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.
6 thoughts on “Teaching Squares #sol17”
I’m a lot like you when it comes to math higher than Algebra. For me it’s because I can’t visualize what they’re talking about.
Sounds like a cool program. What will happen after the pilot?
They’ll tweak it and offer it to more faculty.
Motivation/purpose — your post reminds me of the key roles those factors play in learning.
This sounds like me! I hate math and am definitely not at all interested in it. Which also makes me very aware of my own students’ ability to pay attention to a lesson that they may not particularly like. Though I understand the importance of knowing a little bit about everything, I’ve wondered what it would be like to have a “focus” (similar to majoring in something when you get to college) at a younger age so that students want to pay attention. Just a thought.
I love how attuned you are to your thoughts about this subject though! Thanks so much for sharing!
I’ve often wondered what it’d be like to go back to college and take those math/science/business classes that bored me to tears when I was a student. Would I appreciate them more now? Sound like you did, for your own reasons– which all makes sense to me.