Maybe you don’t work out problems for students?

    Thanks, again!

  4. Jackie, I’m pumping my fists for you, doing this little shadowboxing thing. Way to go.

    Tanya, I project onto a whitebard so I can scribble all over the images. My first year here my portable classroom didn’t have a pulldown screen. I pushed to have one installed only until I taught a lesson without one. Couldn’t go back.

  5. Not that you haven’t heard that about a million times, but congrats, and well done. I know you can’t hear it enough. You really work hard on this blog, but you make it look so easy, and that’s the way to keep it.