It’s been a little over a month since my self-imposed hiatus from Casting Out Nines. During that time, I’ve had a lot of chances to reflect about the purpose of this blog — and of blogging in general, and how blogging should fit into my personal and professional life. Some of those issues are — and probably will remain — unresolved. But I realized after taking some time off that blogging is something I really enjoy and which helps flesh out my thoughts in a way that I really need, and so I don’t want to abandon CO9s entirely.
At the same time, I want to blog about math, teaching, education, and technology in a way that does good and not harm, especially harm in the form of belittling or even insulting students or anybody else. I don’t mind telling the truth about things, and sometimes people will get offended in the process of doing so. That’s to be expected, and I have no intentions of sterilizing my posts so that nobody could possibly be offended. But there is offense taken because the truth has been told in a clear way, and there is offense taken because the writer was not attempting to tell the truth at all but simply trying bring another person down. I think an increasing number of my posts were in that latter category leading up to the break. This was not only wrong according to my teaching philosophy and religious beliefs; it was also not what this blog was supposed to be about in the first place. If you want blogs that rip students, there are plenty of them out there. I don’t want this to be one of them.
I think I am zeroing in on a framework/philosophy/mission for this blog that does all this, and before too long you may expect regular postings on this blog like before, only (hopefully) better. Here are some things you can expect once we’re up and running again:
- Increased focus on issues in mathematics, technology, education in general, higher education in particular, and mathematics teaching also in particular.
- Also some special focus on Getting Things Done and workflow/time management in academia. I’m re-starting my GTD next Monday using some interesting tech tools and hoping for better results than the first time. We just completed our three-week blitz of reading tenure portfolios on the P&T Committee, and the whole issue of workflow and time management and how it factors in to professional performance, and student performance, really stood out to me. There’s almost enough material there for a whole ‘nother blog.
- Less focus on my job and my students. There will be exceptions which I will spell out later.
- Probably a different theme, since, you know, I can’t make up my mind on stuff like that. I’ve been wanting to change the theme for a while but hadn’t had a good excuse.
- Some cross-posting with other pretty exciting web projects I am kicking off this semester. Again, more on that later.
- Yes, I’ll keep putting up the Friday Random 10 and other personal stuff.
Finally, speaking of personal stuff, this is why I keep saying that all this will be “coming soon”.
- The trip to China to adopt our second daughter starts this coming Wednesday. As it turns out, my wife and her mother will be going to China, and I will be staying at home to hold down the fort and take care of the Doodlebug. So I predict much time taken up during the next three weeks, and of course afterwards once we don’t get to sleep any more Peanut is home.
- Because of the P&T blitz, I only have seven working days to prep my three courses for the spring. Blogging takes a back seat there.
By the way, I won’t be doing much China-blogging here since the Mrs. and I prefer to keep family stuff semi-private. However, we do have a family blog that we started a couple of months ago where we go into all the gory details of life at our place. If you want to access it, shoot me an email at castingout9s [at] gmail [dot] com and I will send you the URL, username, and password. (We don’t mind people visiting as long as we sort of know who they are; we do mind random creeps from the internet being able to look at our pictures.)
Thanks for putting me in your RSS aggregator bearing with me during this break. I hope to have you back along for the ride.