To stay mindful of…

When I plan my unit for this semester, I want to ensure that I make the most out of my experience as a teacher. I want my students to learn a lot from me, but I also want to learn a lot about myself and how I want to construct my future classrooms.

1. Environment–I want to create an environment that encourages engagement. I want this engagement to be meaningful and productive and to be more in-depth than sheer listening. I want my students to be active learners and be involved in creating their own learning. The environment in the classroom needs to not only support this engagement, but encourage and require it.

2. Conceptual–I want to use my knowledge of mathematics and education to create a broad, conceptual framework in my students. I want them to have more than just a knowledge consisting of memorization and factual understanding. Students should be able to develop their understanding of mathematics in a meaningful way.

3. Metacognition–I want to encourage self-monitoring of understanding among my students. The first step in this is to ensure that students know the importance of learning and education. Then, I want to make sure that they monitor their learning, make changes when necessary, and keep up on personal goals.

4. Mistakes–I want to utilize mistakes and misconceptions to develop understanding in my students. Firstly, my students need to feel comfortable making mistakes and offering insights, whether they are correct or not. The processes in many misconceptions are often brilliant. It’s important to take these mistakes and develop understanding.

 

 

Quote

A goal without …

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Without a plan for success, goals are surely to be missed. I am going to focus my energy on reaching my goals for this semester and for who I want to be as a teacher. My goals for the semester are: 

 

1. Being flexible in lesson planning and implementation. 

2. Successfully implement group work and hands-on activities within my math classes that build students’ knowledge and keep them engaged. 

3. Develop my classroom management skills and confidence as a teacher. 

 

The 2nd goal is one that I really want to focus on as I try new things and learn what is successful and what is not. To be successful in this, I want to create a classroom in which group work and hands-on activities are the norm. In order for this to work, groups need to be productive, meaning that every member of the group is engaged, paying attention to the work at hand, on task, and actually gaining an understanding from the material. The ideal group would have members who contribute equally, who teach each other, who (productively) argue and defend their findings, who can all answer questions about the material, and who help each other stay on task. In these situations with group would, the teacher’s role is to maintain a free environment, where students feel comfortable asking questions, even if they make mistakes. They should be able to be wrong and still see the importance of making mistakes, because without them, no one would ever learn anything. The teacher should be monitoring progress, ensuring everyone is on task. They should be asking questions to everyone to make sure that all students are understanding the material and gaining something from the group work. In this situation, the teacher and students would work together to discover learning and develop understanding. 

 

Now what? Throughout the semester, I will monitor my progress, my successes and failures, with group work and hands-on activities. I want to try as much as possible while a TA so I can have an understanding of what to do and not do in the future. I think that creating an environment where students feel that they are able to ask questions, be wrong, and work on hands-on activities will be really beneficial for my students. The environment in my classroom is not quite there, so I want to develop this as I move forward. I want my students to really “get” math and have fun while they do it. I think that hands-on activities and group work are the perfect way to get there. 

Middle School Mathematics

I have officially begun my Teacher Assisting semester. In just three days in the classroom, I can honestly say that I have never felt more at home. I’ve wanted to be a teacher my entire life, and it’s amazing to see how confident I am that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. One of the most important things I’ve taken away from this past week is that my reluctance to teach middle school has diminished. I had always thought that I wanted to teach high school and swore I would never teach middle schoolers. Despite my beliefs, I am honestly starting to love the middle school atmosphere. The students are honest, intelligent, and just coming into their own as self-regulating learners. I think it is absolutely inspiring how influential middle school mathematics teachers are. They bridge the gap between elementary and high school math content and have the opportunity to produce students who love mathematics. This past week in my placement has definitely opened my eyes to what I want to pursue in the future as a teacher.