Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Teacher!

I have just completed my first week of teaching in my new job.
The school is a public charter school, located in temporary classrooms while we wait for the powers to be to give the final construction permit to build the permanent school.
But my classroom is large enough for 6 tables big enough for 6 students each, although usually there are no more than 3-4 per table.
Since they had had a substitute for 2 weeks, it took some time to get them to realize that now we are seriously going to be learning math.
I also don't do much direct instruction, but get them going and then learn by trial and error, from each other, and from me as I go around.
In Algebra II they had been working on factoring with the sub, so we worked on that some more and then took on long division of polynomials, which the sub had skipped. There were many errors, because there are so many steps to do to complete a problem, one of which is subtraction, which involves distributing a negative. A couple of students had learned somewhere to place the change sign in a little circle, which I then taught, and the students took to it immediately. (That I said that I had learned it from other students was probably a plus.) But I told them we'd be learning an easier method - synthetic division - the next day, and that was a fantastic success. There were some holdbacks, but most could see that they could work them much faster that way.
But the big success came when I caught a student writing graffiti on the board, and it turned out to be "Math is great!" And yesterday I met the parents of one of my students, who had come home and reported that they had a new math teacher and she was great!
But I'm exhausted after the first week. Probably hardest is standing up all day long!
But I'm beginning to know where the students are in the material, and have vague ideas about who gets things quickly, who is willing to help others, and most importantly, who do I have to get at constantly to get them to do their work.
Classroom management is going relatively well, (except the day my advisor came for a visit in the period after lunch!) They are good kids, many with large and small learning and living problems, but I think they all want to learn. The school did miserably on last year's state math tests (but really well on English and other subjects) so we have double class periods, so kids can do their "homework" in class while they can ask me for help. (Which is good, except that math teachers only get a single prep hour a week!)

No comments:

Post a Comment