Thursday, June 9, 2016

I am now going to start blogging...I am.

I created this blog in the weeks before school started. My goal was to update the site with problems my class would work on throughout the year and to reflect on the implementation of the unit I spent the entire summer writing with the Yale National Initiative.  However grand my aspirations were for this blog, deep down I knew that I probably would not have the time or energy to update it once I started teaching. I was right. I have not opened E Blogger in over 8 months.  So, here we go again. I am committing myself, to writing about my practice and joining the Math Teacher Blogosphere as a"blogger". Before doing so, I want to be upfront with the obstacles (excuses) that have prevented me from blogging in the past:

I don’t have time.
Teachers are busy…blah, blah, blah… Yes, I am busy. Yes, I don’t have a lot of time. Yes, I keep a spoon and a jar of peanut butter in my desk because I am too rushed in the morning to make a respectable, adult lunch. This excuse of being too busy falls flat when I consider the amount of idle time I spend talking, thinking, and lying awake at night, contemplating teaching middle school math. Instead of letting these thoughts and ideas float around in my head, there is no reason why I can’t use some of this time to pin some of them down in writing.

I don’t rite good.
I have never considered myself a writer and have a lot of anxiety over letting others read my writing. My fear of contributing to the math teacher blogosphere is due in large part to my admiration of the writing of popular bloggers like Dan Meyer, Fawn Nguyen, Tracy Zager, Michael Pershan. These individuals clearly have nuanced and important ideas and can clearly and precisely communicate these through writing.  This excuse is mostly based in my own insecurities, but MTBOS is certainly an impressive and intimidating community to join. Please excuse my future grammatical/spelling errors and clunky wording.

I perceive my ideas as obvious, cliché, and most likely old news.
I know that the purpose of blogging in MTBOS is not to constantly pioneer new ideas and produce groundbreaking essays that will transform the world of math education. But I will often come to what I think is brilliant realization around my practice or my students, and then upon more reflection find that, duh, I should have understood this a while ago or that several other teachers have already written about this exact thing. This often leads me to conclude that this thing that is not worth writing about, so I don’t.  Other questions I ask myself that contribute to this line of thinking are:

Does anyone really care about this idea?
Do I seem self important or naive to write about this idea that is probably common knowledge?
Who do you think you are Aaron? 
How many people will roll their eyes when the read the subject of this post?

I think in order to overcome my inclination to self-doubt, I just need to GET OVER IT. The worst-case scenario is, nobody reads my blog and it becomes a private, although technically public, online diary of my own ramblings and ideas on teaching math.

I apologize for the poor writing of this post.

Ok, I'm going to close my eyes and press the publish button.


  1. GET OVER IT is very good advice! Listen to yourself on this.

  2. Ditto on everything you said...and I had to decide to just "get over it" as well.

    It gets easier to push that publish button!!!

  3. You got this! I agree with Christopher! Years ago, during a new blogging initiation, I wrote to new bloggers... maybe it will validate all that you are feeling!: "What’s fascinating to me is how many of you said — in the optional section of the sign up form — that you were anxious or nervous or terrified (while also being excited, of course) about doing this. Really? Hu-uh. I hope you aren’t building it up in your head to be some giant task like writing the great American novel or carving Mt. Rushmore. If you are, perish that perspective! You’re just jotting a few notes down for yourself. Nothing formal, nothing serious, maybe funny, archiving your teaching life, sharing some good stuff with others. It’s not super serious, it doesn’t have to be perfect, no one is going to be judging you. Let me say that again: no one is going to be judging you. I mean, like, this [link didn't copy] was my fourth blogpost. Sophie Germain blogged about vomit [link didn't copy]. And Julie, like we all do, has occasional spouts of verbal spewage [link didn't copy]. If you feel like you aren’t awesome at teaching, welcome to the club If you feel constantly like everything else you see out there is better, welcome to the club. You’re blogging for yourself. So if you’re new to teaching and have material that you’re proud of it, post it! We’re all starting this at different points, but the one thing I’ve learned is that I can steal ideas or be inspired or commiserate with first year teachers as easily as a veteran teacher. So try not to be self-conscious and obsessive. We’re all here to reflect on what we do, and to learn from each other. No one in the mathtwitterblogosphere is judging you, but yourself. So if you’re a sucky writer, own it and don’t worry about not being Tolstoy. If you feel like what you want to write has already been said on a lot of other places, write it anyway. This is you, for you, by you. And if you are nervous about not having the time, just set a timer for 30 or 45 minutes and say that’s all the time you’ll spend on writing. (That’s all I tend to spend, anyway.)"

    1. Sameer, thank you so much for your kind words. Thanks for the support!

  4. Does anyone really care about this idea?


    Do I seem self important or naive to write about this idea that is probably common knowledge?


    Who do you think you are Aaron?

    Woah that's a tough question!

    How many people will roll their eyes when the read the subject of this post?



    OK and now we've reached the part of the comment where I offer some terrible advice. Sometimes when I'm feeling nervous about sharing an idea I intentionally write it poorly so that fewer people will read it. (If the idea turns out to be good, I can always write it better later.) So my terrible advice is to intentionally write poorly if you're nervous!

    Also this is the first time the words "popular" and "Michael Pershan" have featured in the same sentence without being preceded by "the least." Take that, 8th Grade yearbook!

  5. I know what you're saying! I have some of the same excuses. You have encouraged me to "get back on the horse" and open my blog back up after 2years. Thank you!

  6. This feels eerie. We even have the the same backdrop for our blogs. Even though my recent post (the first since August 2016) didn't say it.. you put so much of what I was thinking into words. I really appreciate your honesty and making yourself vulnerable!!

    You made an excellent point about the amount of time I spend mulling over my classes, students and math. It's true, if I "pin some of those thoughts down" on my blog -- maybe I'll get some more head space back.

    Thank you!

  7. I think you are a fantastic writer! But then again I am your dad! Keep writing son!