Sunday, August 19, 2018

Ten Weeks of Summer: Big Changes (Weeks 9 & 10)

As my summer winds down to a close (my first day of in-service is in about 12 hours), I reflect on the fact that the summer was actually quite relaxing despite all of my travels and getting my daughter packed and off to college. (Sic 'em, Bears!)  I decided that it mostly had to do with the fact that I wasn't going into school once or twice a week to deal with hiring of new faculty, parent meetings, administrator meetings or placement test and summer acceleration test scoring.  In fact, I don't think I realized how much work it was to be department chair until I didn't have to do that work over the summer anymore.

So, what have I done for the past two weeks?

1) I learned how to create podcasts using Audacity.  This required a little bit of work on my part, because I also had to install two different plug-ins to get it uploaded and downloaded in the form I needed.  The Global Math Department had been posting their weekly webinars as podcasts for a while, but that was not happening any longer.  A few people mentioned on twitter that they liked listening to the podcasts. So, I learned how to create them with Audacity thanks to the help of Carl Oliver's very clear directions.

2) I worked on reviewing AB Calculus, because I will be teaching it for the first time this year. Since I had not used Khan Academy's courses before, I decided to give them a try. Most of the videos are well done and there are plenty of exercises for students to do.  However, Sal Khan is not always careful with his use of math language.  For example, he'll say "the slope of the point" when he really means "the slope of the tangent line at the point".  Points can't have slopes. Lines have slopes.  If I use this resource with my students this year, I'll need to be a little cautious and preview any videos I would show my students.

3) Today I watched Julie Reulbach's Twitter Math Camp 2018 talk on Teacher Leaders.  If you don't follow Julie on twitter, you should. She tweets @jreulbach. She gave me some thoughts to ponder as I start a new school year at a new school.  At one point in my career, I thought being a leader meant that I needed to become a full time administrator.  I applied to be Upper School Director at Moravian Academy in the spring of 2017 and I wasn't hired for that position.  However, Julie's talk made me realize that I am a teacher leader and that I lead in so many other ways when she said "Teacher leadership is not a ladder to be climbed.  It is what you do to support another teacher." And I support teachers in so many ways: leading AP Statistics workshops, sharing teaching ideas through talks at conferences, leading a book chat on twitter this summer, visiting classrooms of my colleagues and offering feedback, sharing teaching ideas through blogging, orgainizing hosts for the Global Math Department and posting videos to help teachers and students on my YouTube channel. Whew!  That's a long list.  I was recently asked to serve as a teacher mentor for the National Math and Science Initiative, working specifically with teachers in New York City.  I would visit their classroom twice in one school year, specifically giving feedback for teaching AP Statistics. Yet another opportunity to be a teacher leader.

4) Last, but not least, my husband and I did shopping, shopping and more shopping, as we helped our daughter moved into her dorm.  She is over 1500 miles away from home and we only packed 3 suitcases with her belongings.  This meant two trips to Target, two trips to Bed, Bath and Beyond, a trip to the bookstore and a trip to CVS.  Apparently we didn't get everything.  Tonight I ordered more items for her online!  We hope she will keep some of the items from one year to the next!!

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