What did Tennessee?

…the same thing that Arkansas!

That was my CT’s non-math question of the day for W/U; an oldie but goody.  The math in today’s W/U consisted of finding: 1) the domain of a rational function y = (8+x)/((2x-3)(4x-1)) and 2) the value for x if the distance between the points (x,11) and (5,-4) is 17.  Most students found the first one with ease, while others tripped up, like I did initially, on the second.  When solving the problem, the best approach is to leave (x-5)^2, as is, on one side of the equality with 64 (= 17^2 – 15^2 = 289-225) on the other then take the square root of each side to yield x = 5 + 8 = 13 and x = 5 – 8 = -3; as opposed to squaring (x-5) then combining like terms; I’m a little rusty on optimal math approaches.  BTW, I wonder if one can be rusty at something they were never good at in the first place (optimal math, that is)??

Things came together between my CT and I today, too.  The timing could not have been more perfect.  At practicum yesterday, I was asked how things were at my placement and my honest answer was “it is too early to tell but that I thought it would in time.”  Well, time wasted no time, and here I sit, happy that my CT and I finally clicked and I’m off and running as a TC with my CT.

It all came together just before the end of my day when my CT and I had a nice chat about my time in front of the class today as well as a plan for the next two days where I will lead a lesson on standard position and co-terminal angles generating a worksheet and homework problems to reinforce the lesson.

As mentioned, I had my first chance to spend an extended period of time “teaching” the entire class today where I reviewed seven homework problems for which the students in P2 requested help.  These problems consisted of graphing various functions and relations (linear, quadratic, rational, square root, circle, semi-circle) as well as determining: a) whether each was a function, b) the domain and c) range.

Net net, it went well with much room for improvement, but hey, it was my first day in front of these students and I did not choke, trip, or die of a heart attack, which at my age, and going forward, is something I need to take preventive measures against.  Something I do not share with my fellow TCs…fortunately for them!

Looking back on the 15-20 minutes spent in front of the class today, and reflecting on my CT’s feedback, I feel satisfied with my contributions and know specific areas I need to improve upon: 1) write a little neater (this requires me to “slow down” a little – my writing cannot keep up with my thinking…my CT was OK with my writing though so I should table this for the time being), 2) do not introduce new concepts in the middle of others (e.g., I introduced “set-builder notation” while also providing the answer in interval notation – my CT felt this could confuse students or they might overlook it), 3) ensure I engage with the entire class and not just the side to my right and in the middle, 4) learn students names!, 5) compliment them / affirm them more consistently when they respond to a question, and 6) think about what I might say when explaining a problem before I am actually up in front – this will take some time since I am more of an extemporaneous speaker…so if I stick with that approach, which is likely, I need to develop consistent approaches to explaining how to work problems.

Today was a good day, indeed.  Glad Tennessee saw what Arkansas!

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 What did Tennessee?

  1. zshiner says:

    I’m glad you had a good day, Dave. I think that optimal ways of solving problems are really nice, and I love to see students do it, but it shouldn’t be expected unless it is the explicit goal of the lesson. I don’t even think I’d think to get every term under a square and cancel the exponent out. I’m not even sure if the students would know that technique. Though it makes sense intuitively, I would be hesitant to introduce that method of solving a problem without introducing logarithms first.


    • Dave says:

      Thanks for the feedback Mr. Z. It coming from you, especially, helps assuage my delicate math ego…which is ALL my issue…darn those hangups! But I shall overcome them!


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