I Teach To My Teenage Self

Do you teach to your teenage self? I definitely do.

I always had something to say, so I let my students pretend to raise their hands while they shout out...my bad.

I like working on math, I love puzzles and conundrums,  I enjoy parallel play, I get sparked from the direction others take, so I do a lot of group work and partner work.

An "Ah-ha" is my addiction, so I guide others to make them as often as possible.

With Nancy Kerns 1981, Seniors!
I have always been crafty, so I use interactive notebooks.

I always want to know up front the point of what I am doing and where I am going, so I give the big picture and show the students where they are along the path.

I loved the teachers who shared stories with us, and brought us in, just a little bit, like we were special, so I tell my students stories.

I have never been able to sit still, not barely a moment, so I give my students purposefully planned times to move around and take 2 minute social breaks.

I was pretty much on my own my Senior year, oh and my Freshman year (traveling back and forth between Santa Rosa and San Francisco by bus on Monday morning and returning on Friday afternoon. Okay, probably for a lot of my Sophomore and Junior years too, but in my Sophomore year I couldn't drive yet. So I let tardies slide for students who come in and get to work without a fuss, I let students turn in two assignments the next day if they come up to me quietly and say the were overwhelmed or explain the situation (I don't announce this as the protocol, I just let be). I think their time is Uber valuable and try to mitigate busy work.

I think there should be some way to self assess, because I did that constantly. (No one else cared about my grades or how much I understood), so I try to make them THINK about how they are doing.

I was brought up in a house where teasing was NOT allowed and shame was not in our vocabulary. I never want to embarrass a student or shame them in public, so I don't do random calling on students. I also make sure everyone has a chance to read to themselves silently before I ask for or "volunteer" volunteers.


I have a colleague who uses the Call and Response Method of Teaching, I think it is more professionally referred to as RTI. Hey! Jason at Always Formative straightened me out! The inservice was about EDI not RTI. (We had some kind of inservice for it years ago, it wasn't me and I left early.) She is 27 and I would call her a master teacher. She also teaches Algebra 1. Her room is so quiet. Her students know exactly what to do.

T: I would like you to take out your homework now. What are we doing? S's:Taking out our homework.
T:...so when we get a negative number under the radical sign we have no real solutions. Repeat after me...Weak! Try that again...
S's Louder and more voices:
T: There is extra credit if you sing the quadratic song to your parents. How do you get extra credit?
 S: We sing quadratic song to our parents. 

She is walking around the room with her air platform thingie. She can't see what she is writing, but it's always neat and goes on the page projected on the wall where is should go.

I wonder how my teenage self would have fared in this class environment. For so many students it is calming and safe. I don't recall ever being taught in this manner. As there is very little possibility I could consistently provide this for my students, I wonder if that means I probably wouldn't have liked it that much, or it is just my adult self making excuses...

In what ways do you teach to your teenage self?

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