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MN, United States
Tutor, Business Owner, Technology innovator

Monday, December 30, 2013

Lost in Time...

Happy Holidays!-from Sheldahls
I was having so much fun teaching at Adrian School on a long term substitute assignment (plus others since I started back up in September, including Windom ISD 177) I forgot to share my experiences as I went along.  A lot has happened since I last posted....

During this summer, I moved to southwestern Minnesota, because my wife got her first job teaching choir.  I love to remind her about Pascal's sentiment about music as "sound with math," but not too frequently.  I looked for further adjunct work, but all the colleges nearby had enough educators.  The area I now live in has a "nest" of communities, and I have yet to explore them all.  I may well do some site visits to get the attitudes of the surrounding district principals, and so far I'm pretty pumped.  It's refreshing to get new perspectives, and their staff are open to tell you just about everything that goes in on their districts. (which for the most part has been pretty productive).

This is for the students who Googled me and found those dorky, (creepy?), and somewhat boring videos about how to do stuff on YouTube.  I admit I had to save the good stuff, because some of it was proprietary and for another school/entity at one point I did work with.  My tutor sessions have NOT been recorded, since I did not receive any general releases by the students I worked with to use as examples (Bummer!).

For the students:  You guys are amazing.  I do not know what you are like in other classes (though I can well imagine from the stories I heard in the break room!) but the more I got to know you, the more I understood how you thought, learned, (and even lack of concern for your math learning).  I only had one quarter with you, and so I did not deploy all of my devices and strategies for your learning, but noticed an underlying excitement about learning math together collectively.  It may be the generation, but the classroom behaved better when allowed to work together, and not just in a sluff sense.  As I walked around (when feasible), I was so proud of many who taught, exampled, explained, and helped their classmates understand the subject matter better.

Changing tenses here, these students, in my opinion, are ready for the next step in the evolution of content teaching, where the teacher becomes the facilitator and co-learner in the process.  The recipe, as it were, seems to be working for them through the lens that I observed.  Why do I state it like this?  Because of the demographics, the factors involved, including myself as an experienced teacher akin to a guest conductor to an orchestra, who may demonstrate some unique dynamics which might never be repeated again.

That, I admit, is the FUN of substitute teaching; to be like a visiting grandpa who spoils his grandkids, shows how much he loves them, and then leaves them back in the care of their returning parents.  As much as I liked the experience, I still desire a more permanent endeavor to continue my research where I left off with my grad work in incidental learning. (as well as continue providing professional development to content area teachers).

Til I chalk again,

Mr. Shel

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