Archive | November, 2011

Staying Positive

21 Nov

It’s been awhile since I have written anything.  I’d like to say it’s because I’m super busy and have no time, but really I just have fallen out of practice.  I am in my internship and they are so many new and interesting things happening, that by the time I debrief with my Co-op teacher, my mom and dad, and my best friend, I have no time to share it on here!

Today it is time to share something.

It’s obvious that most kids hate math.  Who are we kidding… I hate math most days too.  I teach a class that does Workplace and Apprenticeship over two semesters, which is twice the time it normally takes.  These kids hate math… a lot.

The behaviour in the classroom up to this point has made complete sense.  The kids dislike math for numerous reasons, the two main reasons being low confidence and a bad attitude.  Math has such a negative stigma, and because of their previous poor experiences, the students have not been very open to learning math.

With low confidence and poor attitude brings a bigger disturbance.  Bad behaviour.  Not only are these kids struggling with the math work, but also struggling with being in a class with a poor environment.

While approaching the current unit I am teaching I focused on one main thing.  Time.  I have broken everything down to the smallest concepts possible, and take that one day at a time.  Considering they get twice the time of a regular course, there is freedom to do such a thing with my class.

In the last three days, the entire environment of the class has changed.  I gave the first quiz of the unit, and the lowest mark was still passing, with the highest being 100%.  The day after this they asked to have another quiz… so I gave them one.  Yesterday, every single student worked on their assignment, finished in class, and corrected it.  This rarely happens, almost never.

The change has been their confidence.  They believe that they are able to do this work, and the behaviour has improved.

I’m not always the biggest supporter of grade, it’s a topic I struggle greatly with… but the way our society has been set up, thus far, has been associated with them.  No matter how much they could think they understand the material, or even with me telling them that, until they saw the percent they got on the quiz, they didn’t believe it for themselves.

It’s not just the grade that has made the difference, obviously, but if you were to ask the students what changed, that would be it.

I want to work towards making sure it’s always a positive and confident environment in the classroom, regardless of the grades.