When I first started teaching math a decade ago, I gave notes at the front of the room on an overhead transparency projector. The teacher who taught math in the room before me had retired and left all of her materials behind. In the file cabinets, I found an entire year’s worth of transparencies with math concepts organized by date and topic. Since it was my first teaching experience, I assumed that my role as an instructor was to stand in the front of the room and regurgitate these same notes to my middle school students.
I soon realized that this style of teaching was antiquated, so I started projecting PowerPoint presentations onto my whiteboard and taught using what I called a “poor man’s SmartBoard.” Since I was doing all of my teaching from the front of the room, I saw my whole-class explanations as of paramount importance to my practice. Subsequently, I believed that my particular way of explaining math was best for my students and better than other teachers. I soon gathered my own “filing cabinet of transparencies” in the form of PowerPoint presentations that I could use year after year.
The truth is, I am only one of a dozen or so math teachers that my students will have. Each math teacher will have their own style and version of teaching some of the same topics. The standards that my students are asked to master say nothing about the method of instruction or even the means to getting to an answer. How important really is my particular way of teaching math?…Read More