I don't know what to do now...

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by meeper22, Dec 31, 2011.

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  1. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    Sorry if I'm not supposed to post in another board after posting in sub but I'm so stressed that I can't think straight anymore.

    I recently took this job as an interim sub.

    I wasn't even notified I had the job till the day before. It's my first interim sub position.

    It's to teach math. I thought I could teach it, Algebra 2 was no problem for me. But then with Algebra 2 honors, it got a bit harder, then when I tried Analysis of Functions...it was the worst.

    I did my best to teach these subjects....Algebra 2 was fine, I had trouble with the other two classes.

    Winter break, I spent trying to prepare for these classes. Once I had some chapters down, I looked over tests I have to give out...I'm looking at the problems, trying to make an answer key but it's hard for me to even figure out how to do the problems.

    I look at the book, I can't even find similar answers there. I'm trying the internet...but I can't really find reliable resources.

    I don't have a teacher number...the teacher I filled in for didn't leave me any guides....I feel like they'll know at some point that I don't know much of the material for Analysis of Functions.

    What's worse is some students don't pay attention, they don't really respect me....I have to go back on January 2nd, I don't know what to do.

    How are these kids going to pass the mid-term or test if I can't even figure them out myself?!

    I worry what will happen if I quit. If I just show up and tell him that I want to resign....I worry what my mother will say....I worry about losing my sub job with the district.....Yeah, I lose with the school but I don't want to stop subbing at other schools.

    I fear if I don't quit, the students will fail since the quizzes and tests don't really cover what's in the book....what do I do?

    I thought I could teach the classes at the time of the interview, I didn't know there was advanced math in the material....
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    From the struggles you've described in your other thread, I really think that you should consider resigning from this position. There will be other positions for which you are better suited.

    Good luck to you in whatever you decide.
     
  4. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Perhaps talk to your principal, discuss your concerns, and ask if they could contact the teacher to provide you with answer sheets for your convenience.

    Also, khan academy may have lessons on the material you are teaching.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The teacher is out for a reason. I don't think it's appropriate to run to the teacher and ask for resources. Either the OP needs to find those resources on his/her own, or the school needs to provide them. I know that if I were out on a long-term basis for whatever reason, I wouldn't be interested at all in dealing with school stuff. Presumably whatever I have going on at home that is making me stay out of work is more important.

    It could also be possible that the position is now vacant and there is no teacher to contact.
     
  6. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    She's on maternity leave. She got pregnant and went on maternity leave.

    I didn't get a mentor teacher, I wasn't even assigned a teacher number to log in to grades,

    I looked at Khan academy but the videos and sample problems they have don't help me with solving the problems that are on the tests....

    If I resign...what am I supposed to say? I quit because I don't know the material....I want to at least give a better excuse.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    For this reason, I teach English. I have always been horrible at math.

    Anyway, I would have a heart-to-heart with the principal and let him/her know that you think someone with a stronger math background would be better suited for this type of position.

    Here's how I see it: Give me a K-5 multiple subject class or a 6th-12th grade English class and I'll be perfectly fine. However, if someone placed me in a math class at the middle or high school level, I'd struggle. Not every teacher is suited for every single K-12 position out there.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't feel like you're giving up. All you're doing is allowing the kids to be exposed to the material by someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about the subject matter.

    HUGS!!! :hugs:
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've followed your struggles, and really don't know what to say to you.

    But I do want to wish you luck with a difficult decision. And I think that, should you choose to resign, what you DO say should be based in the truth. I think it will increase your chances of landing the right job down the road.
     
  9. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    And I appreciate ALL the help you have given me. I really do.

    Please, don't feel down or upset. You were really a big help to me.
     
  10. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Let's take a look at your situation in an objective way.

    -You have been certified by your state to teach this subject (is this correct? I assume so since they hired you to long term sub.)
    -You have been hired as a long term sub and have not been given the resources (teacher's guide, answers to problems) that you need to teach it.

    Here is the support you should expect to receive from your administration:

    -teacher's guides and answer sheets
    -answers to your questions

    You should not be spending your holiday trying to come up with answers for math problems. These should already have been given to you.

