Day 2 is now “water under the bridge,” so to speak.  It was a much more intensive day for me as I captured on my Mac much of what occurred so I could look back on the pedagogical flow for each class.  I was thinking of doing this most days as part of a daily placement journal with the intent to capture the details of my CT’s daily routine, follow up / to do items for me to address afterward and general observations to reflect upon throughout the year.  I will likely only use this during observations since later in the morning during a sync up meeting my CT commented about “teachers not hiding behind their computers” since they can become a “shield between them and the students.”  She made this comment after I asked her how she took role & checked for homework and how she later entered the data into her computer.  I might be reading too much into her comment so I will ask her tomorrow just to make sure we agree on when its OK for me to take notes.  Frankly, as I become more involved in “co-teaching” and real student teaching, this will become a moot point but I sense this might be an issue with her so its best to discuss.

Each class started with a warm-up (“W/U”) exercise that had a cool question (Would you rather be the sand castle or the wave?) and for the MA classes, three algebraic expressions for simplification while for the Alg2 class, they were to graph a linear equation (f(x) = 2x + 3) and quadratic equation (parabola: f(x) = x^2 – 4) .  The little time spent on the cool W/U question surprised me though but a class is only 45 minutes long this week so the CT knew she had to keep going…for P2 & P3, I was able to present a small slide set showing where I’ve lived in my life (over 30 places), what concerts I’ve been to that I could remember, what countries I’ve visited, what companies I’ve worked for and pictures of my boys and family – I went pretty quick through the 6 slides – about 3-4 minutes overall.

P2 and P3 nearly completed the square craft activity with their homework being to find the general equation to define the length of the side of smallest square in the sequence as H(n).  This was after the class found the general form for the leg length of any isosceles triangle in the sequence as L(n) = ((sqrt(2)/2)^(n-1))(s/2) where s is the length of the outermost square in the sequence.  [NOTE:  Is there a way to include mathematical characters in a blog post?]

P3 worked on a different group exercise where they needed to come up with a linear equation that defines the height of a cardboard box that will hold “n” paper cups and they were given two different size styrofoam cups to use.  They spent much of the class on this project with the CT dropping hints along the way.  This activity followed a mini-review by the CT of linear equations (slope-intercept form).

My CT also suggested that it might be beneficial if I found a male teacher, perhaps of a lower level course, for my secondary placement to provide me with another teaching perspective.  I will discuss with my program coordinator to see what they suggest.  I’m good with two CTs if the placement school and my credential school are OK with it and its not a greater burden on anyone, including me!

For the record, I felt a little uncomfortable today, in three different ways & times: 1) in general, feeling a little out-of-place not being fully engaged but I am OK with this so not sure what’s creating the feeling, 2) got myself wrapped around the axle with one of the math problems by triggering some latent self-doubt I have about my “mathematical skills” and spinning my wheels a bit working the math multiple ways – a separate post will follow for this issue someday, and 3) when meeting with my CT, we had an awkward moment when she mentioned something to me which I was still “digesting” in my brain and she asked if I was OK with what she suggested which I wasn’t but was not sure how best to discuss with her at the moment.  The  latter issue is typical when two professionals come together and try to find a way to work together…I see it even when my CT and the math chair sync up on Math Analysis curricula.

All of the earlier feelings will come and go, I’m sure, throughout my time at my placement, and even when I’m teaching on my own, once I graduate.  It’s good they’re coming up now so I can reflect on them and find a way not to let them bother me or disrupt my positive pedagogical energy!

Two down, 178 or so to go!! 🙂

About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Independent consultant and junior college adjunct instructor. Former secondary math teacher who taught math intervention, algebra 1, geometry, accelerated algebra 2, precalculus, honors precalculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Statistics. Prior to teaching, I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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2 Responses to Secondo

  1. Ms. Rachelle says:

    I think it’s really good that you made note of those “moments,” and made possible conjectures about why you were uncomfortable. Let us know how that goes!


  2. zshiner says:

    I like that you are so focused on the relationships being established in the classroom. I know communication is going to be essential this year and I think your reflections about how you and your CT interact is very important to that open communication. Also, my CT warned me (from experience in our program) before the school year started that I was in for lots of very awkward interactions my first year. It is good that you are aware of moments that unsettle you, but I think they are only natural – especially in the first weeks/months/years.


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