When it came time to choose our Virtual Associate Teacher for Zoe's class, I immediately gravitated towards the high school math teachers on the list. As part of my considerations, I flipped through the peoples' blogs and discovered this post. Yeah, I was hooked immediately. As a fan of Angry Birds, I thoroughly loved that Dave had found a way to interest his class as to the link between Angry Birds and math. Among my goals as a math teacher is a desire to show students that math is more than just calculators - it's an incredibly important tool to help us understand how the world works. And in his blog, I found someone that didn't only want to do so, but was actively doing so in his class. (By the way, I also loved the title of his blog, Sine of the Times).
The other reason why I respect Dave Lanovaz's teaching style is his ability to do this. Dave was able to offer a motivational speech without excessive sugar coating. He underscored the competitiveness that exists in the world, and used that to motivate the students to find the best within themselves, and not to just settle for the easy way out. Finally, he was able to recognize that this great discussion wouldn't resonate with everybody, and he didn't judge the students either way. Someday, I hope to be able to do this since it's far more important than my stock answer to 'why do we need to learn trigonometry anyways.'
Finally, Dave has been an awesome support during my initial teaching blocks. When I've had questions and concerns, he's always pointed me in the right direction. When I was setting up this site for my presentation today to our math teaching class, he recommended a few resources for me to incorporate.** Whenever I tweet something (as rare as that still is), he always asks how I'm doing ... how things are going? It may seem a small thing, but it's wonderful to know that someone who doesn't really know me is willing to take the time to ask me questions. While my health has been less than ideal, and it's dragged my energy level and mood down, his questions and advice have always been a branch to help me pull myself up. I'm definitely hoping to stay in touch with Dave, for around Valentine's Day, my long awaited math teaching block will begin. And I'm fairly certain that I'll be running into a few issues along the way (like what is this Geometer's SketchPad and how do I incorporate the OAME examples into my class).
Once again Dave, thank you for all your help and support so far. I look forward to the days when I can actually offer you some assistance in return.
**(Quick aside ... Since I'm fairly sure that you'll be reading this Zoe, I'm not sure whether to thank you or scream at you for introducing me to google sites. I can no longer bring myself to prepare a static hand-out for my presentations in teachers' college. All I do now is create a google site, toss the class a shortened link and present away. It takes far longer to do it this way, but I end up giving them a resource that is actually useful and won't get lost like a double-sided summary sheet. Who wants to type out all of those links anyways when one bit/ly link will give them a full list of dynamic links.)