Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Monday, January 26, 2004

A taste of what teaching full-time would be like... 

One of my mentor teachers was out today and I told her that I'd take care of her algebra classes for the day. She has one more than I'd been observing, so I took advantage of the fact that I don't have a 3rd hour class yet to use that as my prep period, such as it was. As an added bonus, because I forgot to give a handout to one of my geometry classes, I had that class doing tomorrow's lesson today (and they'll do today's lesson tomorrow). So I had five classes and three preps for the day. I hadn't realized how much I was using the fact that I was only teaching two hours a day before this.

It's quite different being at the front of the algebra class. I have one student, Juan, who's quite vocal. It takes some effort to keep him from answering all the questions that I asked of the class. We'll see tomorrow how well they did on the homework assignment, which was perhaps a little bit long.

I made a good use of Algebra tiles, I think, in introducing the concept of polynomial multiplication. I hope that pointing out the interesting correspondence between the algebraic notation on polynomial multiplication and the algebra tiles notation. Perhaps later this week I'll put up some pictures of how the algebra tile lesson worked.

I've also finished printing up the cards that I use for my homework check-in and attendence. Each card has the student's name and seat location printed on it, along with a grid that I can use to indicate when students are absent and when they brought in homework.

Homework check-in is a bit of a challenge still. I spend more time on it than I really want to. I think that tomorrow when I'm watching the Algebra class, I'll time how long my mentor spends looking at each student's work and what she does at each student's desk.

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