Placement Wk 4: Maths Madness

After a successful week of teaching literacy, I went into this week feeling positive. I was apprehensive about teaching maths but I had a secure grasp of the concepts myself and had done well so far.

The night before I finalised my plan and did some more research, to ensure I could stretch my highers with my own knowledge on the subject; prime numbers…This is where the issues began. I was working from my mentors planning, so already had activities for the class. I wanted to make sure I thoroughly understood what they needed to do, but soon found I was struggling to get my head around their task. This threw me completely… After a long evening of panic (and a few desperate calls to a friend) I finally managed to understand what they needed to do, and was able to explain it (or so I thought).

The following morning I decided to voice my worries with my mentor, who was very helpful. She gave me some tips on how she would approach the lesson and I instantly felt better…I could definitely do this, right?

The lesson approached, and it is safe to say I did not crash and burn…but the class did not leave with a dazzling knowledge of prime numbers either. Despite my preparation, and my own confidence in the subject, explaining it to someone else was a different challenge. How do you explain prime numbers adequately, without just saying “prime numbers are numbers that can only be divided by 1 and themselves”? …which I think is about the gist of what I said during that hour.

There were lots of positives to take away from the lesson, but it was certainly my worst so far. This, without a doubt, knocked my confidence and left me feeling terrified to go home and finish planning my lesson on square numbers for the following morning. My mentor had given me excellent feedback, and I knew where I had gone wrong. However what left me feeling worried was that a lot of this came down to me still needing to develop my own understanding of maths. That conceptual understanding I was lacking, made it difficult for me to fully explain something in depth to the class, or know how to allow them to investigate the concept themselves.

Fast forward to square numbers the next day. I took everything on board and thankfully, this lesson was an improvement. It was by no means an outstanding lesson, but I adapted my planning and delivery using my mentors feedback and it showed.

Despite me secretly wanting to be outstanding from the get go (who doesn’t want that?!) This was more of a success then just getting it right first time. By struggling with my lesson I was able to understand something about myself. I know what I was lacking in those lessons, and I can continue to work on that. I still hope to one day be an excellent maths teacher, but I’ve got a long way to go. However, I am so proud of what I’ve already achieved, and as long as I’m improving from lesson to lesson then I’m happy.

This week Christmas chaos is in full swing and I am certainly ready for a break! I have been fighting off a cold and now have a horrible tickly cough that leaves me with embarrassing episodes of coughing fits (perfect when you’re standing up in front of 30 year 5s). I am really hoping this week goes by quickly. I am in desperate need of a break and time to catch up on uni assignments, although I think most of my Christmas will be spend reading up on teaching maths.

At the end of last week we went back to uni for a lecture on applying for jobs. This morning I really cannot quite comprehend someone wanting to employ me, but hopefully a break over Christmas will leave me feeling a little more employable come January. If nothing else, it will leave me feeling human again!

A mathematically challenged Miss

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