Thursday, March 8, 2018

Good Things

I feel like I've had a lot of negative posts lately.  And if I haven't, that's just because I wrote them and didn't publish them.  Maybe it's just that time of year, but I'm ready for a change!

This was our first week back after February vacation.  I was feeling very refreshed after the week off and I made a few changes to the room, including putting up these digits of pi posters in the hall outside my classroom.  And the comments I've been hearing from students this week really just bring a smile to my face each day.

The first day the posters went up, a lot of students just mentioned how colorful it was.  A few wondered how many numbers were up there and I listened as one student said she would count them all and another said he was going to count "across and down, then multiply."  That was a conversation I didn't expect to hear as it was not related to pi itself, but it was neat to hear their different strategies.

Then I had seven or eight students standing outside my room after school when I came back up to my classroom from outside duty.  Some of the students I didn't even know because they aren't on my team, but they were all talking about the numbers.  And they had so many questions for me when I got there!

They knew the numbers were the digits of pi, but that was about it.  They asked what pi is, how and why it never ends, if there are other numbers like pi that never end, how pi was discovered, if pi ever repeats.  We talked about how pi might be a "long" number, but it's not really a big number - it's only between 3 and 4.  It was so cool to have those conversations with some of my students, but also with students I don't even know (and some of whom I only know of because they're in trouble a lot, but here they were after school, talking about math with me and other kids!).

Feeling so refreshed helped me to pick out the positive in some of the other things that happened this week.  We had one and a half snow days.  I am so sick of snow and at this point we've had so many that we have to make them up at the end of the year, but it makes that transition back to work from a vacation week a little bit easier when it's not a full week.

I had my formal observation this week.  Every year I've finished my formal observation feeling like it went well.  This year I really didn't have that feeling, but I realized after some reflection that I think it was the type of lesson that I picked this year.  Students were engaged and working hard all class.  It was a productive struggle, but it wasn't resolved until the next day in class, which my principal did not get to see.  So while I'm not sure how my observation went, the full lesson itself over the course of two and half days did feel worthwhile and really challenged my students.

I also got news this week that my principal is thinking of moving me to a sixth grade team next year when one of our teachers retires.  I have such mixed feelings about this because while change excites me, I really love where I am.  I love my team, I love my students at this age, I love the eighth grade curriculum.  And I always figured if I was going to teach, it would be high school.  I started out in a 7th/8th grade split position and have moved my way up to full eighth grade.  I want to keep moving up to high school, not down to sixth grade!  But the idea of catching kids earlier, when they're still more curious and hopefully don't hate math yet, is intriguing.  Nothing's been decided and I don't know that I have much say in the matter, but if anyone has feedback on teaching sixth grade, I'd love to hear it!


  1. When Admin wants to move you, it only means 2 things: you are a very, very good teacher and the 6th grade team is a mess ... hopefully you can fix the terrible things going on there, OR you are perceived as someone who is struggling with the 8th grade content, discipline, culture, etc.

    1. Classroom management is not my strength, but I've improved since moving to 8th grade a few years ago. I taught 7th before that and they moved me because they needed a strong math person in the 8th grade. This time they said again that they want a strong MATH teacher - not K-6 elem. ed. - but I can't help but feel like it's because I'm still working to improve my behavior management, particularly with one class this year.