A perspective on the liberal arts
If you've seen the musical Avenue Q, you might recall Brian's rhetorical query: "What do you do with a BA in English?"
My calculus review: an update!
I'm going to get better about blogging, and I'm saying that here because saying something to people is psychologically proven as a way to help you stick to your goals. (E.g., if you want to lose 10 pounds, tell your friends that you're going to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months!) Anyway—calculus is going great!
I'm re-learning calculus this summer using Khan Academy, and I've already had some great reminders of what it's like to be a learner.
If you're thinking about college essays, your potential topics might include your experiences related to COVID-19, shelter-in-place, and distance learning. While some students might be able to write about these topics successfully, you should consider two key questions before doing so.
UC's will end use of SAT/ACT
You may have heard about the UC Board of Regents' decision to end the use of the SAT and ACT in admissions over the next few years (WaPo, CNN, LAT). Here are a few quick reactions.
As you might expect, there have been a number of changes in the college testing and admissions landscape in recent days.
SAT/College Board: June testing is canceled. Unlike the ACT, there will not be a midsummer test. There will be SAT's every month from August to December, with increased capacity and priority registration for seniors who don’t yet have an SAT score. If tests cannot be done in person, there will be an online, at-home SAT. No details have been released about what that test would be like.
Do you know how long teenagers are supposed to sleep for each night?
Most of what I dislike about our education system coalesces around final exams: the emphasis on memorization of facts, the confounding of memory with actual learning, the stress and sleep deprivation nearly all students experience (both system-inflicted and self-inflicted), the lack of any post-finals reinforcement (which encourages cram-and-forget)...
What to Do at a College Fair
In my opinion, college fairs are the best way for students and families to learn about best-fit schools schools they might otherwise never have discovered. They're fantastic opportunities, but you might only have 2 or 3 hours with potentially hundreds of colleges attending. Here are my tips for getting the most out of any college fair you attend.
A New Project
Students, Families, and Colleagues,
What will this space look like in a year? I have no idea! There's no plan here, just an opportunity to share what I think about on a daily basis.
Most of what I think about each day is how I can participate in making my students' lives better while also guiding them through legitimately difficult and consequential undertakings. I want my students to thrive, even when academic demands—and usually, a long list of other demands—seem to work against them doing that.
A lot of what I write here, I think, will be about that balance. I hope, and I really believe, that you'll find some of it useful.