“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” -Max DePree
I often wonder what my primary job is. I mean, when I met new people and they ask me what I do, I tell them that I am a math teacher. But I think it is a bit more complicated than that.
Sure, during the day, students come to me because their schedule says they need to be in some sort of math class. I plan lessons about calculating slope, determining the area of polygons, or substituting and evaluating. So, I guess that makes me a math teacher, right?
But I get more excited about planning how students interact with each other, explain their thinking in various forms, or revise their work. I feel better about my day when students finish their math work quickly so we have the time to really talk about their work, give each other feedback, or explore other topics of interest.
I care more about students being able to form counterarguments rather than determine the y-intercept, talk about their learning needs rather than sit still long enough to take a multiple-choice test, or eat fruits and veggies rather than do their do now. So, does that make me not a math teacher? I mean, if I rather do things in my class that aren’t math, that seems weird.
So when my dear colleague said we should through everything out the window, start over and redefine who we are and how we teach, how could I say no?