Saturday, June 23, 2018

Year 1 (almost) in the Books--Hello #MTBoS!

My name is Bear St. Michael, and I am less than one week away from completing my first year as a teacher. I have snooped through the MTBoS for the last couple years and have tweeted here and there (@bearstmichael). I think I am finally ready to jump out there and try blogging as well.

I have found writing to be a helpful means of reflection, like a journal. With this blog I hope to share with you my conjectures, thoughts, and experiences as a teacher. By engaging with other teachers on this platform, my goal is to reflect on specific lessons, routines, math topics, educational research, and whatever else comes up in this whirlwind of a profession. Right now, I have ~30 post outlines in my drafts folder, because I have been using it as a running journal of sorts, to help me keep track of the myriad of interesting things that have come up in this first year. A summer project of mine is to work my way through the drafts, and hopefully reflect on my year as a whole. So expect a bunch of random blog posts and I work my way through the drafts folder.

I am 24.955 years old, and I just completed my first year of teaching at a public high school in Boston. I taught Geometry, Algebra 1, and Algebra 1 for English Language Learners, all for the first time. Before that I was in the Boston Teacher Residency, teaching Algebra II, and helping out in a Precalculus and Discrete Math class. Before BTR I was in college, studying math, urban education, and Italian language. Since graduating, I have used two of those three topics a lot in my profession.

I have been extremely privileged in the "teacher family" that has helped to raise and develop me. My mentor teacher last year was an MTBoS stalwart Joey Kelly, of Play With Your Math fame (@joeykelly89 and blog). My two closest colleagues at school this year were Nicole Hansen (@nleehansen and blog) and Grace Evans (@grace_h_evans). Working so closely with these experienced teachers has taught me so much. I do believe that professional collaboration is really difficult, but when it is with such thoughtful and hard-working teachers as these, people become better teachers...and better people! I know that I have.

So often we tell our students to take risks, and be open to making mistakes, because in doing so they will learn the most. I tell that to students because I believe that it is true, generally. I think that the same thing should be true for teachers and their own development. So I will try to be as open and honest as possible in my reflections here. Many of my ideas and questions will come from the fact that I still (and always will) have so much to learn, and if I don't ask any questions, there's no hope that I'll learn very much at all! I will definitely make mistakes, and possibly (hopefully?) change opinions as time goes on. I ask only for your patience and honesty as I work through them here.