Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Time Teaching

I taught my first math lesson to the eighth graders yesterday. It went surprisingly well. These students are not known to treat substitutes or even their regular teachers very well, so I was pleased when they actually listened and did what I asked them to do.

I started out the period by giving them an assignment right when they walked in the door, while greeting each of them by name. Surprisingly, they got to work right away! After that, I went over my classroom expectations and told them a little about myself. I decided to be straightforward with them and explain that I am new at this teaching thing and hope they could be patient with me. They took it well.

The material was not difficult. Mostly finding patterns in numbers and then developing algebraic rules that correspond to them. So my main goal was to present the information in an interesting way. I applied the material to a problem about basketball. I solved the problem in order to estimate how many minutes I should practice my free throws in order to increase my free throw percentage. The boys were especially interested, which is what I was hoping.

I was humbled realizing how much work goes into teaching. I still have a lot to learn. The biggest thing I need to work on is making sure that they are quiet before I start talking. They need to learn how to be respectful to me when I am speaking, and I need to learn how to uphold my expectation of that. It is difficult to lead. It is difficult to organize. It is difficult to be a responsible adult in charge.

I am glad that this is the beginning. It's only going to get better with practice. Practice makes closer-to-perfect.

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