I realized in looking over my old posts this weekend (as I’m trying to really keep up with blogging this year), that I really only blog when I have a positive idea or activity to share…and maybe sometimes a question to pose to those who may be reading this. My point: I never really talk about my struggles. So I want to be me expressive of all parts of my teaching this year.
Here are two struggles that are big on my mind lately. Comments appreciated!
1. Building Numeracy. I know we all think about it/talk about/play with the idea. We have bootcamps and special days in our classes to “review” or “refresh” these old topics. But how can I build strong basic numeracy (I’m talking arithmetic, decimals, fractions, estimation) in every lesson? I teach two classes of senior math. It’s does not end in any state exam. It has students of a wide range of ability (though many of our strongest math seniors are in my honors class), and I honestly think all students could benefit from deeper thinking about the math they learned before high school. I want to do this in a way that is (a) truly effective and (b) incorporated into other topics as we learn more math.
2. The Checked-Out Student. No matter how interesting or how important the lesson is, I often have a student or two who is just not invested. He or she is usually not even going to try. When it comes to classroom management, I think it is important at times to “give students some space.” It’s ok to be low energy once in a while, and I don’t want to harass a student who is well meaning and just having a bad day or whatever the case may be…but what about the student who is continually disengaged? How do I positively and effectively get that student to buy in? I don’t have any great answers to this question.