Never Stop Questioning

It’s funny how the world works.

What makes you think of a certain person? Do a certain action? Watch that movie? Get those weird feelings inside? People usually respond with God or some higher power. I don’t think that way, but I am always astounded by the way nature works. The past week has been particularly interesting,  surely I have had weeks like this before but I figured that I would write about this one.

Late at night when  I can’t sleep I tend to ponder Facebook. Just skimming through profiles or whatever, friends and non-friends; catching up on all the latest and greatest. Well, I recently visited an old friend’s profile out of random curiousity – haven’t caught up in a while. I don’t message or talk to or add as a friend again. Because honestly I don’t care; I’m only interested in them at this given time. It’s weird and creepy but whatever. Anyway, just out of the blue, two days after I looked at their profile on Facebook, they messaged me. Now, keep in mind, we haven’t talked in years. So this was really weird, but like I said, nature is pretty fascinating.

It gets better. Four and two days ago, meaning on two occasions,  my boyfriend and I were watching Mrs. Doubtfire. We love that movie. And we were commenting on it’s greatness as well as how awesome Robin Williams was. We’ve always wanted to know if he adlibbed that whole animation scene, as well if the way the wig scene was filmed was the way it was intended. Through watching the movie, laughing of course, I was reminded that I really wanted to buy Dead Poet’s Society because I also freaking love that movie – and I am just starting my teaching career. I can see it now……tearing out the pages of the math textbook.. Hahahaha I seriously love that movie. THEN ROBIN WILLIAMS DIES oh my goodness I almost started crying. I am legitimately heartbroken over his death. I don’t care for celebrities too much, but he was one of the few. He was in all my childhood movies making me laugh,  cry, think about life. I am so sad for his passing. I am also happy that he is no longer suffering. While I wish his condition could have been cured or managed, it put a lot of things into perspective. It shows that even though you, publicly, are an awesome person and have things that others dream of having,  you aren’t always happy. All those things, despite what people think, don’t make you happy – I mean they can for a while, but certainly not long term. It’s so crazy.

Life works so weirdly. Have you ever thought about why you went through certain “life events”? Or crossed paths with a certain someone? Thought about why you think or the method of your thinking and why you might think that way? Life is so cool when you start thinking and connecting all those characteristics.

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LZE

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Academic Misconceptions

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I minored in Math, but that doesn’t mean I can add. I majored in Physics, but that doesn’t mean I discovered the mysteries of the universe. You’d be surprised or not on how many people assume these things just because of what I studied in college. Yes, I can do math. I can derive, integrate, write in Mathematica code, write proofs, solve arithmetic, and things similar. I cannot always do it in my head, but yes I can do it. Just because you fire ‘WHAT’S 652 TIMES 50697?!’ at me and in three seconds you yell ‘COME ON, I THOUGHT YOU STUDIED MATH!’ because I didn’t give you an answer or pulled out my calculator does not indicate that I did not study math.

My degree is written in technicalities, but in reality I have a degree in problem solving. Math and physics teach you how to look at the world a different way. Of course there are numbers actually a crap ton of numbers but beneath those digits, there are concepts, ideas, the real world. I learned how to look at a problem and determine an adequate solution; in most cases, there are multiple solutions, it depends on what you’re looking for. That’s what I loved about the math modeling competitions I participated in; you could do whatever the hell you wanted and it wasn’t necessarily wrong. The numbers don’t matter. That is, unless you are calculating the allowed weight for a bridge you just designed for the city or the height of a building verses the fly zones of airplanes, then perhaps numbers matter. But in the sense of learning basic physics/math, the numbers are just there to throw you off. It’s how you look at the problem and tackle it. It’s your process of thinking. It’s figuring out the best way to get from Point A to Point G and avoiding Points B and E. Problem solving. Fun Fact: Did you know that students who study physics do better on the MCAT than those who studied premed? It pretty much also says any other standardized test – physics students know how to pick apart questions and well, solve problems.

 

So to put it all togetherrrrrrrr: Yes, I can do math. Yes, I can do physics. But most of all I have learned how to problem solve. Just because I have studied this does not mean I can answer all questions thrown at me. After all, it is just a bachelor’s degree. If I had my PhD in physics/math, go ahead throw everythin’ at me! I’m sure people who have studied other subjects feel the same way. For example, ‘you studied Sociology, now create world peace!’, and ‘you studied Psychology, what type of mental disorder do I have?’. It gets annoying sometimes.

