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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Frerich


I started this blog initially to be a teaching blog. I never really accounted for the fact that I'm not really prime social following material, nor could I ever manage to keep up with all the crap being a teacher puts on your plate in addition to the regular upkeep a blog requires. I have this really bad habit of not being fully realistic with myself about who I am and the real extent of certain of my shortcomings. I tend to want to do a lot of things, even if they're not really in line with the truth of my life or current situation. This blog was really no different. I wanted to do a lot of things with it. I wanted it to become a lot of things. But there really was no way that as a teacher I would have the ability to give it what it needed while still being as engrossed in teaching as I get every year.

So, that being said, while it was initially intended to be a blog about teaching, I don't really think that's whats going to happen. I have changed a lot since I first created the "Math and Mayhem" brand, especially in this hell of a year. I'm learning to be more honest and real with myself. It's funny, because I used to think of myself as a very real person, and in all honesty, I might have been real, as the person I was in those moments. That probably was very real to me. But I'm coming to learn that I still hid behind a lot of subconscious things that didn't keep me quite as authentic as I thought. The people pleaser in me caused me to conform to a lot of ideas about what I was supposed to be to different people at different times. While I'm well aware that I'm a social chameleon, I honestly can say that I felt that I was being authentic. Maybe showing different people different parts of myself, but all of them were representative of the real me. Now, however, I can tell that I'm learning a lot more about myself, and how to admit my limitations and allowing those limitations to shape various aspects of my life.

I'm no longer the kind of person that feels the need to pursuing things that are so obviously never going to work or serve purposes that I want fulfilled in my life. It's this change, falling on the heels of my parents' accident (a story for another time), that led me to leave teaching in the first place. I think my realization and deeper understanding of the briefness of life enabled me to see the futility of my struggles with the education system. I came to understand that while I have a deep passion for learning and guiding others to take on that love of learning, I can't change everything. I learned that some struggles will always be struggles, and that hit me hard as a person so fixed on "be the change you want to see in the world." The deeper I dived into education, and the longer I remained in the field, the more I began to understand that change in a system this broken just isn't coming. At least, not in a foreseeable future, and most certainly not in time for my health and wellbeing. I realized that I was a slave to a broken system that I didn't believe in; I was an enabler. And, honestly, I just couldn't take that anymore. I used to feed myself a lot of excuses about pushing for change and being a part of the solution, but the truth is, no one is looking for a solution. There are so many people pointing out the issues, but there doesn't seem to be any direct path to real change. Hell, we can't even see eye-to-eye on most issues. How can we ever change a system that broken?

There are lot of awesome changes possible on the horizon in education. This last year as a teacher, I learned so many things that aligned with my true belief about teaching, and I saw for the first time what I really wanted my classroom to be like. It was HARD work setting up the system, but I've never felt so in line with my true philosophy on teaching and learning. But over and over again, I saw an engrained system of grades over learning, and bare-minimums "learning," and rote-memorization and regurgitation take over and destroy everything that was decent and holy about that learning environment. Kids seemed so puzzled by being asked to think, and talk, and be active participants in the math and deep thinking. We, as a society, have pushed education passed the point of its true intended purpose and distorted it into this monster that it was never meant to be. In the past 5 years, I've seen it slowly, over time, squishing up to the surface as some silly thing or other. COVID showed it best when schools shut down and the country didn't seem to know what to do with its kids. We had for so long depended on schools to do far more than their fair share in raising the nation's youth: we've been counselors, and social workers, and far more in so many ways that the mere educators we've been poorly paid to be. But in this last year, it's truly hit me what we've systemically done over the course of generations. We've taken critical thinking out of our population, but far worse to me is that we've taken the desire for thought out of our population, and we've done it all on purpose.

It's things like this that have broken education for me. I found that I could no longer serve systems that I didn't believe in. And I know that I don't have all the answers. I sometimes wish that we would have at least more answers than we do. And there are so many things that I could say, but I just don't have it in me for this post tonight. But in the meantime, I say this to note that I just realized that I couldn't give anymore of myself to a system designed to break me down and abuse me anymore.

So, while this blog was initially intended to be a teacher blog, you'll now find that it isn't. The truth is that all life is Math and Mayhem, so I look forward to continuing this purpose in a new, considerably more authentic way: as a journal. Instead of trying to fit myself into some stupid little box for the purpose of followers or prestige or any other such nonsense, I'm learning to conform my world to the realism and truth that I see around me. I'm learning to be more true to myself and my experience, and I'm learning not to be ashamed of it or to hide it, or to portray myself as anything more or less than my most real self, my most authentic person. While this may be considerably more interesting, or considerably more droll, has yet to be seen. I'm hoping this will at least allow me to be more consistent. I don't feel like I have to stage something, or have anything of any real value to say. This blog is simply for documenting anything I need to put out into the world, or to fill with my own ramblings. In fact, I'm honestly not sure if anyone will ever really read this. I know I won't lol

In the end, I think I'm excited about turning over and exploring this new leaf. I'm interested to see where this new chapter takes me. I hope to continue on a path of growth, and to gain some good wisdom, insight, perspective, and self-awareness. And on that note, I leave you with this meditation for the evening:

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional."

~John C. Maxwell

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." ~John C. Maxwell

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