Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Learning Lessons

Some lessons are learned from study and practice. Other lessons are learned from trial and error.

Hannah's lesson of the day was learned by, you guessed it, trial and error.

This afternoon I was in another Middle School doing another observation. I was in an 8th grade math classroom and for those of you who know me well, you will know that math and I are not the best of friends. It takes me a while to understand it and when I do, it will take me twice as long to explain it.

Now that you've got the setting let's move ahead to my lesson that was learned.

The teacher introduced me as Ms. Turnbull to the class of 8th graders and they responded with hellos. The teacher proceeded to ask me what year I was in college and what I wanted to teach when I graduated. I answered that I wanted to teach middle grades and my concentrations are in history and language arts. "Oh", she responded, "You're in a math classroom but you aren't studying math?"

And here is where I learned my lesson. My response to her question was this. "Oh! I could not teach math. I'm just not that great at it, and it is so confusing."

Whoops. All the kids latched on to that idea, "See! I knew this was confusing and hard! Yah! It is SO tough!" The teacher looked at me, smiled, and said, "Oh no! That was not the encouragement these kids needed." I tried to recover by saying it was probably just confusing to me, but that didn't help much.

Lesson learned: Never, ever say something is confusing in front of a classroom of kids trying to learn that something. Always be encouraging letting them know that all of this schooling is necessary and that they will eventually get it.

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