Thursday, October 29, 2009

1st day

Yesterday was my first day of volunteering with Math Rules! and it was both nerve-wracking and relatively comfortable at the same time. I've signed up to help in four different classrooms at three different schools, which seems like a lot but it wasn't too bad.

To start the day off, it was miserably rainy, windy, and cold all at the same time. My downstairs neighbor also parked behind me and I had to wait for him to finish his shower before I could go to my first class. Who's late to their first day of anything? Apparently, I am, but the site coordinator L was just happy to see me show up. She's a super nice woman who escorted me to and from both my classes.

My first two classes were with newer teachers at a school down in Dorchester. I was nervous to step into a class I wasn't familiar with, and sure enough all ~25 pairs of eyes were on me as I came in. But as the students started working, I walked around and helped them with their work and then they took an assessment test. I found three of my students while walking around, and a few other students asked me to help them as well. Not quite what I was expecting, but 1st days usually don't go as planned. Ms. H was quite welcoming and I'm sure I'll enjoy working in her classroom.

The second class was Mr. C's class. This one didn't go so well. There were noise issues and Mr. C was in and out of the class because of meetings. It was harder to connect with any of my students, I will have to talk to Mr. C about it next week. The students were working on dividing irregular polygons in half, and I had some problems with the work, as did many of the students. I think the layout of the classrooms makes it difficult to work with that small group of students, but I'll try to ask for space next week.

After catching up with L, the site coordinator, I rushed to my next school and managed to show up just a little late. Luckily for me, the students at the school were making flowers for the principal, it was her birthday. Mrs. M was super nice to me and made sure that I wasn't wasting my time even though class was behind schedule. Mrs. M's class was incredibly well behaved and I really enjoyed the class meeting they had. We finally jumped into angles of simple shapes and the students were really great at doing group work/note taking. I unfortunately had to get to my next class, but I'm looking forward to working with Mrs. M's class next week.

The site coordinator at my last school doesn't have an office anymore, so she met me in the main office. The students in this class were working on estimation as a group, then broke apart to do subtraction and checking with addition. There was a horseshoe table where I got to work with my four students. Finally! A class that sticks to what the program is working towards. It was really nice to work with the four students because one of my boys doesn't seem to be motivated to work. After he saw the other students working diligently, he finished up his work as well. All four of my kids not only finished the work on the board, but made up their own problems to solve. One of the girls managed to convince me to bring them treats next week. I might have to devise a reward system for them.

In summation, my first day of volunteering started off hectic, but ended well. It's hard to insert yourself into a classroom and pretend like nothing is different, but I hope the kids will warm up to me as the year progresses. I'm looking forward to seeing the differences by school, classroom, teacher managing styles, students, grades, etc. I hope getting this first-hand experience of Math Rules! will help in the future. I should also get around to promoting this blog as a resource for our volunteers as well. We're having a program meeting this afternoon, I'll see what we come up with.

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