Well, the first week of my student teaching experience has come and gone. Okay, there were only three days of classes, but what an experience those three days were. Thus far, I have only been observing the teacher, grading papers, and circulating the classroom, helping students with their work.
The majority of the things I have learned these past few days have not been about teaching math. Instead, they have been about students. The inner-city school I am completing my student teaching at is part of a different world than the one I was raised in. Students talk candidly about drugs, race, the fear of ending up living on the street. The majority of these students are at risk of not meeting the state requirements for graduation.
Yes, these students need to learn math. But, they need so much more than that. While I feel at least semi-prepared to teach math since I will be graduating in May with a degree in mathematics, I feel quite unprepared to teach these students. How can I relate math to these students who have experienced things in their lives that I cannot even begin to imagine?