Sunday, October 19, 2008

FCTM: 10 Lessons Learned from the Olympics

We had the opportunity to hear one of the "feature speakers," Cathy Seeley. She is a 35 year math educator and change facilitator at the local, state, and national levels. She has been a math teacher, district math coordinator, and state math director for Texas Education Agency. She has been part of the Peace Corps, and is a past president of the NCTM. We were all very excited to hear her and left feeling energized and excited! 

  1. Some people can accomplish amazing things. (Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt)  Talented students need a chance to fly.
  2. Sometimes a new star is lurking behind the others. (Kerri Strug, Jason Lezak) We need to expand our reach and know who needs to be developed.
  3. It is easy to miss great things when all you are focused on is results. (Guo Jingjing) We need to look and listen carefully to what students are doing.
  4. Persistence and perseverance pay off. (Dan O’Brien) We may be teaching students not to persevere (TIMMS Study) We don’t give students as much time to conceptionally develop strategies. “Constructive struggling” is good. We should expect students to think and work hard.
  5. The right tools make a difference. (Michael Johnson) Write down something you are not good at and work to get better. We have to get past our fear of knowing that students should have xyz memorized before they get to us. We hold kids back trying to fill gaps. Sometimes when you move ahead, they will fill in the gaps themselves by using tools. Tools exist to get us to higher levels.
  6. Sometimes success comes from where you least expect it. (Jefferson Perez) Raising expectations for every student does not mean to do the same stuff only harder or earlier. It does mean challenging our own habits or beliefs. It does mean setting standards high, believing students can reach them, and doing whatever it takes to help them get there.
  7. We may not ever know what students are dealing with in their life outside of school. (Oksana Chusovitina) Our students are often preoccupied.
  8. Sometimes we mess up. (US Mens Gymnastic team) The tyranny of testing the students may never show us what they know best on every test. Testing can be made more important than student learning. We have to use appropriate ongoing assessment to inform our teaching.
  9. We can always improve – our capacity to learn is unlimited. We can do better than we have ever done before. Do we know who is in our classroom? Differences/challenges/struggles. Do we know or can we learn what it will take to help each student.
  10. We have to pass the torch. Influence them to be the best they can be.

1 comment:

Ashley Russell said...

Great Post! Ms. Seeley was a wonderful speaker. I really like how she related examples of athletes from the Olympics to education. We can all learn something from this post. Thanks for sharing Melissa.
:) Ashley Russell