Unexpected High Points

This afternoon I had a double year 9 lesson after lunch. I was tired, hadn’t eaten enough and wasn’t looking forward to it.

They’re a beautiful bunch of kids, but they’re hard work. They’re easily distracted and if they get stuck on a question they have a tendency to give up and get off task. It’s always tiring to have to repeat “keep going”, “focus” or some similar phrase over and over for an 100 minutes.

Then three really lovely things happened.

  1. I was helping a student with a question when his friend piped up with “Miss, I like having you as a maths teacher. You explain things really well”
  2. One girl commented to her friend “I actually think I’m going to learn a lot of maths this year!”
  3. One boy, who at first glance seems to be a trouble maker, struggles with maths and would prefer to not try than look silly. I was sitting with him today working through some problems when he slowly started to get it. The smile on his face and the pride that was shining out of him when he started getting questions right was absolutely beautiful.

And with those three little moments a lesson I was really not looking forward to left me feeling all warm and fuzzy on the way back to the staffroom.

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2 thoughts on “Unexpected High Points

  1. Hi Heather,

    Great blog.

    I can certainly relate to many of the observations and struggles you are having. Flipped learning seems to have helped refocus your primary purpose in the classroom – which is to develop a learning environment where students feel safe in and that you can engage with them more regularly on an individual basis to help them navigate any road blocks in their learning.

    Your comment about feeling like you were wasting their time as they were copying notes from a board and the importance of pacing and timing (too fast/too slow) resonated with me.

    Are you sharing your strategies with other maths teachers at your school? I am finding that although in theory many teachers like the idea – they are put off by the technical aspect/or more concerning – they are not confident in teaching mathematics – and therefore avoiding recording any of their understandings.

    It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job, and that you have used technology/digital video in a very powerful way to focus on content mastery and student engagement (which is what I think all teachers really want to do). Thank you for sharing your thoughts, successes, frustrations through this blog.

    I look forward to reading more of your experiences.

    Mara.

    • Hi Mara,

      It’s always nice to know there’s someone out there reading my ramblings and finding it relatable!
      Flipping my classes is the best thing I’ve ever done in my (admittedly short) teaching career. The changes I’ve seen in my students have been amazing.

      I’m sharing what I’m doing with lots of teachers at my school – maths and others – slowly converting them to flipping. Only one has dived right in with me so far, but there are a fair few who are testing the waters and having a play. I think the major hurdle is that it’s a lot of work for those teachers who currently do little planning because they’ve taught things so many times before that they already have resources. On top of an already crazy workload, changing things so drastically can seem daunting. I figure the best way to convert them is to convert the students and show the teachers the results.

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