Former Math Teacher
Newark (Ohio) City Schools
What are the keys to your success as a math teacher?
I feel that teaching is an art, and you have to love what you do to be successful. But with the wisdom that comes with 35 years experience, I would say "planning and patience" are keys to being successful. You have to plan with clear learning targets, not just activities, and realize that all students do not learn at the same pace or in the same manner, so being flexible is also a key component.
What obstacles have you had to overcome teaching math.
Once I realized the keys listed in #1, I could handle most other obstacles. With me personally, I had to realize my students were not raised in the same manner as I was. Respect was not automatically given to adults or authority figures, one has to earn it!
Do you have a routine that you follow? (Ex. Daily? Weekly?)
I tried to follow daily routines (bell work, notes,etc), but also realized it could be boring. My students were aware of my classroom expectations, so "switching gears" was usually not a problem. Again...planning is key!
Is there a favorite unit or project that you teach? Could you please describe the topics covered and why it is one of your favorites?
One of my very favorite units was taught in Applied Geometry...surface area and volume. Students peeled oranges and fit their peel into as many great circles (from their orange) as possible. Messy, but discovering they could fill 4 regardless of the size of the orange led them to the surface area of a sphere formula! (Plus the room spelled great)! The unit assessment was a "Grocery Store Test." I will be glad to share later.
What kind of technology do you use in your classes?
Unfortunately, very little. Graphing calculators in Algebra 2 was about all I had available. With our brand new high school this year we have lots of options. I am pleased to see most of our teachers taking advantage of the technology!
If you had the power, how would you change the way math is taught at school
I would like to see more Problem Based Learning and collaboration from our students. Kids are capable of great things, given the opportunity! With the right motivation, "flipping the classroom" interests me in some upper level courses.