Idea: This Is How I Teach

For a long time, I have enjoyed the How I Work series from lifehacker. Notable folks from many walks of life will answer questions about how they get things done–what tools they use, how they stay productive, what they have been able to figure out about work, and so on. For a few great examples from the series, check out Russell Brown, Marc Maron, Max Lobovsky, and Mike Rowe.

I love chatting about this kind of stuff, especially with other teachers. Don’t get me wrong, pedagogy, problem sets, social justice in education, and assessment are all important and engaging, but I’d also love to know what another teacher has figured out about grading efficiently. Or maybe someone has a convincing philosophy about why they never bring work home and how they are possibly able to make it happen. Or perhaps someone has found a unique tool to plan lessons. For all the valuable conversations I see on the MTBoS, I don’t see a ton of conversation about these topics.

So would anyone be interested in reading or contributing to a series on how MTBoS folks teach? How they plan, grade, interact digitally, separate work from home, commute, and whatever else fits in?

It looks like lifehacker uses a somewhat standard set of questions as a base, and then they go from there. Here are some of the base prompts:

  • Location
  • Current Gig
  • One word that best describes how you work
  • Current mobile device
  • Current computer
  • What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?
  • What’s your workspace setup like? Coffee shop with laptop and headphones? Home office with a standing desk?
  • What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
  • What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
  • Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
  • What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
  •  What do you listen to while you work? Got a favorite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence? 
  • What are you currently reading? A novel, comic book, website, magazine?
  • How do you recharge?
  • What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?
  • Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I think most if not all of these would apply to teachers, though there’s a few more to add on…

  • What was the last tool that you adopted that was a game changer?
  • How does your grading system look different from anyone else?
  • How is your classroom set up?
  • Where at your school can you honker down to get shit done?
  • What non-math stuff do you do at your school?
  • While you’re teaching, what do you have in your hand (if anything)?
  • What do you use to plan? Do you use a different tool for the bigger picture (unit/course)?
  • How do you manage your time in the classroom?

Before you think this looks like way too  much, I think the best way to keep this sustainable is to send a big set of questions to a participant and have them answer what they like. That’s probably more reasonable than an audio interview transcribed (which is what I think lifehacker does).

So any ideas? Questions to add? Volunteers?


3 thoughts on “Idea: This Is How I Teach

  1. Meg Craig

    Love the extra teacher-y questions you thought up! I also want to know how Ts hand back papers. Such a silly thing but it takes up so much time.

    And since I was one of the ones to tell you to do this, I’ll volunteer as tribute. 😉

    1. dsabol Post author

      Great one on the hand backs. And you are on the list! Hopefully I’ll have a good question set ready and I’ll let you know.

  2. Pingback: How Often Do You Help Dan Out and Build Residue? / Global Math Department

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