cheesemonkey wonders

cheesemonkey wonders

Monday, October 15, 2012

Radio Silence Does Not Mean Nothing Is Happening...

Wow, did I ever fall off the radar.

Plop. That "splat" you might have heard was me, falling off the blogging radar.

But I'm back, baby.

Last night I had the most wonderful dinner with @btwnthenumbers and @woutgeo and @mythagon, who was in town for a conference/collaborative meeting, and I tell you, it pretty much restored my faith in teaching, in mathematics, and probably in all of humanity.

I have been working at a near-frantic pace these last five weeks, prepping, teaching, grading, not grading, having parent conferences, having meetings with parents and the principal, having meetings with parents and principal and superintendent, going to IEP meetings, collaborating with my department members to write goals that will help us to align our curriculum with the Common Core, and generally dealing with all those things that go haywire as soon as you start to nail down some satisfying, finite part of your teaching.

In other words, just like you, life has been kicking my ass.

But between last night and this morning's drive to work something shifted. Something sane and healthy intervened.

That something was my connection with the Twitter- blogo-sphere.

Whenever I'm feeling exhausted and run over with skid marks across my face and body, connection with my tweeps -- any connection -- seems to be the best medicine. I don't know why this is true; I only know that it is so. Remembering this makes me think of a quote I have from von Neumann hanging in the ring of inspiring quotes that encircles my classroom: "In mathematics, you don't understand things; you just get used to them." Some days that's how I feel about things in my classroom or in my school or in my life.

I only know that five or ten minutes of venting to my tweeps about an impossible situation -- even when @woutgeo is only half-listening because (a) the Giants are sucking pretty hard against the Cardinals and because (b) my venting is both predictable and boring -- it helped just to have reconnected with the connection. In Jakobsonian structuralist linguistics, this kind of communicative connection is known as a "phatic utterance" (look it up, Riemann, I have to look up all of your crap).

By this morning, I was feeling reasonably happy driving to work for a 7:30 a.m. meeting. I was not totally thrilled about the hour or having to buy gas at that hour or the price of gas for that matter, but I felt pretty great about car-dancing in the dark to Ace of Base's "The Sign" and remembering car-dancing at #TMC12 with @mgolding and @samjshah and @jreulbach and @ bowmanimal on the way to do Exeter problem sets. And I felt great when @rdkpickle's sweet soprano voice was joined by @SweenWSweens and @jreulbach singing "Tweet Me Maybe." And I even laughed when the theme from Sesame Street came on. iPod's "shuffle" feature has a somewhat perverse sense of humor.

OK, and one other thing I have learned is that my dog always knows when it's time for me to end a blog post. Just now he jumped up on my lap and pounded the laptop keyboard with his giant panda bear paw:
So that's my cue to wrap this up.

I just want to say, if you are feeling alone or frustrated or exasperated and you are reading this, then for the sake of everything we hold dear, please reach out to someone else who is of like mind. "It's hard to teach right... in isolaaaaaaaaation.... So here's some PD.... just like vacation!"

Tweet me maybe, tweeps. Over and out for now.


  1. I was listening! :)

    1. I know you were! And I appreciated it -- especially since the Giants really needed your help at that moment!!! :)

  2. Thanks for the reminder, my friend. I've been feeling beyond worthless the last few weeks. blah!

    Mike Mathews

  3. I soooooooooooo get where you're coming from. The Twitter- blogo-sphere has provided me with a refreshing intellectual and creative awakening that I couldn't seem to find at the school where I teach and that I sorely needed. I'm grateful every day for the connections I've made, for the way we all challenge each other to be better teachers, and for the intellectual playfulness which most of us encourage in each other. I feel very blessed!

  4. "I'm grateful every day for the connections I've made, for the way we all challenge each other to be better teachers, and for the intellectual playfulness which most of us encourage in each other."

    I would like to say that that thought cannot be upvoted enough.

    Especially the 'intellectual playfulness' bit. It's so nice to work in an atmosphere of professional respect with people who are invested in the same things I am invested in.

    <3 to the tweeps!

  5. Oh man I just lost my lovely, log reply. I hear all of you! Like when you are the new kid on the block (though you've been around the block a few times!) and the teacher next door is chanting, "I have to quit teaching, I have to quit teaching," and hands you a worksheet and 3 month assignment sheet, and all you want to do is play Algebra and teach the students to be number smart and find some hope and beauty in knowing the answer...Man I know what you are talking about! From a crafty, quirky, psuedo-intellectual who can't even blog about what's for dinner because she ordered take-out Indian, Amy

  6. Love this. As I've gone from someone who blogged multiple times per day to now multiple times per year, I've taken incredible comfort in knowing that those connections never really fade. Incredible people who get you, support you and care about you are always just a tweet, email or phone call away, and thanks to the power of the MTBoS to connect us, they're often right around the corner too.