I teach math. I’m known as a hard teacher (my quizzes & tests aren’t easy). I expect my students to practice math daily. I expect them to ask questions when things aren’t clear. I expect them to engage the material and that the grades will follow as a result of authentically learning. I encourage them not to focus on the grades as that simply drives stress and draws focus away from actual learning.
This fall, I have been completing math assignments and writing math quizzes as a grad student at the U of Waterloo. There is a slight difference between me and my students as I have chosen to complete a math program, but my precalculus students are also choosing to take a more advanced math than what is required to graduate.
Since I am choosing the program and will have been choosing my upcoming courses, I do feel more free and desirous of learning the math software and concepts and also excited about completing expectations long before the deadlines arrive.
The assigned readings and practice is not onerous, but enlightening.
My professors are always available to help me, though I like to try other avenues before sending them a message. I do get lost on occasion and some of the quizzes have caught me unaware.
I go over my mistakes in order to carry the knowledge forward.
So essentially, I am exemplefying what my expectations are towards my own students. The only exception that I find difficult is not obsessively checking my grades as I complete my online assignments. I don’t really care about my GPA, but curiosity drives me to know if I have excelled to the point I was aiming for.
I can understand my keen students all the more now. I can also relate to those students who are a bit lost in my class as I lack some background in some fields of math that are used in teaching software and proofs. It forces me to research online and fill those gaps.
Initiative, determination and deep interest seem to be the keys in to actual learning. I haven’t been off the mark in how I’ve related to my students, but I now have more understanding towards their process.