Now imagine the book ending without telling you how to get there.
I've been reading a lot lately and I'm not sure if it is helping or confusing me further.
Ok, I take it back. It is helping but not the kind of help I want.
I just finished Understanding by Design and There Are No Shortcuts. Both encouraged and discouraged me.
Understanding by Design showed me that I need to have a whole new mindset and perspective on learning and curriculum in general. Which isn't hard to do, since I didn't really have a set perspective anyway. But it left me discouraged because 97.8% of the math examples were about non-Euclidean geometry which is interesting but nothing I've ever seen at the high school level. Or that I could even teach. So. I felt more lost and confused than before. Here is the magical place that makes school interesting and engaging and meaningful and leads to improved student achievement. But I don't know how to get there. I can think of creative ideas and trips and activities and lessons for any grade or subject area but my own.
Sometimes I question, How DOES math relate to the real world? Why did I ever find this subject interesting? In school, I did what I was supposed to because I was supposed to. I didn't question how I would use this or why it was important. Teacher said it, I did it. I just graduated high school 5 years ago! Have things really changed this much? Ay yi yi.
So then I read Rafe Esquith, There Are No Shortcuts. (PS Is it Rafe like Rake with an f? Or is it Rafe like Mafia with an R? And without that last A. I'm terrible at pronunciation.) First of all, it made me feel like a failure for being a high school teacher. I mean this guy spends from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM with the same group of kids. I have 8:00 to 8:52. How can I possibly fit life changing moments with every student in that amount of time?
He had amazing stories that brought tears to my eyes and horrible stories that made me uneasy because I know I will be facing some version of them myself. But overall, I didn't get a lot of practical advice on how to do what he does. That's what would have been most helpful for me.
But on the positive side, I loved his take on how we have made education look easy, when the truth is that it's not. It takes hard work, discipline, practice, determination, commitment, etc. There are no shortcuts. That's on point. I also loved using Atticus Finch as a role model. Rafe and Atticus both have a bunch of wisdom and good character.
In the end, the more I read, the more I know I can't do this.
I can't do this alone. I know without a doubt, 100%, that this is where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. I don't really know how to do it.
I think God has moved me from what a predictable teaching career is and into something far beyond that. I know I am on the edge of something bigger than me but not quite sure what, where, or how to approach it. My insides say that it is probably going to come one day at a time in ways that I would never have expected.
Read it or Write It.