Dan Meyer Tedtalk: Math class needs a makeover

Isn’t it funny how your viewing choices change with your life choices.  I read more math teacher’s blogs now, geared for middle school math teachers and this guy, Dan Meyer, is one of my favorite teacher bloggers.  I wanted to clap when I saw how he transformed a dull word problem into something so engaging for the students.  Inspirational.  I also feel guilty about my math program and it’s only been a week.  😦


What I’ve Learned So Far In the Classroom

These Things I’ve learned in Thirty Years by Joy the Baker

Here’s a little post that popped up on my google reader this afternoon.  I’ve been following Joy the Baker for over a year.  If you’re a fan of baking and a fan of great food photography + fun writing on life, go check her out.  It also got me thinking about the things that I’ve learned about life…which lead to my thinking about what I’ve learned in the eleven years of my teaching life – I’ve learned somethings and unlearned somethings.  I thought I’d do a little jot on my blog:

  1. Use your talents not someone else’s.  Don’t try to be a ‘dramatic’ teacher if that’s not your natural self.  Be the best teacher ‘you’ can be not the best teacher ‘Shelly(or enter any name)’ can be.  An easy trap when you see a fabulous teacher who seems to do everything right!
  2. Sometimes a student’s feelings/confidence/self-esteem is more important than manners/rules.  (Remember that scene in the movie ‘Dangerous Minds’ the principal sends a troubled student out of his office because he didn’t knock) – this is a tough call sometimes.
  3. Remember to be human in front of your students.
  4. Remember to laugh with the students.  Sometimes this should be a priority over covering curriculum materials or assessments – this is actually something I need to remind myself as I can get too focused on covering the curriculum.
  5. Parents can be your greatest allies.  Don’t alienate them.
  6. Always always always check to see who is in the vicinity to ensure that no kid or parent is listening to your conversation when the conversation involves a student or anything else that might viral into gossip!
  7. Share yourself with the students.  You become more human to them.
  8. Tell stories.  This tends to wake up the snoozing students and, like magic, more students will make eye-contact with you to really listen.
  9. Treat all students with the same respect you’d give an adult.  They tend to give respect back in return and practice it with each other as well.
  10. Watch your language, especially the ones you use routinely.  It’s a guarantee that the students will use those words while they are in your classroom.  So true.  So true.
  11. I’ve always found this to be true.  Really ‘knowing’ your students helps in all areas – relating to them, teaching them, assessing them, disciplining them…
  12. Sometimes you have to pretend that you believe their excuses…
  13. Don’t be despondent if you are not the teacher who reaches that difficult student.  It’s okay if another teacher gets to be that teacher as long as that student has been looked after…

I’m sure there’s more…..

Disclaimer:  These might change in another 11 years…

Ulterior Motives to Teaching

Ulterior Motives – from World Wide Wonderings

Why did you become a teacher?  I don’t hear this question as much as I used to when I was a student teacher.

This blogger, Abby, talks about her ulterior motives of becoming a teacher.  It’s not for the long summers or “supposedly” shorter working hours.  She just thought it would be the best way to change the world.  What other reason is there to be teaching?  It just made me smile.

Why did I become a teacher?

Here are a few reasons why I thought I should become a teacher:

  • I like being with children.  I like that they say funny things that wouldn’t be funny when an adult said it.  I like that they are so uninhibited and so expressive…they are so many things that I adults are not.
  • I thought I could do it.  I chose teaching because I thought I could do it.  What arrogance, right?  I’m still working on being that teacher that I thought I could be.  I hope I never stop working on it.
  • I would get to be in a position where I can really influence someone…and if I got it right, I had the power to influence the entire course of someone’s life…talk about high stakes…
  • My plan always was this, that whatever profession I chose to be in, I would teach.  If I had chosen to be a nurse (another profession, I was considering actually), I would’ve wanted to teach other nurses later in my career.  And that would be the same, whether I became a pilot, a journalist, a painter etc.  I’ve always thought that it is the best way to give back what I’ve received.

People always talk about not becoming complacent….that we should remember the ‘first love.’

Today I thought I’d remember mine.  🙂  And also wish Abby, good luck!