Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day Two

I love teaching.  I do.  There is no other job as fun and diverse as mine.  Today was another awesome day.  I'm just as exhausted and overwhelmed as I was yesterday, but I'd rather be overwhelmed by a challenge than bored without one.  So here are my thoughts for the day:

The plan: Frog-in-a-well brainteaser for bell-work, graphing Multiple Intelligence and Learning Styles results, discussion about learning strategies and activities that are specific to the different intelligences and styles in our class.

I'm really enjoying doing the learning styles and multiple intelligence stuff so far.  I'm learning a lot about my students that a math pre-test just wouldn't tell me.  I teach the lowest math classes at each level so every class I have is full of the kids who really struggle with math.  Knowing how they think and how they learn is going to be a cornerstone of our success this year.  Without this info, I'd just do what I'm comfortable with and just hope that they get it...and most probably wouldn't. 

For example, my LOWEST intelligence is bodily-kinesthetic.  I'm just not a mover.  Don't get me wrong, I like to dance and I like to run, but moving isn't part of my learning life.  I'm perfectly happy to sit still and read, take great color-coded notes, and present whatever I've learned.  

So, that being said, am I terrified that my last class period is eight 9th graders who are ALL kinesthetic?  Absolutely.  In 2 days, these kids have moved more and talked more and, quite honestly, failed more than any of my other classes.  People talk about kids who "break the mold"...these kids are coming to me with the powder of the demolished mold stuffed into a Ziploc bag stashed in the bottom of their backpacks.

They feel like failures.  They say "I can't" and "it's too hard" about things like adding and drawing which tells me that it's not that they get overwhelmed by a difficult challenge, they just feel it.  In their bones.  Failure.  So they don't even think about trying.

My job this year with them is to grab their attention, restore their belief in themselves, and stuff them full of as much Algebra as I can, using games and movement and...I don't even know what else because it's not my thing...before our time runs out.

My new favorite verse?
   I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
  Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
I will wait for the Lord to lead.  And I will be strong and I will try to have courage, because I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord in this land of kids who think they are "dead in the water" when it comes to math.  I know they're not.  They're alive.  This is the land of the living.  I just know it.

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