So, apparently it’s been almost a month since I’ve written here! It’s been a crazy month, but mostly in a good way!
I’ve been teaching 3 private (one-on-one) grade 11 Math classes, and I’m really enjoying it! I like coming up with the material to teach, and how to teach it. We just finished a unit where I used review games throughout to help the students become more engaged with the material. Their unit assignment is to create their own review game that will be sent to students in other grade 11 Math classes!
The content side of things is going well and relatively smoothly – though I do have to re-learn the material, because it’s been since I’ve been in high school that I’ve used this Math. But, to be honest, it’s kind of fun to re-learn it and be able to just “get it” right away.
There are other things that I’m struggling with that we don’t learn a lot of about in teacher’s college. I definitely need to find a balance between helping students with their understanding and getting them to take responsibility for their own learning. It’s common for students to just want the answer, so I’m trying to find ways to foster an interest in taking it to the next level and aim for understanding (rather than memorization or just being told how to do it).
Another very common issue with high school students in Math is many have (rather large) holes in their Math skill sets. I struggle with deciding how much time to spend on review basic concepts versus teaching the new material. The problem arises when they need mastery of the basics to even attempt the new stuff.
The last issue is anxiety centred around Math. This usually comes to a head when a test is coming. I understand how many people (not just students) feel anxiety toward Math, but I also wonder how much of it is due to lack of preparation (which circles back to taking responsibility for one’s own learning).
Such is the life of a teacher, I’m finding out quickly. It’s much MUCH more than teaching content and getting students through to the next course.