I started out in this faculty with the idea that I already had what it took to be a teacher. I felt that I knew all I needed to know, and that most of what I would learn would be either impractical or something I already knew. And, to be honest, for the first year and a half a lot of it was. I felt disconnected and it seemed everything we were "learning" (or as I like to call it, memorizing) was abstract. We memorized terms and definitions solely for the purpose of doing well on tests. Nothing was "real". Fast-forward to this semester. I now have a completely different outlook on teaching. I now see myself actually gaining knowledge and skills I will be able to apply through both the content and modeling of our professors. This has me highly motivated and inspired to be the best teacher I can possibly be. I have always wanted to be a teacher, but this semester has sparked an even higher level of passion. I can picture it all now. How I will guide the students, how they will learn and grow in the classroom...of course there will be ups and downs (this is to be expected)... but I am now seeing everything I have been learning and all the things our professors have been stressing. Everything is connecting and I'm finally getting the "big picture" of what being a teacher really means. And this math course is no exception to my newfound realization and energy. It is actually one if the bigger, if not the biggest, reason for this realization. I am beginning see all the framework coming together aka HOW we are supposed to teach.
In a sense, I was right. I believe I could have made a "good" teacher regarding the HOW but I completely underestimated the WHAT. This is where the principles and standards and knowledge about current influences and pressures come in to play. For, "your knowledge of mathematics and how students learn mathematics is the most important tool you can acquire to be an effective teacher of mathematics." (Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally) So, in response to the question, "So what does this have to do with me?": Everything! Having the ability to be a great teacher means nothing if you do not have a strong understanding of the principles and standards to back it up. You must understand each principle and see how they all come together to guide educators in their teaching. A teacher must know the curriculum (content) inside and out and understand the ways (processes) through which students should acquire and use mathematical knowledge. Additionally, teachers must remain current and knowledgeable when it comes to shifts in the classroom environment (much has changed since I was in school), knowing what forces influence mathematics teaching, and knowing what resources are out there. It is only when all of these components come together that teachers will fully understand how to be an effective math teacher. If they practice what is outlined in chapter one, they will be providing students with an environment in which they (the students) will be able to acquire the proper mathematical skills and knowledge needed to survive as functioning members of society in an increasingly unpredictable future.
The past month and half has shown me that I have much more to learn than I previously thought. This means I must be more conscious of what we are doing and learning in class and more proactive outside of class. Although the task of wrapping my head around all of this seems daunting at times, I am looking forward to acquiring more knowledge and gaining a deeper understanding of mathematics, the principles and standards, the curriculum, and how these elements come together to affect us, the teachers.