The culture of math classrooms is rapidly changing to become more inclusive. The days of math classrooms revolving around the students who understand while letting the students who don’t understand get left behind are fading into the past. THANK GOODNESS! When I was a kid usually Kevin was the only student called on in math class. Kevin was a kid who got answers in math very quickly and always correctly. Kevin was working to complete 90 math problems on a time test in 60 seconds while I couldn’t even solve them all in 3 minutes. The days of only teaching Kevin while the rest of the class strung along are dwindling!
When kids see answer getting as the way math is done they not only miss out on the connections and the value of knowing how answers are formed but they also start to count themselves out of the game. Kids who can’t get answers quickly begin to not identify as a “math person.” On this topic, enough with this I’m not a math person mentality. Once I knew a teacher who referred to herself as a not mathy math teacher. What sort of message is this sending to students? Anyways… I’ve seen kids as young as kindergarten begin to count themselves out of the math game. That is not ok. Math is so much more than arriving at answers quickly. Please listen to Phil Daro’s Answer Getting in Math for further information against an answer-getting mindset.
How are you working to shift the culture of mathematics within your classroom? Let me know in the comments below!
Have you ever sat down and written your teaching philosophy? Do you know what your goals as an educator are in the classroom?
The most important skills we can give our students are the sort of skills that transfer outside the walls of our classrooms. Skills like knowing how to enter into a conversation. Noticing when someone isn’t having a great day and asking if you can do anything to help them. Knowing how to disagree with someone respectfully. Being able to work together with a wide variety of people. An understanding of making a compromise. Knowing how to listen to ideas and think critically about them. These are the skills that sometimes get left behind in the race to cover content. Kids won’t remember all the content you taught them but these sort of skills will stick with them for a lifetime.
My greatest goal in the first-grade classroom is independence. I don’t do things for students that they are capable of themselves. They need to problem solve situations before an adult will help them. Creating this independence sets them up for success when they are no longer in my classroom. When they are free to learn on their own time I know they can still achieve great things.
What are your thoughts on this quote? I’d love to hear them!
This quote particularly struck a chord with me. I think so often when new things come around in education (in everything, not just math) there are many teachers who ignore it, cast it aside, or claim they’ve been doing it that way all along. When we cast aside new things as things we’ve always done we lose the opportunity to develop and grow as educators.
I’ve recently sat in many meetings (one a week to be exact) with a teacher whose first comment for everything is “I’ve been teaching this way for years” or “This is nothing new to me” At first I was annoyed with his attitude and the need to put everyone down. Now I just feel bad that he doesn’t realize so many important truths about teaching. He is done growing as an educator and has accepted his way as best- losing the opportunity to entertain new ideas.
- It’s ok to not have all the answers
- Change isn’t bad
- Just because we’re doing something new now doesn’t mean what you did before was wrong
- Being vulnerable opens you up to many possibilities
- Teachers are never done growing and learning new things
Please try not to be this person who can’t accept anything new. Please try to be the kind of teacher who entertains new ideas. Who compares them to what they know and what they currently do. Who sees the differences in how we teach now and how we’ve taught in the past.
What are your thoughts on this quote? How do you allow yourself to see things as new and to continually entertain new ideas about education? Have you ever encountered a teacher similar to my teacher friend?
Welcome to a new year and a new weekly wisdom. Last year weekly wisdom focused more on inspiration than best practice. One of my goals this year is to inspire reflection through the weekly wisdom series.
Each week there will be a quote by a guru in the education world. After each quote will be a prompt to reflect on your teaching practices and take on the challenge or sentiment offered by the Weekly Wisdom. Please use the comments section to reflect on your teaching practices and interact with others looking to grow as educators!
Lucy Calkins, what a woman! She is going to be featured frequently in the Weekly Wisdom series. How do you listen to your students? Are you actively engaged in listening or do you notice yourself fake listening a lot?
Recently I noticed that when kids were talking my hands were busy and my brain was somewhere else. Before break I worked to ensure that when I student was talking I was looking him in the eyes. I wasn’t busy. I was focused and I was actively listening. If I couldn’t listen in the moment I came back to them at a time when I could be focused and in the moment. Kids deserve a teacher who listens to what they have to say and respects them as individuals.
Thoughts? I would love to hear them!