I feel ... inadequate

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by olivecoffee, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I'm student teaching in a third grade classroom right now. With my degree, this is the highest grade level I can teach. My CT and I get along just fine, but I feel like I'm always trying to impress her, so I feel intimidated.

    I'm slowly taking on subjects until I start taking them all over after next week. This past week, I took on math in addition to social studies. My first math lesson was a disaster. I was teaching rounding, and our book didn't give me any concrete rounding rules, so I looked online and found some. The rules I taught on day one were different than what my CT has taught in the past, but we didn't realize it until afterwards. The kids were just so confused. I didn't give them enough practice time and I just talked and talked. My CT told me that math is all about the kids practicing and gave me tips for the next day. I went around during Daily 5 to re-teach the concept to a few students.

    The next day came, I retaught rounding with new rules, gave the kids their own rounding rules card, and used some of her strategies. Still, I moved too quickly into the kids working in pairs. I still didn't give them enough guided practice and completely missed 2 out of 3 concepts that I was supposed to teach. I caught myself on one, so after I handed out their seatwork, I did a few of the 3-digit roundings together. The kids were still confused.

    So, yesterday, I had a little over an hour for math. I decided to review some 2- and 3-digit rounding problems before I dived into the estimating sums lesson because I felt the kids really needed it. We worked on a few problems, and then we learned about estimating sums. We did 10 or so problems together. I ran out of time, and I gave them their worksheet with little time to really complete it. The kids were STILL so confused. Even though we talked about rounding BEFORE adding, they got their worksheet and just didn't know what to do.

    I feel inadequate. I feel like I'm not teaching it well. I have to keep reminding myself that they're only 3rd graders. For some reason, in my head, I was thinking that I didn't have to break things down for them in steps like I would 2nd graders. I know now that I have to take it slow with them. I'm just afraid I'm not teaching them well. I'm afraid I'm not a good teacher. Monday is estimating differences, and I'm worried that I'm going to lose them again.

    My confidence has dropped to zero. :( What can I do to improve? I reflect on my lessons, and I know what I do wrong. It's just that when I'm up there in front of the students, I forget some of the things I'm supposed to do or not do.
     
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  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I feel for you! I student taught in a grade 6 class for one of my placements and I taught a math lesson completely WRONG! Part way through the lesson my CT had to stop me and very politely told the class, "That was great practice. Those were just sketch sheets, they can go in the recycling." She re-taught the lesson another day and I had to go brush up on some skills I thought I knew! I was totally rattled, but there are ways to come back.

    What kind of feedback is your cooperating teacher offering? Really truly it takes some time to get into a groove with pacing and explaining things clearly. Practice at home in front of the mirror. Run all of your lessons by your CT.

    Why are you moving onto estimating differences if the kids still don't understand rounding? Is there a pacing guide you have to follow? Rounding seems like an important skill they will need before estimating differences. Can you have your CT teach a lesson on estimating so you can watch her? Or do a quick Google search for games students can play to practice the skill of rounding - maybe if you come at it from a different angle it will help.

    Good luck! The beauty of student teaching is it's PRACTICE and you get to have an expert by your side helping you improve. Reflecting and wanting to improve are SO important to be a successful teacher! You are well on your way!
     
  4. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 13, 2014

    We have to follow a pacing guide, and because I spent two days on rounding versus one, we are a day behind. They are supposed to take their topic 2 test next week. With estimating differences, I planned on bringing two jars of candy. I would like to tell them my Starburst jar has 357 pieces of candy - what is 357 rounded to the nearest hundred? I'd have them write it on their whiteboard. Then, I'd take out about 90 and have them round 90 to the nearest hundred. I'd write it on the big whiteboard and show them that 357 is rounded to 400, 90 is rounded to 100, so what's left in the jar is about 300. It makes more sense in my head than when I try to explain it.

    My CT told me what I did wrong (moving too quickly, not giving them enough practice on their whiteboards, wait time) and then told me to follow the math book because it's laid out for me. She said I need to do 10-20 problems with them before giving them their seatwork. Sometimes I'm afraid they won't have enough time to do their worksheet, like yesterday.

    I have rounding cards that I got from TPT. It's a "I have, who has" rounding game. I just don't see where I have enough time for them to do this when explaining takes a while, practicing takes a while, and then they have to do their worksheet. I am going to see if I can find something else for rounding. Maybe I can tie it into estimating differences?
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Sep 13, 2014

    Math is probably the hardest subject to learn how to teach. Don't discredit all your abilities as a teacher just because you are struggling with math. If you do have a book that lays out the lesson for you, I would follow it for a few weeks until you start finding a groove.
     
  6. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    Sep 13, 2014

    Just remember you are only a student teacher and you are having this experience to learn how to teach. You will make mistakes because you are not expected to be proficient yet. At the end of the semester you will see those skills greatly improve and will still significantly improve during your first year. Maybe spend a little more time reviewing your lesson plans with your co-operating teacher to get more guidance, she is there to help you.
     
