I have to be honest that I have often felt like an inadequate teacher even though I’m a pretty confident guy, have always been growth-focused, and am open to new ideas & accept them if they make sense. I think that possibly the feelings of inadequacy stem from the fact that there is so much I know that I could or should be doing but can’t. I’m a complete idealist, though I’ve learned to continually strive towards my ideals rather than attempt to jump straight into what I envision the end product to be. I’ve learned the hard way a few times that you’ve got to learn to walk before you can run the race, and even then you’re always going to be longing for a faster time. Various experiences I’ve had in my career so far have taught me a lot but it is incredibly difficult for a guy like me to sift through all of that and decide what to take and use, how things fit in with my personal views or experiences, and especially in what order to implement them. With all that I see other teachers doing (especially you famous teachers out there) I can get pretty overwhelmed with the prospect of things and wonder if I’ll ever even be able to become the teacher I want to become.
I felt like this much more prior to to attending PCMI and becoming involved in the MTBoS. Networking with other teachers in these places has introduced me to a comforting reality: other teachers’ experiences are really similar to mine. They definitely aren’t exactly the same, and some teachers are blessed with more time for things I wish I could do, but it seems like as we all strive for the same big goal of bringing real mathematics education to our communities our experiences end up quite similar.
So I end this post in saying thanks to all of you other math teachers who inspire me every day and remind me that as long as I am always aiming to grow and develop a love for true mathematics in my students, all will be okay.