Thursday, September 18, 2008

Phone call #4

I call my parents after school daily.

It's something I started last year. I need to process the day with someone from outside the system and they're great for it.

They had a meeting this evening, so I called a friend instead. I had stories from tutoring that I wanted to share.

Because I talk to my parents so often, I forget how sensational my stories can be. I remembered somewhere in the midst of telling my friend--a friend who's on the phone with me weekly; who has other teacher friends--because I didn't want to paint too negative a picture.

The theme of today's stories was one of hope. The lightbulb moment when a student saw the connection between repeated multiplication and addition. The awe that I've become a person that students can tell me some of the problems they're dealing with. And the way that students face their challenges.

These are the moments that remind me both that I have improved since last year and of the power of being a consistent presence here. These stories hold the promise of the coming year. My friend was able to catch the hopeful rays, but there's still the shadow reminding me how different the world my students experience is from my own.

After all, I can call my parents every day.


Allison said...

To thoroughly avoid the point of this post:

the connection between multiplication and repeated addition

Oh man! That's so amazing! I'm not sure I properly appreciated it before I took intro. to cognitive science. I mean, I used it, but did I appreciate it? Maybe not.

But my reaction just now was "Wait, is multiplication repeated addition?" Gotta get done with these tests.

Sarah Cannon said...

When students don't know multiplication facts, I definitely want to emphasize the connection so they can figure it out on their own. This student said she'd never seen the connection before. Whether someone's tried or not is moot, she didn't have any memory of it.

Granted, I'm not sure I appreciated multiplication being repeated addition before teaching it, but I was aware of it.