Thursday, March 1, 2018

sol18 #1: I can't teach math higher than 3rd grade, except when...

I had to sub in a fifth grade classroom the other day, and whenever I am in a classroom, I always get reeeeaaallly nervous when it's time for math. I'm terrible at math, other than basic computation, some fractions, and simple story problems, therefore teaching anything higher than a 3rd grade level in math is challenging for me.

I prefaced the lesson with, "Ok friends, the highest grade I've ever taught was 2nd grade, so my knowledge of 5th grade math is a little rusty. Be patient with me."

The kids gave me a "Sure, whatever" look and began their practice problems.

I began circling the room, asking pairs of students how they were doing and if anyone needed help. So far, so good. Five minutes passed, everyone's still working fabulously and moving along. Ten minutes passed, same thing.

Around 15 minutes into the lesson, students began raising their hands about needing some support with this problem, "5/6 of the letters in the group are vowels. What letters can comprise the whole group?"

Yessss, I thought to myself. This is a problem I can solve (partly because it's fractions, and partly because it is literacy-related).

Since this question was becoming a common issue, I realized that I needed to address this to the whole group.

There I stood, at the front of the room, confidently supporting students to come up with a solution to this question. Phew.

After that, the students continued working quietly with their partners, no one needed any more major support, and one girl whispered to me, "See, Mrs. Jantz, you can teach math."


  1. This is great! I almost did not accept my job as a Gifted Specialist because it involved teaching 6th grade ADVANCED math! I had been teaching K level math for 13 years. YIKES. Turns out that I am not half bad at it. Sounds like you can do it too. Nice feeling when something seems so difficult and it really is not at all!

  2. See, Mrs. Jantz you can do whatever you believe you can! Great job and great story. What fraction of my comment are the vowels? JK

  3. Awwwhhhh that soft comment from the little kiddo, so perfect! :-)

  4. I feel like there are so many things to say about your post! My first real teaching job was as a Title 1 support teacher in 7th and 8th grade math classes. Oh...I mean, advanced math classes.I was terrified, but I was there to support a very experienced teacher. I learned so much! I'd hated 8th grade math as an 8th grader, but loved it as an adult! It turned my whole career in a new direction. Now, math is one of my favourite things to teach. I'm glad you felt like an expert!

  5. Love it! Fifth grade math comes back to you. I'm glad that the literacy related problem helped you to feel a little more comfortable! Great first post!

  6. Growth mindset! You can do anything!
    I love how the student supported you!

  7. Mrs. Jantz, everything you do totally adds up. #literacycoachmathhumor

  8. Mrs. Jantz,
    You are not only a rock star for being the best guest teacher my kiddos could have had, but you are also an intelligent, powerful mathematician. Get it, girl! Ms. VW


sol18: it's okay to cry

Being a parent requires an insane amount of patience, love, and understanding. It's the best and hardest job in the world. It means mis...