The MTBoS and Special Teachers

Dan dropped this on Twitter about two hours ago:

Takes you to a page that, if you’re a picker, looks something like this (side note, Polygraph by Desmos is awesome, check it out here):
Screenshot 2014-12-17 at 8.58.24 PM

It’s like a game of Guess Who, but over the internet and with all my favorite math teachers. Got me thinking about which teachers who I interact with are really special to me.

Well last night, I wrote this post, about how I want to be better at helping my students who struggle with math anxiety, have negative experiences with math, lack background knowledge, and generally don’t want to be in my class.

Conversations about these students don’t happen nearly as often as conversations about great tasks, best uses of technology, or best practices for facilitating discussion. And that’s logical. The beauty of math is that quadratics are the same no matter who or where you teach. Kids are another story, and I’m sure you’re bunch is more different than alike with mine.

Looking at my choices for an educator who was special to me, there’s one who jumps out as someone I don’t appreciate enough:
Screenshot 2014-12-17 at 8.31.18 PM

Justin Aion, and his blog, Re-Learning To Teach, is a favorite of mine in the MathTwitterBlogosphere. I was lucky enough to meet Justin at Twitter Math Camp this past summer, although I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time talking with him as I would have liked. Justin’s honest, reflective blogging is a daily reminder for me of the realities that teaching puts in front of each of us. He is not the only one, but in my opinion he is by far the best at sharing his classroom with anyone who wants to visit, warts and all. His frustrations reflect how I feel at the end of most days. I am not a great teacher. Many days I leave school unconvinced if I’m even a good teacher. There are days when all I want is to play with a cool new lesson, but there are also many days when what I need is someone to empathize with the challenges I have every day.

I’m happy that much of what I see shared on the internet is positive — that I see stories and resources from successful lessons and strategies that I have learned enormously from borrowing and stealing. But Justin’s blog is more important than any of them, because it is a reminder for me that, while teaching is the best work there is, it is challenging every day, and that is how we learn.

One thought on “The MTBoS and Special Teachers

  1. @JustinAion

    I am deeply touched by this. I often forget that even in my dark times, I can be helping by sharing. I am amazed at the work that you do and the ideas that you come up with.

    Than you so much for this.

    Reply

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