    Know that this is not about your weakness in teaching math. This is about the administrator's and teacher's weakness in providing you with what you need for success as a long term sub. You would feel much stronger having a guide to use. You don't have to reinvent the wheel here. Go to your principal and let him know that you do not have the resources needed to teach the subject. If you quit, the next teacher will experience the same problems.

    The teacher should have planned for her absence and left teacher's guides. She knew she was going to be out.

    Having the guide in hand and being able to better prepare will also make you feel more confident in front of the students. They can sense your lack of confidence and respond accordingly.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, please, don't think I'm either.

    I'm wiped out after a heartwrenching week. If my posts seem less that enthusiastic, that's the reason.

    But it does seem as though perhaps you're in over your head here.

    And, as I'm sure you realize, simply having the answers is not enough. Math is all about the process, not the answers. Teachers's guides and answer sheets aren't enough. They don't fill the void I see here-- the knowledge of how to actually approach each of the problem types you'll be teaching. Those teacher guides won't enable you to answer the inevitable "I got the wrong answer; where did I make a mistake?" questions that are a part of every math lesson.

    I think I agree that you should go in on Tuesday and speak to the principal. Let him know that you don't feel you're the best teacher for the job; that you're simply in over your head as far as the material is concerned.

    The other stuff-- the pacing, the departmental exams and the rest-- they're easy fixes. I agree-- the teacher KNEW she was going out on maternity leave; there's no excuse for leaving you such poorly organized plans.

    But you've spent the whole Christmas break prepping, and you're still stumped on problems your students will be expected to answer. I can't begin to know where you'll find the time for all the prep you'll need over the next 6 weeks.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Having the answers isn't teaching. If it was, anyone with a teachers guide could do this job.
    The kids aren't paying attention and don't respect you because you don't know the material.:sorry:
    This isn't about what your mom will say. It has to be about what's best for the students. Tell the principal you need some support in order to BEST SERVE THE STUDENTS because you don't feel you are currently doing that. You know you are over your head in this, so do the kids. You need to be upfront and honest with the principal at this point before he has to come to you.
     
  13. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I wouldn't flat out resign.

    I would go to the administrator and explain the problem and what you have done so far to solve it. Then ask him/her to point you in the direction to get support and assistance. Perhaps there is a department chair, math coach, or curriculum coordinator. Is there more than one school in your district that teaches these subjects? Maybe they could partner you up with a teacher from there.

    Resigning would be bad.
    Letting the kids fail would be bad.
    Admitting you need support and showing that you are someone who is willing to learn, grow and accept a challenge will go a long way.

    From what you've written you clearly seem like that kind of that teacher based on the efforts you've put in so far. Show them that! Your efforts and willingness to learn will go a long way.

    Good luck!
     
  14. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I agree with Alice.

    I worry about the kids you are teaching. They are learning things incorrectly. They come to you for advice and what can you say? I think that they are pretty bright since these are advanced classes. They will start to complain to their parents about your inability to teach. I would speak to your department chair immediately. These are important years for these students that are trying to get ready for the challenges of college. If they do not get what they need, it could affect SAT scores and their chances of getting into the college of their choice. Please take action soon. This is an important time for these students and there is a bigger picture that you must see.
     
  15. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Have you tried asking for teacher resources and answer keys for the material?

    If you do plan to resign, definitely plan to work at least 2 more weeks so that they can find another substitute. How much longer is the current teacher out?
     
  16. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    This is true. However, the OP is certified to teach math. If the state has endorsed this person and has said that they are qualified to teach high school math, surely they can use the teacher's guide to review any weaknesses they may have.

    So I guess the real question I have is this: how could the OP be certified and yet be lacking in the knowledge of the mathematical processes involved?

    If this is the case, shouldn't the state have stricter standards before certifying candidates?

    Or, can it be assumed that the OP has the skills, but needs to review them and have the answers to work back from should the need arise?

    I would think that for advanced math courses, having the teacher's guide would be essential to providing a top notch education. Preparation time would be a lot faster as well.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've never used a teacher's guide.

