This week, I’m writing to you. Yes, you. Not the “you” you want to be, the “you” you think you need to be, or the “you” you think you are. Just you. Hopefully all of that makes sense to future-you.
We all are great at many things. When someone needs an ear to listen to them, we hear what they tell us. When someone asks for advice, we tell them what we think might help them. When someone is being too harsh on themselves, we bring clarity and sense, reminding them that they’re more amazing than they believe themselves to be. We go out of our way to do things for others and feel uncomfortable when the same is inevitably done in return.
We are our best selves for other people, which is incredible and makes the world a better place. When it comes to our own self, we are overly critical of our past self and overly optimistic of our future self. The only one who can fix that is you. Not past-you or future-you, only present-you.
What’s this article about, anyway? Keeping the MTBoS community living and healthy, one present-you at a time.
I’m going to re-share a post here which, if it were a child, would be doing everything it can to get more attention than it currently does. Blogs a post by Justin Lanier on our homepage, is an important part of the MTBoS Orientation. Blogging and (more importantly) reading other teachers’ blogs is the lifeblood of the MTBoS. I’m going to give a few more tips to bolster your blogability, whether it be reading or writing, as well as a few posts to get you started.
Jenna Laib (@jennalaib) shares a fascinating bit of dialogue between her and her student in a post.
Make a list, any list, just make it!
If you’re like me, or many other teachers, you probably find little snippets of time through your day to habitually pick up your phone and flick your thumb up and down your Twitter feed or email inbox. What do you do when someone’s post captures your attention and sparks your curiosity? Do you…
Click on it and read the entire post right then and there?
Copy the URL to your notes or open it in a tab for later?
Email it to yourself to check out afterwards?
Add it to your Reading List (Apple only)?
Pause, think, and then keep scrolling?
Option A through to D above are ones I’ve certainly heard of or tried myself. E, however, is the most likely option, especially if I’m just jumping on Twitter for a couple of minutes with no purpose actively in mind. Present-you will naturally leave all of the work and responsibility to future-you. My advice throughout this post is to support future-you like you would a spouse, child, colleague or friend. Make bookmarking interesting links easier. Make an appointment in your calendar with yourself to actually read through something that past-you found perplexing. Is it motivation that is holding you back? Go for A from above and you’ll be sure to be inspired to do something proactive. Check out this post for some help deciding what apps might help you streamline the “I’ll read that later” process.
Jim Doherty (@mrdardy) shares his reflections about his growth as an educator in his post.
Read that thing! Reeeeead it!
While reading this post, you have just become future-you! Or have you? Does future-you ever exist or is it actually this perpetually non-existent superior version of present-you while past-you cops all of the slack? Either way, there’s only one version of you who can read and that’s present-you. As you read the words of another educator, keep in mind the thinking, effort and (in some cases) nervousness that is attached to those words. Consider their context (and the undoubted differences to your own) before you jump in to criticise. Opt for interrogating what they have written, in a positive and curious manner. Skeptical about their method? Find out more about what they believe and why they believe it. Really love what they’re saying? Ask questions about the intricacies that the post didn’t address, learn more about it. What I’m emphasising here is to start a conversation. Bloggers will often comment on the fact that they write for reflection and any feedback that comes back is a bonus. Writing what you don’t expect others to read is a normal experience of those who share their stories online and a common and unfortunate reality for many. This leads onto my next point…
Ivette Aguilar (@Ivette5th_RRISD) shares her experience with “My Favourite No.”
Comment and follow
For many blogging websites, owners are notified by email about new subscribers. Those subscribers then receive an email with their own version of the post in their inbox! Nothing shows that you want more of what you read than saying, “Hey, let me know when you do this again. I NEED to know!” Owners also get notified when someone comments on their post. What’s best about a good comment is that it follows directly after the post itself like a conga line of curiosity. No comments there yet? Start the conga line yourself and dance along to the thoughts of other readers. The “Follow” and “Leave a reply” buttons are getting too dusty, MTBoS!
Robin Schwartz (@mathconfidence) writes a short post about a short amount of amazing time in her lesson.
Sharing is caring!
So, you’ve actually held a promise to yourself – you’ve read something from your reading list! Yay! Give your past-self some much deserved credit and show your future-self who’s your favourite you. Let the world know and maybe even convince others that it’s worth their time too. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful means of sharing, so use your virtual one to share your new knowledge. Copy and paste some of the best bits from the post, cuddle it in with some quotation marks, and apply the finishing move of a URL and the MTBoS and iTeachMath hashtags. Want to take it to the next level? Write a short (and I mean short!) post about what you loved most, what scrunched your eyebrows, or what questions you’ve had since reading it. Blogs are super-tweets and don’t get the amount of thought they deserve. Be the audience you wish you were writing to. Share the love.
Martin Joyce (@martinsean) synthesises his awesome experience at CMC South in his blog.
I bet that you do great things in the classroom that other teachers (me included) would just love to read about. I love reading about the “I tried something new and it was awesome” posts, the “I tried something new and it was a trainwreck!” posts, and the “I haven’t tried anything new, here’s why.” posts. Whatever it be, I know I’m not the only one who would love to read it. Be sure to share your post in an effective way! Here’s a couple tips that I hope will get people clicking into your thoughts:
Don’t be afraid of using a hashtag or two, people like to filter Twitter through things like #MTBoS or #iTeachMath.
Find a photo or image to associate with your post, it will prevent it from looking like a sad link on people’s feeds.
Have any evidence of student work or thinking? Feature a photo! Photos of students doing maths is every teacher’s favourite spice.
Know of a couple people who might be interested in your thoughts? Tag them in. Can’t think of anyone? Tag me.
Written by John Rowe, @MrJohnRowe