Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teacher Tuesday - A Little Bit About Mrs. McAnally :)

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!!!

39 comments:

  1. Hi Andrea, I'm studying to be a teacher at the moment (grade 4-9). I can't wait till I get my degree so that I can make learning fun like you do. You are definitely a teacher I aspire to be like!!

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  2. Oh my goodness!!! Dying laughing over the sweatpants/monkey shirt pic!!! Love it!!!

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  3. I so enjoyed this post!
    Your students are so lucky to have you!
    I have a teaching degree that's collecting dust right now, but this reminds me of why I want to use it again someday :)

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  4. yayy! your teaching posts are my favorite! love seeing the why and how behind other teachers! thanks so much for sharing!

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  5. I loved this post! I don't think teachers get enough credit honestly. It takes a very special person to be one and I don't think I've ever met a teacher who hated his/her job. I really wish you were my math teacher way back when. I'm sure I'd love math a lot more hahaha. Thanks for being so awesome :) happy Tuesday!

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  6. How I wish you could be my 9th grader's math teacher:) He has inherited my "lostness" in math. It's evident how much you love your students and how much they love you.

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  7. I loved everything about this post Andrea! Your classroom is TOTALLY your mission field, and that is so obvious to all of us that know you, even though we've never been in your classroom. Those kids (and those parents) are so lucky to have you as a teacher! Love you friend!

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  8. Girl, you are THE BEST teacher! I am constantly amazed by your energy, creativity, passion and love for your job and your students. You are really and truly amazing. XO

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  9. Thanks for your willingness to share! I am a 7th grade language arts teacher and people look at me weird all the time when I say that I LOVE that age! I think I'm going to really enjoy your teaching posts. Have a great day changing lives!
    ~K. Cramer

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  10. Your students are so lucky to have you!! You really are a great teacher!! Loved reading about your teaching philosophy!! :)

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  11. Your the kind of teacher that makes this profession so great!!!! Can't wait to hear more about your teaching ideas! Already going to change all my exams ;)

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  12. This teacher totally LOVED this post!! I teach 1st grade and always think to myself "how does she do it!!" ith everything going on in your family also! Amazing!!

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  13. Hi Andrea!

    I have never commented before but just had to today :) I live in South Australia and have been reading your blog for a while now. I teach Year 1/2s (6-7 year olds) and my husband and I have just had our first baby.

    I love all your family posts but get super excited when you share some info about your teaching. Today's post really warmed my heart! I just wanted to let you know that it is SO CLEAR that your students absolutely adore you. I am sure that so many of them think differently about mathematics now - because of you!

    Warm wishes,
    Megan xx

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  14. I love this post! As a teacher who is totally dragging this morning, it was just what I needed to feel renewed. :-)

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  15. Wish I had a teacher like you....oh so long ago!

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  16. love your spirit week pix!!!! so fun!!!! I know your students love being in your class. my 7th grade math teacher is the reason I became a teacher ... you are making such a difference in your students' lives!

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  17. Great post...really Great post!!! Love your passion for teaching and such a blessing for these kids that you are able to influence inside and outside the classroom!
    Have a blessed day! :-)

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  18. Love this post. I love math and would have loved to have you as a teacher! Such a good job at making your students love your classroom and to know them a bit more. That is the part I loved about going to a small college, all of the professors got to know us as people. Can't wait to read more about your teaching. You make me want to be a math teacher, haha!

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  19. Come teach in Colorado!! My daughter could really use you as a teacher!! I wish more teachers would make learning math fun.

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  20. I wish there were more teachers like you in this world...with a true passion and excitement for it!! Your students are lucky to have you :-)

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  21. I just graduated with a Bachelor's degree in middle level english education for middle level! I LOVE reading your teacher posts! They give me so many ideas and it makes me so excited to eventually have a classroom of my own!

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  22. I loved this post! I taught for 7 years before my husband's job moved us to Stockholm, Sweden last year. I volunteered and subbed last year in Stockholm and this year I'm subbing again. I miss teaching SO much. I thought it would be my "filler job" between school and babies but after one year in the classroom I knew that was where I was meant to be. I absolutely love it and I love reading your teaching posts! Hope this becomes a regular, weekly thing!

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  23. Great post! I loved chaperoning middle school dances! I wish my oldest daughter could have had a math teacher like you instead of 5 different ones in the 3 years of middle school. Your students, their parents and your administration are VERY lucky to have you! Thank you for all you do!

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  24. I could only WISH that my kids had a great math teacher like you! One in college and two in high school - don't think they have had anyone who has the motivation to teach them the "whys" and desire for problem solving like you described!

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  25. I wish, oh how I wish we lived close enough for you to be my boys' math teacher!!! You have a gift and it's so fun to read how you put it to use.

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  26. Wow, thanks for sharing. Looks like you found your calling. I wished I had a teacher like you in middle school.

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  27. I loved this!! I teach elementary math and try every day to Instill the love of math in my children and teach the whys and problem solving. Like you, I was inspired by a middle school math teacher! Thanks for this post today.

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  28. This is great! It's so important to have a passion for teaching b/c the paycheck is certainly not always motivating! I love reading your take on things, especially since I'm married to a teacher. :-)

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  29. I'm 32 and have a career in a math-related field. Can I come take your 7th grade class? LOL! Looks amazing!

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  30. Such a great post and the pictures are so fun!

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  31. I was reading some of your other related posts and think the graphics are hilarious! Do you make them yourself or is there a specific place you go to get them? Google?

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  32. "my middle school math classroom is my mission field" - LOVE! Your students are blessed to have you!

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  33. Love this! Thank you. As a teacher, it's so easy to get bogged down with Common Core, curriculum, meetings, and testing. As I'm heading off to work today, thanks for reminding me about why I became a teacher and what's most important.

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  34. LOVE this post, thanks for sharing more about why you teach! I admire you for what you do and how you love your job and your students! Your students are truly blessed to have you as a teacher!

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  35. Love this post, and I love seeing your passion and your love for teaching!!

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  36. As a parent, it's so comforting to know that there are teachers out there like you... loving our kids and doing your absolute best for them! xo

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  37. Hi andrea, I popped over here from shay's blog to ask you if you would share where you found Kensington's birthday dress from? But now after seeing your blog I now have a great new blog to enjoy! Thank you for sharing:)

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  38. I still don't know how you get it all done- the party stuff for others, the card business, the full-time teaching, mom of 3, wife...how do you do it all??? As a private school teacher I think you probably do as much or more than public school teachers in the way of "extra curricular" time spent at the school as well for night activities, weekend activities, and the occasional retreat with the kids.

    Would love to see some "typical day from morning to bed" posts from you for a week to get an idea of how you fit it all in/multitask etc...do you just skip sleep? Amazing!
    Jenny

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  39. I'm behind reading my favorite blogs while being away on vacation...I just have to say that I love all of your posts. You truly represent the reality of working Moms everywhere. I admire your passion for your career as a teacher and your #1 role as a Mom. Your students and three kiddos are lucky to have you! :)

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