    But from what I've seen, they don't teach you how to do the material; they assume you have that knowledge and give you a list of answers. I would imagine they also include information on supplementing, or on differentiating, the material.

    At the level the OP is talking about, a problem could take a kid 15 minutes to do. The teacher's guide would provide the answer, and very little else.
     
  18. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Newer teacher guides do provide scripts for how to teach the math. It's sad that someone would need this, but many teachers do. I like having it because sometimes I do learn a new way to teach a concept.

    Also, many times there are answer guides that show the steps to solving a problem. This might be enough to help someone with the content to be able to teach the material. Not often...but you never know.
     
  19. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    To the OP, we hear your cries of help. There are different ideas floating about. Please note: The KIDS are the ones that will be hurt in all of this too. They are trying to get ready for the SATs to get into college. Put your own child in that room for a moment. Do you want your child to be in a class with a teacher that understands less about the material than they do? These classes are designed to ready students for a test (SATs and ACT) that will determine their entrance into the college of choice. The OP has conceded that she needs help.

    If there is a math department chair, I encourage you to visit that person and explain your situation. If there is not a math dept. chair, I encourage you to honestly speak to an administrator before your students and their parents storm the office asking for a new teacher. This is not going earn you a place on staff if the administration starts receiving complaints.
     
  20. mathematics

    mathematics Rookie

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    You've raised some good points here. Having been certified to teach math, the individual who posted this should certainly be able to teach any high school math subject without doing much more than reviewing subjects that have not been recently taught.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure how many respondents have followed the OP's other threads. There are some very basic math concepts with which the op has asked for help. I'm not quite sure how the certification process works in her state, but the op did state in another thread that she didn't student teach and that she finds teaching math more difficult than knowing math. Yes, a teachers guide can be helpful to a new teacher, but the time spent on getting up to speed (since October) has not benefitted her students. That should be the main concern...and one can discern this concern for the students in some of the OP's statements. The most responsible thing to do at this point is to go to administration and be honest about the situation.
     
  22. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I agree with going to the P and being honest, maybe another teacher can help or maybe the math instructional specialist from the school would be willing to help out. We have a district person over math and science and she has been a huge help to new teachers and to LTS for math and science in my school and I know she is even more involved with the LTS in the high school.
     
  23. Joy

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    I can't imagine the stress you are going through right now! Having this job is probably not even going to be worth it. I would talk with someone on Tuesday about what you should do. It seems that there are things that were somewhat thrown together for you which hasn't made the situation any easier. I would try to get out of it.

    As a substitute teacher, I know what it is like to be thrown into teaching something that you aren't really comfortable with or is a stretch. I've shown up at schools and have been told that I'm covering for another teacher or another subject than what I was called for. I once subbed for a 5th grade class (I was told it was Kindergarten) that was doing REALLY HARD math. I had about ten minutes to look at it and teach it. While I got through it and the kids did understand it, the day was terribly stressful. They weren't the best behaved and it was hard to keep up with the kids and the hard material at the same time. I only stayed at all after the school changed my position because I didn't want to leave them high and dry 15 minutes before the kids got there. This was only one day and I can't imagine what it would be like having to go back to something like that everyday!

    When I first started subbing, I thought I had to agree to do everything I was called for. You don't and being a good sub means that you turn down jobs that you don't feel comfortable with. This is different since it is a long-term but I think you need to be honest about it. You don't need to feel bad about it either. It will be far better for you to go and talk to the principal before students and parents do.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    While I've never used a teacher's guide, I did help write one while I was home with my kids.

    Let's just say I would NEVER want my kids taught by someone who used that as that as a primary resource on the material. (And, yes, it was a major textbook publisher. I imagine some of you are using the stuff I wrote.) The guidelines I worked under were all about how the script looked, how visually appealing it was, how much "white space" there was on the page. I wanted rigor, solid explanations and lots of examples and model problems. That's NOT what they wanted. (And, no, I didn't do a LOT of work with them. Our philosophies did NOT mesh!!)
     
