Monthly Archives: December 2017

10 Questions to Critically Reflect On




andy vasily

This image was created by Andy Vasily.  It will help guide my 2017 reflection.

  1.  I have deepened many personal and professional relationships this year. I strengthened many of my professional relationships at the SHAPE National Convention this year. Sleeping Rooming with Andy Milne was a highlight for sure! Coming in a close second was hanging with my Paddle Zlam crew! Meeting Mel Hamada and Shrehan Lynch in person cannot be overlooked as well. I could spend pages just reflecting on that experience alone. I have also combined some of my professional relationships into much more personal relationships. Getting to know people on a deeper level was definitely a goal for me this year.
  2. I am always interested in people’s stories for sure. I firmly believe that everyone has a story and I can learn from everyone. We have interviewed many people on the Voxcast which allows people to have a platform to center and amplify their voices.
  3. This year I was very grateful for my personal blessings. My family is overall very healthy and I acknowledge and appreciate this. Professionally I haven’t counted my blessings. I sometimes feel stuck in a rut and don’t know what to do about it. Hopefully, 2018 will help me with this feeling.
  4. This past year I have written a book chapter and numerous blogs, created some cool Voxcasts, presented locally, regionally, and nationally. In the classroom, I have really continued to work on having a more student-centered approach. I am happy with my progress and have some really cool ideas for a future Voxer book club podcast and helping Kennedra Tucker with a social justice podcast.
  5. Physically this year was a let down for me. I played basketball twice a week but I have slacked on my muscular endurance and strength training. I need to get back on track.
  6. My inner critic voice kept me back from applying for some jobs. I have also apologized more this year for the words that have left my mouth than in years past.
  7. I have spent more time trying to recognize others value and goodness in my life. This occurred in many fashions. Some people received gifts from me, others a card, and still others I made time for.
  8. I surround myself with great people who push themselves so hard that I can only marvel at what they do. This helps drive me to continue to be a creator and producer in a world of consumption.
  9. I don’t know how much I empowered others. I do know that if anyone asks me for help I did anything and everything in my power to assist and empower them.
  10. In 2018 I  will work on being more physically active. The value of this can’t be overstated.

Take the @andyvasily reflection challenge. What did your year look like?




How Actions are Perceived

Every trimester I give out a feedback form to my students. I truly want to learn what how they feel about my class. More importantly, I want to find out what their perception of me is. One of the questions I ask them is, “How much do you feel Mr. S. likes you?” I was surprised by one student who marked down that I dislike them. First off this student is a very good student who makes minor behavioral decisions that I disagree with. I honestly like this child. They are not reprimanded very often nor have they ever received a poor mark in my class.

If all that is true above, why does that child believe I dislike them? I honestly don’t know but I will be finding out soon. What is interesting here is the idea that my actions toward him may not be showing him how I truly feel about him. How often does this happen with my other students? What about other adults? This conversation was brought up in the restorative justice group on Voxer. How often are our words and actions being interpreted in a different manner than what we were intending?

I look forward to finding out the feedback the rest of my students give me. The important part of this whole process is that I have to use this information to change my teaching. If you hold power over a person or group of people it is your duty to find out what they think of you and your job. How many administrators poll their teachers? How many teachers poll their students? If we care about our students shouldn’t we find out how they truly feel about us and our class? How else will we get better?

trimester questions



100 Word Challenge

Today I read Dene Gainey’s  (@dene_gainey) blog titled What Are My 100 Words? The premise behind the blog was that you had to write 100 words on why you love teaching. The idea came about when Jesse Boyce (@Jessxbo) was given the assignment as part of her Teacher of the Year candidacy. She wrote:

“I get to show students the beauty in struggle and the power of making mistakes.  Math is a topic that makes most people cringe and I feel fortunate to get to make it something that is less scary.  I love to show my students that something that seems impossible does not have to be that way, but can be fun! I love showing them that the struggles that occur in math are paralleled to life; that there is always a way.  I teach compassion, how to be good people, how to love, how to see a different point of view.” (link)

This is a powerful statement! I try not to compare myself to others by telling myself that my writing is more about the thought than the execution; however, this was both well thought out and executed. Here is Dene’s 100 words:

“I love teaching because it is a perpetual process of learning & I am just as much of a student when I teach as the students themselves are. I love teaching because of the immense ability to “reach” and not just teach & to see lives transformed through that reach! I love teaching because little by little, the world can be changed for the better. I love teaching because of spontaneous discovery and the ability to empower students to C.L.I.M.B.E. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing students actualize themselves and take ownership and independence when learning.” (link)

Dene’s idea that the world can be changed by us is spot on. He fit so much into so little of a space. This is going to be difficult. Ok, I just wrote it and it took me 45 minutes. Here is the result:

Teaching is sharing time with people. Every day I get the opportunity to provide a safe environment for kids to explore and have fun. We form connections and memories that will leave a lasting impression on all parties. Together we enjoy creating new neural connections constantly challenging ourselves to grow. I get to feel that I am impacting the world battling hate and fear. Future generations will be changed for the better if I continuously grow and make a positive impact on my students. I am leaving the world a better place than before I got there.

Go ahead. Take the challenge that Jessie Boyce laid down. Write your 100 Words on Why You Love Teaching than tag @jessxbo, @dene_gainey, and @schleiderjustin. I can’t wait to read why you love to teach!