Sheepish… and grateful

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by on April 5, 2013

It was a great adventure to be part of Christopher Danielson’s trial-run #MiSC Functions course, but it was also a great challenge for me in a few different ways, and a great source of growth.  This post is my attempt to sort all that out.

First, I feel like I need to apologize for falling off the wagon towards the end.  Throughout the two weeks, my experience kind of looked like…

 Early days: Wow!  This is so exciting!  And all these people whose blogs I read are a part of it – I’m not going to have anything to offer, they’re all so much more experienced then me… No, no, I’ll just do my best.  This is all about personal growth, right?  And they’re all great, supportive teachers who are all about self-improvement and know that you have to start somewhere…  It’ll be fine!

 And then I carefully revised and obsessed over each post I made… even when it was just my introductory bio.

 Mid-way through: Holy **.  I’m way out of my depth.  I get it… but I get it at such a lower level than these other folks.  {{{Reads thoughtful post several times over trying to make sense of it}}}.  I don’t know what questions to ask to clarify what they’re saying… I know I could get there with more time and hand-holding, but I’m kind of drowning here.

 Towards the end: Overwhelmed avoidance, made easier by a perfect-storm of work and personal stuff that came up and took over my life.

 And so here I am.

There’s no question that I learned – I learned a lot!

1)      I better understand functions – what they are and how they’re defined.

2)      I better know what I don’t understand about functions, including just how many different types of functions there are – from the more obvious, everyday functions that I have a decent handle on, to ones involving much more complex ideas and components than I have perhaps ever considered.

3)      I experienced, in a way I hadn’t for a long time, how my students must feel when things are moving too fast.  Because as best I can tell, my experience with the class was that the depth and pace of the discussions moved too fast for me – just when I was starting to get a handle on things, everyone else was jumping leaps and bounds ahead… and I couldn’t quite find my way there.

If it’s not clear through all this – I’m really, really not trying to say anything negative. Christopher put together such a well-considered, thoughtful, student-driven experience – this is all about me.  I jumped in the deep end, with lots of enthusiasm, but unfortunately, not quite enough background (the middle of the pool might have been a better entry point :).  But the good news is, I’m better for it.  It was a great experience of challenge with math that didn’t end in frustration and self-doubt.  Which is significant, given that much of what I remember from my time as a math student is feeling confused, and with no confidence that understanding would come.  The opposite was true in this case – I have every confidence that I can get there… it’s just going to take a lot more than this one experience. So thank you to everyone who participated, for giving me this opportunity and a safe place to belly flop! (Is my pool metaphor coming through there?  Hopefully it makes sense… it’s been a long week…)




One Response to “Sheepish… and grateful”

  1.   Christopher Danielson Says:

    Right on. “Trial run” is an important part of your observations here. There was a ton of interesting stuff going on, and the differentiation challenges were astonishing!

    Thank you for participating!

    Please, please, please do not consider the conversation closed. I would look forward to continued discussions of what you learn/notice about functions as you gain some time and distance from the course.


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