We are absolutely beaming about this letter! Public Voices Fellow at Northwestern University, Miriam Sherin, sent this note to her seminar leader, Michele Weldon, on noticing her, her efforts, and for introducing her to the world of op-ed thinking!
In my research life, I study teacher noticing. The idea is that experts in any domain have a certain kind of noticing that they learn to do as they become experts. My research explores how to help teachers develop their noticing skills in productive ways. One issue is that there is so much going on in a classroom at once that a teacher can’t notice everything. Instead the teacher will focus his/her attention on particular kinds of things taking place. And what the teacher notices (and doesn’t notice) has a big impact on how/what students learn. In my work with teachers we find that we can help teachers learn to pay attention to their classrooms in new ways –to notice particular things that are important, for example, their students’ thinking.
I’m finding that The Op-Ed project has done something similar to my own noticing of events in the world.
The first time it happened was when the announcement came about no-more-Twinkies. Over and over I could hear myself saying “now that’s an op-ed topic,” and every time the Twinkie story was a lede into some article or opinion, I’d think “yup, there it is again.”
It hit me harder when the nurse in the U.K. committed suicide after the Kate Middleton prank call. I was disturbed by what had happened. I knew it deserved careful thought and reflection, and I found myself processing the situation in terms of op-eds one might write. Same for Newtown–and this time I did write some, not enough to send you, but again found myself processing events and statements in terms of op-eds one. I am finding this especially with my children’s school lives. That is where the op-ed has sort of exploded in my world–situations with my kids’ school lives are now op-eds waiting to be written. I must be obvious about it because my youngest child who is 8 was complaining about the daily timed math tests he has to do for school and he yelled out “Why don’t you write about that!” Of course, I went right away and added it to my list of topics.
So thank you for opening up my world, my noticing, in this way. I’m inspired and excited!
Miriam Gamoran Sherin’s research interests include mathematics teaching and learning, teacher cognition and teacher education.