Essentially, I spent time watching a couple of math teachers instruct their classes. During free work time, I wandered the room and assisted students when they were stuck. It was very interesting to see the major differences between an Algebra 2 class and a Calculus class. Not only did the teachers have different teaching styles, but the students behaved very differently. Mr. Gmerek teaches his Calculus lessons through a lot of self-guided worksheets, because Calculus students are more independent by the time they reach his class, and they are more self-driven. He is mainly there to introduce the first part of a concept, and then just to clarify whenever there is confusion over a part of an assignment. In Mrs. Horne's class, she provides similar problem sets to Mr. Gmerek's, but she has a larger role in the students' learning because they aren't as good at figuring things out on their own yet. There was definitely a lot more full-class instruction in the Algebra 2 class.

As I went around the room helping students in Algebra 2, I was also shocked to realize just how poor of an understanding some students have of basic arithmetic. They can be learning about manipulating variables to alter a graph, all the while still struggling to add fractions or subtract negatives. It was a bit of a challenge to go over those concepts with them when they asked for my help, because I was completely unprepared for that. I expected them to struggle with the Algebra, but any algebra struggles they had were only on account of the gaps in their prior learning experiences. It will be interesting to see how my mentor teachers take different approaches to resolve these issues with their students, and I'm also going to try to improve my skills in explaining arithmetic. I'm so used to describing abstract concepts that I often forget how many kids still struggle with 5th and 6th grade material. This year should be good for me, as a bit of an eye-opener toward student development.

As I went around the room helping students in Algebra 2, I was also shocked to realize just how poor of an understanding some students have of basic arithmetic. They can be learning about manipulating variables to alter a graph, all the while still struggling to add fractions or subtract negatives. It was a bit of a challenge to go over those concepts with them when they asked for my help, because I was completely unprepared for that. I expected them to struggle with the Algebra, but any algebra struggles they had were only on account of the gaps in their prior learning experiences. It will be interesting to see how my mentor teachers take different approaches to resolve these issues with their students, and I'm also going to try to improve my skills in explaining arithmetic. I'm so used to describing abstract concepts that I often forget how many kids still struggle with 5th and 6th grade material. This year should be good for me, as a bit of an eye-opener toward student development.