  7. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Thank you all.

    My CT and I definitely said last week that I should follow the math book, so I am going to be doing that. Yesterday I went through and put little sticky notes in to remind myself to ask those questions to the class. I think my problem is I just forget when I'm up there teaching. I forget to ask questions, I forget to look at the book, I forget to do extra problems, or I forgot to not do something. I am hoping that my sticky notes will help me remember to hit all of the points I need to hit.

    My CT is great; it's me that keeps forgetting to follow her guidance. Even when I reflect, I think about what went wrong and I incorporate everything she said... then, I only do about half of what I want to/should do when I'm teaching. I need to get better at this.
     
  8. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Olivecoffee...

    Even as a student teacher you have joined this board wanting to reflect and better your practices. That says a great deal about you. Take a deep breath and enjoy this time. Learn from your CT, learn from your mentors and professors. Ask questions. I find that adults always preach to students to ask questions, yet feel embarrassed to do so ourselves.

    Good luck.
     
  9. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Rounding is a difficult concept with kids. I always had 5th graders struggle with it. When I taught it in 3rd, I had to spend several days on it. Eventually, I had to move on.

    If they can't round, they will not be able to estimate. Even my 5th graders would add first and then round the answer :rolleyes:

    Here is a poem I've used:

    Find your number,
    Look next door.
    Four or less, just ignore.
    Five or more, add one more!

    I've also related it to a roller coaster hill.
     
  10. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Sep 14, 2014

    The candy jar activities sound time - consuming. You don't have time to count out 90 pieces just to round them to 100. You also don't seem to have time for the "I have, who has" game. I know you want to incorporate fun activities like those, but when time is an issue, focus on what will most benefit the students while remaining on pace.
     
  11. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 14, 2014

    I've nixed the rounding game because I know I don't have time. They're all printed and ready to go, so maybe if we have time sometime during my ST, we can play as refresher.

    With the candy jars, we weren't going to count them out. I was going to display them and say one jar has 90 and the other jar has 357. It was really for a visual. It was supposed to be an adapted question from the manual.
     
  12. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 14, 2014

    The poem is a good idea! We sang a "We Will Round You" song I found on YouTube. I think the problem we're having is that many of the children find "four or less" and "five or more" too abstract. On my rounding rules card, I literally had to type out each individual number (0, 1, 2, 3, 4: circled number stays the same) because the kiddos couldn't tell me if 8 was more than 5.

    I like the roller coaster hill, too. I plan on having the kids glue a rounding chart and the rounding rules in their math notebooks, but I'm wondering if a roller coaster would be a better visual than the chart. The chart might be overwhelming for a few kids.
     
  13. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Is your math book Pearson?
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Sep 14, 2014

    One day on rounding? Are they insane?
     
  15. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Yes, it sure is.
     
  16. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Sep 14, 2014

    It's the pacing guide. I don't know if it's the district pacing guide or the Pearson pacing guide or what, but I do know I'm a day behind. I ended up spending two days on rounding, but that's because I didn't give them enough practice the first day and I just didn't teach it well. I would like to emphasize rounding when I teach estimating differences, but from here we move on to making sense of equations and reasonableness, and then their test.
     
  17. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Sep 14, 2014

    For what it's worth, even if your district strictly follows the pacing guides (we have a pacing guide that was created by several teachers in the district last summer), I don't think anyone would/should fault you for taking an extra day to make sure students fully understand a concept rather than moving on...so I wouldn't fret too much about being a day behind. For all you know, there'll be a concept later on that your students get quicker than expected! My colleagues and I see the pacing guide just as it is called - a guide.

    Also, perhaps not fully related since this is 4th grade - but our work with rounding (which I think is also slightly different) has 1 day in the Envision pacing guide, but the teachers that looked deeply into all of the standards/work/curriculum have it as 2 days.
     
  18. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    My third grade rounding lesson from Pearson expected the kids to round to the tens, hundreds, thousands, and ten thousands place in one lesson.

    It is insane!
     
  19. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    We are six days behind. We get yelled at by administration for going too slow and by parents for going too fast. I can't win.

    So it's not just you OP!
     
  20. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Sep 14, 2014

    Oh dear. I'm sorry you had a tough math lesson! But it sounds like part of the problem, based on what you said above, is that they are lacking basic number sense!!

    This is a tough one, because you have this pacing guide to follow and yet it sounds like these kids have holes that needs to be retaught/revisited.

    We use Singapore Math and we fully believe that you start with the hands on, move on to the pictorial, and then the abstract. You jumped straight into the abstract, it sounds like. Can you move back at least to the pictorial and draw number lines to show why rounding works the way it does? Why does the number round up if it is five or more, for example.
     

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