Blue Shirt Tuesday

Friday, July 21, 2006

End of Summer Reflections

Tomorrow I leave Oxford to go back to Cincinnati for a week. I will have spent 8 weeks in Mississippi, taught 30 lessons, and taken 3 classes. On July 31 I will report to Greenville-Weston High School for my first day of work. On August 7 the students will arrive and I will be a teacher.

The summer has gone well. The teaching experience was nowhere near as fun or feel-good or even as rewarding as Summerbridge was in the past, but it was a better preparation for the less fun, less feel-good and less rewarding teaching experience that I will be having this fall. A full class of students is hard, but I am feeling confident right now. I managed at summer school, and even through there were difficulties, I felt that I was effective. There are a thousand things I would change about how I taught and how I ran the classroom, but I have a year to make those changes. I don't have to be perfect on day one. Two big differences between summer school and the fall will work in my advantage. First, I will have my own classroom. I will be able to set it up and organize it and establish the rules that fit me best from day 1. This will help me establish consistency, and control the classroom. Second, I will have textbooks at my disposal. Even if I don't have teachers' editions or lesson plan manuals, having a classroom set of text books will let me save a ton of time that I spent typing up worksheets during summer school.

I want to be a good teacher eventually, but I have come to understand that I must first focus on being an effective teacher. Teach math. that is what I am responsible for, and that is what I must focus on at first. Once I can do that, I can move on to inspiring excitement in the material, encouraging exploration, building relationships, and other things that good teachers do. For now, I just need my students to know how to solve math problems.

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