MTBoS week 1

Posted: October 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Week 1 challenge is to blog on one of two topics (favorite open-ended/rich problem or what makes your classroom distinct).

I believe that there are a few characteristics that make my classroom distinct, so I choose the “easier” writing prompt.  I have already blogged about my NO HOMEWORK philosophy.  Students are not requesting to “transfer” into my class because of it, but I truly believe in the philosophy.

Students want to be in my class for one reason: my ability to help students make the necessary connections that lead to student learning.  I believe in connections as much as I believe in no homework.  Both are at the very foundation of my teaching philosophy.  Learning occurs because of the connections made between the student and the material.  I look for connections to previous knowledge.  I look for connections to make the material relevant to the student.  I look for connections to future concepts.  Yet, the most important connection that I spend the most energy and effort looking for is creating a personal connection between myself and my students.  I am the teacher I am because of these connections.  I connect with students because I have a sense of humor.  I connect because I care.  I connect with students because I am passionate and persistent.  I connect because I strive for mastery from myself and from my students.  How do I show this?  I celebrate the small success, I go to their extracurricular activities, I ask about their weekend, I listen to their jokes (and I even tell my corny ones too), I notice when they seem down, I notice when they seem excited, I notice when they are tired, I notice, I notice, I notice.

Teaching is so much more than the math we teach.  Students want people to care about them.  Students want to connect with others.  I am not the only teacher who cares, but it does make my classroom distinct.

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Comments
  1. pdodds3 says:

    This article is wonder and I couldn’t agree more. I have long believe that far and away one of the greatest learning motivators is a strong connection between student and teacher. I also make a point to go to as many extracurricular activities as possible but your post has inspired me to work on my empathy- to notice the students moods more often and make an effort to bring them up when they’re down. Thanks for the great post and your students are lucky to have you!

  2. Matt says:

    “Teaching is so much more than the math we teach”

    I distinctly remember only a handful of my elementary, middle and high school teachers. I don’t necessarily remember particular concepts, but I do remember how those teachers made me feel about learning. Many of the teachers helped instill in me a desire to learn more about the topic we were discussing. I understood that these teachers cared about me as an individual.

    Your post reminds me of how important it is to create a classroom community that enables students to reach their potential. Building positive rapport with parents/students is a critical component and often impacts student learning in and outside the classroom. I look forward to you next post.

  3. Mary says:

    I agree that teaching is so much more than content–your students are lucky to have you!

  4. ashlinbd says:

    I agree wholeheartedly! I try my best to make connections with each and every student and to show interest in what they do outside my class. It never hurts to get off topic and get carried away in the nonsense that high schoolers dream up! It probably makes them more productive after the fact anyway!

  5. Roy Hathorn says:

    Nice post. It looks like you are speaking to the group that gets it. How do we as caring educators help others?
    Is it fair to students if the characteristics you speak of do make your class distinct?

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