As a teacher this year the question that most comes to mind regarding my students is, “Are you underperforming your potential?” I think about the concept of potential energy as it relates to physics, and the ways in which it can be applied in every day life. Simply put potential energy is stored energy. When potential energy is released that is when we refer to it as kinetic energy.
I can’t rightly speak to my students about these ideas unless I am also living it. My potential energy exists in my writing. When I finally release it in the form of a post such as this, there has been a transfer of energy. Teaching takes time and much energy. Being a middle schooler takes much energy. In observing my students and myself, I find that the problems begin in not realizing or knowing what capabilities or capacities we hold. If we do not know what we have, we will not put them to use. It then becomes unused, and in my humble opinion wasted energy. I do not want to waste my life, nor do I want my students to waste theirs. How then do I battle this complacency and the thoughts that have concretized into ineffectual beliefs that become increasingly ineffective systems of thought?
As I coteach science this year my thoughts will be how can I change so that I use my potential energy, and how can I impart that idea to my students whom I hope will make better decisions on how to apply their potential than I ever did. Then again, it’s never to late to change.
I am so excited to be back in the classroom this year. Things are a little different. Last year I cotaught Math along with Social Studies. This year I will be coteaching Math and Science! As someone who loves the Humanities this is a complete departure from my comfort zone. This is the year that I am pushing myself to practice what I like to tell my students, "You change when you are challenged. Growth is found in the process." I am also very gladly participating in teaching Socioemotional Learning or SEL.
Last year I learned that "I can teach math." This new found knowledges allows me to better appreciate all the articles that have come out recently including, "Make Your Daughter Practice Math, She'll Thank You Later," by Professor Barbara Oakley for The New York Times. They are encouraging me to keep working at it. Fellow teachers, parents, and other readers, I hope you have a productive academic year. I will continue to use this site to communicate my thoughts this year.
Ms. St. Jean
Native New Yorker teaching and living the middle school life, using this site to keep it 100. My students are the embodiment of joy.