Month: January 2014

Refined Goals

This afternoon I had my first coaching session with my content area supervisor for my teacher assisting semester. We talked about what goals I have for the semester, what areas do I want to work on, and what should I stay mindful of this semester. I will admit I was skeptical of how this coaching session could be useful for me. Some of this skepticism could have been from my stubbornness or from the belief that I have figured it out on my own so far, so I could do this right? I mean they are my goals! I will admit though after completing the session I happy this is apart of our semester. In my last post I wrote about my goals for the semester, which at the time seemed to be a little scattered but at the time I felt like I need to get them recorded. After the session I feel as though they are more refined and I am more comfortable with what they are and what exactly should I be thinking about. Now that I have these new or refined ideas of my goals for the semester I will share them.

I now have more defined goals for the “behind the scenes” aspects of teaching. In my planning I want to work on thinking about where student’s misconceptions may come in during a lesson. I also want to make sure that my students see the connections in and outside of the math classroom so what they learn does not turn into the thought “who really cares”. I want to use the tools that I have at my disposal effectively. I think I can use a lot of what I learned in other classes to help me accomplish this. I also have Twitter, which I knew could be helpful but I had not had the chance to see this first hand until the other day when I got some great ideas on presenting vocabulary to students in a meaningful way.

Another big picture goal that is clearer now is my idea on what I what to accomplish with lesson planning this semester. I feel as though that if I can learn about many different lesson planning formats I can then take what I like from each of these formats and create my own “outline” lesson plan format. I think by doing this I will feel prepared to teach a lesson but also feel more comfortable if things do not go as planned.

In order for me to accomplish these goals there are some things I must be mindful of this semester as I work on my teaching. It will all come down to me keeping these goals in mind as plan. I do not want to forget about keeping my eye out for some of the common misconceptions that may arise as I think this will limit the shock that can come when you realize something is not working. In doing all of this I want to make sure that I am creating genuine and meaningful lessons and activities. My biggest hope in doing all of this is to become the best teacher that I can be in promoting genuine student learning. As the semester goes on I plan on keeping all this in mind and on updating here regularly about where I feel like I am at in accomplishing them.


What do I hope to Accomplish this Semester?

In 2010, my first year at Michigan State University, I found that teaching, not medicine, was my true calling in life. With that I moved back home, transferred to GVSU, and started classes in August of 2011. I then started my preparation for this semester and at the time it seemed like it was going to take forever before I was able to start my teacher assisting. During this time I spent learning about how to teach middle school and high school mathematics, what assessment looks like, how to create problems and activities that promote conceptual understanding. Now that the semester if finally here I have some goals that I would like to accomplish using what I have learned since August 2011.


One of my main goals is to improve my skills in the behind the scenes part of teaching; lesson planning, using effective means to test student’s knowledge, making sure the required targets are being hit. I think this side of teaching is my weakest aspect right now, I think mainly from lack of exposure. My CT has been really helpful throughout this first week and I think I will be able to learn a lot from her.


I would also like to try out some activities that allow my students to explore a topic on their own while having fun. I spent last semester developing Common Core aligned math activities for use in the library. I had some very promising pilot sessions with students who seemed to really enjoy that type of activity. I am interested to see how these types of activities would work in a classroom setting.


My last main goal is to improve my teaching overall. I feel pretty confident about being able to do this. I haven’t done much teaching in a classroom setting so I know this semester will help me accomplish this. I’m looking forward to learning how to look for ways to improve, as it is something I feel I must do for the rest of teaching career in order to be the best teacher I can be.


How will I know if I’m accomplishing my goals throughout the semester? I think that’s a great question because right now I not even sure if I as a teacher could ever confidently say that I have accomplished any of this goals. What I can say is that I am confident that I will improve in all of these areas compared to where I am right now and will continue to improve as I continue to teach. I hope to find things that work and expect to find things that do not and I will use this to evolve as a teacher. Stay tuned the rest of the semester as I reflect on my feelings about working towards these goals.

Teacher Assisting: Week One

I have now completed my first week of teacher assisting in a 7th grade math classroom at a charter school in West Michigan. Well not quite a full week, we started with two snow days from the so-called “polar vortex”. Wednesday came and I finally had my first day. Upon walking in the school one question came from multiple students, “Are you here for Mr./ Mrs. _________?” Once I got to the classroom most of the first day was spent with uneasiness coming from the students about who and what we (me and my placement partner, Kelsie) were doing in their classroom in the middle of the school year. However, by the second day this seemed to have disappeared. The rest of the week was spent learning the school, how to make copies, helping with questions during class, and observing how the classroom was structured. Our CT is great and seems really open to trying new things and letting us begin to take over as soon as possible. Monday starts our first phase of this, as we will be handling the Good News portion of class. That about sums up my week there and I cannot wait to get the semester going!