Posted by: rdkpickle | 08.24.2014


“Evolution is fascinating to watch. To me it is the most interesting when one can observe the evolution of a single man.” 

Shana Alexander

Evolute1” by Sam Derbyshire – Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Evolutionary forces:

  • time: I am no longer a new teacher at my school. This is huge. I can’t even explain all the ways this is huge. My room is set up the way I want it – I have spent hours and hours in it, I feel at home in it. My body knows how to move in it, my brain knows how to visualize the space. I know where the copiers are in the building and how to un-jam them and how to make small talk with colleagues while I wait my turn. I have bookmarked the 50 different websites with 50 different logins that I need to know in order to – take attendance, score benchmark tests, request a sub, input professional development hours, email students (GAFE account, which is different than work email…?), check standardized test scores from last year and analyze data, access online textbook(s). I know students and say hi to them in the hallways. They come back to me to talk about their current school year or get a quick refresher course in factoring.
  • new challenges: I’m teaching the Honors sections of Algebra 1 this year, which means I have tried to step up my game and be sure I both [understand] what my students know and where they are and [push] them to really challenge themselves mathematically. (I mean, I did that before too… it’s just a different calibration process when I am consciously trying to up the ante.) I haven’t lost anyone yet. They had a really solid foundation at the middle school, and they’re ready to stretch. They are happy and hilarious and they are jumping in full-force to the tasks and activities I am putting in their path.
  • routine: (This probably deserves its own post, but:) I’ve got a few things down that I didn’t have down previously. Some new things that have helped me maximize class time, make some things easier on myself, improve my work-flow. Like bellwork. I mean, duh. But coming from a school with a crazy rotating schedule this particular routine never made much sense with the way classes worked. This year, I’ve got a bellwork template (maybe I will post it when I am less lazy) and the students come in and THEY start class. I have time to do what I need to do to reset my brain. My teacher workstation (printer, laptop dock) is up by my teacher desk (they moved the cables) and I have a document camera and a Promethean board. I have index cards for calling on students randomly (I do this for bellwork to encourage them to be ready to go when it is time to go over the problem.) We keep our binders organized, my students know where to pick up handouts, turn in papers, and pick up graded work (I made individual mailboxes with hanging file-folders in crates.) My desk is an OCD-person’s dream come true. I’ve hit a rhythm in my days, with study hall and planning period being used to get ahead, less stress in my day, leaving work with work DONE.

I don’t really know if I can keep up this positive attitude + rested feeling, but here is hoping. This is so far from where I was last year. So far.

“It may seem to some that it took me too long to learn what I have learned, and that I made many foolish mistakes, and missed many obvious clues. I feel no guilt about this. I was trying as best I could to discover something difficult and important, and I suspect there was no path to it much quicker or shorter than the one I took.”  

– John Holt, preface to how children fail



  1. :Love the John Holt quote and the OCD-ness of your desk 🙂

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