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Learning From the Pros

As part of my early explorations of Twitter, I of course subscribed to a couple personal friends, and to a couple (semi-) celebrities I admire. RPG authors, if you must know. But I’ve also subscribed to a couple of complete strangers, just to see where that takes me.

One is a young math teacher, “misscalcul8,” just starting her first year teaching high school, and I find her tweets provide insight into what I’m about to undergo in a year or so in a way that my MSU courses simply can’t convey. She’s full of enthusiasm, which is great. She’s engaged in a continuing chatter about hands-on techniques, from organizing papers to measuring out homework to questions of curriculum. All areas where I could use both practical advice and even the service of raising questions I never considered. She—and perhaps others like her, soon—should do me a lot of good.

Even as I worry about my technique as a teacher, I find reassurance in my mastery of the subject. I still remember not only what an isometric transformation is, but how to express one in a matrix, and why anyone would want to. (Hint: video games, among other applications.) I have a strong opinion on whether we should be teaching indirect proofs (Hint: yes.) and can argue cogently why. I can reproduce the Hinge Theorem. The lessons I’ve got well under my belt; even better, the motivations for the lessons, which is hugely important in reaching out to students. Knowing I can relax about that, and concentrate on personal contact, makes the job seem much less intimidating.

Now if only I can manage this young teacher’s charm, I’ll be in like Flynn.

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