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imp
Post  Post subject: Non-teacher teaching Math  |  Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:08 am

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The local High School Principal implored me, having heard I had a technical degree, to come teach Math, grades 9-12, at the local high school. They had suddenly lost their Math teacher, the new semester was due to begin in only 3 weeks. That being a very rural area, surrounded by 7 million acres of National Forest, I relized their plight: new hire could take very long. My wife & I needed the income badly, she encouraged me to accept, I did.

The eye-brow raising, rather harrowing experience of standing in front of a classroom of young adults, telling them I was not a teacher, produced surprising response. A rather scantily-clad young woman, short-shorts and filled out sexy as hell, in flagrant violation of school rules, sat contentedly munching a candy bar on my first day, first class there. I realized it was a test. I asked her to clean up her act, knowing she had broken school policy, purposely. Her response was, "you'll do just fine"!

Regulations dictated I "turn her in". I did not, later learning that Hannah had scored the highest grade on a nationally-administered Math Exam ever seen at our school! Her career goal? To become a Caterpillar Tractor certified Diesel Mechanic!

What do you think of that?

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Non-teacher teaching Math  |  Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:21 am
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i could do the maths part easily (and probably get bored with it) but i couldn't do the teaching bit - i'm pretty bad at explaining stuff and don't have the patience and people skills to handle people who are just being difficult in order to test you

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Non-teacher teaching Math  |  Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 2:49 pm
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I think Hannah working the Catepillar would make me uncomfortable if I were her dad, mostly because of the sexual maturity level of the colleagues she'll likely have!

Me, I enjoy teaching. I like to explain things. The problem I tend to have is that I understand things one way, and others maybe cannot relate to that same approach or grasp it. Finding new ways to communicate the same idea can be a massive challenge... beyond that, it's about more than just sharing information. It's about keeping that information interesting and delivering it in a manner than can be retained and recalled for future use.

Helping folks remember something for a test they have within the next week? Pretty much cake. Changing the way they think on a topic or subject in a way that will allow them to solve problems using that knowledge years into the future? Holy crap, now that's hard!

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imp
Post  Post subject: Re: Non-teacher teaching Math  |  Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:01 pm

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iNow wrote:
I think Hannah working the Catepillar would make me uncomfortable if I were her dad, mostly because of the sexual maturity level of the colleagues she'll likely have! Story a bit further: Hannah's younger brother Chad (she was a senior, 12th. grade, I taught her Trig. & Calc I) he was a freshman, 1st. yr. Algebra I, rambunctious but very smart. I could see great potential in him. The following summer he was killed driving home alone from a movie in the family pickup, hit a tree. Still a minor, no license to drive, his folks were not charged in any way. I thought them negligent.

Finding new ways to communicate the same idea can be a massive challenge...I had never taught before, degreed Engineer, used the math all my life. I recalled having difficulty in high school myself comprehending triangular trig functions vs. the polar concept. Thus, as you say, presenting the same idea differently is a great help. I introduced the concept of a unit vector rotated about a center early on. The signs of the functions are much more easily grasped due to lines' locations on the coordinates. The students got it immediately!


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Non-teacher teaching Math  |  Posted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:56 pm
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I wonder if engineers are maybe an exception. Most with whom I've worked are pretty amazing at making a concept understandable to laymen. Just an observation, and anecdotal at that, but I wonder if there's something to that.

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iNow

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Neverfly
Post  Post subject: Re: Non-teacher teaching Math  |  Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:43 am

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imp wrote:
Still a minor, no license to drive, his folks were not charged in any way. I thought them negligent.

No sense in it. They lost their son- it's clear that they were already punished.
imp wrote:
I had never taught before, degreed Engineer, used the math all my life. I recalled having difficulty in high school myself comprehending triangular trig functions vs. the polar concept. Thus, as you say, presenting the same idea differently is a great help. I introduced the concept of a unit vector rotated about a center early on. The signs of the functions are much more easily grasped due to lines' locations on the coordinates.

My high school trig teacher was a middle aged woman who had a sharp edge and a very particular knack. I cannot, now years later, even give a really good solid example of it... but if you had a question or was confused about something, she'd explain it to you briefly in about ten seconds, every time. Just matter of fact... "Oh, here's how that works."
"Oh, I get it. Wow... thanks... Jeez, you made that look easy."
"Got it? Good. Then get off my desk."
I had a straight A in her class without dipping below 95% at any time and I have always struggled with math.
Then as well as now. I have no idea how she did it. SeaGypsy is pretty good with Algebra and I've watched her tutor teens here. With similar results. Not in ten seconds, but then, it's not her career...
Some folks have that programmer mentality of just making it make sense.
I think engineers often have that mentality.
For a teacher to have sharp wit and personality, makes it an experience as well as learning. The best teachers I've had were the ones the won me over personality wise.


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imp
Post  Post subject: Consider That:  |  Posted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:50 pm

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I failed English my Senior year! All "A" grades up till that point. The teacher was known to pick out during the first few days of the semester several in the new class who WOULD fail, no matter what. It was never determined what the decision was bassed on, appearance, attitude, or ability.

She was topmost in seniority in the English Department, untouchable by authority. Her peculiar penchant was well-known, she was a never-married, perhaps male-hating woman. My Mother and I implored the Department Head; his hands were "tied".

Due to the fiasco, I did not graduate with my class, completed English during an extra semester which required that I carry 4 classes. I elected to take Psychology and two shop courses, in addition tpo the English. My Diploma was mailed to me.

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