I may have been premature in declaring the “make it through the day” phase to be over.
We continued the basics of inequalities that we started on Friday. Part of the struggle for my students is that it’s hard to identify if a value for x is a solution to an inequality or not when they cannot compute 5.5+2 in their heads. I do not withhold calculators if they ask for one, but I also do not pass them out at the beginning of every class either. To quote Paul, and hopefully without making light of his words, I am hard pressed between the two. I want students to engage with the higher level thinking and wrestle with the inequality problem and having an augmentation like a calculator can help if basic addition and subtraction skills are undeveloped. But those skills will remain undeveloped if I do not force them to practice them by making it so calculators are not always on hand.
The integer operations skills that my students lack are increasing what I think of as their cognitive load. They spend so much processing power on computing the sums that they lose sight of the inequality they are struggling through.
My 3/4 block was very off task and so unwilling to work that I found myself thinking that “just one more block” thought again during planning in 5th. I still think what I wrote in general was true, I no longer feel that I am in survival mode, but I knew on Friday and I know today that there will still be rough days. In particular my students were really fighting me on group work. I gave an assignment that was three questions: Recall the symbols for absolute value, describe and graph an inequality with addition (x+2<10) and describe and graph an inequality with multiplication (3x<=9). I had done three examples of similar type on the board with the whole class right before. Some students were so reluctant to start that their groups had not even written down the 4 symbols, and others were trying but got lost in the difference between wanting x+2 to be less than 10 and needing x to be less than 8 so that x+2 was less than 10. They were so rough today that I tried talking to them in the middle of class to no great effect. At the end of the bell I told them I was “super disappointed” in their focus and performance today. I think that probably only affected the students who were doing what they were supposed to anyway. Blargh.
One of my fears coming into this year is what happens if I “lose” a class. When I student taught I felt that by the end of my time I had “lost” all of my classes except for my “advanced” one. The students no longer engaged with me. I haven’t come close to that point with my classes here yet, but I feel the edges of that fear creeping in some days. I don’t know how to regain a class once I lose them. It was so rough during student teaching that I didn’t return to secondary education for 4 years and that’s why my rookie year is this year in 2016 when I graduated with an education degree in 2012.
I’m a little discouraged today but I’ll be back at it tomorrow. I think part of the explanation for today was that I was just tired too. This morning before first block I just didn’t feel like teaching and I had to will the energy and the personality into my self to get started. That drains me and I don’t think I was able to sustain it throughout the day.
I feel like I always have to apologize for this, but I know this was a jumbled mess of rambling. I’m just brain dumping here.
Thanks for reading.