(More) New Beginnings

I can hardly believe that it’s already July 2, which means school is officially back in session this month. Things have certainly changed since the last post, namely that I will be teaching at Farragut High School this year. I am so excited to join a phenomenal math department that challenges me to be better each and every day. Fortunately I will still be teaching geometry, but I also have Algebra 1 and 2. Even though I’m not too comfortable with these courses, I am excited to step outside of my comfort zone.

For the past few days, I have been going on a Twitter spree to catch up on what has happened in the world of math education. This article certainly made my wheels start turning, which led to several more videos/articles about how to be an effective math teacher. Here is a video about two guys who dance while shining a light on how close this art is to math. I watched this video about how we can break the cycle of people who have not had the best experience with math becoming the next generation of teachers who teach their students to have a negative experience with math.

All in all, I am so glad we live in a time where teachers can easily collaborate with each other through Twitter, blogs, etc. No matter how much experience we have, it is so important to stay up to date with new developments in your field, strategies others have found successful, and web-based resources that can be used in the class. I hope that one day I can be as effective and influential as teachers like Dan Meyer and Tracy Zager.

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(More) New Beginnings

New Beginnings

We check out for summer break tomorrow, and I am so thankful that teachers get time that is built in to reflect and recharge. I am so excited about next school year! My schedule is as follows:

Fall Semester

  • 7 AM: AP Calculus AB
  • 1st: Plan
  • 2nd: Honors Geometry
  • 3rd: Honors Geometry

Spring Semester

  • 7 AM: AP Calculus BC
  • 1st: Honors Geometry
  • 2nd: Honors Geometry
  • 3rd: Plan

That’s right. I just have two preps all year. I’m not sure how this happened, but I am so excited to focus in on these two classes and make them as good as possible. I am really looking forward to revisiting Honors Geometry because the standards in Tennessee are changing (again), and I am finally at the point in my career where I really want to make things better rather than just pulling out what I’ve done in the past, running to the copier, and calling it a day. While this may sound much easier to do, it makes me sad to think that some teachers are just fine with this style of teaching. I have realized that I am different than most people in more ways than one, but especially with regards to learning. I always want to learn more for the sake of learning.

Dorothy and I have the same plan period in the fall, and we are both teaching geometry, which means we get to collaborate! We started today by looking at resources from the New York Department of Education (you know, since Tennessee has been so gracious to create/share resources with us), and I’ll just say that these standards are incredibly different than those in the past. The bulk of the content is no different. However, the way in which students discuss and connect concepts are the focus of these new standards, and teachers cannot teach the same way they have in the past and still be successful. For example, transformations used to be taught solely on the coordinate plane focusing on how the coordinates changed. This did prepare them for Algebra 2, but they saw transformations solely from an algebraic point of view. Now, transformations are introduced from the very beginning, but the coordinate plane isn’t mentioned until much later in the course. This gets the students to focus on exactly what is happening in space to points, lines, segments, rays, etc. when a rigid transformation is performed. They see all possible outcomes from each type of transformation (e.g., a rotation doesn’t change the center of rotation but segments in the pre-image will always be congruent to the corresponding segment in the image). I am so excited about these changes and can’t wait to dive in to a brand new experience.

New Beginnings

Two Student Praises in One Week!

This truly has been an amazing week in school! First, we started trig in precal (woohoo!!!). Then, my geometry students are enjoying triangle proofs and discovering the special properties of segments within triangles and their points of concurrency. To top it off, I received two amazing praises from students this week (one former and one present).

The former student told me earlier this week that she wanted to thank me for being a good teacher because other teachers in her past have gotten annoyed with her questions and rolled their eyes when she didn’t understand something. She told she was thankful that I never gave up on her, which gave me motivation to never give up on my students that I have now, even if it is difficult at times.

Today, a present student who is repeating the class said that he is thankful to have me as his teacher because he really understands the material from the way that I teach. He said that he doesn’t want to say anything bad about his former teacher (and I have heard AWESOME things about his former teacher, btw), but he is truly learning the material better now.

I feel like I am most definitely in the right place at the right time, and I have no one else to give credit for this other than God. He has given me the passion for what I teach and the heart for who I teach. No one else can do what He can do, and I never want to lose sight of that.

Two Student Praises in One Week!

The Unit Circle

This is my very first semester teaching Honors Precalculus, and I need to just say that it is my favorite class I have EVER taught! This week was so incredibly rich mathematically. The first half of chapter 4 starts with degrees and radians, introduces right triangle trig and the unit circle, followed by trig of any angle.

The unit circle rocks! Period. Or exclamation point! Anyways, I had my students make paper plate unit circles. When we finished writing all of the information down, it was a little daunting. However, there were so many light bulbs that went off when I showed them how to count by π/6 and π/4 around the unit circle. They had studied the unit circle briefly in algebra 2, but I felt like it was brushed over quickly due to time constraints. I LOVE PRECALCULUS!!! There is time to really let things sink in, while still getting to a myriad of topics.

Today, we concluded the first half of this chapter with trig of any angle, and let’s just say my third block got the better end of the stick. I’m not really sure why I wasn’t 100% ready to go this morning for first block, but things went much smoother this afternoon. I know that I need to start by explaining what theta actually is, and then they will understand more about the reference angle and how to find it.

This just goes to show that knowing math is completely different than teaching math. I am learning so many fine-tuning details, it’s not even funny. I tell my class on the reg that I am so thankful that I am their teacher and that I can come to school everyday excited about math without being made fun of (too much).

The Unit Circle

First Post

I am going to try to document the highlights and low points of my life as a high school math teacher. Officially, this is my second year teaching, although I had a whole year as an intern before last school year. The point is that I am still very new to this craft. I have heard from several sources that blogging can be a helpful tool to reflect on lessons, document the feel-good stories, and just relieve stress on those days where you just want to lose it. So, here we go! I am excited to see where this leads, and I hope I can look back on this throughout the next few years and realize how much better of a teacher I am because of this blog. Wish me luck!

First Post