Out of the Fishbowl

I felt a little embarrassed this morning while performing one aspect of my daily routine as a student teacher.  Every morning for 2nd period (Algebra 1), I facilitate whole-class participation in warm-up problems (usually 1-2 problems taking 5-7 minutes) and homework review (another 5-7 minutes).  I usually do well, with the most challenging aspect centering on drawing out students to “help” me solve the problems, step by step, so the entire class benefits, especially those who are still struggling with the material.

Today, however, the students provided me with real help, once my CT jolted me back to reality with a well-timed, and whispered, “Aren’t you finding the equation?”  That woke me up, with a slight sense of “Where am I?” coursing through me as I sought my bearings, in the space of a second or two, while standing in front of the class staring at my writing on the board, little of which was what the problem asked us to find.

This all came about for some reason this morning, since I felt compelled to graph the Warm Up problem when it only asked to find the equation (one in slope-intercept form (y=mx+b), the other in point-slope form (y-y1 = m(x-x1)).  Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a fog while doing the problem, which, I believe, is somewhat related to my recent decision not to drink coffee, or tea, in the morning; I’ve had some form of caffeine every morning for the past decade plus so this is a big deal.

Fortunately, two students jumped right in to help me finish the two problems with a minimal amount of egg on my face, for which I thanked them, and the entire class.  I went on to state something about not having my caffeine this morning, and that it was good for them to see that teachers’ make mistakes, too, or something along those lines.  I just hope I don’t make too many!  Especially, from not being caffeinated enough.

By the way, this post’s title came from a radio announcer calling game 1 of the World Series who mentioned the Rangers’ players were “Out of the fishbowl” since their minds were apparently elsewhere as they melted down in the fifth inning, with the SF Giants scoring 6 runs against the Rangers’ ace pitcher.  While my mistake was not exactly as dire as the Rangers’, it felt pretty intense to me, so the saying works for this post.  And there you have it.

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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