Please include information about:
- you and your family
- things you like to do (sports, hobbies, volunteer work, etc.)
- things that are important to you
- you as a student, and particularly as a math student
- What are your strengths as a student?
- What are some challenges for you at school?
- What’s your experience in math class been like?
- How can I help you be successful in my class?
- anything else you’d like to share that doesn’t quite fit into the categories above, but that you think would help me get to know you.
About Karl FischHi. I’m Karl Fisch and I’m a learner. I’m also a teacher, but I think that goes hand in hand with being a learner these days. I’m forty-nine years old, married to Jill (who teaches first grade in Douglas County), and have a thirteen-year old daughter named Abby (who will be in eighth grade this year). My wife and I adopted Abby when she was eight-and-a-half months old. The latest addition to our family is Annie, who we adopted three years ago from Retriever Rescue of Colorado. Annie is a golden retriever and is estimated to be about seven years old.
I was born in Michigan and moved to Kentucky when I was nine, and that’s where I grew up and went to high school. Both my parents were teachers, with my Mom being an elementary school librarian and my Dad teaching math at the college level. I was a successful student from kindergarten right up through high school and, probably not surprisingly, I was very successful in math classes as well. I graduated near the top of my class, but a funny thing happened when I went to college. I ended up going to two undergraduate universities (that story would make this too long, but ask me sometime if you’re interested) and what I discovered at both universities is that even though I was really good at school, particularly in the area of math, I really didn’t understand things as well as I thought I did.
It turns out that what I was good at was “doing school.” I had mastered all the things that help you be successful as a student in high school, and I was able to take what the teacher told me and give it back to them on the test. But what I wasn’t so good at was really understanding what I was doing, knowing the “why” of how math worked and understanding it at a level that was useful outside of school. Now, don’t get me wrong, all those things that made me be a successful student in high school are important, and certainly helped me do well in college, but I had to work much harder than I would’ve anticipated to truly understand the mathematics (and other subjects) that I had thought I was such a hotshot in. So one of my goals for you in my class is that you not only get good at “doing Algebra,” but that you also get a much better understanding of why Algebra works the way it does. Because that skill will serve you very, very well no matter what course - or career - you find yourself in in the future.
I graduated with a degree in mathematics education, got married, and moved with my wife out to Colorado because I fell in love with this area when my family vacationed here when I was in high school. (Well, and because I was sick of the humidity in Kentucky.) I substitute taught for a year in Loveland and Fort Collins, worked as a bookkeeper for a mutual fund company for a year in Denver, then got my first teaching job teaching middle school mathematics in Cherry Creek Schools. After three years there I got hired to teach math at AHS in the fall of 1991, which makes this my twenty-second year at AHS.
I taught a variety of classes at AHS, including a class that no longer exists called Basic Math, Algebra, Algebra II, and Honors Trig and Pre-Calculus. In the mid-1990’s we started getting a huge influx of computers into schools and AHS needed someone to help folks with the student information system (now Infinite Campus) as well as with the equipment itself. The AHS administration discovered I knew a little bit about computers so they asked me to help out with that, and I slowly transitioned from being a full-time math teacher to a part-time math teacher, part-time technology guy, and eventually to a full-time technology guy, which is what I’ve done for the last twelve years or so. Beginning three years ago I'm still the (almost) full-time technology guy, but I also be teaching one section of Algebra due to the budget cuts. I’m really enjoying being back in the classroom and am excited to get our year started.
Outside of school, I’m a learner. I know that’s how I started this piece, and I know for some folks that may not sound like “outside” of school, but that’s the best way I know to describe myself. I enjoy being outside, hiking and biking (nothing too strenuous, though), and helping my daughter with softball and basketball. I also love to read and enjoy taking pictures. But I also spend quite a lot of my time “outside” of school learning more about technology and learning, and how the amazing technological changes in our world are impacting how we teach and learn. It’s never been a better time to be a learner, and I hope to share some of my learning with you throughout this year (even when it’s not about Algebra).
Welcome to our class.