The Virtual Conference of Mathematical Flavors prompt from Samshah: “Your teaching practice has an impact on how your kids think about mathematics. Our classrooms are little bubbles and while kids are sitting in them, they are picking up all kinds of signals about mathematics… We all have our own unique flavor of mathematics that we are imparting to students through how we orchestrate our classes day in and day out… How does your class move the needle on what your kids think about the doing of math, or what counts as math, or what math feels like, or who can do math?”
Move the needle?
My classroom? What is the flavor of my classroom?
On the one hand, I coteach. That is different with each coteacher. (Note: Coteaching with Steph, who also teaches Advanced maths, is an adventure: Rollercoaster-like, forward-thinking. i.e., ‘it’ll be cool to know this when you take calculus…’)
I also teach self-contained. With paraprofessionals, paras, for short. (Paras are gifts from heaven. Treat them as partners in this journey!)
What do I want to share with you?
It is believing that every child is capable of learning anything they set their mind to, and then helping them in whatever way, giving them the time they need, and encouraging them thru recognition of each success, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
It’s teaching a child that they are not a failure, even when the grade on a test tells them they failed. Failing a test does not mean you are a failure.
It’s taking time to see each child as a distinct individual. To ask a child how they came up with the answer; why they chose to take the step they did, first; to listen as they expound with excitement over a connection they just made with the material. Let them write their answer on the board. Let them think through the words they just heard, make sense of the thought, no matter how garbled, that they just spouted. That’s my classroom, those are my kids, this is what I do and how I teach.
Chunk, give, listen, lead, wait, repeat,
…but not always in that order. Look at them. See them. Listen to them. Hear them. 100% of my attention. Do not take their achievements for granted. Celebrate! Do a little jig. High five them. Your excitement will give them permission to get excited. Give your students permission to get excited, to SHOW their excitement about learning, dare I say it? To (gasp) LIKE math?!?
School really is Cool; Learning is Electric. Spice it up: BAM! I don’t know about you, but my (insert math topic here) doesn’t come seasoned!