At Caitlin and Trevor’s wedding. So lovely. (at Barndiva)
Too quickly going from idea to action. Daily, do something for which there is not only no immediate reward—but also no meaningfully discernible reward, i.e., 1 push up, 1 shovelful of dirt, 1 brick laid in a wall, or 1 tile on a new path.
Bricks, calories, lbs. lost, exercise, money raised/earned, Likes, friends, notifications, emails, all keeping score, all tracking progress. Towards what?
Short attention span. Attention deficit disorder.
Immediate gratification is like heroin, like “The Game” in TNG.
Maybe the track yourself, track your progress mentality is wrong. You can’t “level up” in real life. Maybe instead become comfortable with something even beyond delayed gratification. Maybe that is just another drug, another hit, another way to feed that which can never be satisfied. Maybe it’s about accepting that there is no reward.
Just do those things that are good, that help, that improve your capacity for good and to help.
I don’t know.
For a very long time, we have made math teachers out of people who understand math really well. But understanding math and explaining math are two very different things. I’d like to see us move to the idea that the ability to explain math is more important than the ability to understand math for our math teachers. This is a controversial idea for many. I can hear every person ask the extreme question. “Are you saying that it isn’t important to understand what you are teaching?!
No. I am not saying that.
This is a video game character window.
In this window, you can assign points to the different abilities of your character. You can say, give more points to Strength or more to Agility. And depending on what type of character you have or what role you want to play in the game, you will customize your character by assigning points to the appropriate ability.
This is all I’m talking about.
For many decades and probably even centuries, when selecting teachers, we’ve given all of our character points to the “Understand Math” ability. We’ve basically ignored the “Explain Math” ability.
I’d like us to spend a few points on the ability that has to do with explaining. Not all the points. Not even most of the points. How about we start with just some of the points.
To my way of thinking, if you had 100 points to spend, I’d give about 65 or 70 to understanding. With the other 30-35 going to explaining. But today we don’t even ensure that our math teachers have any ability to teach. They are almost exclusively selected for understanding.
We hope that those who select the career have an innate ability.
We hope that we get lucky to have people who choose the career because they already know how to explain stuff and want to explain math.
But we don’t make sure. We only make sure they know the stuff. We are hoping they know how to explain it.
And that’s my complaint.
So can I get a few points in the Explain Math ability? Or at least in Agility?