I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the past 6 months, but not a lot of writing, posting, or tweeting. Since August of 2017, I’ve been in a place, both personally and professionally, where I am really uncomfortable, and not in a good way. Life has been difficult in general, and the job specifically has been really disheartening, disturbing, and unsatisfying.
I thought about writing about all of these things in detail, but I don’t think that will do anyone any good; honestly, it would probably make me look shallow, or lazy, or overly negative, or like a bad teacher, or all of those things and more. It would also probably make me feel worse.
A few weeks ago, my wife encouraged me to watch Brene Brown’s the Call to Courage, and it helped me decide to try to be a little more positive, forward-looking, and honest as I try to get back into this practice of public reflection. It also gave me a frame through which to do it. The following is a list, INPO, of people, institutions, practices that helped me get through the last two years, and for which I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
Part of why I tweeted so much and blogged from August of 2017 until this past December was shameless self-promotion; we knew pretty quickly after moving here that we did not want to extend our contract past the initial two years, so we started thinking seriously about next steps pretty early. Twitter and this blog provided me with a way to get my thoughts straight about my professional life, a way to share some of the things I was trying out, and offer a view into my classroom. Even if no one read any of it, I think it was helpful for me to have a platform to get it down, and to decide what I was comfortable sharing publicly about what I do and how I feel.
In December, we landed positions at the American School of Doha (ASD). Since then, everyone we’ve talked with has been extremely welcoming and helpful. We paid Doha a visit last weekend to drop off some luggage, and were able to meet most of the members of my new math department, which was very cool. Knowing and feeling good about our next step has made the last 5 months infinitely more manageable: THANK YOU ASD!
David Waters is a middle school math teacher at ASD who I met through the MFIS program. He originally brought up the idea (which we were originally pretty skeptical about) of working at ASD, and was just incredibly helpful and supportive throughout the process. David: I’m looking forward to this summer in DC, and to working, if not with you, then at least at the same school as you, starting in August: THANK YOU DAVID!
I’ve known Erma Anderson about exactly as long as I’ve had this job. Her mentorship, guidance, advice, and encouragement have really kept me sane and hopeful about this profession. My experiences in her workshops have provided me with confidence, background knowledge, resources, and a network of like-minded educators, without which I don’t know if I could have waded through all of the resistance I’ve faced for the last two years: THANK YOU ERMA!
I taught AP Statistics for my first time this year, and for the first time at my school, and I couldn’t have done it without the Stats Medic webpage by Luke Wilcox and Lindsey Gallas. Seriously, a lesson for every day? THANK YOU STATS MEDIC!
I spend up to an hour daily going through math teacher tweets and blogs, even when I’m not posting or tweeting myself. Over the past two years, it’s been a great reminder that others have similar struggles, and it’s been helpful to feel like part of a community of supportive educators. There are too many individuals to try to list them here, but for all of your brave, insightful, funny, vulnerable, inspiring words and pictures: THANK YOU MTBoS!
Being in a place where you don’t like to be can make it really nice to get out. My wife and I have taken this opportunity to travel a lot, and in different ways than previously. A few of those travels have been to see friends from our last school, which made us remember what it was like to work with friends, and to have them around after work, too. Time with friends can do wonders, and it’s even better when it’s on a beach! THANK YOU KIM AND JAY AND CECIL AND IRINA AND EB AND TOMMY!
Passing the time when we’re not working in a productive and reasonably healthy way has been a big struggle. THANK YOU JIGSAW PUZZLES! THANK YOU YOGA!
Finally, I really couldn’t have gotten through this time without my wife. We made it, babe! For all of the support, advice, commiseration, puzzlin’, workouts, daily life-threatening drives to work, bitch-sessions, jokes, snugglin’, Netflix marathons, trip planning, upside-down couch sitting, ceiling projecting, crying, laughing, dreaming, laughing, wondering, laughing, laughing: THANK YOU RANI!
Let's see if I can keep up with a blog!