In a Mirror

With 9 class days to go (gasp – just finishing circles…), I cannot believe the year is almost over.  It’s been a good year – despite my early early schedule (arrival at 7 am) – and I am already looking at myself as I teach, planning what I will do better next year.  Image

  1. Increase class participation, perhaps by cold calling? – or finding SOME way to get everyone participating.  I can see so clearly that many students are just letting their classmates do the heavy lifting, but it also varies from class to class.  I teach 3 sections of Geometry (and thus the same lesson 3 times each day), and there is a wide variation in the number of hands that will be raised to answer any given question.  But in one of my classes, I can now see a number of students who look down, look at the window, look anywhere but at me or at the board when a question is asked.  Not a heartening thing to see.  I think that if I begin the year with a lot of cold calling, then all students will get used to answering in class, and being ready to answer.  I have made this resolution before, but I would REALLY like next year to be the year I make it stick.
  2. Get the students to do more of the work – I have been told on occasion that I am ‘doing too much of the work’, which means that (a) the class is too teacher-centered, and (b) I could be a little easier on myself!  In my Discrete Math classes, I have done a good job of giving the work over to the kids – they have been working in pairs/groups for most of the current unit, Linear Programming, although the beginning of the unit was heavily teacher-centered because they needed that support to learn the process.  But in Geometry, with the end of term and Regents exam bearing down on me, I am delivering content as fast as I can.  This is not to say it has been this way all term – in fact, quite the opposite – but I really feel it, and don’t like it.  Yesterday, we covered tangent and secant segments, and I could feel how dry the lesson was, especially by the 3rd go-round.  Luckily, my 3rd Geometry class is the most good-natured and has the highest level of participation, so the proof of those theorems was the liveliest it had been all day.  I love that I end my day with that class.
  3. Employ helpers like crazy – Along the lines of the previous bullet, I need to give over mundane tasks to the kids, who enjoy doing them (erasing boards, distributing papers – or less mundane, tekky tasks) and even earn a sense of pride from their execution.  I don’t think I want any help grading –  although I should perhaps think of some grading tasks that students can assist on – but anything that will help (a) lessen my load and (b) help them feel special is a win-win.
  4. Incorporate fun more frequently – This I am definitely NOT good at, even though I do inject a lot of humor into my lessons.  But the fun games and activities do not come naturally to me.  There is such a wealth of resources out there, particularly in the Math Twittoblogosphere, and a lot of people generously sharing their implementation ideas, that I am committing to pushing myself in this direction.  I will set a measurable goal for myself.

But I have done many good things this year as well, and I am going to REFLECT and write about them this coming week.

BTW – the picture has nothing to do with math, but it is a sketch that my daughter included as part of her senior portfolio for her recently acquired BFA in Costume Design from Rutgers University.  Proud mama?  You betcha!


One comment

  1. Fawn Nguyen

    I thought about writing a similar post then gave up because the list of what I can do better keeps growing. It seems endless. Sigh.

    Beautiful sketch by your daughter, congratulations. Thank you, Wendy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s