Unfortunately it’s August. August has always been the month that I have always associated with both vacation and work ever since I began my teaching career 10 years ago. It is the month where I curl into a fetal position on the ground while moaning with fear, anxiety, and overwhelmedness. (is it just ‘overwhelm’?) As this is first day of my 11th (!) professional August, the 2.033 Month birthday, and perhaps pay periods under the title of ‘Teacher’, I have a lot more to think about. I’m going to steer into the skid of August by making an action plan that will hopefully mean spending less time hugging my knees on the rug.
This year is the year I plan to really hone my old projects. As a teacher I have been lucky to have the curricular freedom to try new projects. As great as it has been, I realized this year more than any other that I kind of live in a weird vacuum of curricular pressure because my school’s alternative nature. Designing novel assessments with multipliple entry points have my focus, often at the cost of crafting creative lessons.
This year I plan to use projects that I know will be successful and build the most action-packed units around them. I want to have more space for discourse, providing more opportunities for kids to make connections between topics and find ways to make all of this really embedded throughout every class. Now you might be saying “Isn’t that your goal every year, Carl?” Why yes, it has. Goals that don’t get reached, usually need to be broken down in to smaller goals. My first step will be choosing the projects and deciding them now, this August! After that wrapping the unit around them should be more manageable.
Another big scary unknown in my professional life is that I am beginning my first August as a father. Having to rush home to get Julianne from daycare every schoolday, and actually spending time with her and my wife, is going to have a dramatic effect on my productivity. If my first two months of fatherhood are any indication, I will only get things done with one hand while the other is rocking or diaper-changing. People tell me that I’ll find a way, and that I’ll “figure it out.” My cousin says fact that he knew he had finish everything at the office because he knew he couldn’t do it home. He ended up being super productive, getting a wicked promotion and has become a superstar in his field. As heartwarming as these stories are, after exactly two months of fatherhood I feel the only thing I feel productive about is swaddling. Luckily, I have this month until I need to reach this productive pinnacle, so I can make a plan to get there. (and no it isn’t curling into a fetal position on the ground). Since I am on my phone a lot I can try to get the apps needed to be really productive and get used to using them so that they function as an extension of my sleep-addled brain.
The scariest thing about this August is that it is the first August in which I am not going to be a teacher. In title at least. I will teach a class, and I will do other things to improve the school as well. Those other things will probably not be around math education, and I am going to try to write down a lot of those things on another blog. I’ll try to keep this blog, and my twitter pretty focused. It is going to be a craft that I want to improve, so I hope to be able to grow as much as I can through self-reflection, and networking through twitter. This goal will involve me writing more on the blog, and so I’ll detail this job change in one of these forthcoming blog posts.
So for this August, I actually have a game plan for getting ready for school.
1. Reviewing my best projects and picking the best ones.
2. Writing a more mathematically rich curriculum around the best projects incorporating the best of what I can find around the #MTBoS.
3. Turning my Evernote, Pocket, Calendar, Email, and To Do List into a well oiled machine
4. Setting a foundation for self-reflective growth
Hopefully a really solid August will lead to a great start this September!
Since I have a little space, and I haven’t really mentioned it. Here is a picture of my daughter, who was recently named the Cutest little girl in the whole wide world by the Carl Oliver Foundation for the Accurate Measurement of Baby Cuteness.