My sojourn to New England enabled me to have a lovely Korean dinner with a long, long time friend (I believe we have known each other since birth….) who lives outside of Boston. She is the head of school for a small private school in Grafton, and it is interesting to hear how an administrator must approach the needs and [well-set] attitudes of a long-time staff. Politically I have big issues with the idea of independent [read: private] schools, but it is tempting to look at what education can be when it is divorced from the scrutiny that attends public funding, even if the vast majority of the population doesn’t have access to it. Nevertheless, it was clear to me that my friend, the daughter of teachers and teachers-of-teachers, is a wise and judicious school leader. I wish we saw each other more often.
Today was another day of intense academics, fun math teacher bonding, and new ideas. The emotions I went through in my higher mathematics class covered a wide spectrum, and as I am typing this very sentence, I realize that this can be a powerful empathetic tool for me as a teacher. Thirty minutes into class, after proudly putting my homework problem on the board (I arrived early to make sure I could post the one question I felt confident in answering!), I was completely lost, almost in tears, and plotting my escape. I envisioned begging the conference administrator to transfer me out of the class, explaining to the impossibly young teacher that I am not getting anything out of the class, nor am I contributing anything, trying not to cry (hmmm…this sounds familiar…I think this happens in our guidance department…). I did not, however, run out of the room, especially after I discovered that several of my classmates were also confused, and much more willing to let it all go and move on. We changed topics halfway through the session, and suddenly I understood what was going on! We received these lovely little squares, and were charged with defining and composing all of their symmetries. Geometry! My one true mathematical love! I was able to understand the assignment on my own terms and participate [finally]. I was doing great until one of my classmates said, “This reminds of me of Physics graduate school when we were studying Quantum Mechanics…”
After morning class, my new math buddies and I went on a bit of a treasure hunt in the science center where our classes are held. Not only is the building filled with all of the amazing skeletons I have been sharing with you, but it turns out that the interior design of the building reflects scientific material as well. What do these tiled walls evoke?
If you said the Periodic Table and a DNA molecule, you are right!! (BTW, inclusion of bathroom fixture was for context.)