Math is dead… long live Math

I’m going back to teaching this year, and everything will be different.  I’ll going from West Coast to East Coast (where I was born).  I’ll be spending most of the year apart from my wife (while she finishes research abroad).  And most relevant to this blog – I’ll only be teaching Physics and no Math.

You would think that I would be ecstatic to be rid of studying shovels.  Teaching AP Physics, we’ll be using and abusing math to do something wonderful.  I get to replace the pressure of state standardized tests of dubious validity with an AP exam.  I understand the AP exams.  I took them, I’ve studied them, and I feel that the breadth of topics in AP Physics is reasonable for a year of instruction.

And yet, I’ve grown to deeply appreciate math, and especially math instruction.  I’m still not the kind of person that has a blast dividing polynomials or finding eigenvalues.  But I have learned SO MUCH about math instruction.  Between all of the stuff from math blogs, math people on twitter and most importantly getting direct coaching in the classroom, there is a lot of depth to good math instruction.

So will I find the same thing in Physics now that I’m looking for it?  I dunno.  I’m already well familiar with Physics by Inquiry (Lillian McDermot) and I need a little more exposure to Modeling Physics.  But right now my google reader has only 4 physics teachers, compared to 35 math blogs.  As I move both feet into the physics world, I can’t help but feel the lack.


UPDATE:  Turns out I’m not teaching AP Physics after all, just general and honors physics.  It’s still amazing to not be split between subjects, but I won’t have the solid goals of the AP exams.