Legacy RLM 2013: Reflections Part 2

General Noodling

…continuing from the previous post. Here are some other things I am thinking about.

  1. It is good to have a crowd. That is, it is good to have a group of like-minded people to lean upon. I missed that the last year or so.
  2. I need to refocus on intentionality in my teaching. I have made many sloppy, quick decisions lately. I want to be sure that the choices I make are being made for reasons.
  3. The trouble of finding a decent assessment method is killing me. Until I find some sort of partial resolution to this, I will not make any other progress as an educator.
  4. I want to refocus on mentoring students personally. I have gotten away from this. It has always been the case that students express fear about talking with me. I don’t quite know where this comes from, but it has always been so. In the last few semesters I haven’t done enough to counteract this. Students aren’t coming to visit me and discuss things one-on-one. This hampers my ability to help them.
  5. I need to sell what I am doing. I am not doing that enough.

With these in mind, I wrote some things I might consider saying to a hypothetical student.

Embrace Challenge. I am here to make sure you get stuck 
and help you get past it. This is the only way I know to 
foster true intellectual growth.


Math is hard. I am just laying that bare instead of hiding
that behind slick lectures.


My intention is to give you many opportunities for growth
and learning. I will try to put you in a situation where
success is possible. But I will not put you in situations
where success is guaranteed. There is no growth, no 
learning, no empowerment, in finishing a task you are sure
of completing before you begin.

So you will often feel unsure of how to succeed, at least 
at first, and maybe for a lot longer than you are
accustomed. I am not going to guarantee your success,
not on the small scale of a single task, nor on the larger
scale of this whole course. But I am confident in your
success. I believe deep in my bones that each student can
eventually prosper here. My job is to provide you with
guidance so you can grow and succeed in ways you were not
capable of before.

One thought on “Legacy RLM 2013: Reflections Part 2

  1. “Math is hard. I am just laying that bare instead of hiding that behind slick lectures.”

    I always get a lot of head-nodding from students when I say, “Have you ever thought: ‘I understood everything in class, but I can never do the homework on my own’?” I can then leap into what you said about “slick lectures.”

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