A Summer of Growing

Disclaimer: I’m writing this post for my indulgence. I need to work through what twitter means for me, and the best way for me to explore this is through written word. I’m not looking for, “Awwww, Julie you do a good job, too!” I am just trying to explain to colleagues the power of twitter and how it can change you.

I refer to my twitter pals as my @s. I know most call them tweeps, but I prefer my @s. My @s are amazing teachers. They are so passionate and dedicated to teaching and learning. Patient, too. I have asked them so many “silly” questions about the pedagogy they are pursuing. What’s an Interactive Notebook? What are Card Sorts? What are Foldables? How do you use Formative Assessment? What is 5-3-1? What are Speed Dating Review Activities? This summer I was the four year old constantly asking questions. I so wanted my @’s knowledge and would get frustrated when I didn’t know things I probably should know.

This summer reminds me of my first year teaching AP Statistics. I initiated the course at my high school and didn’t receive any formal AP Stats training. I just jumped right in and went to work. I remember on many, many occasions wishing I was smarter. I wanted to understand the material without so much struggle. I had to work so diligently to comprehend this new content, still do for that matter. I used to tell myself that my struggles made me a more empathetic teacher. I could understand the difficulties of my students. I guess, but trying to learn statistics while my children were so young was very challenging.

And, here I am again. Trying so desperately to cram a career’s worth of pedagogy into one summer. I wish I didn’t have to ask so many elementary questions of my @s. I wish I knew what they knew. I wish I could give back to the community what they have given to me. 

While haunting yet another dollar store for yet another classroom item, I thought about a former professor of mine from Grand Valley State University. Her name is Dr. Virginia Muraski. She was my professor for Communicating in Mathematics. The course could be described as a beginning proof writing experience. Dr. Muraski was a beautiful, tall, stately woman with a bit of a southern drawl. She was old enough to be my grandmother. Boy, did we love her. She was the type of teacher for which you wanted to do well so as not to disappoint. Dr. Muraski didn’t approve of how I made my q’s for my truth tables. They were a bit sloppy and didn’t include a cursive loop to finish the letter. Well, my quirky q’s changed quite quickly. I wanted to do my very best in that class for Dr. Muraski. She inspired me to be a better mathematician and learner.

Nice story, but what does that have to do with twitter? My @s are my modern day Dr. Muraskis. I want to do well this summer to make my twitter colleagues proud. I don’t want to disappoint them. The PLN I tweet with is supportive and encouraging. They hold me accountable. Best of all, my @s inspire me to be a better teacher.

Thank you for letting me explore my thoughts.

Julie @jkindred13



2 thoughts on “A Summer of Growing

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Julie. I feel the same way; I know I’ve asked a lot of “silly” questions, but I just try have the mindset that if I don’t ask, then that would be even sillier. My advice: keep asking! 🙂

    I have one colleague at my school that I can ask questions, get advice from, etc. Twitter has opened up my world (which can be a little overwhelming for an introvert like me). The @’s are amazing group of teachers that I am proud to be a part of because I get to meet people like you in a very comfortable way for an introvert. Also, with all of the new information I’ve acquired, I feel more optimistic about this upcoming school year (which starts next week – EEK!). I had a scheduling conflict this year, but I really want to attend TMC14. Maybe we can ask “silly” questions together…?
    Keep asking … keep learning … keep growing!
    Laurie (@lauriemline)

  2. Hi Julie,
    Oh my gosh! I was just recommended to check out your site by Shelli Temple because we are becoming a 1-to-1 iPad school this year and am looking for how to use with AP Stats. Then I read this post! How amazingly small the world continues to get. I graduated from GVSU and Dr. Virginia Muraski was my undergraduate mentor and continues to be a friend. We still keep in touch and as you said, she continues to be an inspiration both as an educator and a person!!

    I hope we are able to correspond to share ideas about APPs that actually work on the iPad. I found few of the APStats applets I have used in the past (Beth Chance, my text book to name a few) that actually work on the iPad. Do you have any thoughts?

    Lynn A

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