Thursday, August 25, 2016

Day 2: I'm Funny!

I always forget how much discomfort I have during the first two weeks of school.  The majority of it has to do with momentum.  This year, I'm teaching a class that I've never taught before and another that I haven't taught in 2 years.  I have no idea how to get started.

I was fortunate enough to get in touch with some teachers on the internet who gave me their course sequences, so I have a basic outline from which to work.  I also have a vast professional network through Twitter and my various conferences from which to gather resources.

I just need to actually do that.

"Proofreading" is also important.

Yesterday went so well, that I put a ton of pressure on myself to top it today.

We did our Estimation 180 warm-up and our Pledge to Improved Mathematics.  I'm making a conscious effort to model the kind of thinking that I'm looking and giving lots of opportunity for them to demonstrate theirs.  Then I asked them to tell me about bees.

This was a warm-up from a few years ago, but I extended it into a deeper conversation about patterns.  I had students work in groups on the whiteboards and was amazed by the work that they were doing.  I spoke about Growth Mindset and how I expect them to make and share their mistakes.  I'm prepping them for Monday when we will begin with Mistake Monday.

These kids are nice.  The youngest students that I've taught have been at the start of 8th grade. This year, I have those, but also ones who are considerably younger.  This difference is causing me to notice many things about younger students.

They are adorable!  I'm having to make a conscious effort not to constantly tell them so.  They are excited to learn and to show off what they know.  There's none of the cynicism that I have found in older kids.  Part of that could also be that they don't come from backgrounds that are nearly as rough as many of my former students.

I also had to talk to several classes today about how I call on students.  I explained that I don't always call on the first hand I see.  I want to give everyone in the room a chance to develop their thinking and I want to hear from everyone.  I pulled a girl aside this morning to tell her that I saw her hand up every time, but wanted to hear from others.  I didn't want her to get discouraged and I thanked her for her willingness to volunteer answers.

So far, the greatest discovery has been unexpected: they find me funny!

I get to be my normal goofy self, making jokes and using funny voices.  I get to dance and pretend to cry out of happiness.  Instead of rolling their eyes, they laugh.  Unfortunately, their age means that they don't understand many of the references I make, but  they laugh anyway.

In 10 years, they'll come back and visit me to tell me that they finally understand my jokes.


  1. I routinely (optimistically) tell my children that one day they will realize how funny I am. Hasn't really happened yet...

    1. The best part about being a teacher is that I get to use my dad jokes 6 times a day!


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