10 Good Things

Have you read @stoodle’s exorcising demons post?  If not, go read it.  All the way to the end.  Pop quiz: what did Mattie list at the end?

Answer: 10 good things he’s doing as a teacher.

Because he can READ MY MIND, I’ve been thinking about that as well.  What started it for me was watching “Your Inner Fish,” a documentary that explains how our bodies evolved (I highly recommend both the documentary and the book!  Fascinating stuff!). In it, the paleontologist was looking for a fossil in the arctic. He found something promising in 2000, but the season is only about a month long, so he had to go back to find what he was looking for the next year. And the next year.  And the next year. And, yes, the next year. He finally uncovered it in 2004.  Meaning after he found the right spot, it still took him four years to see the results.  So I started to think, “Man, I wonder if I could be so dedicated for something for four years without seeing the results.”  Oh, wait, that’s what I do every day as a teacher.  If I quantify each day, I rarely say, “oh, look how much I improved today!”  But if I look at where I was four years ago, I think I can safely say I’ve been improving!

So in that spirit, here are 10 good things I am good at as a math teacher. (side note: I had my kids write 5 things they are good at in math and 5 things they are good at outside of math today just for something positive to do. I think I’m going to make a wordle with the results.)

Feel free to make your own top list…I’ll even make up a hashtag. Thinking… thinking… thinking… got it:  #10goodthings

1. Making “note taker makers.”  Some of them are just works of art:


2. Making Powerpoints. Yes, this is different from #1. Why?  Because the ants crawl up the function and fall through the undefined hole in my limits one.

3. “Mama birding” information.  I am good at taking complex stuff and breaking down into bite-size, digestible morsels. (Whether or not this is setting my kids up to just be “baby birds” is a topic for another post.)

4. Finding awesome stuff online.  (Ok, by this, I mean, “I have a link to Sam Shah’s virtual filing cabinet and I’m on Pinterest.”)

5. I’m really good at function transformations (except I sometimes get obsessed and want to spend 3 weeks on them).

6. Quote from a student: “You’re always presentable for school and are good at putting outfits together.”

7. I (think) I’m a good sounding board when other colleagues have math questions or want to bounce ideas around. I’ve taught a lot of different courses and levels and know a lot of pitfalls to avoid.

8. I’m good at making connections between disparate topics (again, sometimes I get too obsessed with this and need to focus on the current lesson!).

9. I try new things. This is the first year students have been in groups since Day 1.

10. Students leave my class knowing how to graph y=x.

So what are your #10goodthings?

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One comment on “10 Good Things

  1. Totally going to use the “5 good things…” activity with the kids. Like it! Also enjoyed reading your top 10.

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