I've had this blog since before Luke was born - mainly to chronicle my life as a mom, "scrapbook" memories with my kids and share with friends and family who don't live close by. As time has gone by, the blog has definitely grown and evolved and taken on more of a life of it's own :) I've shared A LOT about being a mom, but haven't shared tons about being a teacher - which is ironic since that takes up most of my waking hours. hahaha
Anyway, I'm going to make a point to share some of my tips, tricks and experiences, best practices, ideas and advice on a more regular basis. Probably not every Tuesday - but a couple of times a month.
Before I dive in to what goes on in my classroom daily, I thought I'd share a bit about "why" I teach the way I do. Why I love what I do. And why there's no other job I can imagine doing.
Up until the 7th grade – I spent many evenings crying over my math assignments – arguing with my dad, telling him that since he was in school sooooooo long ago the way he was taught wasn't the way they were teaching Math anymore and he was wrong :)
I was frustrated with the memorization of formulas, tedious repetition and “you do it this way because that’s how you do it” point of view that seemed to be present in my math classes. In 7th grade Mrs. Hartenstein came into the picture and everything changed for me. She encouraged me to think about the “why” behind what we were doing and apply creativity to problem solving – as the year went on I was learning instead of memorizing and was understanding the processes behind the procedures. My confidence in my own abilities grew and I started loving Math. Not only did Mrs. Hartenstein teach me valuable Math skills that year, she taught me how to think on my own and I left her class with a love for problem solving and a desire to broaden my Math knowledge.
Fast forward 9 years - zipping through upper level High school and college math classes, a detour in Marketing and Advertising and a Pre-Med plan and I found myself in my very own middle school Math classroom. :)
In my classroom, I want to give my students student-centered, engaging classes that push them to think and not simply to mimic. I believe that it’s my job to serve my students by teaching them knowledge specific to math, increasing their intuitive understanding of concepts, enabling them to become problem solvers and to work effectively in groups... all while challenging them to think both logically and abstractly.
I try to design my lessons to meet students at their level of knowledge and skill and, through creative and engaging activities that get them out of their seat, around the room, working with their hands, working as a team, coloring, creating and laughing – get them to grow in knowledge and insight. I always tell them that not everyone LOVES the subject math, but I want them to LOVE my classroom and feel confident in their abilities when they leave.
I love getting to know my students – I like to ask them what they did on the weekend, find out what their most embarrassing moment was and what they like to do off campus. I share funny pictures and stories, we laugh at the occasional Tim Hawkins video and I engage in their community. What I've learned is that by giving my students an opportunity to know me and by showing interest in their lives in and outside of school, they work harder for me and feel more invested in performing well in my class. When I started teaching nine years ago, the Headmaster used to talk often about “the informal curriculum” being the moments that aren't in our lesson plans that impact students the most and how something we say or do outside of a lesson might be the most impactful thing a student takes away from our class in the entire year. I hope that through their experiences in my classroom, students will grow academically, personally, socially and spiritually.
Being a teacher is A LOT of work, and there are definitely days where I leave frustrated and exhausted (and then I go home and cut out task cards for a Pre-Algebra activity the next day, make a review sheet for a geometry unit and grade 6 sets of papers. hahaha), but I truly feel that my middle school math classroom is my mission field. It's where God has called me to be and I'm grateful every day for the opportunity to speak into students lives.
So.... there you have it. I feel like it was LONG, but maybe shed a little light into my "philosophy" of education. I am DEFINITELY not an expert AT ALL, but I do think I'm fairly "seasoned" so if you have a particular topic or question you think would be fun for me to talk about let me know! I'm excited to give y'all a little peek into my classroom!
In case you're curious, here are a few posts I've done about #teacherlife
And because it wouldn't be a post of mine without a bunch of pictures :) Here are just a FEW of my very favorite teacher moments.
2011 - Come dressed as a teacher day :) I came dressed as a student - there were LOTS of Mrs. McAnally's. hahaha
2006 - Senior Citizens Day
2010 - Nerd Day. hahaha
My view from the SURPRISE baby shower my middle schoolers threw when I was pregnant with GG.
I LOOOOVE chaperoning dances with my fellow teachers! Because there's not many things more entertaining than a middle school dance :)
I cry EVERY year at graduation! EVERY. YEAR. Watching my little 7th grade babies all grown up and off to college makes me weepy!
PS - this filter makes our teeth look CRAZY white. hahaha
I LOVE getting to serve alongside my students... whether it's local missions (like at the Fire Safety building) or taking a group of high schoolers to minister in Jamaica)
I am a SUCKER for a spirit day! Mainly because I know what a big kick my kids get out of seeing me in old man sweatpants and a monkey tee :)
Senior Trip to NY and DC 2012
I came across this selfie that I took on the day before school started my very first year of teaching. I'm about to dive into a completely new career.... but first.... let me take a selfie! :)
I hope that if you're a teacher you were able to glean something from this today and that if you're not a teacher that I didn't give you flashbacks to your middle and/or high school math classes :)
Have a GREAT day, friends!!!