Teacher Exhausted…

This is a craft blog, but I need to rant, please! Maybe it’s that winter never seems to end, maybe my students are getting restless, maybe it’s end of the semester, or maybe it’s the end of a school year,  but I am exhausted…drained…tired and need a reboot.

I have a strong pull and passion for teaching mathematics…I don’t care what type of mathematics, all mathematics…

I read this article this morning…pondering I thought a little bit.

I’ve previously had divulged in the Professor Frenkel’s book “Love and Math” and although most of the material was over my level of expertise, I felt it was very inspiring for me to want to know and learn more.

Sad to say the article put me lumped in sum that as an undergraduate I was flailing to try and absorb everything given to me and basically forced myself to memorize as much as I possibly could to regurgitate as much as possible come test time.  All while working full-time, having a boyfriend and next to no social life…many of our dates included “watching tv” while I studied and did homework.  Thankfully Joey loved me enough to know I had a true calling for mathematics education and helped me survive college and eventually marry…now that’s a keeper!

It hasn’t been until I actually started teaching multiple levels and areas of math that my understanding of pure mathematics has been solidified.  I have had many “aha” moments of how incredible the power of mathematics truly is.  I’ve been able to make connections of the different areas of mathematics I never thought possible and in turn have shown those to my students…making class hands-on.  The semester is so short that I never felt like I ever truly understood each topic fully, but rather forced to fly through material.  We never got hands on and was able to explore “WHY” this was the way it was.  Clearly our time in college is limited and it would be up to me to explore ideas I was interested in on my own.  I was the student in class who continually went to my professors and worked peacefully in their offices and asked questions for clarification, asked more intuitive questions for further and deeper understanding or simply wanted to hear what they had to say, absorb every single thing I could from them.

That is certainly not the case these days with college students…

After teaching in multiple locations, I know this is not specific to where I currently teach, but students in general.  They want to know ONLY what they need to know and move on.  Teaching classes such as Teaching Elementary Math 1 and Teaching Elementary Math 2, we’ve worked through the teachers in training creating lesson plans so they are classroom ready, they do the very minimum.  They don’t like math so they don’t care to want to learn or explore math.  I fear for them, I fear for their future students… I don’t know how I can “fix” this, how i can help them find curiosity in mathematics.  How I can get them to try something and know it’s okay if it’s not the right answer, but to re-think and try again.  I try, they push back… I put them out of their comfort zone, they whine… I ask them to think outside the box, they tell me I didn’t give them enough information…Realistically ALL of the math in Math for Elementary Teachers 1/2 is NOT NEW, they have done all of these things before.  They need to have a deeper understanding of mathematics before they can teach the mathematics.

This is not inclusive of just Math for Elementary Teachers 1/2…my Algebra Prep students who are in pre-college courses are the exact same way.  I have them get started on their homework and if they don’t find an EXACT example given in class like the one on their paper, immediately they “don’t know how to do it.”  They don’t want to think through the logic of the question, they just want help to the right answer, they don’t care about why, just how do I get there.

My heart is broken…I feel defeated…

Teacher friends…how do we help these students become independent thinkers, help them understand it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to think outside the box, to be self-discovered learners, to enjoy mathematics?

 

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