Math = Love: Hopes, Dreams, and Random Thoughts

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hopes, Dreams, and Random Thoughts

I cannot believe that it is already October.  This school year is really flying by, and I'm afraid it will be Christmas before we know it.  While I am excited for Christmas carols and hot chocolate and twinkly lights and chocolate candy galore, I want this semester to be as long as possible.  I know as soon as we return from Christmas break that the time I have left to get my students ready for their end of instruction exams will quickly dwindle.

I just started Chapter 4 with my Algebra 1 students today.  We're studying ratios and proportions.  In the next chapter, we will start graphing!  I am so excited to teach my Algebra 1 students how to graph.  My Algebra 2 students came to me with the attitude of hating graphing.  I want to change this for my students.  Graphing should not be something to dread.

I had students today that literally groaned when I mentioned that we would be starting ratios and proportions.  They told me that this was what had  made Algebra hard for them in the past.  Last year, they didn't get ratios and proportions.  Then, after teaching the lesson, they were in disbelief.  This is all there is to solving a proportion?  This is easy.

I teach students who are years behind in mathematics.  They are not used to excelling in mathematics.  On the end of year tests, students can score one of four levels: unsatisfactory, limited knowledge, satisfactory, or advanced.  My goal is that each and every one of my students will score either satisfactory or advanced.  Is this goal unrealistic?  Maybe so.  But, I have worked so hard this year and my students have worked incredibly hard.  I want them to finish Algebra feeling confident.  I want them to see that all their hard work has paid off. 

Tomorrow, I will leave my students in the hands of a substitute for the first time.  I am taking my student council students to our District Meeting.  I'm excited to take these students to hear a speaker and interact with other local students.  But, at the same time, I hate leaving my classes.  I'm leaving them a worksheet to do, but it's just not the same as my being there.  My students already miss so much school due to school activities.  I need to make every day count.

I've been working crazy long hours trying to get ready for this trip as well as our 3-day trip next month.  This morning I got to school at 6:10 a.m., and I didn't leave until 7:30 p.m..  I did do about 1.5 hours of tutoring during that time which accounts for part of my crazy day.  I'm at a stage in my life where I can get by with working these crazy hours.  Hopefully, I will soon get faster at doing stuff for my non-classroom responsibilities.  I am Student Council Sponsor, National Honor Society Sponsor, Freshman Class Sponsor, and a Sponsor for our soon-to-be created Math & Science Club.  I do the after school tutoring for math at the high school.  These definitely keep me busy.   

I sat in on my first special education meeting today.  I loved getting the opportunity to watch our special ed teacher in action.  She is amazing.  It was also great to interact with the student and her mother since we hadn't met before.  I learned some things that I can put to use in the classroom to provide a better learning environment for this student.

With every success from my Algebra 1 classes, I feel like I keep hitting roadblock after roadblock with my Algebra 2 and College Algebra classes.  I'm working on factoring in Algebra 2.  My College Algebra students are working on finishing up the review chapter in our textbooks.  That's right, we're over 6 weeks into the school year, and we still haven't made it to Chapter 1.  However, my students have learned so much.  I'm trying  a new technique with them tomorrow.  I wrote out a 16 page handwritten study guide to leave for them with the substitute.  I want to teach my students to be more self-motivated.  I want them to be motivated by the process instead of the right answer. 

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