I was at our high school this afternoon doing some administrative walk throughs when my day changed for the better.
Algebra teacher [half joking]: "Do you want to teach my next class?"The Algebra teacher started the class and went through the practice problems from the previous night. She introduced me and I took over from there.
Me: "What is the lesson?"
Algebra teacher: "Factoring trinomials. It's a challenging class of students."
Me: "I'm up for it."
Before I reflect on this experience, I want to provide a bit of context:
- Some of these students had siblings who were my former students.
- The Algebra class I taught was comprised primarily of 9th and 10th grade students who are fulfilling a math graduation requirement.
- I taught factoring once in my student teaching experience, but never in my own classroom.
- In my previous "administrator becomes the teacher" experience, I knew some of the students and had previously taught the lesson. Today confirmed that a blind relationship with the students and content makes teaching even more challenging.
- Even though I did not have time to check for understanding, I felt like the activities activating students' prior knowledge were meaningful. Philosophically, I believe math is "applying what you know to a new situation" which entails making connections every day between previous and current learning.
- Classroom management can be a challenge without a seating chart. The teacher provided me with a copy of her seating chart, but in the moment I resorted to pointing at students rather than addressing them by name. A few students tried to test the boundaries with a new guy in the room, so I established myself early with some wait time and "teacher looks." As it turns out, the student who was asked to leave the room due to his antics was extremely apologetic and claims he is not an issue for the classroom teacher.