Why Physics? Part One

One of the beauties of the end of the year is that there is time to reflect. This year was at best a so-so year professionally. Too much of my energy was spent in an confused muddle of ideas without purpose. I doubt I would have viewed it that way 3 months ago. Instead I would have focused on the lack of control I felt over the materials, pacing, and evaluation of my classes. Nothing has changed about that; I did feel out of the creative control loop and it had the expected result on my motivation and satisfaction.

Like all changes in thought this one just seemed to crystallize out of the gestalt. However the clearest statement of the difference is found in Simon Sinek’s video on asking why?

This past year was a year of starting with what or how. What was I teaching? What was in the state and county curricula? How did others How could I present these ideas in a way that made sense and might connect? These aren’t bad questions. In fact they need to be answered. The problem was that the underlying why question for the non-magnet physics class and physical science class was basically “Because it is the course you are signed up for and I am paid to teach,” I had features I could point to as to why my class was good, met goals, and so forth but I had no inspiring vision. Note that my two magnet classes (AP physics B and C) did not suffer from this due to an underlying vision of rigor and challenge. In fact I believe that they went better this year then last because I was focused on the vision of making them as fast paced and challenging as I could.

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