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What I Do

By Dave Stuart Jr.

I picture this blog as a sort of big ol' teacher speakeasy. We serve uppers in the morning and sedatives at night. We come here for encouragement, equipment, refreshment, and refining. You know it's a place where the folks understand you; you're not judged when things don't go right in your room all the time because we all get it. It's also not the spot for complaining. Instead, this a place where we work on the kinds of problems that teachers have been chasing after for generations.

We're a people joyfully submitted to a project way bigger than any of us. Like I said last time, we work to bridge the gap. We all, in our classrooms and at our faculty meetings and in our interactions with colleagues and kids and community members, work to make teaching better, keeping in view what it's ultimately about. This is a big and beautiful group project that we're engaged in.

So let me introduce my role as one member of our group. In addition to teaching, my top-level goals are to produce well-researched, insightful, encouraging, and timelessly helpful 1) books and 2) professional development courses. I'm like a way less cool version of this dude in Wisconsin who uses centuries-old techniques for blacksmithing swords. I'm a craftsperson who makes things that I hope will help the cause.

Well-researched. Insightful. Encouraging. Timeless. Helpful.

There's a problem with those adjectives. Making books and courses like that takes time and care. It took me one year to write a book on a timely topic (the Common Core one), and five years to write one that aimed at those adjectives (the new one).

Courses are just as hard. During that same five year period, I had the idea for the Student Motivation Course in my head — an all-online, schedule-friendly PD format that would connect and empower educators from around the globe. Sustainable, job-embedded, high-leverage PD. The thing is, for the first few years of research on the topic, the course's practical-theoretical center — the five key beliefs — kept eluding me. It wasn't until spring 2018 that I finally ran the first cohort.

This blog is the place, then, where I post the rough draft thoughts that curve and twist and double back as I research and write and think and inquire toward the books and courses I hope I'll make. Each Tuesday and Thursday, I publish whatever's next in the queue of things I've written to help you and me process the work as it's happening.

I guess I just want to be clear that this isn't the place where I have all the answers. It's not a place about me at all. It's just a speakeasy spot where you're welcome to come and join a tribe of folks working to make teaching better. And if you'd like, I'll keep pasting these articles and posts on the wall twice a week. You're welcome to read, discuss, and take them for what they're worth.

I hope they help.

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