Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fear of failure cannot stop us...

Just had a great couple of days at the Wisconsin Math Conference last Thursday and Friday (#wismath17).  I was able to present and get ideas from other math professionals (and computer science).

And I love this conference - I heard someone say "these are the people who drink the Kool-Aid"  and that is definitely true.  These are the professionals who ask for the PD time, prep the speeches and put themselves out there with their peers!

Yet....     Often we hear a ton of good stuff but it becomes so hard to implement...
time, administration, testing requirements, fear of moving backwards....
Where our only question should be "Is this best for students for actually learning math (not tests or college readiness, or state report cards).

I have almost always moved on good ideas and adjusted as I go.  I commit to changing a minimum of 10% of my practices (sometimes I try and go-back)  But if you don't try you are stagnate.
And I believe you cannot plan perfect transitions and by trying to, you end up not moving - your practices don't improve.  And that is worse than moving with some errors - I am willing to try/fail/revise/try/fail/revise.... to improvement.  And it works - we must remember that 2% improvement per year leads to great gains in just a few short years.

That said so many of us want all the steps and answers and I believe that over-analyzing slows us all down to no movement.  Many teachers ask about how I decided to move to a retake system and a homework system which uses no class time.  How did I get my admin on board?  (Did not ask) What plans did you do ahead? (Just started and fixed as I went) Etc.  I did not plan them completely - I just kept making small truly new adjustments - then one day a new system was there.

I definitely make mistakes - but my overall trend is 2% positive - which is best for my students.   I want my peers to know that the path is not straight or without pot-holes...  but we must walk the path.