Does anyone else obsess over a lesson that just didn't go the way it should have gone?

I had a class today that I love I have been in for this teacher a few times this year and her class is great. Well, today the math lesson on decimals just didn't fly... Everyday Math just throws me for a loop sometimes, and I have a hard time explaining the concept the way that the book wants it explained...which was probably half the problem... I do know fractions and decimals

Anyway, I feel bad... I feel like I let the teacher and kids down. I left a note for the teacher letting her know that some of the kids were still a little confused at the end of the lesson.

I just can't shake this "epic fail" feeling! *Sigh*

Sometimes I look at those lessons and wonder what is wrong with the way we learned subtraction, addition, etc. My 4th grader recently brought home subtraction where they had to subtract the 100s, then the 10s, then the 1s and then add or subtract those results accordingly. Luckily, I knew what to do because I had just read that lesson the same day in another 4th grade class. And then there is lattice multiplication and partial sums, etc.

I wouldn't worry so much. Even if the teacher had taught the lesson, not everyone would have understood it the first time around. And even if you read straight from the teacher's edition while teaching, some kids still won't get it the first time.

When I teach a lesson that I think the kids just didnt "get" or "understand"....I leave a note for the teacher. I tell the teacher that I completed the lesson to the best of my ability and that some kids were still not getting the concept and that they may need review.

I agree with you Smiling Sub, Everyday Math is confusing to teach. I don't like how it's set up to teach students. I too, find it confusing. I taught 3rd grade last year with it and especially towards the end of the year I found it was difficult to teach.

I agree that subbing in math can be confusing. But I don't think it's the fault of Everyday Math. Or maybe I should say, the issue isn't confined solely to Everyday Math. I'm currently taking a math ed class in grad school, and ALL math programs are going the constructivist route. When they work, they're fun and meaningful and really help kids learn. BUT...as subs, we don't have time to make things work. We need prep time to get the lesson--and we get no prep time as subs. I know that the times I've taught math in middle school, I've had 5-10 minutes to figure out what the day's lesson was before homeroom kids start coming into the room. One day, I knew the operation (algebra) and could work the problems just fine. But the book kept referring to this group of people, and I couldn't figure out who they were. Finally, during a planning period, three classes into the day, I had time to really read the book. Turns out the entire section of the book is one looooong story line. The characters were introduced on page 6--and I was on page 51! How was I supposed to get that one correct? Anyway, a couple of things: First, know that many regular classroom teachers are struggling with these new math programs. And second, you did exactly the right thing: leave the teacher a note and tell her what was confusing. Don't beat yourself up over it.

If I understand correctly the writings of Rafe Esquith, an award-winning LA teacher,
textbook publishers deliberately keep changing their books' teaching methods to
force schools to keep buying new books. If that keeps teachers and students
constantly off balance, too bad.

I got through law school, but the layout of many textbooks is so scattered I find them
almost incomprehensible. So I look at them just long enough to figure out what I'm
supposed to teach, then I teach it my way.

Also, teaching math is not easy. I recommend a look at an article by a math
teacher which Gunther922 included in his 10/18 post on the 5th Grade board
entitled, "pvs2013. Very long article about teaching (math)." This article says one
must teach not just the mechanics of math but the logic behind it, since without
reason math is just a "black box," and "fear and loathing take over." (Hey, I
could "reason" forever, and math beyond basic arithmetic would still be a black box!)
Consequently, he recommends that starting in the 4th (or 5th?) grade that math be
taught by specialized math teachers.

But somehow I doubt that a fully-qualified math teacher would be thrilled to be doing what I did today, part of which was explaining to my 4th/5th graders why 1 gallon plus 1 quart, minus 2 quarts, leaves 3 quarts.

Last edited by Ball Three; 10-24-2009 at 09:51 AM..

I try my best to teach the concept that is in the book. I like math so I'm usually on the up and up, but I often get thrown a loop because of the terminology! It took me a while to figure out that what I knew as "carrying" growing up is now called "regrouping." If I don't think the kids get it, I'll leave a note for the teacher and will try to think of ways I can introduce the concept if they don't get it using the book.

ALSO, I have been in many classrooms where the sub notes say something like this: "Please teach fractions on page 3. They'll be clueless, so don't worry about it." I think it's the material itself that is the problem most of the time, not necessarily the teaching!

I thought it was just me who went home with a "shoulda" hang over!! I ususally lay in bed for a little while too trying to figure out what I could have done differently...what I learned..how I could do it better next time.

What I've learned so far from this thread is that we should probably give ourselves a break!

With almost no time to prepare, teaching on the fly and doing our best~~maintaining order, being kind, clear and concise, AND imparting at least SOME of the concepts involved in the lesson is probably more than most people could accomplish. I'm actually rather proud of us! Hooray for subs who care!! If I left the room and never thought twice about it...now THAT would be bad...