Math = Love: More Than Just a Math Teacher

Monday, November 19, 2012

More Than Just a Math Teacher

I went to college to learn how to teach math.  However, as my first semester of teaching starts to draw to a close, I realize that I am more than just a math teacher.  In the past few months, I have...

...had weekly and even daily conversations with my students about what it means to be a vegetarian.  My students are still amazed by the fact that I don't eat meat.  We discuss the differences between vegetarianism and veganism.  Our conversations often go like this: "Ms. H, you're a vegetarian, right?"  Yes.  "So, does that mean you can't eat potato chips?"  I can eat potato chips.  Why would you think that?  "Well, I thought they might add something to them."  

...taught a student how to make flashcards to study for their history test.  I forget that study skills are something that must be taught.   

...given spelling lessons.  "Ms. H, are you sure you spelled algebra right on the board?"  Yes.

...showed one of my students how to count change so he could determine if he had enough money to purchase something from the vending machine.

...taught two students how to tell time from an analog clock during Saturday School.  The short hand points to the hour.  Whichever number the short hand has most recently passed is the current hour.  The long hand points to the minutes.  Take the numbers around the outside of the clock and multiply them by five to find the minutes they represent.  

...broadened my students' vocabulary.  Today, we learned what the word "impede" means.  Last week, it was "hodgepodge."

...encouraged my students to take the ACT.  I encourage my seniors to start applying to colleges.  I didn't realize that this would be so hard.  I can encourage them, but I can't force them to actually take the next step.  

...discussed with my students the fact that the three dots preceding this phrase form an ellipsis.  This led to further discussion on what the three dots actually mean.   

I love teaching high school.  And, I love teaching math.  I remember debating what age group to teach when I was in high school.  Then, I was afraid that I would get tired of teaching the same math lesson over and over.  Let me tell you, I may think that I will be teaching the same math lesson four times each day, but each and every lesson turns out differently.  What one class grasps right away requires extra explanation in the next.  Jokes are made.  Life is discussed.  Math problems are solved.

I don't think I could ever get bored with this job.  Daily, it is a new adventure. 


  1. One of my favorite (recurring) moments of teaching is when students ask me what a word means. It always challenges me to find a good explanation. The first time I remember this was explaining the word "economical" to one of my sixth graders. He was recommending that I trade in my new Yaris and get a Mustang. He concluded the conversation by saying: "You sure use a lot of big words, Ms. Murray."

    And the analog clock thing used to drive me crazy! I have since given up any hope that my students know how to tell time on an analog clock. Though now it seems that most of my students do know how to tell time on these antiquated devices. :)

  2. I have been teaching 8th grade Algebra (of some form...1st half of the book, second 1/2 of the book...entire book) for 5 years, and before that I taught 7th grade for 1 year (my first year). I have often thought about starting a blog. But I'm always worried that it will take up too much of my time. Why should I be worried about time when I've been teaching the same curriculum for 5 years? Because my lessons change from year to year, period to period. I have never taught the same content in the same way. :) I, like you, am always looking for ways to become a better teacher. This is the first year I am using interactive notebooks, and that is an adventure in itself because I'm still learning how to do it. An excellent teacher continually makes changes to, and tries to perfect, her/his craft. I applaud (and admire) you for all that you are doing in your first year. For me...I was coming out of my 10-year career in the Air Force, and thought middle schoolers would be nothing compared to what I had dealt with in the past...and I was dead wrong. :) Thank you for loving math as much as a math teacher should!!!