What is your real world? or In this problem assume no friction.

I have to drop a connection on the crowd. I was reading John Burk's post with the same title as this blog post and loved the comment his student dropped on him. I felt my head nodding in agreement. Reflections like that would make my day as a teacher. Later in the comments another teacher takes issue with the post. @adchempages has been all over the physics blogosphere with his message. I know he gets his students to achieve their immediate goals, he is famous on the AP Chem list serves.

A few days later I read this post trying to define where the real world is. It brought back to focus that my world is what I prepare kids for, and that is probably the same for teachers everywhere. @tkamps sent me this link to an edutopia blog series. I love the graphic in the last post. I love how everyone has a role to play. I love that the roles all have their basis in the same ideas. This is the world that I live in, and therefore the world I teach. I can see how other teachers who live in other worlds with other commonalities in the pyramid would value different outcomes. They are doing the same thing I am, getting kids ready for the world as they live it.

Our principal just sent home the monthly news letter. It begins with the transcript of a speech given by a student to members of the community, mainly business people.

So why do I love this place so much? What makes it unique?

First of all, the teachers. There are some incredible people here. I think what stands out about them is the conversation they want to have with all of us -- they aren’t simply there to tell us some information and then get on with their day. They want us to question and doubt and, as my English teacher would say, “wallow in complexity.” They care about what we think and want to hear what we have to say -- and want to see us pursue our individual passions. Just one example of this is an independent project that was required in my Physics class last year. We spent the last couple months of the semester researching a topic of our choice and presenting it in a way of our choice, so it was completely open-ended. Physics is really not my thing, but being able to incorporate my interests into a project definitely worked for me: I was able to combine my love of English with the excellent technology resources we have here, by reading three books by great physicists and then blogging and ultimately creating a website to show what I had learned. Another cool thing about this project was that I was able to focus on debates of religion versus science, which is probably not something I would be able to explore or discuss as fully as I did at other schools. And in the end, though I did learn a lot about Physics, I learned the most about how to create an effective project, all because of the wonderful balance of freedom and mentoring that I received from my teacher.

This is why I teach. I love exploring the world God has given us. I love to give students the tools to explore well, the passion to continue to explore and perspective on what they can bring to the exploration. I love that the school I teach in reflects those values as well.

P.S. I marvel at the people who can teach, blog, and keep up their family life. I am so past due for a blog post that I am embarrassed to even visit the space.