  25. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Honesty is the best road to follow. I was offered a job a few years ago to teach high school math and I told the principal and I had no problem teaching Algebra 1 or 2 but I wouldn't feel ready for levels higher than that. He even proposed to provide help so I could teach Calculus but I told him I wouldn't feel ready for it. He understood and had me teach Algebra 1 instead.
     
  26. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    If you can't solve the problems on your own, then a teacher's guide won't help you. In order to teach, you need to understand HOW to solve the problems. The teacher's guide will show you the answers and may provide suggestions for teaching, but you should not be completely dependent on it.

    When I taught 6th grade I used the teacher guide for ideas in my lesson planning, but it certainly was not the be all end all of my program.

    You need to be honest with an administrator for the benefit of the students. Yes, it may be an uncomfortable meeting, but you need to let someone know that you need help. You cannot let your students try to teach themselves and hope they pass upcoming exams. When you entire class does poorly on the exams, the conversation you have with your admin will be even more uncomfortable. Get help ASAP!
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My first year back from beng home with my kids, the only opening in the department was teaching 7th grade math. I happily accepted it.

    Shortly after Christmas, one of the Pre-calc teachers went out on maternity leave. As we know, it's hard to find math teachers, and much harder to find those comfortable with upper levels of math, particularly mid year.

    So here's what we did:

    I covered Denise's Pre-calc classes, and they got someone else to cover my 7th grade classes. It really was no big deal for me, and it meant that ALL the kids involved were taught by someone comfortable with the material.

    I wonder if zomething similar might be a solution here?
     
  28. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Have you tried www.slader.com ? See if your textbook and answers is on their site.
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that the people who are suggesting finding the answers as a fix are underestimating the problem.

    The OP has been consumed by this problem for a good 3 weeks:
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=154199

    It's NOT a matter of simply needing to brush up on the material. She's been valliantly trying since December 13 to get this material down, and is still floundering. School starts again on Tuesday and she isn't prepared to teach what needs to be taught. There are some pretty sizeable gaps in her knowledge of the material she'll be teaching over the next month and a half. After 2 weeks off, she still isn't comfortable with the material for the upcoming week, much less the material that comes after that.

    I'm not sure anyone should have to put in this kind of effort in order to teach. And I think that is a quick fix were all it took, she would be fine by now. It's not a lack of effort, or of resources, that are the crux of the problem. It's that the OP has been asked to teach material she simply doesn't know.

    I hope this is coming across as sympathetic to the OP, because she does indeed have my sympathies. But there are lots and lots of courses out there that I could not teach competantly. It appears that the OP is in that position, even after all the time she has put in over the past few weeks.

    I think the best fix would be for her to cover some lower-level classes and let a teacher more comfortable with these courses cover them.
     
  30. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Although quitting in the middle of an assignment is not a good thing, I really admire that you are willing to be honest with the administration about your gaps in knowledge of the content. Not everyone could do that! And it really does show that you care about your students. Sure, you could wing it for a while and if they fail, you could say it's not your fault.
    But you are willing to admit that you are not the one for this class, and I think that's great.
    I think the administration would appreciate your honesty and care.
     
  31. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Yes, this is the time to go solemnly to your administrator's office and have a frank discussion. Stay professional and admit that you are not capable of the upper level math, and that you know this is risky to admit it and to leave the LTS assignment but that you are too committed as an educator to let the students down. The last thing you want is for parents to complain and for the P to come see you. I have walked in your shoes. I wanted a job really badly so I took Praxis tests to be certified in all the core middle level subjects. I ended up challenging myself in the areas of 8th grade science and social studies. I am very glad it wasn't math as I know I would have taken the job and I would have been in over my head like you are. This is tough and you have worked hard, but this isn't the job for you.:hugs:
     
  32. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    I didn't think this topic would get so many replies....

    Well, I do thank everyone here for expressing their concerns and giving advice.

    I'm assuming OP is referring to me. I should state that I am a guy, male.


    Yes, I did pass the math certification exam 6-12. I should be more knowledgeable in teaching that level of math but to be honest, that exam didn't really have a lot of this stuff on it. Yeah, it had some trig and cal but stuff I knew. There were only like 4 calc questions.

