Friday, August 2, 2013

Back? Maybe!

I've never been a consistent blogger or writer in general. I love rummaging through my childhood bedroom, reading diary entries. Here's a fairly accurate, completely made-up example:

January 1 
 Dear Diary, 
 Everything I ever wrote in all previous diaries is embarrassing and the WORST. This time, I'm going to write really great things and I'm going to write every single day, instead of writing three days in a row and then stopping for six months. 
Love, me 

January 2 
 Dear Diary, 
Look at how consistent I am! I am the best. 
Love, me 

September 5 
 Dear Diary, 
OMG my life is soooo different nowwwww. I'm going to write here every single day. 
Love, me 

So, I'm not here to make any promises that I'm going to write every day, or every week, or every whatever. For me, I think it's hard to write a blog when I feel like I don't create that much original content. I also look back at previous blog posts and I cringe - at the superficial nature of it, at the lack of focus on teaching, the focus on student behavior and not on student understanding of mathematical concepts.

I backed off of Twitter and blogging for a long time - I was feeling disillusioned, fairly unhappy, and unenthusiastic about teaching in general. I didn't feel great, or enthused, or creative about what I was doing in the classroom. It occurs to me now that backing off of the mathtwitterblogosphere was the exact opposite of what I should have done, but, you know, hindsight.

Every once in a while I would dip my toes in - trying to work out getting to Twitter Math Camp in the midst of my honeymoon this summer (fail), participating in one Global Math Dept (amazing!), but then I'd kind of fall off again.


I'm starting at a new school this year, and teaching a new class for the first time since my second year of teaching, and returning to AP Statistics (!!!!!!!! YAY !!!!!!!!!) and all of a sudden, that enthusiasm that I lost? It's back with a vengeance. I also just got married, have a new last name - it all just feels like a wonderful fresh start. And I MISSED it. I really MISSED interacting with amazing and supportive teachers on twitter, I missed loving my job - because, I really do love teaching math, I missed my own enthusiasm and creativity. I think I just lost my spark for a bit.

I'm teaching four sections of Pre Calculus this coming fall and I'm looking for any and all direction. I'm returning to AP Stats after a two year hiatus and potentially switching textbooks. I'm starting at a new school, so there's learning all of those ins and outs. I've been doing some champion lurking and adopting of ideas, but I miss participating.

 The #MTBoS has changed A LOT in the last two years, I feel like I have some catching up to do - but it's kind of amazing to see how much BIGGER it is and how much VARIETY there is within it. I just finished going through all of the Made For Math posts ever. I'll probably never catch up with all of the things, but I'll try(ish). I can't say that I'll ever be a prolific blog writer or tweeter, or that I'll always be an active participant. But even just being a champion lurker for a while has helped bring back that enthusiasm and that spark - because I see it in so many teachers that I admire. I may not agree with what everyone is doing in their classrooms (because... that would be impossible?), but I 100% completely admire that enthusiasm - that verve, you know? And I have it back, thanks in part to the existence of this community.  I also took this summer off to do wedding stuff, go on a honeymoon, and just generally decompress and regroup, so I'm thinking that probably helped a bit too :)

Sam's post particularly about the way that we engage with the MTBoS really hit home for me. Previous to reading his post, I had actually felt guilty about my sporadic/lack of participation. I mean, I was raised Catholic, so I feel guilty about 90% of all of the things 90% of the time. Sam's post got me back down to my baseline guilt level of feeling bad that I'm not the greatest/most creative/coolest/funniest math teacher OF ALL TIME - a baseline that I can totally live with. I may or may not be back for the long haul, but I'd like to participate more because I'm feeling good, back to teaching my favorite subject, and excited to teach a new one.