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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Good Teaching: Cheer Yourself On

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One reason I write is to cheer myself on in education. It's the kind of job where you have to dig in deep to gather the passion, energy, and focus to do the job well. Like a sports game, it's a job that profits from good strategy, great teams, and lots of positive energy.

Every day there are a number of challenges to meet, lessons to teach, and children to serve. There's always a list of work to do during short planning periods, before school, or after school. And there are meetings too. I really like the fact that it's a busy, active job and not a job where you're sitting at a desk all day. I also like that it's a job with children as their energy and spunk are forever challenging you to get better and do well.

So today I'm excited about a number of maker math lessons that we'll embark on as we learn math together. As Boaler recommends in her book, Mathematical Mindsets, the tasks go from the "floor to the ceiling" providing multiple entry points for learning.

It's also integral that as educators we have meaningful goals for our practice as it's those goals that continue to flame the fire of good work. For me, my main goal these days is teaching math well. As I continue to meet this goal I want to read, attend conferences, work with colleagues, and continue to develop my ability to teach math that meets the following criteria:
  • high interest and engagement, positivity
  • hands-on, 3D, maker math
  • math talk, problem solving, and investigations
  • sufficient meaningful and targeted practice
  • cultural proficiency in math to invite all learners in with meaningful work
  • interdisciplinary, real-world units that include math goals
How do you cheer yourself on? What fuels your good work as an educator? How do you improve systems to better your work and energy? Who else cheers you on in ways that matter, ways that "celebrate and elevate" the work you do.