Quantum physics// we create what we See

Also in regards to any subject, asking super specific questions, then being unsatisfied with a ‘I don’t know’ does not constitute saying ‘You have a degree in this and you can’t answer the question?’. Chances are you are asking a rather basic question, perhaps high school level. In these terms, the person being asked the question has been studying much more than basic level for the last (at least) four years of their lives. They don’t think on the same level any more. In some cases, the basics by name don’t matter. “What is this function and why is it named this way? How do you take the derivative of this using the limit?” “I don’t remember.” “But you studied math! You should know this!” The problem is, I do know it, but taking the derivative by use of the limit is highly annoying when you can use all the shortcuts. So you remember the shortcuts. Certainly it mattered to do the long way, or to remember the name of every function at that given time – you were being graded on it. Also you needed to know the importance of that way before getting to the shortcut. You have to learn the rules before you can break them. Didn’t we all do this with division? Those who remember doing division by hand…
So in defense of everyone who gets asked super specific questions, then shot down and begin to lose confidence, don’t worry. It just happens; people who haven’t been there don’t understand. There is always something we don’t know and there is always something we know that others don’t. That is what makes life interesting.

xo, LZE

You matter.

There’s Value in the Struggle

What do you think of this article?

Changes to the SAT

A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook asking for thoughts; so I figured I’d do the same but expand a little more on my own take. 

Thoughts: People have become too reliant on calculators. I am a fan of ‘no calculators’ because they force you think about how to solve the problem rather than just punching in numbers to a device and expecting that answer to be correct. I can see how they will not allow calculators on only part of the math section because in the parts they listed, a calculator is pointless. As for the math and vocab changes, I feel they are lowering the standards because the critical thinking skills of today’s child are moderately low. They have to accommodate for how the child thinks today. This whole SAT change thing really is just a result of the standardization movement, and now they are trying to pick up the pieces of something they’ve profited off of for so long. While I think the changes they are making are fair, I wish this didn’t happen – I wish the standardization movement didn’t happen. It put us much further back than people probably ever thought, and now we’re forced to do things like this so the kid doesn’t have to suffer more than they already have.

With the pace of society, everything is almost given to kids today. Don’t know a word? Go to the dictionary and look it up. Google it. Don’t know where this country is? Look at a map. Google it. Can’t spell? Rely on spell check – because it knows everything. Don’t want to call to order a pizza? FREAKING ORDER IT ONLINE. What the heck people? Have some person to person interaction. Everyone craves it, but no one does it.

Back to what I was trying to get at; We don’t force kids to think for themselves. We don’t hold high standards because we think they can’t think. Just like men thought that women were “too weak to handle the public sphere” we feel “kids can’t handle critical thinking”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tutored students and they just want me to give them the answer. Excuse me, no. I’ve already done this. As much as I love working with children and helping them learn, by no means will I ever give them the answer. They can think; they can do it. There’s value in the struggle.

There’s value in the struggle. A common phrase around the physics’ floor by a well known professor. I believe in this statement. While you cannot gain anything from simply doing everything the easy way, I see more in this statement. I see that you need to find your own way out to succeed. I see that you need to struggle first before you overcome any obstacle. If you aren’t struggling, you aren’t thinking hard enough or in the correct manner. While I use the term “struggle” loosely, I mean more of a challenge. You can almost always get yourself out of any situation by thinking. There’s value in the struggle – don’t give up. As long as you think you can do it, you can do it. You can’t do anything if you say you can’t.

Challenge. As a teacher, if you don’t challenge your students, what are you doing? Surely you are helping them learn…By challenging them you are preparing them to face the rest of the world because one day whether you like it or not they are going to be pushed from the nest forced to fly. They have to be prepared to take any shit that’s given. Be prepared to create new ways to do things. Be prepared to pick up the pieces. Be prepared to provide innovative technologies to a very technological world. Be prepared to solve the hardest problems the human race has to face. Be prepared to battle fights they may not even choose to be fighting. Be prepared to face social stigmas. Be prepared to battle their own beliefs. A lot rely on teachers. That’s why we are all teachers. Regardless if you are in the education field or not, we teach people every day how we be us. How we choose to live our lives. How we choose to stand up for our beliefs, where our passions lie, how we think. The choices we make affect not only us, but others. They see what we decided to do or what not to do. While they agree or not, it affected them – even if it was as little as “oh, he just competed in a dance competition. That’s nice. I hope he enjoyed it.” Social media does wonders.

I could go on and on about these subjects. Even though I veered a little off topic, challenge your kids.

Teachers, parents, peers; challenge them & never think they can’t ever achieve the status you have or excel past it. 

xo, LZE

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