Jacob Kapinos' Reflection

Teaching can be very difficult. I knew that the profession is not easy, but I did not realize how hard and challenging it can be. When I was the lead teacher for the first time, I absolutely disliked it. I walked out of the classroom that day feeling absolutely defeated and frustrated. I walked out never wanting to be the lead teacher again. Most importantly, I walked out feeling that teaching is not for me. Personally, I absolutely hated being up there, which made me feel like I should not continue on my path of becoming a teacher. For the majority of my life, I can only remember wanting to be a teacher, but when I was in the classroom being the lead teacher, I just did not like it at all.

I had chosen to be a part of the Algebra 1A class because I knew this would be a challenge for me because most of the students in this class struggled with mathematics and exhibited less confidence in their mathematical abilities, and I was totally up for that challenge since I have never been in this type of classroom or had this experience before.

However, I walked into the classroom being the lead teacher for the first time with the assumption that every student would be like me when I was in high school. I always tried, put in a ton of effort, never walked out of the classroom when there was a challenging question or material, and I always cared about my schoolwork. I thought every student would be like this because this is who I was and who I was surrounded around back in high school.

However, this is not the case. I learned that no two students are the same, and each student has a specific way of learning that is autonomous to who they are. I also learned that some students will do absolutely anything to get out of doing a math problem or a math worksheet in class. Though at that time I had convinced myself that teaching was not for me, I still stuck with the course, had an open mind, and continued to be the lead teacher whenever I could be because somewhere deep inside me, I just knew that I was born to be an educator.

Sticking with the course, sustaining an open mind when going to the high school, and continuing to be the lead teacher was probably the best decision I could have made. Consistently forcing myself to go up there to be the lead teacher and to practice several different teaching strategies and skills kind of opened my eyes about using active learning in mathematics classrooms. I learned about myself as a future teacher that I prefer using active learning rather than traditional lecturing methods. The third time I was the lead teacher, I was able to bring in fraction tiles and I made this really cool challenge worksheet that stumped most of the students. The fraction tiles helped students realize how many times one fraction goes into another fraction, and they were able to determine the fraction name for each piece in a fraction puzzle. It was awesome getting to see the students take a hands-on approach to doing mathematics. The challenge problem I had made consisted of labeling pieces of a shape as a fraction, but some of the pieces were very awkward in shape. Getting to see the students struggle made me kind of happy and excited because they were really invested in figuring out the problem, and it was nice as the teacher to see them figure it out and have their moment of “wow, I was able to do it.”

All in all, my perception on teaching mathematics has completely changed. I realized that teaching is not for everybody, and I even thought this about myself a few times over the past semester. However, sticking with the course was the best decision I could have made in this situation because I now know how I want to run my mathematics classes one day and I gained a ton of knowledge, skills, and strategies that I can use and will use in my pre-practicum and practicum that I will do as I continue my path to become a high school math teacher.