I have loved meeting many new math teachers through a Facebook group I joined this summer! The energy and excitement brought to the classroom by new teachers always warms my teacher heart. Welcome to the math teacher club, new friends!
Having a classroom for nine years brings a lot of experiences and growth with it. I wanted to take a minute today to share some of the biggest math content teaching takeaways I have had with you as you start your journey into the wonderful world of teaching!
Pick your content battles wisely
There is so much content in every single math book/course we teach and so many times I have heard colleagues say we need to get through the book. YOU DON’T NEED TO FINISH THE BOOK! It’s nearly impossible to follow the entire book at the pace that they suggest while making sure all of your students master all of the content. There are certain things your students have to walk away from your class knowing to be successful in the next math class they take. Determine what the essential standards/skills are and spend your time on those things to make sure your students have them down. Use the time you have left to teacher your students the good to knows/the other content that is worth knowing but not essential for success in next year’s math class.
Spiral essential skills constantly
Once your students have learned new content they have to use it or they will loose it! Keep putting all of your previously learned essential standards in front of your students on homework and/or assessments. They need to always be ready to use these skills. It also helps you identify who is struggling with a particular skill so that you can provide support and targeted practice as needed.
Use hand’s on learning and activities as much as possible
Teen culture as it is today needs interactive learning in the classroom. There are tons of great task cards, matching activities, and gallery walk activities out there. As a first year teacher please don’t go trying to make it all yourself or buying it all yourself. You will burn out and be so tired, trust me! Schools often have money set aside that you can use to purchase supplies and teaching tools for your classroom. Make sure to use it to get what you need for your classroom!
Best of luck to you as you look forward to starting your first year! I am cheering you on.