If I were asked to describe my ideal
classroom at the beginning of PS1 last fall, I would have portrayed a room with
tables instead of desks, a smart board in front of the class, lots of visual
and physical manipulatives, a no calculator rule—like in the Calculus sequence
at SDSU, and most importantly me in front of the class lecturing each day with
fully engaged students. As we learned
about different teaching methods, I was constantly saying to myself, “I
understand how this method would work for English or history but not math. By the end of the 2015 fall semester, I had
developed a few ideas that would differentiate my lessons, but I was still
stubbornly holding on to the idea of the traditional math classroom.

Now when I think about my ideal
classroom, most of the physical aspects are the same, but my approach to
teaching is much different. I realized
how stubborn I was being about how math should be taught, so now I am forcing
myself to become more aware of different types of lessons, teaching styles, and
classroom styles. When my mom first
started transforming her classroom to the hybrid model she uses today, I was
unimpressed, and I thought she was taking the teaching out of her job and
forcing her students to teach themselves.
I never told her this of course, but when we would talk about it and I
would ask her questions I am pretty sure she could guess what I was
thinking. Now that I have joined a
couple of online education communities through twitter and reddit, I see great
value in the way she is teaching her physics classes.

What I find most interesting about
my recent exposure to all these “new fangled” teaching methods is that I was
learning about them throughout PS1; I was just to stubborn to see how I could
apply them to a mathematics classroom.
Terms like individualized learning and differentiated lesson have moved
from the realm of improbable to the realm of “if would be fun if I could try…”

Some of the projects I have looked
at and really like are the action figure project: where students use ratios to
draw themselves as an action figure, and project that would get students outside:
like throwing Frisbees and plotting points on a graph for where they land, measuring
the perimeter of the school to determine its area, creating a mathematics
scavenger hunt that would lead them throughout the school ground. Now, instead of thinking about teaching math
in the traditional sense, I don’t think it is the only way. Instead I feel myself wanting to avoid that
classroom as all costs.

Let me finish by saying, no matter
the way I plan to teach, I always want it to be the best way for my students to
learn the content.