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BadDayinHS
 
 
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Made a mistake in HS Math!
Old 11-06-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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Well, I had a high school class today after having a middle school math class yesterday. I am not a math person and I wasn't prepared for this (fairly basic) level of algebra.

I tried to do a warm-up algebra problem on the board and got the wrong answer in front of the kids! Then I couldn't figure out how to get the right answer!

(I had done it wrong 1st period but no one had caught it.) Second period, I totally lost face but tried to explain that I'm an English major, not a math major. It was awful and I can only hope that the students don't tell the teacher.

I know this: I will NEVER try to do a math problem cold on the board again! I try to work the problems ahead of time but I didn't have time. I also try to have smart kids work them. Guess that's what I'll stick to in High School math from now on. I know some subs who won't sub in math or in high school for that matter. I need the work though and don't want to turn jobs down.

Anyhow, I'd love to hear if others have ever made a math (or other content) mistake, and if so, how you recovered from it. =(


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math
Old 11-06-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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Yes, i have made a mistake before in math, in front of students. It is very uncomfortable because people always assume that teachers know everything. Once you have this experience it is easy to see why so many kids don't want to come to the board to work a problem. Nobody wants to be laughed at. Not really.

When I make a mistake in front of students I say, "I made a mistake, oops" If I don't know how to do the problem I say that it has been too long since I was familiar with that kind of problem. I ask if there is a student who can come to the board (or overhead) and show the class how to do the problem.

I too have learned to not put myself out there and try stuff cold. We have to do so much of that as it is. If you don't have time to work the problems in advance then just don't do it. What I've found in HS math is that the teacher will leave review sheets. I say to the class that I guess their teacher wants to see what they have already learned. I do not let students try to rope me into focusing on just their paper because sometimes this is a tactic used to get the attention of the sub so that the rest of the class can get into some sort of mischief.

How to get over it? Give it time. You are not expected to me an expert in every subject or any subject for that matter. Hope you feel better soon.
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Old 11-06-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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I once totally flubbed in math....it was a (supposed) simple math problem (6th grade) about measurement!!!! I kept thinking in my head that 12 inches wasn't a foot--uuhhhhh!!!! Let's just say---20 students can't be wrong

I went on to tell them that I was in another world---somewhere far away at the moment and that I finally came back to Earth!!!! Hey, we all have our teacher moments----the funniest thing was the kids totally respected me for telling the truth---I flubbed! OOPS! and they went on to say to me that "teachers NEVER say they made a mistake" they just keep on going like nothing happened...TSK TSK TSK.....
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My name is Thor and I'm a mistake maker!
Old 11-06-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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Thanks for confessing yoohoo! I think I will use your line next time! I made a super obvious fraction mistake on the overhead in front of 5th graders. I hadn't gotten enough sleep and was exhausted in a very lively class. It was awkward! Later I made a even dumber mistake in front of 3rd graders writing 6+6+6=16. ha ha ha! I tried to 'joke' about just testing them, but they were so proud of catching my mistake! I commended them for catching it. Well, we want them to be critical thinkers and not accept everything they are told, right?
Going forward, I think I might say "let's see if I can get this right" as I begin working it on the board. And then say "how does that look?" - and take suggestions. I bet that attitude would even get their attention.
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oh yeah...
Old 11-06-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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I generally don't work ANY problems or answer many questions in math above the 6th grade level. They are usually assigned review of work they have been doing and rarely am I presenting a new concept to them. I think that teacher is nuts to depend on a sub to present new material. Kudos to you for taking it on. I usually refer the students w/ questions to someone else in the class. I say, I think it would be okay if you asked another student on that one. If they question why I dont' help them I just say - it's been 20 yrs since I had this class, you'd be better off asking one of them. If there is an aid in the room who knows math I do ref. students to them (often there are aids for the special needs kids available in the room, they sort of sit in the back just in case theya re needed)

I also get put in college level classes a lot. You give me art, english, science, et cI am good. But College calc - uh, sorry. I sub in there a lot and the kids know not to ask me. Good thing is those kids are usually older and mature enough to not hardly need me in there except to comply w/ the law. hehehehehe


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Once in FOURTH grade
Old 11-06-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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the lesson was about mean, median and mode but they called it 'leaf and stem plots' or some such thing.

I had never heard of it( --and never heard anything since either.) What was weird is that I kind of like math and have never had a problem with mean, median and mode before, I just couldn't do the damn leaf and stem or stem and leaf plots....
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:04 AM
 
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Leaf and stem plots were "new math" when my daughter (now 20) was in school. My son that was only 4 yrs older and he didn't have it, it was odd and still one of those things I think "why?".

Most high school math teachers assume subs aren't going to be able to do the math. The one time I subbed she was thrilled when I told her I could teach it, but even so, she had lesson plans that included an internet clip of how to work the problems. It was pretty neat actually.

I am in 4th grade until Christmas and even that new math I have to think through now and then, and I am pretty straight up with the kids on mistakes, it happens. I think it is good for the kids to see that teachers/adults make mistakes too. I have times when I have to say "wait, let me see that the teacher's book has to say about that".

And even a few things like Language Arts that we did the other day, I put the answers up very quickly, and I told them if they disagree with my answers, to let me know, I could be wrong.

You could always ask someone to come up and work it on the board instead of trying to do it yourself if you aren't sure.
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Me too!
Old 11-09-2009, 11:30 AM
 
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Yes, I have been there more than once I don't teach High School but (I stop at 6th grade) but I have made the dreaded math mistake!!!

Usually, I just admit that I made a mistake and move on... If I don't know what I am doing, I ask one of the students to come up and help me... Sometimes, I just don't get the "new way" of doing Math...

One time, I had to teach the class how to add fractions using a hexagon (1), a trapezoid (1/2), a rhombus (1/3), and a triangle (1/6)...I got myself confused and started calling the trapezoid a rhombus and the hexagon an octagon... it was a disaster... I told the class that I didn't learn how to add fractions this way and told them that "we would learn this together"... It worked well I think the class enjoyed learning with me
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I made...
Old 11-09-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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errors subbing before and even make errors every now and then as a teacher. I just tell the kids that I am not perfect and that I am allowed to make mistakes. They love to catch them. The funniest thing is is when we are doing stuff on the board and I stand back and say that something doesn't look right. Most of the time I know I screwed up I just don't know where. I say that we'll leave there until we figure it out. Later someone has usually figured it out. My students have now started admitting when something doesn't look right to them and we figure it out. I also make them own their work by saying one simple word when we are doing group work. The word is "really" said with total disbelief. They have to have confidence in their work and prove that they are right.

My making mistakes as actually helped them understand that mistakes are okay to make as long as you learn from them.

I also say sometimes that I have visited another planet for a while but I am back on Earth and ready to go.
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