Education and the teacher’s involvement in a student’s academic career has a significant impact on the student’s life and future. As a secondary mathematics educator it is my goal to be that positive influence that enables my students to apply what they learn in class in their everyday lives. I am a persistent teacher in that if a student has difficulty with a concept or material, I will work tirelessly to find a way to help the student understand the material. That is my motivation for becoming an educator. Finally seeing the understanding in the student’s eyes when the material begins to make sense and seeing them succeed when previously it was seen as impossible.
I have found that one of the best ways to do this is to connect with my students, whether this is through common interests or the jokes included with my personality. If the student enjoys working with their teacher, they will be more likely to enjoy working with the material. To start this process I have found that it is important to learn each students preferred methods of learning. Some students are visual learners while others are auditory learners. This is why differentiated instruction is so important when teaching in, not only special education classrooms, but general education classrooms as well. I employ many different types of lessons such as group work and think pair share activities during my inquiry lessons to allow the students to stay active during lessons. For example, when I introduced the notion of imaginary numbers, I asked the students to think about why a negative number under a radical sign would create an imaginary number. I then asked the students to talk in groups of three to share their opinions. Finally I asked each group to explain why they believed the square root of a negative number produced an imaginary number. This is extremely important when teaching subjects such as math.
Learning mathematics requires a different type of motivation as most subjects are taught through facts and opinions, math is taught through problem solving. This is why an explanation of when the material can be used in everyday life is necessary. It is the thought that if this is useful, then I’ll learn it. Through this motivation, students can begin to understand what mathematics truly teaches. While learning that manipulating equations is similar to that of a seesaw is useful, mathematics is much deeper in that it teaches how to think critically as well as logically. Through using already learned information to solve new problems, students learn how to work around issues and persevere no matter how difficult a task looks. This is why when teaching mathematics I tend to use a step method of teaching during direct instruction lessons. Beginning with simple problems allows students to gain a small proficiency while building confidence with the material. This then leads to slightly more difficult problems until finally ending with the supposed scary looking problems of the regence and common core. The common core in particular seems to resonate well with this type of teaching as it deals with the theoretical side of teaching first and then implements practice after.
As an educator it is my duty to prepare my students for the real world. I use every ability in my repertoire to convince students that mathematics is important and useful. I believe that every student learns in their own unique way which should be embraced during lessons. I believe that problem solving is important in everyday life. Finally I believe that teaching is 10% content and 90% personality.