Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Assignment That Keeps on Giving

Every fall I teach the Geometry for Teachers course at South Dakota State University.  It is the first math content/pedagogy course that our Mathematics with Teaching Specialization majors take. So I find this class especially important because I am starting to build their foundation as a mathematics teacher. Dr. Christine Larson, my awesome colleague, loves that “I get to break them in first.”

The first assignment in the course every fall is a journal entry, where they are to answer the question: Why do you want to be a math teacher? I love lots of assignments in my geometry course, but this is my favorite for two reasons:
  • I get to know the students better; and
  • They always give me hope.
This semester was no different. First of all, I was really impressed that they all had their assignments submitted by 11:30 when they weren’t due until 1:30. Second of all, I am impressed with these students as people. From this journal entry, I can tell that they are kind, generous, thoughtful and caring. The main reasons that they say they want to be math teachers are: making an impact on students’ lives, having had teachers who influenced them, and sharing their passion and love for mathematics.

Every fall after reading this assignment, I get renewed with hope because we have some really awesome future math teachers. They see the importance of teaching, value what teachers do despite the fact that the pay is poor, and pursue this career despite their family’s opposition.

It helps me realize the importance of my job as a math teacher educator and it makes me so proud of them. While I know some of the students in this class as they are my advisees or I have had them in other classes, I don’t know all of them well. However, I am looking forward to another great fall semester in the geometry for teachers course with these intelligent, thoughtful young adults!

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