Sunday, March 29, 2015

There are two types of people in this world, those who are amazed and those who are amazing

In my last couple posts, I've talked about being unmotivated to do a lot and had a hard time moving forward in things I wanted to do. I sat down with one of my best friends and he made it clear to me as what I need to do in order to accomplish this things I feel are important in my life. I handed out an award to a student the other night for doing the right things in life. Although his parents weren't able to attend the award ceremony, his parents came to conference night and I told them exactly how I felt about their son and spent most of the conference praising them. About half way through the conference, his mother blurts out... "[he] is an inspiration to me. He gets up goes to church every Sunday, and motivates me to keep working hard in my life."

Not only do I think very highly of this student but I figured out what makes him so great. He has found that internal motivation and drive to make himself better on a daily basis and is now spreading that to try and motivate/inspire others around him. We share a very special bond of listening to motivational speeches with one phrase that sticks out more than any other... "when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful." All this student wants to do is breathe.

I'm trying to get to this point in my life on a daily basis. I have found what I'm passionate about and know that having that motivation will come more frequently. Many people love their comfort zone too much, they love their security zone. In order to be a better person, brother/sister, mom/dad, teacher/student, firefighter, etc. we can stay where we are or fight to breathe in order to be successful. The motivation that I wake up to everyday is this... there are two types of people in this world, those who are amazed and those who are amazing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The best conversations are written down on napkins

Tonight I had the opportunity to expand my thoughts on what I think the true meaning of life is. I was able to sit down with 4 of the most important things any true man needs in order to achieve such a thought in a young,single man's life.    1. A random pen found under his car seat. 2. A giant napkin that was once used for holding his silverware. 3. A best friend (obvious one) 4. Chicken Fajita Quesidilla. 

After hearing about a man's life long ambitions and goals, I was able to spill my guts to him on what I truly want my life to be. He gave me several things to think about, several ideas, but most important someone everyone wants: an ear to listen. I listed off so many random thoughts and ideas, but was able to put them in a list, draw arrows like John Madden, and still make sense of it all. I able to see what it that I, Mr. Paul Franzowiak, want MY life to become. Although some things aren't possible right now and I will need time to figure out how to accomplish them, but I have some direction of where I want to go. It's my life and I need to get out of my comfort zone in order to grow. 

After 2 hours of finding the meaning of life... or my idea of it, I was able to come up with this thought: in my last blog post I talked about being stuck in the mud and am not sure where to go in life on somethings. I am still stuck on a few things, but there has become some clarity. I realize that there are some things in my life that I need to change, opinions that I shouldn't take to heart, and people in my life that I just need to cut out because they are just holding me down. I may never discover the true meaning on life, but until then, here's what I've come up with. The true meaning in life is to have as many meaningful conversations that change the way you view the world and realize what it is you truly want your life to become.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mud and I have something in Common

I love knowing the fact that after school when I walk outside, the sun will be shining. I can go for a walk, run, or even just enjoy the weather. This makes the days go by just a little bit better and inspires me to do more and better work. However, over the last couple of months, I seem to be stuck. I know that there are so many new ideas and techniques out there, but just find myself wanting to do other things. I try and work as hard as possible while I'm at school to get my work done, things planned for the next day, and then talk with co-workers about things going on in school. 

When it's time to pack up and leave, I normally find myself going to the gym to get a workout in and then come home and do the same thing night after night after night. Other colleagues tell me about all of the things they do at home and plan new and different activities. I just can't find myself wanting to do things. I'm not sure if this is part of my personality, I enjoy being home and doing things other than work, or am just simply want to relax. 

There is work that should be getting done and I know I should be utilizing my time better, but I just don't know how to get myself unstuck from this rut that I'm in. Hopefully more sunshine and nice weather brings about more inspiring work for me to challenge students with. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Do Work.

I have been inspired to write again tonight by some of the students that attend Menomonee Falls High School. Due to privacy reasons, I will not say their names or what hour they are in, but leave it to the open mind on which these students may be.

The conversations that I have had with students over the past several years have been memorable. There are a few students who have turned me onto motivational speaking to inspire them and myself when we need a little boost. One of the most memorable things I took away from one of these is now something that I live by. One line of a speech inspired me to live my life this way… “when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” This is definitely very powerful words, but there are a few students in my math classes that I see this effort come from them every day. When I see these students working hard, it reminds me that there are so many students who want to breathe, not only in math, but life outside of MFHS. When I see this drive and the determination, it motivates me to do more and to become a better teacher. When I am able to grade a test from one of those students who are giving maximum effort that makes all of my time and effort worth it. If I could find something to motivate all students everyday (other than using candy) I would feel more accomplished that giving all of my students A’s.

These students have (or are on the verge) of finding something within them that will motivate them to be successful in life. These students want to breathe I can only hope they can’t catch their breath later on in life.

