Thursday, August 13, 2009

And, it was good

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”
-Khalil Gibran

Yesterday was my best day of teaching ever. Granted, I haven't been teaching very long... but if I had to pick a best day, it would have to be yesterday. I finally had my class rosters (and a seating chart!!) and I was still trying to learn names. (Sidenote: I was amazed to find that I knew the names of most of my homeroom kids after only meeting them for a few minutes at orientation last week! The others are taking a bit longer.)

I had created my own bellringer activity (which I learned yesterday, at The Middle School, bellringers are supposed to be called "Target Time"); the activity was called "Math About Me." The students were supposed to use numbers that represent things in their personal lives as the input into various equations. I think they enjoyed it, and it was a great way to gauge what skill level they are entering 8th grade with. I'm actually surprised (and thrilled!) how sharp many of the students are.

In two of my classes I taught my first real math lesson--"Variables and Expressions" if you just really wanted to know. I had a handy dandy graphic organizer (aka chart) for the kids to fill out as we talked about how to translate from algebra to words, and then we did a lot of practice problems. I let the kids make mistakes, and then we discussed why those answers were incorrect, all the while guiding them towards the right answer. Textbook teaching, it was. And, I've never even read a teaching textbook!

And, in the other two classes, the students worked on a problem solving assignment with a system of equations. In my opinion, it is the best assignment in the world for a new teacher to give, for the extremely selfish reason that it totally bewilders the student when they read through it the first time. But eventually, after a couple of read-throughs (and probably more in-depth instructions from the teacher), they finally have the "Aha" moment. And, there's nothing more rewarding for a teacher than watching the lightbulb come on in her student's head. I watched students' faces brighten exponentially (have to use those mathematical words, now that I'm a teacher!), and I heard them exclaim, "Oh, I get it!" It was priceless!

Today, however, was not so noteworthy. Most of the afternoon was absorbed by a discipline talk with the assistant principal, and now I'm left scrambling to squeeze the lessons in before the quiz on Monday.


  1. Isn't it great??? There IS not much better than watching a student "get it"!!!! I'm glad you're enjoying it so much!

  2. I just discovered this quote---it certainly fits your experience!
    "Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." --Roger Lewin


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