    I e-mailed the principal of my school about the situation and how that he can find someone better than me to teach the courses.

    I said I would report Monday (that's when school starts) to return everything so yes, I am going to show my face and talk with him, I owe him that much. I will tell him honestly about how at the time of the interview, I thought I could teach the subjects but now I realize I can't.

    I had brushed up with math but not to that level. I thought I was teaching regular Algebra classes, not Advanced math.

    Before I get the replies of how an e-mail is probably unprofessional, I just thought that the sooner he knew, the better.

    If he doesn't read it, I will talk with him early in the morning as best I can. There's also a planning in 2nd hour but I'm going to try to talk to him in the morning.

    It sounded like I didn't really give a two week notice but I honestly thought a resignation pretty much hurts you of chances of staying to try to teach the course.

    I'll ask him if he wants me to stay till they get a teacher and I will stay, I just want to try to help that school at this point.

    I don't want to leave on bad terms with this school but it just happens.

    God forgive me.

    I thought as an interim sub, things were different because the district said the teacher leaves you guides, you get a mentor teacher, etc. I just hope I can still sub in Elementary schools at least. Elementary I can do easy but the job market there was awful.

    I never meant to cause any harm of any kind to anybody.
     
  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    While elementary math and other content may seem easier to teach, please don't think it's an easy job.
     
  34. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    You may also be a perfect candidate for middle school subjects. Don't give up on teaching. I admire that you acted quickly. I think if you handle the situation well, you won't hurt your chances for future employment as a teacher.
     
  35. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Good luck. I am so glad that you are letting someone know of the situation. The kids really deserve someone that understands the curriculum. I know that you are concerned about your future, but you are honestly doing what is best for kids. You might find that the P wants you to stay a few days until they can find someone truly qualified. During that time you can also work (in your free time) on making business cards for the middle and elementary schools in your area and placing one in each teacher's box. Sometimes having a card in front of the teacher helps to get you noticed. Who knows, you might find that an opening in the younger grades is easier for you content wise. Of course, the kids at any level can be a challenge as stated above. But at least you would be able to help the students.
     
  36. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    What would you recommend me to do to handle it well?
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  37. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    I've subbed at elementary and middle, believe me, I know.
     
  38. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    I hope I can still sub at them, I will.
     
  39. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I just think if you keep "quitting" about what's best for the students and that the position just wasn't a good fit for your skills, you should be ok. Just be mature and professional.
     
  40. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think you did exactly the right thing. And I think the decision to email was the right one, since it gives your principal the extra day's notice.

    When you speak to him tomorrow, think about mentioning the idea of covering some lower-level classes and having a classroom teacher bump up.

    This simply was not the right set of classes for you. Don't make it about anything else... you weren't prepared to teach that particular set of classes. You weren't fired; you made a decision based on what was in the kids' best interests.

    And down the road, maybe over the summer, take (or audit) a Precalc class in you local community college. You may find that the next time a job like this comes up, you're better versed in the material that way.

    Best wishes!!
     
  41. meeper22

    meeper22 Companion

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    Jan 1, 2012

    From the looks of it though, at this point, he hasn't read it yet. So I hope he reads it today and lets me know what he would want me to do on Monday. Whatever he wants me to do, I'll do it.

    Algebra 2 regular was fine with me, it was the advanced classes that is a strain for me to teach. Whenever I was teaching Algebra 2 regular, it was a breeze for me, no problem. I just had to figure out how the students would learn best. The advanced classes were hard for me, I think because it was more challenging.

    I would take a precalc course if I had the money for it. College tuition, even community college tuition is expensive, around $600 a class last I checked. I was going to try to do it online and may be find a tutor if that was cheaper.

    I want to also ask if there's anything else I can do to prep to be a teacher. Because from the looks of it, first year teachers DO NOT get the mentor teacher or even given much time to prepare before you start the job. This forum is great but is there anywhere else as well I can go to so the next time I'm able to take a teaching job, I'll be more prepared with lessons and teaching.
     
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