Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a Trig class as part of a pilot program called Teaching Squares. (I have also previously visited an astronomy and zoology class.) While sitting in this class, the following happened:
1. I realized (reaffirmed is more accurate, but go with me here) that math beyond algebra is definitely not my thing. Not only did I have no idea what was going on, but I also didn’t care. It was especially apparent because the astronomy teacher (who was also visiting the class) was super into it and solving problems with the class, and I was just sitting there having flashbacks to when I took pre-calc in undergrad and trig in high school.
2. I loved my undergrad experience, but I really wish I had known more about community colleges and/or that dual enrollment was available when I was a senior. Taking a required math class that I had no interest in would have been SO MUCH better in a small class of ~25 students than the lecture hall experience I had.
3. This experience, along with a chat I had with my students a couple of days ago, reminded me how little effort I put into classes that I didn’t care about or knew I just needed to satisfy a gen ed credit. It gave me a little more compassion/empathy for my students who are doing the bare minimum to get by.
4. Visiting the math class after visiting the astronomy and zoology class also reminded me that I could and would be engaged in a class that is not in my area at all as long as I’m willing to listen. Like I said, I tuned out most of the math stuff (this is not the instructor’s fault–part of it is that it’s the end of the semester, so I didn’t have the refresher of some of the foundational stuff I needed to follow along; also, to be fair, I did learn some stuff) but I did learn some things. Same with the zoology and astronomy stuff.