I was going to title this “We ALL Use Worksheets!” because I think that we all probably do. But then I didn’t want to speak for ALL of the math teachers everywhere. But really, do we?
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this amazing online community of math teachers that I follow. #MTBoS!! I read their material and am often just blown away. I read about problem based learning and project based learning and standards based grading and rich tasks and problem solving and debate and ALL OF THE THINGS. I even read about teachers creating an entire Calculus curriculum, from scratch. And I’m like, “Wow, I suck.” So I steal and steal and steal. And through all of this reading and stealing, I am inspired to work hard to create a lesson that is not only fun, but possibly educational. And then I blog it, so I can give back.
And that is it. I don’t blog my sucky days, obviously! Just like I post on the rest of social media, I blog my highlights. And even though I try really hard to make each day an amazing and engaging experience for my students, I do not do SEXY activities like Barbie Bungee or Catapult Quadratics every day. So thank you Kate for posting “In Defense of Unsexy”. Because so many of my days are unsexy.
Next year we are adopting CPM. It is a curriculum. I have never used a math “textbook” I loved or wanted to follow each day, and I have never had an actual “curriculum”. But when I saw that many of the CPM lessons were actually lessons I had used in the past (most often from bloggers), I was excited! But at the same time, I felt guilty. I felt that I was not enough if I was using a curriculum that I basically followed every day. I felt that I was not an awesome math teacher if I was not creating (or stealing from the #MTBoS) crazy interesting lessons as much as possible.
Then a few awesome things happened to show me that I was wrong. In my Rich Tasks morning session at TMC (Twitter Math Camp), we spent a morning analyzing how we could change a worksheet into a rich task. Or how we could even change an existing worksheet into a rich task simply with implementation (I plan to blog about this later). Then Peg Cagle spoke about how incredibly difficult writing curriculum was. And that there are many, many great series out there that are research based, teacher created, and teacher/student tested that teachers could use (and some were even free). So if we are able to use one of those we should! (And if not, we could use the lessons as a resource.)
Our TMC Keynote speaker Carl inspired us to all just #pushsend. Many people started tweeting some variation of, “You are enough”.
Finally Sean talked about using worksheets in his Marbleslides talk. Once home, I read Kate’s “Unsexy” post and then the expert below, from the blog of a true newbie. Taylor will be a first year teacher this year. Even though she has never taught (other than student teaching) she was brave enough to come to TMC. And she was brave enough to write this.
And, the magic lives on since.
Since incorporating as many math teachers the #MTBoS as possible is such a giant part of my life, I am having a tough time understanding the feelings of exclusion. I am trying. But maybe this is a big part of it. WE ARE ALL GOOD ENOUGH. We are teachers for goodness sake. We are MATH teachers, who chose to be here because we want to teach math to kids. We are all trying our hardest. We are working hard to get better everyday. It is ok most days are unsexy. In fact, it is great.
WE ARE ALL GOOD ENOUGH.