Blog post: It stuck.
I think this is such an appropriate final blog post for me to respond on; it’s about the advice that will stick with you as you begin your teaching career. So it got me thinking… what advice/learnings am I going to remember forever and take with me into every classroom?
- Have a sense of humor.
- Remember that it’s okay to be wrong, and help your students understand that as well.
- Be yourself.
- Teach the students, not the subject.
- Use the grade book to track progress/master of skills so that you are well-informed when assigning letter grades to your students.
- Encourage mathematical discussion.
- Break the mold of traditional teaching – give students a chance to come up with the questions, given the answer.
- Make learning personal.
- Get to know your students and understand that there are things going on in their lives that may be affecting their school life.
- Make your classroom a safe and welcoming place.
- Don’t forget to make time for yourself.
- Teach students for the society that they will be entering.
- Never stop reflecting, learning, and evolving your practice.
These are the things that jump to my mind first about what I want to do when I enter my own classroom for the first time. I know that over time and with more interaction with other teachers and other resources this list will continue to grow. I think it’s important to note that a lot of these points are very simple; I don’t want to overthink things. I think that the simplicity of these ideas will go a long way in the classroom and I am excited for what’s to come.
One other thing that has really stuck out to me over the course of my practicum is the idea of teaching students to be mathematicians instead of just to do math. I fell in love with the idea of having students identify what strategies and qualities define a mathematician and have them constantly reflect on how they are developing in those areas throughout the course of the semester. I believe that these skills (be systematic, look for patterns, start small, be persistent, stay organized, describe, seek why and prove, work backwards, etc. ) are arguably the most applicable skills that students can learn in a math class and I have realized that they have become a way of life for myself. I found that I was approaching problems in my real life in ways that I would approach a math problem and so when students ask me why they need to learn something, I will always respond with something along the lines of “while you may not use this specific content in your life, I promise that you will use the strategies you are applying to the solving of the problem to something, sometime in your life.” There’s more to math than just math. And that’s the one thing that will remain with me in every classroom I enter, forever.