Quote: Thinking

To think is to say no.

Emile Chartier


The Yearbook

Photo by Jordan Doneskey

My teenager came home with her yearbook, and I asked to look through it. Why? I wanted to see how my former students were doing.

I taught for one year at her high school. The year before she arrived there, in fact. It turns out for the best that I left, since I am much happier and more effective slinging data. Plus if I had stayed, I would have had the dubious pleasure of teaching her that year.

Anyway, I browsed through. I had a few students among the graduating class this year. But most of my students are finishing up their junior years. It was good to see that most of them were looking more mature and grown up. I saw signs of it when I saw them each day.

My daughter hung over my shoulder and gave me the information she knew. One of my girls who was on the verge of falling in with a pretty bad crowd pulled herself together, she said.

I was interested, though, in those students who I had taught who were no longer with the grade they started with. Six of my students had failed at least one grade.

I was surprised at only one of them – a young man who has a lot of potential and absolutely no drive. I taught him and his older sister in the same semester. She worked hard and mastered the material with difficulty. He did not work, but still managed to scrape passing grades in my class.

The others, not surprisingly, had failed my Algebra 1 Part 1 class, some more than once. I was not surprised that they had failed other classes. And in some ways I was glad that it wasn’t just my class that they had failed.

Perhaps it wasn’t my teaching after all, but the students themselves.

That was an attitude I my principal told me that I had to correct – that every student could and would pass my class. I didn’t doubt that with hard work any of them could. I just needed them to meet me halfway.

Math is a skill that needs to be practiced, and these people didn’t do a lick of work, even in class (and since I saw them every day, we did all our work in class).

So a bit of sadness, and a little bit of vindication. And some very proud moments to see the students who had worked so hard and succeeded.

Photo by Jordan Doneskey

Looking Back

Photo by Infomastern

I recently took a step back from my other blogs. I wasn’t sure that I was going to continue blogging at all.

When I put the question to my accountability partner, she pointed out that if I wasn’t getting joy or return on investment, there was little reason to continue. I realized I was getting neither. And so I took a three month hiatus.

After taking a month off from doing anything blog related – and that extended to reading blogs about blogging, listening to podcasts, and growing my business knowledge – I realized that I missed blogging. To me, blogging is a form of thought-collecting. I use it to work through problems and concepts, albeit in a public format. So I decided I wanted to go back to blogging, but there I knew I needed to make changes.

The first change was to eliminate the amount of administrative time needed for the blogs. When I started blogging, I was working from a free platform. A few years later I pivoted after technology left my subject matter obsolete, and I bought my first domain name. I moved all the content over from the free platform and continued blogging, deleting irrelevant content as I went. Then in 2015 I pivoted again, but this time leaving the old blog in place. It was good in that it gave me a fresh start, but it doubled my administrative time. So this time, I went to a domain name that is not subject-dependent, and brought over the content from the other blogs.

I’ve had to go in and clean things up, and in the process read back through many of the old articles. It’s been an interesting journey.

I found articles from when my daughter was in pre-school, all the way through the start of high school. I saw the articles from working full time to part time to teaching and back to IT. I saw the articles as I created and adapted my systems for home and time management.

It’s been an interesting look back. I’m not one for journaling regularly. I always have good intentions, and poor follow-through. But blogging has allowed me a snapshot into my life, much like a journal.

I’m glad that I both decided to keep blogging, as well as went through the old material. It’s been a great find, and gave me the determination to continue.

Photo by Infomastern