Switching from Math to English

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MissMath, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. MissMath

    MissMath Rookie

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    Jun 29, 2010

    I'm about to begin my first year of teaching as a math teacher. I chose to teach math because it was my favorite subject in high school, although I liked pretty much every class (that's why I'm becoming a teacher! :)). The past year or so, I've been thinking that I might rather teach English. I'm definitely going to give math a try, especially because I already got a job through a grad school program that I'm in where I'll teach full time and take classes to get my Master's this year.

    My question is, what's the best way to get into teaching English if I decide that's what I want to do? Just study for and take the Praxis?

    Thanks for any help!
     
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  3. BCPMWK

    BCPMWK Companion

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    Jun 29, 2010

    Yes, I believe you can take the Praxis for an endorsement in a different subject area after you complete three years of teaching.
     
  4. ebrillblaiddes

    ebrillblaiddes Companion

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    Jun 29, 2010

    Check your state's Highly Qualified rules. You may be really close to having the credits you would need for HQ in English, so that you could take a few more classes, nights and summers, and be HQ in an area outside your license. Small schools love this as they can then hire you to teach a few periods of one and a few periods of the other, and generally not get fined by the state/feds for it.

    Be aware going in that math jobs are easier to find than English--with one major exception that I'm aware of: if you're in a state with a growing immigrant population, ESL is in demand, so taking the courses and/or exam to add ESL as well as English certification could give you a lot of options in teaching a full schedule of possibly very different kinds of English classes.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 30, 2010

    Hi and welcome!

    I say you put your idea on a back burner, and give math a real shot!

    My husband teachers English and loves it, but I've been teaching math since 1980, and it's the right fit for me.

    (Not to mention that math teachers traditionally face a MUCH softer job market than English teachers!!!)

    What math class(es) are you teaching? How can I help you prep?
     
  6. MissMath

    MissMath Rookie

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    Jul 2, 2010

    Thanks for the info everyone!!

    Alice - I'm teaching Geometry and CAG II (A mixture of Algebra and Geometry for students who have difficulties in math. It's the second in a three part course, and we will be following a curriculum that does about 3-4 chapters of algebra and then a chapter of geometry).

    I have so much to think about, it's overwhelming! I have all of my texts, but I have even bigger things to decide than individual lessons. I'm still not sure how to assign homework, how to organize student work, the best way to contact parents (my host teacher in student teaching didn't have any parent contact, but that's something I want to do a lot of!). I'm also thinking about doing some kind of token system where they earn "math bucks." Just not sure the best way to do everything. Any ideas you have for a first year math teacher would be GREAT!!

    Thank you!!
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 3, 2010

    Ok, let's start with prep. It's one of the most important things you can do this summer to make yourself an effective teacher. Here's what I do:

    I sit at the computer over the summer (I'm thinking next week) with my textbook and syllabus. I make up a table in Word. It contains:
    - topic number
    - topic title
    - homework assignment
    - notes (short, as in "needs graph paper")

    I type in the very bare minimum I think I'll need-- for now, you can assume one small topic (say, Base angles of an isosceles triangle) per day, then expand upon it as you go.

    Then I put in my tests. I test every 2 weeks, regardless of where I am in the syllabus. (I am VERY specific with my kids about what's on the test!) More on tests later.

    That gives me a good overview of the year. I seldom actually stick to it-- some topics need 2 days, others hit short periods, and so on. But it does allow me to see at a glance what's coming up, and what I've covered. It also helps me manage time, so I know I'll finish the syllabus with time to review.

    In your shoes, my next step would be to get 2 different colored binders, one for each prep, and actually sit down and do some lesson planning. As a first year teacher, you'll probably have to hand them in anyway. For now, don't sweat the format; you can change your summer work to suit your AP if necessary. But plan our your lessons, including actually doing each problem in the beginning. Your diagrams don't have to be great, but you'll want to be comfortable in front of the classroom. (Teaching on your own is very different from student teaching. The security of having those problems worked out is great in case you make an error in class.)

    For what it's worth, I LOVE my mathtype program!! It makes typing math so very easy!!!You can do a free 30 day download and see whether you agree: http://www.dessci.com/en/products/mathtype/trial.asp I thnk it's worth every dime. Keep in mind that, as a teacher, you're elligible for the academic discount. (From their website: "
    Do you offer an academic discount?
    Yes. MathType is only $57 for faculty, staff and students of academic institutions. Upgrades are $37. You can get the discount in our online store or by calling our offices.")

    Be sure to overplan; dead time in a classroom is a disruption just waiting to happen!!!!

    In geometry, make good use of color. Overlapping triangles are SO MUCH easier to see if one is highlighted in yellow and the other in pink.

    Type up your lessons, place them into a plastic protector, and you've gotten a handle on the content.

    OK, back to homework. My policy, and I make it VERY clear to my kids on the first day (and their parents when I meet them) is the 20 minute rule. No kid should ever spend more than 20 minutes on my math homework. (And, yes, that's 20 minutes of no email, no Twitter, no snacks.. 20 minutes of MATH.) At the end of those 20 minutes they can stop. Either they're the only one who couldn't finish (which means they need extra help TODAY!!) or the whole class had trouble. (In that case, it's MY problem-- I gave too much or didn't explain it well. I'll have to juggle my plans for the day and make sure I get them caught up.) But I think it's a fair system. The kids love it-- too many of them know what it's like to spend hours on one subject, and I just don't think that's fair.

    I also allow my kids to miss, then make up for full credit, up to 3 homeworks per marking period. Sometimes life gets in the way of homework. Beyond 3, and it's a pattern which will effect their grade.

    When I check homework, I just walk around the room with my gradebook and a highlighter. I know what the 2nd or 3rd problem should look like (though I don't tell them that!) and I look for that problem. I run a line through the assignment. They can still read it, and that way their friend won't show me the same notebook later in the day.

    There's more, but your head is probably ready to explode already. Let me know what questions you have, OK??
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 3, 2010

    If you want to PM me with your email address, I'll be happy to forward you my geometry notes. They may help as you begin lesson planning.

    They're pretty bare bones, but they'll give you a starting place.
     
  9. BCPMWK

    BCPMWK Companion

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    Jul 3, 2010

    MissMath,
    I can understand that you feel like you're under water, but you would probably feel the same way were you to be a beginning English teacher. The first two or three years, we all felt that way. I've been teaching for a long time, yet I've spent most of this summer (and every summer) revamping my course. Two years in a row we had new textbooks, so that was a challenge. This year I'm trying to add more technology to the English classroom, plus I want to take advantage of some of the items that came with our texts that I had not learned well enough to utilize last year. I think you will find that many of us work year round, considering new options/lessons and reworking organization to better our classes in the future. I've changed my student and self organization quite a bit since the beginning. I'm not sure I'll ever be finished. It's just part of the life-long learner deal! Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine!
     

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