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.