Five Photographic Lessons

Facing the end of both 2015 and our first semester of blogs, I dearly hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have (both reading and writing).

For those who know me best, I often communicate in pictures I’ve obsessively continually frequently harvested from the web. It’s the time of year for ‘Numbered Lists’, so I figured we could end on a lighter note. Without further ado, I will share my Five Photos with Tangential Lessons.


Sometimes, in our constantly changing world, life can seem rough. It can help to have a potato to hold. Keep your potato(s) close.

A kitten holding tightly to his potato.
A kitten holding tightly to his potato.


On occasion, my students whinge at me that “Math is easy for you.” I told them: “Oh no, it’s not. Most weekends, I am trying something new myself, and I promise, for me, what that means is that I’m failing most the weekend.” Over the break, I challenge you: Fail at something. I know I will.

Jake the Dog gives wise advice on progress to Finn the Human: "Dude, suckin' at something is the first step to being sorta good at something."
Jake the Dog gives wise advice on progress to Finn the Human.


Heath Ledger’s ability to master his emotion expression is a trait I’ve always admired. (I wish I had a fraction of his talent.) I really am not quite sure why that quote is attached to The Joker. Nevertheless, one of the areas I spend a lot of time failing are my first attempts to master my own thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, practice simply means watching a talented actor swan song. Do something meaningful for yourself.

Lao Tzu quote: "He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still."
My coworker mentioned to me that even this sort of mastery may come at a price.


When I taught maths for Victoria College full time, I knew my students, but I didn’t know your stories so well. I didn’t know Miros, who has impossible skills at counting and handing out flyers and bags. Watching her work at our most recent College Night taught me about expertise and excellence in all we do. I didn’t know Albert, who is working his way through VC along with his daughter. (They hope to walk the stage together.) Talking with him a couple times recently at ETC taught me something about dedication and family. Meet someone new, and learn something from them.

"900 years of time and space, and I've never met anyone who wasn't important."
I believe every story is important.


I would dearly love to see “Heaven’s Door” personally someday. In a past life, I often had the privilege to accompany our students on their first trip outside Victoria. It was always so awesome to see in them the same wonder I feel when I discover something new. It doesn’t even need to be travel. See or hear or read or sense something novel. Bask in the sublime.

Tianmen Shan (Heaven's Gate) in Hunan, China.
Tianmen Shan in the Hunan province of China, makes a spectacular sight (I’m told).


Have a good holiday, and I wish and hope much to meet you safely here again in January.



Matt Wiley is a tenured, associate professor of mathematics with awards in both mathematics education and honour student engagement. He earned an assortment of degrees in computer science, business, and pure mathematics from the University of California and Texas A&M systems. He is the director of quality enhancement at Victoria College, assisting in the development and implementation of a comprehensive assessment program to enhance institutional performance outcomes. A programmer, a published author, a mathematician, and a transformational leader, Matt has always melded his passion for writing with his joy of logical problem solving and data science. From the boardroom to the classroom, he enjoys finding dynamic ways to partner with interdisciplinary and diverse teams to make complex ideas and projects understandable and solvable.

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