“You’re aware of what my job is, right Sam?”

You mean your job isn’t just to ask me inane questions that should really just be targeted at yourself?

“Well someone’s in a mood today.”

Sorry. When you’re frustrated, I get frustrated. The problem with talking to the voice in your head is that it tends to reflect your bad mood back at you.

“I guess you have a point.”

Regardless, you came to me for a reason. Let’s get to it. In answer to your question: Yes. I am aware that you are a high school math teacher.

“Well, my sister is an art major in college. I never really thought about it until I was talking to her today, but I realized that I had no idea how her classes worked. Was there a lecture? A demonstration? Did they just sit and stare at each other for hours on end?”

And did you ask her?

“I did.”

And?

“And she told me that they are assigned a project. Then, they attempt to work on that project with their teacher checking in on them and critiquing their work.”

So how do they learn anything?

“Essentially, through experimentation. They learn art by doing art.”

You’re saying that rather than learning superior methods by someone simply telling them, they learn through discovery. They learn through trial and error.

“Exactly!”

So let me guess: being the selfish person that you are, you started thinking about . . . yourself!

“Seriously with the snark today?”

Sorry. You’re just in a foul mood. It’s too bad you can’t imagine me in a better mood.

“Whatever. You were saying?”

You started thinking about your sister’s classes, how they learn through experimentation and you started thinking about the classes you teach. What if they ran under a similar philosophy?

“Exactly! What if instead of trying to teach math, we let kids do math? What if math was taught not through lecture and assignments, but through experimentation and discovery?”

What if?

“Well I don’t rightly know. I’ve never seen a math class taught that way. Maybe no one has. Theoretically, you could present students with a problem, then let them figure out how to solve it. They could do research on how similar problems have been solved in the past and attempt similar techniques until they have discovered the methods for themselves.”

So do it.

“I don’t see how. With having to follow the TEKS, there’s no way I have enough time to work out an entirely new method of teaching mathematics on top of keeping up with my current work. The earliest I can see having a chance to work on something like that would be this summer.”

Well then, this summer . . .

“This summer, I suppose.”

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