Hello and thanks for visiting my blog! My name is Aaron, and I’ve been teaching for about ten years. The motivation for a career in education was partially something ‘I could see myself doing for 30 years or so and being relatively happy about it’ and also try to meaningfully impact the world or other people’s lives at the very least. Personally, one of the frustrating parts about teaching is the struggle to reach each student and ‘help the ones who need the most help.’ This blog is primarily for self-reflection, but a few people may find things here worthwhile to them as I know I have gained a lot from reading other math blogs during the last few months.
Here are some facts about me that probably influence my perspectives:
- I was ‘good at school’ – the traditional education model worked well for me. My parents encouraged me to excel without any pressure; I cannot thank them enough for their assistance and guidance. I was able to become the first person in my family to graduate from college after earning scholarships to help get me there.
- I originally intended to go to college as a science major, but I changed to education during the summer after high school graduation for a variety of reasons (I probably do not even recall all the specifics of that decision at this point) in order to ‘pay it forward.’ Once at college, I realized that I preferred physical science (physics and chemistry) to life science (biology and ecology) and that it was because of the mathematics. I graduated with endorsements to teach both general science and mathematics, but I primarily pursued teaching positions in math. I incorporate a lot of science examples/problems, still entertain the notion of eventually teaching some physics, and would probably have taken the extra handful of classes to make the ‘general science’ into ‘physics’ if I had it to do over now.
- I moved from rural/suburban West Virginia (“Appalachia”) to suburban/rural Kentucky (“the Bluegrass”) for my first (and thus far only) teaching position. My life and teaching experiences are largely within a low- to mid- socioeconomic frame.
- I consider my strength as a teacher to be content-area knowledge and curriculum more so than motivation and instruction. My graduate degree was in mathematics (not education), but I’ve become interested in math blogs in order to improve instruction, better engage students, and increase achievement. Hopefully, I’ll see dramatic differences in the next few school years as a result of embracing some of the current paradigm shift in education. In another decade, some of the current buzz around Dan Meyer, ‘flipped classrooms,’ Khan Academy, inquiry-based learning, etc. may have faded, but I do believe technology and continuing education-related research are going to leave a lot less room for the type of classroom I was able to thrive in as a student. I was one of the lucky ones whom the notion of public schools as a ‘sorting-mechanism‘ actually mostly worked for.
Other People Said It Better
Here is a selection of relevant quotes that I find inspiring and/or interesting every time I reread them and should give you a further window into the personality and perspectives behind these pages.
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
— Henry Adams
I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but is forced by law to buy it.
— Dan Meyer
The unexamined life is not worth living.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. … The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
— Albert Einstein
Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art.
— Will Durant
Philosophy is written in this grand book – I mean the Universe – which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it.
— Galileo Galilei
The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.
— Bertrand Russell
Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
— The White Queen from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass
While I’m not coming right out with my full identity and location (yet), I’m not exactly hiding it either. Thus,
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, my wife, or my mom . Now I can’t possibly get in trouble, right?