The MEGnitude of Change

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 06 2013

The Art of (Not) Teaching

Today, I didn’t drive my students toward success. I led confusing & circuitous INM and struggled with classroom management. And I am prouder of my students than I’ve probably ever been.

– DW (from my fifth hour class) didn’t have a cover during her fourth hour, so she came into my honors class & learned brand new material. She jumped in, sat at the front of the room, answered questions, and tried the problems. Despite her protests that she couldn’t do it, she tried. She surprised herself. She learned.
– Only eight students were present during fifth hour, so I opted to give them a day for make-up work. DW was all caught up, so she circulated through the room & answered questions. She wrote out sample problems for other students. She taught.
– While three members of my sixth hour class decided to goof off in the back of the room, the majority of my class worked. Hard. They understood. They answered each other’s questions, fixed mistakes, and felt good about their objective.
– During tutoring today, I barely “tutored.” I sat in the corner and made new posters for my room. My students, on the other hand, completely drove their success. CM, OH, and AC worked through angle problems on my white board: explaining examples to each other, checking each other’s work, and gradually increasing the rigor. They are going to test their skills in class tomorrow.
– In another corner of my classroom, JF took a seat at my computer and worked through Study Island questions. Every so often, he called me over to check through this reasoning, and his mastery increased from 33% to 60%. Tomorrow, he’s coming in at lunch to knock that objective out of the park with an 80% or higher.

So, no. I didn’t deliver new material concisely, I didn’t manage effectively, and I didn’t follow my plan to a tee. I barely did anything. And some of my students felt more success than they have in weeks.

This, this is teaching.

About this Blog

My journey in mathematics and beyond

High School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)