- I am so thankful to have the opportunity to teach math through discovery and investigation this year.
- I love having loud, dynamic classes of kids who are excited and inspired.
- I love the adventure of never knowing exactly what to expect, but allowing essential learning targets to provide guidance.
- I'm amazed at what I'm learning when students are on fire to find answers to questions they have by doing their own investigations.
- I love witnessing kids making connections to what they already know, often in ways I never considered.
- It gives me hope for our future when I witness 11 and 12 year old students participating in remarkably mature mathematical discourse.
For years, I've had a quote from Mike Klavon, our ISD math specialist about "teachers working harder than the students" in the back of my mind. It was a very poignant moment when he shared that observation with our math department. Mike was absolutely right then, and the same "teachers working harder than (most) students" is true now... except in my pre-Algebra classes.
Learning is hard work. That does not mean that it has to be boring, laborious, or tedious. On the contrary, I believe it's more likely to happen when lessons are engaging, challenging and dare I say it, fun. Hard work can be fun, to the point where it's no longer hard.
Possibly for the first time in my career, I think I have a sense of what it feels like to be teaching important, meaningful math that involves problem solving and real-deal learning. This is all true while the students are working harder at their learning than I am. Even in the traditional note taking powerpoint scenario, I'm good at what I do. However, for the first time, I feel like what I'm doing will have far-reaching effects. I hope so, anyway.
The true litmus test: I would love for my own children to be in a class like this. I want them to be inspired to investigate, question, and make connections. I want them to be problem solvers and life-long learners and know the joy of learning along side others that help them see different approaches and views. I can't say for sure, but I feel that is what is happening for my 7th graders this year.