Over the past few months as I’ve described my sabbatical plans to colleagues, friends and family, a frequent response has been “You’re doing what?”
Let me explain. I’m a recently tenured college professor of mathematics. I was trained and have a PhD in mathematics. I love my job and can see myself teaching at this school for the rest of my life. My college and its math department are well known, but not for preparing future teachers–it doesn’t have a teacher preparation program.
So why would an academic like me want to teach high school during my sabbatical instead of doing mathematical research or writing a textbook? Well, while I have not had any training in mathematics education, it’s a topic that I think and have thought about a lot. In the last few years, I have also become involved in professional development for secondary (middle and high) school mathematics teachers and have often wished that I could better relate with the things that teachers go through. And, teaching high school was one of the careers that considered when I was younger and I guess part of me still has vague hopes that I can make a difference in students’ lives. So, these are some of the reasons why I am going to teach high school mathematics during the 2009-2010 academic year while I’m on sabbatical.
Some people have said nice things like, “Those kids will be so lucky to have you!” But, I don’t presume that I’ll be any good at teaching high school. Some of the things that I know about teaching mathematics at the college level will apply to teaching high school, some of it won’t. I know that the experience will be very different. I know there will be things that I will have to work on. I know that I will learn a tremendous amount this year.
So, during this upcoming year, I’ll be writing about my experiences teaching high school mathematics. I’m doing it mainly to record my successes, frustrations, thoughts and feelings, but I also welcome your comments and questions.
Thanks for visiting my blog.