Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Tale of Two Teachers

My day begins at the door where I greet my students with handshakes and fist bumps.
Her day begins with five little boys climbing into bed and dog-piling her.

My lesson planning is done sitting at my desk.
Her lesson planning is often done at the bottom of that pile.

My lessons are informed by pacing guides, practice tests and proficiency levels.
Her lessons are informed by bugs in the backyard, bicycle tires and brotherly conflict.

My students use manipulatives to learn counting techniques.
Her students count out baby carrots as they make Dad's lunch.

I use rabbits to teach about exponential growth.
She uses a persuasive essay so her students can decide if they really want a rabbit.

My students solve fraction problems about baking and measuring.
Her students cut recipes in half, measure and bake.

My students eat lunch and go out to a treeless field for recess.
Her students eat lunch in the tree.

My classes end when the bell rings.
Her classes end at bedtime.

I use formative assessment to shape lessons.
She uses formative assessment to shape lives.

My students call me "Mister."
Her students call her "Mommy."

One of us teaches. The other pseudo-teaches.


Sue VanHattum said...

David, This is a lovely ode to Mommies on Mother's Day. Thank you for sharing it.

I am both Mommy and college teacher, and struggle with the same issues you express here, regarding authentic learning.

I think sometimes we don't give ourselves enough credit. For some students, what we do (even though it may seem artificial) is a powerful step in a new direction, helping them see what learning math can really mean.

The problem is that, at the same time, there are students in the same class who continue to feel oppressed by math class.

(At least, this has been my experience...)

Maja said...


One uses natural opportunities and the other must create teaching moments (WCYDWT and anyqs)within a legislated and legally binding course of study.

I am a mom of seven, former homeschool mom, grad student, and future secindary math teacher.