I enjoy my job, I really do. I get to talk to students about how they perceive mathematics and help them along their road to new applications. I keep finding that I learn more every day that I am in the profession, and I like that. If someone had asked me when I first started teaching what I would do if I didn’t know an answer, I am confident I would have had some cocky answer about never not knowing an answer. I now know that not only is it OK to not know, you are actually able to have great teaching moments when you don’t.
The same can be said about Twitter, and chats. Probably the most stress-inducing thing I have ever done is tell Justin Aion that I would take over moderating MSMathChat. It is a fairly well-established chat with wonderful people and ideas. My biggest error was that like teaching, I went into the job thinking I had to know all the answers. I started to get burnt out, as well as felt that I was letting members of the chat down because I couldn’t maintain a weekly schedule (due to family). Last year, numbers were really dwindling and I strongly considered letting the chat die, and talked a couple of great friends, Matt Coaty and Adrianne Burns into helping me moderate to keep it going. They were great and helped take a load off of me. Chat continued, more people started participating (which is the biggest reason I joined the chat and wanted to keep it going), and ideas flowed. It inspired me once again.
It inspired me so much, that it led me to take another risk. I “know” a lot of people on twitter, many I call friends even though we haven’t officially met, and I value their opinions and knowledge of teaching. I wanted to learn from them and I decided to start asking them to moderate a chat night. Guest moderators wasn’t something new, I had a google doc where people could sign up and moderate a chat, but it wasn’t often accessed or used. I took the less passive road and started directly asking specific people to chat. Something amazing happened-
They said YES.
I can’t thank my guest moderators enough these past 2 months, you have made MSMathChat great again. We have had many new people join chat, and the ideas have really re-ignited my passion for teaching. The topics have been stellar, and it seems to me like just when chat starts, the hour has passed. I spend another two hours sifting through the chat and following all the side-threads. I reflect on my views, my teaching and have found new ways to approach students, peers and math. It has been awesome and I have truly enjoyed chat.
Hopefully you will find time to check out #MSMathChat on Mondays, 8CST. We would like to have you there and hear your ideas. If you would be interested in moderating, let me know.
Share the spark of learning.