What That Math Lady Has Taught Me

Well, today is the day! That Math Lady was launched into virtual space earlier this morning. I’m feeling really good about it…if I can help at least one teacher or one student out there, it will all be worth it…well, maybe two teachers or students.

When I came up with the idea for this website, I was only thinking about how it would impact others. I imagined how other teachers would be able to utilize it in their classrooms, and I dreamed about students flocking to the website after school for help with their fractions homework (pretty good imagination, eh?). Never, not once, did I think about how it would impact me in the process.

After some self-reflecting, I have come up with some lessons – that I learned from That Math Lady – which I would like to share with other educators out there.

1.  Communication is key to growth in this field. Networking is vital in a world where social collaboration is the generator behind everything we do. I have learned so much from reading educational blogs (ex: edweek.org), connecting with educators around the globe on Twitter, and joining virtual learning networks (www.claco.com). After 4 months of being connected in the virtual world, my reality has been turned upside down!

2.  Teacher, you better make technology your best friend. Let me introduce you to some of mine:  Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Claco (in beta, but check them out anyway!), and Apps. We’re tight.

3.  Flipping your class won’t be easy…but it’ll be worth it. I can’t wait to step back into the classroom one day and be able to use the instructional videos I’ve created. While not all that difficult, making instructional videos is not easy, either. KUDOS to the teachers who can hold a full-time teaching job AND flip their classroom. I’ve been working solely on making the short instructional videos for thatmathlady.com and I barely have time to do anything else! I thought shooting the videos would be the most difficult part (due to a mild case of a fear of public speaking),  but it takes 5 times as long to edit and download them!

 (Real World Math Problem: If That Math Lady shoots a 4-minute video, and the editing/downloading process takes 5 times as long as the recording, how much time does That Math Lady spend on making one video? Ten videos? Show your work…)

4.  Pinterest.

Pinterest has “boards” that you can “pin” files, websites and pictures to for further reference.

5.  The Common Core is being supported by more districts, leaders and people than you realize. If you aren’t a fan of the CCSS yet, stop fighting it and find ways to embrace it.

6.  Cell phones are the new graphing calculators. There are so many apps and fun, creative ways that teachers can use cell phones in their classroom! Create a student-user-contract right away and let them bring in their Droids, iPhones, iPods, etc.! (Blog: How Teachers Make Cell Phones Work in the Classroom)

7.  Teachers work way too hard. This is not news, I know. But if there is one thing I realized during my time away from the classroom, it is that life is too short to spend it grading papers and revamping every lesson plan to fit a new set of standards. If you are a teacher and you are reading this, you need to find ways to slow. It. Down. Please start connecting with other educators, sharing your resources, and taking time for you. You deserve it.


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