Statistics Debrief, Part $%*%#!

I never got around to finishing my debrief of the Statistics semester that was, at least on these pages.  I think I forget the majority of what I was going to write about.  I have come to an important place in my career, where I’m experiencing the detrimental effects of being too busy to reflect.

When there’s time, between semesters as we are right now, for example, I’m so happy and hopeful for all that can happen in school.  But then the semester begins and all the ideas are thrown into the spinner, and I can only hope to remember all of that sense of possibility.

What happens is that amid the bustle of the school year, I do so much that I get to the point of just getting everything done.  It’s all incredible, and satisfying, and rewarding in real ways, but at the end of the semester, is difficult to concisely tell someone what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks, months, and year.

I am the full-time 11th grade math teacher, and to do that job well is to have a full time job.  I also teach a section of pre-calculus to seniors.  I advise a Crew of fifteen 9th graders, and guiding them has been trying.  I’m helping to start a cycling program here at school, and the full-time instructor once employed by the folks who supplied us with the grant has been let go due to budget constraints, so with one other coworker, we’re making that up as we go along.   A few of the kids have never been on a bike.  I’ve been the 11th grade team leader for a year and a half, but I’m handing that role off to a teammate for the Spring.  I like to have time to talk to colleagues, help students informally with their math, play a little guitar with kids, and get home to my little guy in time to hang out.  Empirically, I tend to agree with the camp that says attention is a finite resource, even though I work hard to maximize it.

To list all of these things is to ignore the finer details that go into any.  What I realized today, while presenting my first-ever teacher-led conference (TLC), is that setting clearer goals at the start of a semester will make it easier to talk about my accomplishments later.  At least that’s the hypothesis upon which I’m going to act.

I mean, I write student learning targets and I stick to them within my classes, and I have been rewarded by feeling the freedom to explore within the constraint of knowing very specifically what I have to teach.  It’s time I do that with my own personal goals.  Maybe I’ll make them SMART, like we have the kids do in their crews.

So it’s time to goal set for the spring.  Here’s an organized first-draft that I’ll flesh out over the next few days:

  • 11th Grade Math / Trigonometry
    • TLT 2, and the use cycle for active pedagogy strategies within this curriculum.
    • Digital archiving, so I can share & provide work in a place like this TLC
    • Scaffolding SLTs into the larger ones that make up my Trig curriculum
    • Writing process and graphic organizers
  • Pre Calculus
    • Making sure kids don’t hate math.
    • Keeping the ideal of rich problem sets and exams with which I started the Fall, but adapting to kids who have proven unprepared for that.
  • Cycling SMARTs
    • Getting kids road ready and enjoying this whole experience.
    • Bike maintenance; being a great steward of what’s in that closet.
    • Use of social media.
  • Crew
    • Thinking long term, where should we be now?
  • Social Media & EL National Conference
    • Our Twitter & WordPress
    • My own classroom use.
  • Personal-Professional
    • Doing everything above, but having time to think about the revolution.
    • Think critically about the Danielson Framework.
    • Reading more on education philosophy so I can clarify and better define mine.
    • Does my blog fit?
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