Monday, June 27, 2011

Tyranny of the Urgent

Late June. Classes are over, students are writing Provincial Exams and my classroom is quiet. We have officially begun what I affectionately refer to as "Lunch Week". Actually 2 full weeks when the only thing scheduled is lunch out with colleagues. The daily grind gives way to thoughts of organizing, changing lessons, improving my practice. Finally I have time to think.

Maybe not.

It is amazing to me how little I get accomplished when I have lots of time. There is constantly some little item that needs to be taken care of right now. Another colleague dropping in to chat. One more phone call to make. And I'm addicted to Super Mario Bros Wii. It's a wonder I get anything done.

I am beginning a journey to completely change the way I teach math and physics. I want to move away from my teacher-centered, lecture-driven style to a student-centered, inquiry-based modeling method. Since I have so little time, it is no surprise that most of what I currently do in the classroom has been stolen borrowed from someone else. I intend to continue this trend. There is a mountain of resources online. Inquiry, modeling, pseudo-teaching, standards-based grading... if only I had the time.

Time to think is the teacher's greatest asset. And least available resource. (I am seriously considering requesting a reduced contract so I can have an extra prep block just to have more time to think). My fear is that I will fall into the trap that so many teachers fall into... adopting great policies, activities, lessons and teaching methods of others without thinking about what makes them great in the first place. More on this in another post.

This blog is a way of forcing myself to reflect on what I am doing and why. Recording my thought processes, failures and successes. Interacting with a larger community of experts and fellow sojourners.

An attempt to create time to think.

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