Friday, June 3, 2011

Why solveforwhy?

Hi there. I'm Alex. I'll be blogging here.

Let's see...the particulars are that I'm 35, a very happily married husband and father of one and one on the way. I've been a full time teacher since 2004, teaching high school algebra, geometry, algebra 2, remediation classes, and leadership classes. After six and a half years at the same school I moved on to my current assignment, Lead Teacher and Math Teacher at ACE Charter High School. We are just a few days away from finishing our inaugural year and already my position is evolving. I'll drop 1/3 of my teaching assignment next year and pick up administrative duties. The plan is to be our full time AP in year three.

Solveforwhy was created because I was reading Chris Lehman and Dan Meyer and knew that I needed to get these thoughts and ideas out of my head and into the existing discussion. Sure solveforwhy is a play on words with math but it definitely describes how I've always been. As a college football player I found myself observing the way that the program was operated and wondering what could be done to allow it, or rather cause it, to run more efficiently and effectively. I was very interested in leadership and made a point to ask myself what I would do if I was in that position, be it head coach, teacher, principal, dad, etc. So understanding the 'why' of what was happening, of what decisions were being made, of the way people were conducting themselves, was constantly (and still is) at the forefront of my observations.

I want to be a school leader. Some places call it that. Other places call it principal. Whatever the title, I do want to be that guy. And, at least right now, I feel that I want to do it for the right reasons. I want to foster an environment that gives kids a voice. I want to lead an organization that forces neither teaching nor learning on anyone. I want to inspire and lead teachers to become the best versions of themselves, which will hopefully lead them to inspire and lead students to do the same. Outside of being a dad and a husband I'm more passionate about this than I have ever been about anything.

But I don't see it happening enough, and that's something else I want to do. Like Chris, I want to show others that it can and must be done. I want to help figure out why it's not happening everywhere and help find solutions that we can all implement. I want to be part of the struggle. It is, in my opinion, not only a worthy struggle but also an enormously challenging one. And for some reason I've always been drawn to those.

That all sounds a bit save-the-world-ish, and honestly that's not me. I'm more of a "be the change you wish to see" kind of guy. I think that blogging is going to help me do that. For as long as I can remember I've reflected and wondered and contemplated. It's been that conversation in my head, and with others, that has slowly shaped me into the educator I am today. But I'm recognizing that to take it a step further I need to put those reflections and wonders and contemplations out there for others to read, talk about, comment on, criticize, even classify as absurd. Someone other than my wife.

So with the end of the school year just around the corner and a list of about 6-7 topics I'm ready to start typing about I kick off solveforwhy. Welcome, I hope you enjoy, and I hope I can learn.