Archives for October, 2011
Do math tutors ever suffer math anxiety? I do, sometimes, when I know I'm going to have to teach a topic that lies at the outer boundary of my own expertise. So, yes, I am feeling anxious right now, because this afternoon I'm going to have to help a student with some pretty sophisticated trigonometry (including those dreaded "ferris wheel" problems). It's stuff I don't do every day...and it's hard! Here's how I'm coping:
Do you practice mindfulness? I try to live "in the moment" as much as possible, every day. There's something about focusing on the present that keeps me feeling stronger, more grounded, happier, more able to cope. Yet, a big part of being human involves being aware of the past with all its traumas, and the future with all its worries. In her memoir, The Next Fifteen Minutes, Kim Kircher presents an intriguing and useful version of mindfulness. Kim is a ski area patroller and emergency medical technician. Part of her training involved learning how to cope with crises fifteen minutes at a time, which strikes me as a perfectly practical "chunk" of mindfulness.
I am a huge fan of John and Julie Gottman, the couple who founded The Gottman Institute and have created so many effective, evidence-based interventions for couple therapy. I pre-order John Gottman's latest book, The Science of Trust, and devoured it as soon as it came out this summer. When I really admire an author, I get curious about what they read and who they admire. And Gottman is very open about naming the people who have had an impact on his own work and discussing their ideas at length. John Gottman considers the psychologist Dan Wile his mentor, so of course I wanted to read Wile, whose book, After the Honeymoon, turns out to be a treasure trove of wisdom and reassurance.