Hopefully by putting “Pershan” in the title I’ve scared off anyone from reading on…
…though what a bizarre impulse it is to want to write something publicly that you don’t want anyone to read. On second thought it’s not that I don’t want people to read this, it’s just that I want people to know that I know that this isn’t important stuff. I want to avoid presumption.
I have a blog problem. My first blog was great but then I decided to end it. There were a few reasons for that. Something about my blogger routine constantly drew my attention to my web stats, to the extent that it got distracting. I also wanted to establish that my blog could end, that a blog didn’t have to be a running platform but could be a self-contained project. I thought that my next blog was going to be nice and tight, focused on a single issue. I just had to find the right issue.
Well, that was this blog. I called it “Problem Problems” — are there any good blog titles? — with the thought that I’d focus on problem solving, especially problem solving strategies. One thing led to another, fine, but I still wrote a lot of stuff here about problem solving.
I’m officially calling an end to that experiment. (In a way, this essay is the culmination of the super-focused-blog thought.) The title of this blog has been recast as “Teaching With Problems — seriously, are there? — to emphasize that the problems are with my teaching as much as they are mathematical. And while I hope to avoid sprawling too much, I do want to give myself permission to write about whatever I feel like writing about.
There might be something more here. We go through periods of sprawl and focus. The last few years have felt like a time of doubling down for me. I’ve thought really hard about feedback and about the role of research in my life. I don’t really know where to go from here, though. So…let’s spread out a bit. Sing when the spirit says sing, stomp when the spirit says stomp, etc. (Parenthood, man.)
There really is no road map for a teacher interested in doing stuff that’s professionally relevant. That’s fine. One thing that the last few years has clarified for me is that, primarily, I see myself as a teacher and a writer. That’s what I enjoy the most (more than presenting or writing curriculum) and I think it’s truest to my online activity. That means that, primarily, I should be teaching and writing. That’s as much as I’ve figured out.