Monday, May 6, 2013

I'm a math teacher but....

I'm a math teacher.... but my goal is to teach more than math.  I want to teach students to solve problems and to think critically.  I want them to learn how to work with others, the value of hard work, how to ask good questions (because I believe there are stupid questions...) and how to find answers to their questions. Empathy, respect, kindness, responsibility, patience.  Along the way they have teach me plenty of their own lessons.

During my time at A&M my instructors constantly told us... you do not teach MATH... you teach STUDENTS.  It is easy to get caught in standards and a schedule and pushing to teach kids what someone else tells me I have to.  I know there have been days that I'm so focused on a particular objective that I've missed out on valuable learning opportunities.   That is one reason I've loved the trip investigation project.  My students are learning math but they are learning real life lessons as well.  They have to maintain a budget (many have commented how quickly $5000 goes...), follow a schedule, organize information, work with a partner, communicate with an authentic audience, etc.

Today was a rough day for me personally.  I've heard that teachers are teachers and students are students and we shouldn't share our personal life.  To some extent, I agree.  At the same time, we are all people.  I think students respond better to teachers that they have a relationship with, no something about, can relate to, etc.  I kept it from my first two classes...but I was obviously short-tempered and did not have the energy of a typical day.  I decided to share with my last two classes what was going on and was so touched by their reactions.  They showed me empathy, patience, and kindness beyond what I could have expected.  Those two classes went much smoother then my morning classes.  I owe those two an apology :/  

When I got to my night class I checked my email and had a message from a student saying she hoped everything got better and she was praying.  Another gave me a hug after school and told me she hoped I felt better.  She told me that she did that because earlier this year she was having a bad day and I noticed and stopped to talk to her about what was going on and gave her a hug when she was crying.  Wow.  I teach such amazing kids.  I hope I teach them half as much as they teach me :)

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