The words I’d like to live by are…
This one is easy if I look at it from a teaching standpoint, they are on this blog.
Inspire, Connect, Reflect
Inspire: In order to shift focus from procedures and algorithms, from the hate of math homework- you need kids to want to do math. This is not always an easy task and many curriculum writers sell their wares on the promise that theirs will make that shift. The true problem is- you can’t make a generic curriculum that will inspire all students. You, as their teacher, need to create that. You need to find what drives your students, you need to bring your passion for mathematics into the classroom every day. You need to engage students in meaningful ways. You need to do this every day, create a wonder in students- provide them with a challenge that will create that itch to pursue a solution no matter what setbacks may come. If you learn how to inspire you students, you will find the joy that teaching can provide.
Connect: It needs to be more than drill and kill, it needs to make sense. Students need to learn how to express their ideas and make connections between their thinking, their peers and their teachers. They need to know how math is interconnected- not some disjoint math skills that you can break down and master in small increments. They need to understand concepts, how to implement them and how to adapt them to new situations. Connection is not about tying mathematics to real world situations, it’s about creating a web of mathematical knowledge that students know intimately and can verbalize easily.
Reflect: Take time, look back at what has happened that hour, week, month, year. What went well? What didn’t? What made sense? How can I do that more efficiently? Will that always work? Allow students time to chew over great mathematical concepts and make them their own. Demand that they share that reflection through discussion or written explanations. Push them to think about mathematics outside of the classroom. There is no down side to reflection other than the absence of it.
These are the three words I look at every day to remind myself of what type of teacher I want to be. If I can follow these three things, I will provide a positive change in my students. Most importantly- you need to make mistakes. Teachers need to make mistakes and model positive behavior when those mistakes are discovered. Teach resilience, students will have no idea of what it is if you don’t provide them with examples of it- and how to handle it.
If I was looking for words I want to live by in general for my life they are simply this:
Mr. Anderson made a positive change in my life.