Annual Report

Overall, 2012 was a pretty good year!

Here are some of the noteworthy things to report…

Professional:

I got a new job! City Year! I’m getting paid substantially less, but I am WAY less stressed out and I am actually making more of a difference in kids’ lives.

Also, for the first time I can ever remember, I have free time! I get home in the evening and there is nothing I have to be working on. As a student, I always had work that I should have been doing. Last year, I always had homework to grade, lesson plans to create, certification coursework to work on, etc. It is nice to have free time, now!

I am currently in the process of figuring out what to do next year–City Year is a one year program. Many options are listed here. I have posted this list previously, but I’d definitely still love to hear your thoughts. You can add things directly onto that spreadsheet or comment on this post.

Geographic:

I moved to Orlando! Orlando is pretty nice: lots of interesting thunderstorms. I do miss the snow, though.

Depending on options for next year, there is a good chance I’ll move somewhere else.

Educational:

I participated in several Coursera courses to varying extents (for most of them, I watched some subset of the videos, and didn’t do much of the coursework).

A quick list:

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Intro to Sociology
  • Health Policy and Affordable Care Act
  • Intro to Finance
  • Internet History/Technology/Security
  • Machine Learning
  • Model Thinking
  • Think Again: How to Reason and Argue

Overall, this has been an excellent experience for me. One of the things I miss most about college is having smart people discuss interesting things with me all day. The faculty and other students on Coursera provide an adequate substitute for this.

For this coming year, my goal is to be participating FULLY in at least one of these courses at any given time. That is, doing all of the work and engaging fully with other students in the forums (fora?). I’ll continue to lurk in as many additional courses as I feel like, but my goal is to currently be fully active in at least one course at all times.

One of the options for next year is grad school of some kind, so I may get some education that way, too!

Guitar:

Starting in September, I volunteered to co-facilitate an after-school guitar class for my students. Luckily, unlike me, my co-facilitators actually do have some experience playing the guitar. I bought a guitar and started teaching myself how to play.

This has been very rewarding so far, and is something I plan to continue with for the foreseeable future. I am pleased to report that a few of the students in the class have started to be better than me at guitar!

Personal:

It has been great getting to know the other City Year people! They are a great group of people. I look forward to our next few months together, and I look forward to maintaining my friendship with many of these people after our year together has ended!

I went on a few dates this year. I’ll keep working on that next year!

This blog:

This blog provides an excellent mechanism for helping me think through interesting things I want to explore in some depth. It is great to be able to flesh out some of my own thoughts and share the results.

I have been very pleased with the discussion that has started on facebook and elsewhere regarding things I have posted here. In the new year, I’m going to try to work to get more of that discussion to start happening more deeply in the comments on this website (instead of just on facebook) so that everyone who views the posts can participate in the discussion, and so the discussion stays linked with the post later on.

 

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