Rookie Year: Day 14 Or The First Rule of Tautology Club

The end of weekend nervousness still hasn’t gone away for me yet.

Some of my friends said it went away after a few months and others said it didn’t go away until after the first year. I hope it doesn’t take me that long, but it might. I used to feel nervous before teaching my college courses too. Part of it is that I get excited about what I have planned but for high schoolers I get anxious. It feels like I could lose my class at any time. That they could suddenly stop cooperating with me. I know that probably will happen for the occasional student, but I’m thinking of my time during student teaching where they fought me




I haven’t had anything nearly that bad here, but I’m always nervous about it. If I lose their trust, or if they start to feel like they can’t learn from me, I don’t know how to win them back. I know it doesn’t do any good to worry about things that haven’t happened but I never really learned how to not worry about something. Other than I guess just keep going in every day.

Which I am.

I overplanned by quite a bit. Which is okay because it just means that I have stuff for them to do tomorrow already. But it’s also a bit of a problem because I was circling back. While working on equations I noticed that my students were really struggling with the concept of x/8 vs (1/8)x or x – 4 = x + (-4). So I went back and wrote some activities to help them with that. I’m not gonna spend more than today and a bit of tomorrow on it and then it is back to solving equations only but there was some missing pieces there that I was trying to fill in. I also had the students do an “Always, Sometimes, or Never” activity on Desmos made by Cathy Yenca. This went over very well, thank you Cathy!

Well, the students latched on to the “always, sometimes, never” concept right away. I was very pleased with that. But I realized that I should have made my own instead of using Cathy’s because my students weren’t ready for some of the equations. Totally my fault for not looking at them. They did get most! I wish I had left more time at the end because I had to rush it a little and my first block didn’t get to finish it.

Two highlights:

In the middle block, a student said “Well, I’m not sure about this but I’m just gonna go for it” and that was GREAT. I loved that he said that, but I kicked myself for not stopping the class right then and then and telling them that what he said was exactly the attitude I wanted. I’ll emphasize it really big tomorrow.

In the last block, I asked “What is the definition of an equation?” (We discussed it last week) and one of my students said “An equation is an equation” and then I asked him “What is a tautology?” and without knowing what a tautology is, he responded “A tautology is a tautology” and it was a beautiful response. It was just perfect. But only I appreciated until I explained a tautology to the rest of the class. Very fun.

To bring this post back around to the beginning, I’m struggling here and there with getting students to focus, but overall I think I am doing okay. I’m not afraid to discipline when necessary like I used to be when I was a student teacher, but usually I don’t have to. When I ask a student to get back on task, most of them do it. I just have a few that I need to be more proactive about. I gave one student “extra” homework. “Go home tonight and figure out what you need to do to focus more in the class and also what I can do to help you.”

Don’t know if that will work but if it doesn’t I’ll try something else.





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