Math, or something like that!

6th grade math teacher

Here we go…

Exploring the MathTwitterBlogosphere, Mission #1:

I guess I’m going to take the easy way out, while I can… and introduce myself.   My name is Sarah, and I’ve just begun my ninth year of teaching.  I started off as an accounting major, but I loved working at the local daycare with the school age kids on our school breaks far too much to ignore (I actually looked forward to Mondays – seriously). I changed majors, like college sophomores do, and chose early childhood because that was the age group I was familiar with – however, I always had a separate love for math.

After a few years of teaching first and third grades, I started grad school and chose to major in middle childhood so I could focus on just teaching math.  My principal moved me up to 5th grade math where I spent four years and I loved it.  I was also pretty successful (said my students’ test scores, anyway – isn’t that how you measure success as a teacher?) Apparently I get restless, though, because something got into my head that said I would enjoy 6th grade math more.  So, when a position opened up in my district’s middle school, I snatched it up.  Maybe that wasn’t the greatest decision for me.  I don’t know.  I’m giving it time (how much time do you give a decision before you decide if it was right or wrong, anyway?) – this is the start of my second year in 6th and I am still telling myself that things will get better next year.  Middle school is a different world.  Anyone else that has had experience in both an elementary and a middle school knows what I’m talking about.

I teach in a rural school district that is mostly made up of students receiving free or reduced lunch.  A lot of the students are not motivated because they don’t see the value in education, and grades don’t matter to them. I have 30-34 students in a class for four classes, and the classes are completely mixed, ability wise.  We have one level of math available for all of our students in 6th grade, which means I have to differentiate as much as possible. Unfortunately, my go-to form of differentiation has always been stations and small group instruction, but with 50 minute classes and 34 in a class, and a pacing guide that has me teaching one lesson per day, I am barely keeping my head above water!

There are 23,498 factors of our jobs that just stink.  But take those factors out, and I actually love my job. Connecting with students, and teaching them something new are the sole reasons I chose this career, and they are the sole reasons (well, those and school breaks) I am sticking with it, despite the fact that I get the Sunday blues way more often than I should admit…

I am so looking forward to becoming a part of the community that I have been watching from outside the window for the past four years, at least.  Thank you for inviting me in:)


Off The Beaten Math

• • • • A year in a 5th grade Singapore-based math classroom. • • • • Follow two master teachers through a year of daily lessons in 5th grade. Corrinne is from Singapore, and Kathleen is from the US, with years of experience teaching in Germany. Together, they have created a hybrid approach using Singapore Math, European math, and the best practices from American constructivist teaching.

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A daily photo account of the happenings in my middle school math classroom