Greetings from Summerbridge (SB) San Francisco! I am taking a break from writing lesson plans to give you an update on what I have been up to as a teaching fellow. As of today, June 16, we welcomed all rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders to the first official day of SB. In the selfie, I am standing in front of my whiteboard with my Instructional Coach, Dana, after our first math class. Things are starting to get exciting here at SB especially after a whole week of Professional Development (PD), also known as teacher’s training.
Even though this is my third summer back at SB, I am still learning new techniques during PD week. Techniques include managing the classroom, writing lesson plans, and engaging students in subjects they may not enjoy. So far, I have prepared lesson plans for the next two weeks, but I can’t help but to feel a little nervous because I taught 7th grade math last year but I have never taught 9th grade math workshop (Algebra 1). I know the 7th grade math curriculum well enough to know what we should be teaching the students, but I had to recreate the 9th-grade math workshop curriculum simply because it is new to me. Every teaching fellow in the math department teaches with an Instructional Coach (IC) and my IC has been giving me helpful feedback about my lesson plans and allowing me to take the driver’s seat in the classroom.
Even though by nature, teaching math this summer connects directly to STEM education, I would say that this math workshop class relates to more than just STEM. Although I must teach the students math concepts, they also need basic reading skills to understand math. For example, I introduced irrational numbers today, and I realized that students did not understand the definitions I wrote on the board. Therefore, I learned about how students’ performance in one subject might affect another subject. I take it for granted that I can read and write English fluently, but there are students who cannot read English fluently. As a math teacher, I must anticipate that happening and simplify the definitions for them.
Learning math is mostly associated with sitting down and taking notes. My challenge for myself is to incorporate fun activities or short field trips so that students can see learning math as FUN. I deeply enjoyed Professor Edstrom’s Math and the City presentation last fall, and I believe that it is crucial to incorporate Math and San Francisco. With a real-life connection, perhaps the students will start to see math from a different perspective. Today is just the first day, and I have six more weeks to reach that goal! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates!