cheesemonkey wonders

cheesemonkey wonders

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Quotes hanging over and around my desk — or, what the MTBoS means to me

I got a new job today, plus I had a birthday earlier this week, plus Topper had a hot date in Doodle Land, so I've been noticeably in the bleachers of the latest debates about the mathtwitterblogosphere, what it is, what it means, what's good about it, what's not so good about it, and so on... and so on... and so on.

It's probably just as well. I don't find myself to be particularly constructive when I'm tired and strung out and stressed.

I have one of the TMC12 photos from last summer hanging over my desk, along with a number of quotes all around that remind me, among other things, what I value about the MTBoS. Today they feel wiser about the whole thing than I do:

"I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky."
    — Sharon Olds

"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
    — Winston Churchill

"Ancora imparo." ["I am still learning."]
     — Michelangelo at age 87

"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you."
     — The Gospel of Thomas

"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."
     — J.K. Rowling

Welcome difficulty.
Learn the alchemy
True human beings know.
The moment you accept what troubles you've been given,
The door opens.
    — Rumi

My learning to swim drowns no one.

     — Dr. Fred Joseph Orr

"There are years that ask the questions and years that answer."
     — Zora Neale Hurston

"Continue under all circumstances.
  Don't be tossed away.
  Make positive effort for the good."
    — Dainin Katagiri Roshi

"We're lost. But we are making good time."
     — Yogi Berra

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do
 with your one wild and precious life?"
     — Mary Oliver


  1. Beautiful quotes and many congrats!
    May your new job be rewarding, interesting, and fill you with passion.

  2. This is so so damn good, Elizabeth. You fill the reader's heart by sharing just the right quotes at the right time. You yourself said nothing, yet you spoke most eloquently. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Fawn. Sometimes I do my best work by just getting out of the way. :)

  3. Will you still be in SF? As a newbie math teacher In Marin, I'd like to offer to take you to lunch and pick your brain some time.

    1. Hi Mark — I live in SF, so I'll still be here and be going over the Golden Gate Bridge every day to teach in Marin. So I'd love to get together some time!

  4. Rumi reminded me of something I swear I read in Eleanor Duckworth, to the effect, "once they know their question, they know their answer" as it pertained to children's mathematics. Of course it was more elegant; I wish I could find it again!

    What it spoke to was the teacher's role to help children realize their question is really an empathetic listening activity, and when done well also allows children to come upon the (their own) resolution to the question.