Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Who Am I ... just a bit more!

Yesterday I wrote a little about my personal life.  Today I'm sharing a bit of my professional history.  I call it my checkered past!

Taught in three states: Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas.
Worked in three levels:  Elementary, Middle and High Schools.
Worked in both public and private schools.
I've been a classroom teacher, a gifted education resource teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal.
Taught every subject at some level - even a PE class (scary if you know me!)
Taught algebra 1, algebra 2, and precal - never geometry!
Presented at conferences at the local, state, and national levels.
I've lost track ... I think this is my 33rd year in education.

My experience is wide and varied.  And while I might not recommend so much change in a person's life, I learned a LOT by moving, working in different districts, working with different people.

I originally trained to be an elementary teacher.  My first job was in a private school where I had the opportunity to teach many different subjects at the 8th grade level.  It was there that I discovered that I liked teaching math.  I had enjoyed math in my K - 12 education, earned a minor in math in college. Eventually I went back to school to add enough credits to earn certification in secondary math.

As I have been typing this post, the idea of changes have crossed my mind.  I remember when the first desktop computers, the Commodore 64, were added to the school in which I was teaching.  I volunteered to teach programming ... BASIC.  It was great fun.

I remember being introduced to the TI 81 graphing calculator!  That invention changed the way we taught math.  Now we could analyze complicated graphs without spending so much time graphing by hand!  It was amazing!

With the changes in technology there have been changes in curriculum.  In those early days of algebra we spent much of the year working on algebraic manipulation skills with some minor attention to classic word problems, number, motion, work, etc.  Now in my current curriculum we spend about half of our time analyzing graphs, identifying attributes of functions and applying that understanding to problem solving.  We spend much less time on the manipulation skills (maybe we need a bit more)!

In the early days of teaching I knew the mechanics of math and delivered that instruction well. I know more now about the applications of math and more about its beauty ... and I also realize I have so much more to learn!  Last year I wrote a bit about the beauty of math.

So ... there's a bit of my checkered past.  Yes, I'm "old" ... a veteran.  But I'm also thriving, passionate, eager to know more, share more, teach more!  I love this quote: "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow! What a Ride!"" (H. S. Thompson)

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