A Recommendation

I am reading a book called Secrets of Mental Math by Arthur Benjamin and Michael Shermer. It is a really excellent book. I never really considered myself a math person, but this book makes it so easy. Why didn’t they teach us this stuff in school? If you are a teacher or a parent, I highly recommend it. In fact, I highly recommend it for everyone.

Good Teachers

I was just thinking today that the most influential teachers in my life might not even have been considered “good teachers” by the standards  many are judged by. Think about it. If you are a long time out of school, do you really remember so much about their subjects or even often their teaching methods. You remember the good and the bad. And many people I know, even well into their 50s and 60s still have the ability to get worked up over remembered injustices of their childhood. People remember if you are nice, and people remember is you are unfair.

In my teacher training, I remember a quote that our teacher shared with us. I don’t remember who originally said it. But it basically stated: They may not remember what you say. They may not even remember what you do. But they will remember how you made them feel.

Now that’s a lasting impact. It matters how you treat people. It is the values that you live by.

The focus is often so much on academics. Our students need to know they are loved. They need to know they are valued. Yes, they need quality teaching, but your methods won’t matter if you can’t connect with your students. And even the worst of methods can be effective with a passionate and caring teacher. The teacher matters more than the methods.

Believe in your students. Believe they can thrive. And love them. Because when they know that you care, they will strive and often amaze you. But fear and threats and punishments will only breed resistance.

I hear of too many people who talk like students have to be forced to learn, like they are in battle with their students. Teach the way you would like to be taught. If you are bored, your students will be bored. If you bring your enthusiasm and love for the subject, your students will respond, and if you can’t do that, then why are you teaching?

Mommy Fitness

I often hear mothers of babies worrying about losing the baby weight. I find it a little puzzling now that I know how many calories mothering my baby actually uses. They told me at the hospital that I needed to eat 500 extra calories while breastfeeding. I’m not sure I really did that, but I also realized recently that I must be getting a lot of exercise walking around with a 17 pound baby for so much of my day. I decided to look it up, and it is probably something like 230 calories per hour. How many hours do I spend doing that? I’m not even sure.

I see other new mothers worrying about when to do their exercise videos. That’s great if that’s how they relax, but the baby is actually pretty good exercise. I didn’t diet or do any special exercise, and I didn’t have trouble getting to my pre-baby weight. I suppose people are going to tell me I’m just lucky. I do know I see a lot of people who never seem to lose that baby weight and just add a little more with every child. I guess everyone is different.

Chocolate Protein Shake

2 Tbsp. cocoa powder

2-3 Tbsp. peanut butter

pureed peach ( you can use a jar of baby food. Can you tell I have a baby?)

Greek Yogurt (I used 2%)

A little milk if you want it.

I just mixed everything up to the desired thickness. It was nice and thick, like a shake should be, very satisfying. You can’t really taste the peach. That was just for a sweetener. You could use banana too, but I didn’t have banana, and banana always tastes like banana. I tastes like a nice chocolate peanut butter shake.

A Random Miscellaneous Post

So my followers, if you read my first post, you will know why I don’t consider myself a very good blogger. So I haven’t written in a long time. Be fair here, the circumstances of my life have changed. I have a baby that takes up a lot of my time, a husband who spends most of his free time online (we only have the one computer, and I basically get a chance to use it after Baby is to bed most days). They say you shouldn’t use the computer that close to bedtime, but when else will I get the chance? Anyway, back to the point (was there a point?), when Baby was little I could hold her while she slept on one arm and type one-handed, but that doesn’t work anymore, and she doesn’t sleep as much anyway.

I’ve been reading the book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Age. I feel fairly inspired by it. I really already feel perfectly healthy (but let’s stay that way). I renewed my interest in drastically reducing/eliminating white sugar and corn syrup from my diet. So far that’s going pretty good.

I’ve been working on my Bengali, studying every day and trying to use it with Baby. I have a lot of books out of the library about math (Calculus Made Easy and  Secrets of Mental Math). I’ve barely cracked either of them yet (just too busy), but I loved what I’ve seen so far of Secrets of Mental Math. I just think that sort of thing is really cool. I never considered myself a math person, but when someone can show you how to easily multiple any two or three digit number by 11 (that was the first trick in the book) that’s pretty cool. My mom made fun of me for Calculus Made Easy. Why did I check that book out? I never took calculus in high school. I don’t have a clue what it even is. I hope the book really does make it easy because my mom (who took art history instead of calculus) says calculus is not easy.

Garden is going great, although I wish I was getting more zucchini and cucumbers, and my neighbor was right that the tomatoes you get at Lowe’s don’t taste very good. And why are my cucumbers always spiky?

The Fragility of Life

A neighbor told me recently that a bear’s been seen in the area, a warning for me since I go walking with the baby. I’m not particularly afraid we are going to be attacked by a bear. I did have the strange (and inshallah unlikely) image of a bear bursting into my living room to steal the baby. You do hear of bears attacking small children and dogs like that now and then. Of course I would defend her like…well, a mama bear, but it does occur to you that with a bear attack maybe it would only take one bite. I don’t realistically think my baby is in much danger of being attacked by a bear, but the point is really is that I can’t protect her from everything, no matter how much I might want to.

And it’s not just a tiny little baby,whose life is so fragile. It’s all of us…

Makes you think.

I was speaking to a neighbor yesterday about the statistics of dying in a plane crash or a car crash. Of course you are statistically more likely to die in a car crash, but if your plane does happen to crash… well I don’t like your chances. I’m not particularly afraid of flying either. I think it’s the sort of thing you could be if you let yourself think about it too much, and that’s because of course we are all afraid of death.

I believe that Allah has written the time and manner of our death, that there is no setting it back, or bringing it forward. But am I ready for death? Of course not. How could I truly be? Haven’t I done things I shouldn’t have, neglected things I should have? Have I put to the best use what Allah has given me?

And that little baby? She’s my hopes for a righteous Muslim child. I would protect any way possible, but since in reality I cannot, I leave her to Allah. Allah is the one she needs.