This past Wednesday, I taught a lesson on equations and solving equations using addition and subtraction. My professor Jon Hasenbank from the math education team was on hand, and I greatly benefited from the experience as I have every time that I have been able to teach and effectively reflect on my teaching! Here are some of my thoughts after the experience, and how I believe I have developed and grown as a teacher!
How did it go?
I thought the lesson I taught went fairly well overall. There certainly could have been more student discussion and participation, but I think the lesson went well because students began to understand the main points in analyzing an equation. Additionally, I was able to show my students the relevance of equations in the real world as a problem solving device! Students really seemed to appreciate that equations are involved in the making of roller coasters! My goal was to have a good attitude and be enthusiastic while teaching and I believe that I succeeded in that goal! A second goal I had was to engage students in conceptual mathematical thinking and to clearly state the mathematical concepts in language my students could understand and relate to their lives. Overall, I was pleased with my progress in my teaching though I could have used more preparatory time for the lesson!
How do you know?
I know that I succeeded in having an improved attitude and more confidence because my professor said that I seemed genuine and excited about helping the students learn! Beyond that I was able to provide students an improved amount of time to discuss their ideas about equations. Also, my CT told me that my pacing was improving and that helped my confidence seem to be higher. I tend to have a lot of trouble with keeping my pacing high enough to finish a lesson in a helpful amount of time for students to process what they have learned. I was by no means perfect, but I think I took some great strides to break down concepts for students.
Why is that so?
I think that is so because I got the students interested and more engaged in the lesson from the beginning than usual. Students were interested in developing problem solving skills in mathematics because they could see the practical value it had for their lives! I think that I effectively built student interest and promoted conceptual student understanding utilizing the ability to relate problems to students! The more I was able to connect in the information to their lives the more interested they generally become!
How did you grow?
I grew tenfold in my realization of the vitality of rich mathematical tasks that peak student interest through that class period! The more students are engaged in education typically the more they will focus and learn, so I want to keep learning about more ways to motivate students! I definitely grew by realizing that I need to focus on making student thinking more visible overall! I grew by learning more areas that I need to grow in, but I found that the more I prepare the better I do as a teacher. Another area I grew a lot in was my ability to make sense of mathematics problems for students. I did this by relating the problems to students’ lives.
How did this help you know?
The cognitive coaching time and my reflection helped me to know that I was growing because they allowed me time to process my thoughts! Prof. Hasenbank asked me about the steps I thought I could take to improve my ability to make real world connections explicit for students! He suggested some great resources for rich mathematical activities. Prof. Hasenbank suggested that I work on presenting as the expert because a lot of times I showed growth in expressing mathematical concepts, but could not mathematize challenging problems efficiently on the fly! I know how I am growing the more I reflect on where I was when I started to become a better teacher to now where I feel I could teach alright! I think that the more I reflect the more I consolidate and maintain my learning effectively! That way I can continue to build on the last brick the next time I teach rather than starting from scratch over and over again!
What’s Next for me?
Next I will work on finding more rich activities for utilizing in class. I will consistently spend time thinking about how I can relate stories to students to keep them more engaged! Also, I would love to keep up my great attitude and honest enthusiasm I had at the end of the week! I hope to continue growing in my practice of making mathematical thinking visible for both me and my students! Education is an open door! I am loving the ride and excited to keep developing my student friendly language!