Getting Schooled

To offer a bit of background, I just began student teaching this week in a 10th grade geometry classroom at a school in Manhattan.  One of my classes is a school composed of 20 girls and 4 boys.  So, onto today…

I got schooled–by a group of 20 fifteen-year old girls.  Something (actually, one of the many things) that no one mentions in the debate over teacher pay, benefits, and collective bargaining is the sheer power of a group of teenage girls.  They can make a lesson amazing–or corrupt a lesson–in a moment’s notice.  I think they could strike fear in the hearts of many a militia.

The point here is by no means to complain.  Actually, I think the goals of my lesson were achieved; I just left the classroom so tired and worn out.   Rather, my main points are two-fold:  1.  I am currently not equipped to manage a class of 20 girls and 4 boys.  I need to adapt quickly to my students…a skill possessed by any good teacher.   2.  Teaching  ranks among the hardest jobs in the world, so giving teachers less of a voice about their compensation is probably not the best idea in the world.

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3 Responses to Getting Schooled

  1. John E says:

    Hi Matt, I accidentally found your blog and I just want to say I’m so proud of you! You probably won’t remember me, I’m a COE student at UC Berkeley and I auditioned EE100 in Fall 2009 and have been to your section a few times, and I really think you are an amazing teacher, you explained things very clear even though I’m really bad at electrical staff. I’m graduating this year and I’m thinking about becoming a math or science teacher rather than an engineer. Anyway thanks for sharing your experience and wish you all the best.

    • mcarlberg says:

      John, it’s a pleasure to reconnect with you! Thank you for the kind words. Since I’m student teaching right now, I’m finding out first-hand how explaining things is only part of the experience of being a high school teacher. I hope that you continue seriously considering becoming a math or science teacher! Teaching can be a roller coaster, but it is incredibly fulfilling. I recommend looking into the various pathways to get into teaching. Let me know if you have any questions about it.

      • John says:

        No problem Matt and thanks for your reply! Hope everything’s going well with your teaching.
        I’m finally done with college now and I’ll be volunteering in a middle school in Hong Kong this summer(I’m really excited!!) for two months before going back to Germany. Actually would you mind if I email you occasionally if I encounter some problem in teaching?

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