Student Feedback on Student Teachers

Two things happened this week that were pretty impressive to me as a mentor teacher.

#1) No tech? No big deal.

Early in the week, my projector went out.

My student teacher had planned several days’ lessons around discovery with our interactive algebra tiles mat and with algebra tiles in Desmos. The plan was to start the discussions as a whole class and then allow students to do some discovery on their own using Chromebooks. Then we would allow students to justify their reasoning to the class and have some discussion on what we noticed/wondered with the structure.

That was the plan, but you know Mr. Murphy and that infamous law.

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Thanksgiving message from a former student

A former student from years ago (no old lady jokes!!) sent this message on Facebook yesterday. It was completely out of nowhere, but completely appreciated. Aaaaaaaand I may have shed a single tear, but keep that on the DL.

Hey Hedge!
I just wanted you to know that you are my favorite teacher ever (don’t tell any other teachers) and you’ve really had an influence on me personally as well as scholastically. Scholastically, you were the first teacher to really challenge me and you always pushed me and I can’t thank you enough because you really helped me strive for the best and you’re encouragement really helped. Personally, you’re just awesome! You’re hyper, upbeat attitude always kept me laughing and I always loved hearing you cheer from the stands at basketball games! I always knew I could come by your room and talk and you would always be happy to see me. I miss you and I hope to see you before too long! Happy Thanksgiving!

Why Am I Teaching This?

I’ve had the privilege to engage in some fantastic conversations with math teachers of every grade level in and out of my district. I’ve discovered that sometimes teachers feel that some of the objectives they teach serve no purpose, which leads to frustration. They may think “there’s no real-world application for it”, “it will be done later with a calculator so why bother”, or they feel the objective will never “appear” again anywhere down the line. To be honest, I’ve thought the same thing in my own classroom. Sometimes I was right, and sometimes I was wrong. But I needed someone else (usually a grade/course or two higher) to show me WHY it was important and it led to great discussions that really opened my eyes.

If you feel that way about an objective in your curriculum, please fill out this Google form. I’d also like your Twitter ID to contact you later with questions (if you’re willing).

My goal is to (hopefully) start helping making connections and developing relationships across the grades. I think it would be really amazing to see some collaboration between K-12 teachers**. I want elementary and middle school teachers to see how important they are to laying the foundation to higher level mathematics and also allow high school and college math teachers to see where concepts are being introduced in the lower levels. And maybe (pretty please?) foster ideas for student collaboration between a high school class and an elementary class.

Thanks in advance for your input!

**special thanks to @druinok for helping me work out the kinks of this idea!

Best text from a stats student in a long time…

Late Saturday afternoon, I get this in my Google Voice inbox:

Hey omg omg omg okay. So I was kinda freaking out before the ACT this morning because I haven’t had “ACT math” since alg 2 last year. HEDGE. There was a contingency table and 3 questions about it!!!! There were also several probability questions. I have never felt so good about an act math section before !!! So even though my grade in my class isn’t so great–I really have already learned so much in stats that has helped me with “bigger picture tasks” so yay thanks 😀

So is the frustration worth it?

Yeah. Yeah, it is.