Looking at the Big Picture

As this semester quickly comes to an end, it is time for reflections, exams, projects, and an overwhelming list of things to do. Looking back, this has been my favorite semester so far. Instead of feeling burned out and exhausted like past semesters, I am shocked how quickly this semester passed. I have taken all education courses, and I have learned more than any other year. When I think about why, it is simply because I have a passion for what I am learning. Passion is a driving force and makes all the difference when it comes to learning. Each class that I leave with a new teaching method and consider what kind of teacher I want to be, I am honestly encouraged. One word to describe this semester would be encouraging.

Every week I tutor in a second grade classroom at West Kelloggsville Elementary School. I have had the opportunity to assist them with their math lessons. The classroom teacher often falls into the typical instruction of algorithms without encouraging number sense and understanding. Connecting my experiences there and with what I have learned in MTH 223 has really enhanced my perception on how to teach mathematics. Understanding and number sense is SO important, yet it is rarely the focus in math. I want to change that. I want to be the kind of teacher that puts understanding first. Students should be able to see the importance of what they are learning instead of counting down the hours until they go home.

This course has made me re-evaluate teaching and see the impact of looking deeper into mathematical concepts. Even the concepts that we consider simple and elementary level contains patterns and characteristics that we never evaluated as a child. An example would be double-digit subtraction. If a student asked me exactly why do we borrow, would I be able to give them a complete answer? When I think about it, I was never taught why and I honestly never questioned it. Math is so full of “just do it” and any questions are often answered with “because you just do.” How can you teach children to do it without fully understanding it yourself? This class has made me explore concepts deeper so that I can answer those difficult questions.

The deep thinking and math activities from this course have been useful while I am tutoring. I am able to connect ideas in a way that I never would have been able to do without everything I have learned. I never realized how complex teaching mathematics is and just how much thought it required to teach it well. I want students to develop a passion for not only math but learning. I hope that I can take all of this new knowledge to teach successfully and intentionally. I am thankful for the opportunity to take such an eye-opening class.  I have never taken a class that has left me so informed, hopeful, excited, and absolutely encouraged.

Thank you Professor Golden!

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