Wondering today if I made the right choice to teach this year. The monotony of teaching everyday is already setting in and it’s only October. I hope I’m only thinking this because I had a rough day with unruly students today.

Today, I hope that the algebra tiles helped students see that x+x=2x and not x2. We’ll see…

5 thoughts on “Discouragement

  1. Many of your colleagues are feeling that discouragement right now, and many of them are veteran teachers. I would try to focus on the successes you’ve had so far, and just from peeking at your blog it sounds like you have had a lot to be proud of so far. Try not to let our cynicism infect you, if anything your blog has reminded me that I need to bring back some of the passion and dedication I came into my first year of teaching with last year.

    It gets less monotonous too. Things like behavior management, procedures and lesson planning that seem really tedious begin to become more automatic and intuitive. By the end of last year I can safely say that even when things weren’t good they weren’t boring and monotonous.

    Hang in there!

  2. This is one reason I very much dislike algebra tiles. There isn’t much rhyme or reason about why the x^2 tile isn’t a y, or what to do if x is negative or less than one, or what to do with x^3 or (god forbid) x^4 or x^1/2 or x^-1. Kids who like algebra tiles often get locked into the representation, which you then have to force out of them later (maybe not in Algebra 1, but eventually). I prefer the “expansion box” model, which is similar in spirit but doesn’t have the restrictions imposed by the tiles. Is there a reason you have chosen to use algebra tiles?

    From what you’ve written it sounds like your teaching is a lot less monotonous than it could be. Keep mixing it up and stay focused on the successes you are having.

  3. Hi Teach,

    I think what you are going through is really important for those of us who train teachers to hear. Sounds like you are thinking “what have I gotton myself into?” and you only have to do it part of the day for one year. We know that retention of teachers is a huge issue and whatever is leading to what you are feeling probably plays a role for others.

    It is so tough to get up in front of an appreciative crowd of students every day. It is much much much tougher to face an unappreciative bunch. Your posts seem happy when students are engaged. It seems to me that you have had many many little successes already and some big ones as well. You are also making adjustments to your teaching style and trying lots of things.

    I don’t think you chose this project because you expected it to be easy. Maybe a part of you thought that with the right teaching technique, students would respond positively most of the time. But their orientation toward school has been developed over many many years and has many contributing factors. Who knows what they are worried about — family issues / partner issues / money issues / safety issues / just trying to have a good time …often these things take precedence over focusing on school.

    I am really encouraged by your little wins. The failures are just info about what didn’t work at that moment for that group of students.

    You are a novice high school teacher. Cut yourself some slack.

  4. Hey profteacher,

    I only just discovered your blog; I had not previously been aware that you were doing this! I absolutely admire you for it, and I will be following your posts regularly. I hope we can get together in November when T. Pham is in town, because I’d love to talk to you about (I’m actually currently considering being a math or science teacher).

    As R. Levy said above, it seems that you have had many little successes in the face of great adversities (the utterly unorganized state of things, for one!) and that is pretty amazing. Keep your head up, we’re rooting for you!

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