The idea of multi-tasking is appealing. We want to be able to do things all at once as we have so much to do. Like a buffet, we pile things onto our plate, not wanting to miss out on anything. But really we need to do one thing at a time, eat one thing at a time.
At Statistics Learning Centre we aim to help all teachers to be more confident and empowered in teaching statistics and mathematics. We have lots of ideas, and draw on the ideas and research of people such as Jo Boaler (Mindsets in Mathematics), Carol Dweck (Mindsets) and Brown, Roediger and Daniel (Make it Stick). There are so many ways to improve things. There are thousands of teachers in New Zealand alone, teaching hundreds of thousands of students, in thousands of hours every year. They can’t possibly all be good hours. How can it be made better?
And I guess it can’t all be made better, not quickly.
I love Twitter as a quick way to connect with educators all over the world. Though the discussions can be ragged and confusing as tweets of 140 characters fly through the ether, the overall feeling is of support, encouragement, humility and vision. I would suggest following #MTBoS (Math Twitter blogosphere) and #mathchat #Mathschat and #mathschatnz. There is also a wonderful group of educators who meet each morning at 6:30am for a quick pick-me-up before school – #BFC630nz. Follow me at @RogoNic to get connected to a whole heap of great teachers.
I had been feeling that anything we do is pretty pointless when stacked up against all that could be done. Then on Twitter last night I read the tweet: “[Change] is hard, but it starts with changing one person. One mind. One idea.” Thanks @mattoman71 . It was what I needed to hear.
We can not expect it all to happen at once. Many teachers are so busy with so many demands on their time and energy – so many curriculum areas, so many children. I don’t think you want to think about it too hard or you would give up. So it comes back to little things – lots of little things.
So we can provide ideas and support to help teachers, one idea, one teacher, one class at a time. And that is all we can do!