There was a great discussion in Global Math Department today, lead by the intrepid Chris Robinson, about how we facilitate, and how we sometimes fail, new people participating in the little online math teacher thing we have going on here. At one point I tried to take the mic to add a few thoughts, but the technology failed me. (I really wish I knew what I did to anger the technology gods. What's an appropriate sacrifice for that? Do I have to throw my iPhone into a volcano? Would they settle for a nano? Will they settle for a hibachi?)
So, here they are, the thoughts. Embellished, just because I'm way better at writing than speaking. Broadly categorized as assumption-disspelling:
- I'm the worst at keeping up with blog posts. The worst. I'll let Reader go unchecked for weeks on end. And now Reader is going away, and everything else sucks. (Yes even Feedly. Feedly is not good. There, I said it. I want to be able to mark either a post or a whole blog as *&^%ing "read" and I want it to go away forever. I want to see all the subscriptions all the time, and I want to know which ones have unread posts. I don't want you making decisions about what to show me. This is basic reader stuff, Feedly. You should have learned this in reader Kindergarten. Get it together.)
- I blame Twitter. I just assume if a post is noteworthy enough, someone will mention it there and it will catch my attention that way. This is all to say, if I didn't read your post, I'm sorry. And if I've never interacted with your blog, I'm also sorry. It's not personal. I'm just disorganized and lazy and over-reliant on Twitter to act as my newspaper. And also, because of new job, I'm not desperately Googling "how to teach factoring" at 6AM anymore.
- I don't think there's a single thing on this blog that I thought up all by myself. Look around if you don't believe me. It's all adaptations of the work of other people, or there's a vague statement apologizing for not remembering where I first saw something, or it's a dumb story about how a kid accidentally grabbed my boob. That is to say, you don't have to wait until you have the next great inspired original lesson idea to write a blog post. Write about a thing you tried that bombed. Write about a thing you stole from someone else and adapted for your unique situation. Write about how the light looks outside your classroom at 5:30 when you are all alone and cutting out laminated blah blah. Write about how that kid in third period asked you for crush advice and you felt unqualified to help because you have been divorced forever, so you just told him to smile and try not to act like a spaz. People love reading about humans. It hardly matters what they are even doing.
- I should take my own advice. The last post on here was like a million weeks ago.
- People aren't fans of f(t) because there's awesome stuff on it. People are fans because it's honest, and I try to pay at least a little attention to telling a story. Plus it's been around forever because I'm a super nerd who knew what a blog was in 2005. That's all. That's really all.
- It is always a good idea to add some pictures.
- Everyone should comment more. Everyone. Me, you, YOU. WITH THE FACE. Deal? Deal.
Update: Featured Comments (in which I steal a(nother) good idea from dy/dan)
[Lots of good Reader alternative / Feedly customization advice.]
GregT: I think some of it is just EXPERIENCE, which is something you can't really teach or help with. But at the same time there's a perception that we're LOSING promising people to misconceptions, which is not good either (is it even really the case?).
Christopher Danielson: If you're seeking engagement with a larger audience, do more of what they have responded to. It turns out not always to be what you might rather be writing about, nor what you expect will resonate.
Josh Giesbrecht: "F you NSA"