Progress in Letting Go

My CT made a huge step towards letting go of more of her teaching responsibilities this morning.  About twenty minutes before 2nd period, she asked me if I wanted to grade 2nd period’s recent Algebra I quiz, to which I rapidly responded:  “Yes, I enjoy grading them,” which I do since it helps me understand some of the dilemmas in creating, scoring, and grading assessments.  She smiled and said she would gladly let me have the pleasure of doing so, or something along those lines.

I spent the next fifteen minutes creating a key by taking the quiz, assigning points for each problem after thinking about what partial credit I could give per problem, then asking my CT to check the key for me.  Embarrassingly, I made three mistakes on my key:  misread one problem putting its equation in point-slope form and not slope-intercept form, and worse, missed a negative in one coordinate when computing slope in the same problem; then marked the key allowing both integers and rational numbers for an equation in standard form.  That one did not go over well, since it was inconsistent with what she had taught, so my bad, especially in front of all my mathematician colleagues.  The earlier two were more natural, human mistakes, although I was still bummed making them; caffeine withdrawal strikes, again!

On the point assignment side, she agreed with most of my point assignments, except three, which we discussed.  She strives to make sure problems are scored in such a fashion to reduce a chance of point loss for someone missing the problem, and at the same time does not give too many points away.  My rationale is I want to make sure I can give partial credit for as many as possible, especially for showing work that makes some sense.  It was great that we had the opportunity to talk through her perspective to help me understand her point of view.  I will adapt some of her thoughts, but not all.

As time approached 2nd period, I mentioned to my CT that I would grade the quizzes over the weekend, which caused a frown and quiet from her.  She started to say “leave them with her” then stopped and laughed a bit saying it was fine; she realized that she would likely neither get to grade them today, nor at home if she took them, so she openly reasoned it should be fine for me to take them home.  I even went so far as to volunteer to grade 4th period’s quiz, which she gladly let me take, but she was concerned that I not overload myself which was very thoughtful of her.

Her recognizing that she can let go of certain aspects of the class is a watershed moment, one that is critical for me to take over independent teaching early next year, especially so since she is going on maternity leave then, too.

By the way, I’ve purposely been treading very lightly, and slowly, with her regarding taking on more of the class to not make her skittish.  I simply do not want her to get upset with me since I’m still a little scarred from my first CT experience; once bitten, twice shy.  So today was a very good day, indeed.

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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