Math….the death of me.

The first two days of my week have been uneventful, yet interesting.  My students are still prepping for student-led conferences, I taught some of my first math lessons, and I observed the guidance counselor.

Tonight is the first round of conferences.  I am somewhat excited, because I have not ever had an opportunity to sit in on a conference and I know as a teacher, that is an important opportunity for parent interaction.  With this school doing student led, I am interested to see how that looks compared to the conferences I remember going to as a kid.  My students have been doing a lot of practice on leading, and it will be entertaining to see who was really retaining what they were working on.

Math lessons are a real struggle, like probably the biggest struggle I have in teaching.  I am great at math, that’s not the issue.  The way that math is taught now (which I fully think will be beneficial in the long run), is step by step, and taught in a unique way.  As someone who learned it the old way, this is difficult, but the students enjoy it and seem to catch on quickly.  A lot of times, I have the students come up and show something if I am having a hard time putting it into words.  This was an area that I was extremely nervous to begin teaching, and although the nervousness is gone, I still hate teaching it.  It is hard to teach your students while you are teaching yourself at the same time.

My favorite part of this week has been observing the guidance counselor.  As most of you know, I hope to become an elementary guidance counselor in the future.  On Tuesday, I watched her teach a fourth grade class about growth mindset and now they are working on skits to present during a growth mindset assembly next month.  Today, I taught the lesson myself to a different class.  It is very interesting to see the difference in maturity between fourth and fifth grade.  In the fourth grade classes, I have seen two people cry and have received some random hugs.  For the most part, this does not happen in 5th grade.  There are a couple criers and huggers here and there, but overall they are lacking.

My favorite thing about the guidance classes is that there is so much freedom for learning.  Although I know that structured time has a place in the classroom, I think unstructured time is where a lot of meaningful learning occurs.  My teaching style is more a little bit of direct instruction, and a lot of group/partner work.  This not only helps the children learn the lesson content, but they are developing extremely important social skills at the same time.  This is a key part of guidance, so it is easier to work in there, but I hope to include facets of that in all areas of my teaching.

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