Each year, like many teachers, I approach the winter break with high aspirations. Retool and revamp all my lesson plans for a particular class to help save me time in the spring. Start and finish books that have spent a long time in the queue on my reading list. Inevitably, there is not enough time to get to all of it. The down time is necessary to refresh, to spend time with family, to remember the reasons why I teach in the first place. This year, I am approaching break a little differently. I am collecting resources to help make my reflection on my teaching more efficient because this time issue will always be there. I want to grow as a math teacher in an optimal way with what little time I have.
The break offers time for reflection on teaching. What should we be after as a society? To prepare students for a world with future problems we can't currently conceive, we need our students to think critically, to persevere, to be problem solvers. For example, when mankind gains the ability to clone organs, what are the ethical implications? This dilemma and many more do not have answers for look-up in the back of a textbook to confirm a 'correct' approach. It is truly in our American society's best interest, all competition issues aside, for all students to do well in math class because high performance in math class will improve life outcomes for all. Here are a few things I have encountered the past few days I plan to spend some time with during my break.
Hanushek - How Much is a Good Teacher Worth?
Lakoff & Nunez - Where Mathematics Comes From