I try my best to live by this motto in my life. Sometimes it doesn't always show and we all get tired, but whether it’s working at the high school or working at the fire house, I try to find a reason to get up everyday and go get what it will take to be successful. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014


The past few weeks have been quite the emotional roller coaster. From considering to not buy a house, to making the decision to fully submerge myself into a career that truly inspires me…ACT style. I should be so grateful to have the opportunities this early in my life to be making such big decisions. Working with Ulrich everyday has inspired me to think differently and try to understand what students are going through everyday. One thing he has turned me to is listening to podcasts, specifically ones that change the way we think about life. Here are a few things that I’ve taken away from several of the podcasts that I’ve listen to..

1.       So often in life we are given an opportunity and forget to realize that every moment is a given moment and a new gift. There are so many moments in life that we don’t take full advantage of. I look back and wish that I would have taken advantage to everything that has been offered to me so far in life. I have passed up so many things that I feel as though I haven’t really lived up to the full potential. I believe that we don’t seize the moment because we are afraid of change. Everyone struggles with change, but yet, we come out growing and learning more than ever before.

2.       Ulrich has inspired me to firmly believe that everyone loves to learn. Although it does take some people a long time to truly find what it is they love to learn about, one thing we don’t learn about enough is ourselves. We don’t take enough time to stop and actually take advantage of those given moments. We try and fly through life without slowing down to enjoy the little things in life. We don’t take the time to fully grasp the ideas and bigger pictures of what life is truly about.

3.       I heard podcast about making mistakes and understand what it means to be vulnerable in life. It talked about how we have these ideas of what it means, but try to hide this characteristic. We, as a society, don’t allow other people to see those true, genuine moments of into our lives (eventually we do). I truly, truly believe that since we hide this, we don’t take advantage of those moments that have been given to us in life. We don’t take the risk necessary to grow as people. We build up our walls and don’t want them to be torn down, in fear of someone causing our world to collapse. We NEED to take those risks and opportunities to seize those given moments that have been given to us.

     These are only a few thoughts that I have taken away from over the weekend. I know these are not new ideas or concepts, but need to remind myself that stopping and seeing the bigger picture in life is what I need to do.

     Find a reason everyday to wake up and go get it. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Outside your Element

I had a few students stop in after school this week to talk with me about things that are going on in class. There were three students that stopped in and only one of them was my student. We sat and talked about all of the things that are happening in and out of my class. I thought that this was a very unique experience and appreciate those students stopping in. Even though I didn't get any of the work done that I wanted to, I don't really mind that. It's always interesting to see students outside of being a student and me, the teacher, being outside of my element as the teacher. The students gave me some feedback on how class is going and where it can be improved. They also told me about how other classes are going and some interesting things that other teachers do, such as a motivational day or how things are done. I have been able to have these opportunities with several other students before, but knowing students in other classes was differently out of my element.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Ulrich

After working at MFHS for the past semester, I've had a little bit of time lately to think about the last semester and reflect upon the things. One of the main things I've realized here is how valuable it is to reflect on how things have gone and how they are going. I've learned from several co-workers that if something isn't effectively working, I need to try out new things. Over the past several months, I've tried out a ton of different things and have some things that I did/didn't like. I'm going to keep changing things up until I find out things that I do like and things that DO work to help students.

I know that there are a lot of teachers in the building that have the students help them do their PDSA charts, figures, graphs, etc. along with doing a plus-delta. The teachers see the value in this process, but I'm not sure if the students do. Mr. Ulrich is trying out something new to help the students reflect upon how well they studied and prepared for a unit test. I'm very interested to see how this process works and if the students really take it to heart or not. I know that Mr. Ulrich will share his results with me, so I'm curious to how this process will work.

I haven't just been reflecting upon math class and the teaching of math. I've been able to reflect upon my life and the experiences that I've gone through to help me to where I am today. The last year and a half haven't been the greatest times of my life, but I'm very grateful for what it's taught me about life. Here are a few things I've come up with:

1. Listen to those people who are older than you and trust in the advice that they give you. They have been through a lot of life experiences and know what their talking about.
2. You control your own happiness. Don't let anyone else in this world tell you differently. Y
3. Be patient.
4. Communicate your ideas with people. They will listen and try to understand you better.
5. Help mom and dad out around the house. They do a lot for you and helping them out WON'T kill you.
6. Enjoy life.
7. Eat your vegetables.
8. Do your homework. You learn best from doing this by YOURSELF.
9. Don't settle for anything less than what you think you deserve in life.
10. Follow me on twitter: @mathwithfranzo
11. Tell those people who you truly love in this world, that you do. We don't say it enough.
12. Take spontaneous trips.
13. Not everyone shares the same view points, but listen to what they say.
14. Listen to understand, not to respond.
15. Try new things.

Those are just some of the things that I've thought about over the past month. I hope to continue this growth mindset and keep my mind open to all of the changes that are happening around me, just like my co-worker, Mr. Ulrich.