If any teacher’s name is worth mentioning, this one’s is; However, as a respect to his privacy, I will call him Mr. M.
Mr. M is a highly energetic middle school teacher, who seems dedicated to making math fun, for his students, by utilizing an interactive white board, and a great sense of humor.
Not too long ago, I was told about Mr. M’s math class, by my daughter. “He’s great Mom. You have to see.” I contacted him via email, and asked if I could come into his class to observe it. I always look forward to meeting teachers who positively engage their students through the use of innovative and appealing methodologies, and a great sense of humor. This teacher matched my criteria.
As I approached his class, he was there waiting to greet his students, as they entered the classroom. With his expectations set high for his students, he greeted them in a jovial manner, “Hello precious.” If they didn’t greet him with a good attitude, he had them start again. I walked up to
him and introduced myself. From the introduction, I could tell that this was not going to be an average observation. His humor was set on high
volume, and as we entered the class he told me that I could sit at his desk, “Temporarily”. Broadway Show tune melodies were playing through his classroom speakers, and I thought that it seemed like a great way to kick off a math class. His students entered quietly, and amongst them was my daughter.
They all sat at their seats and followed procedural routine of setting up, and getting to work until Mr. M began his lecture.
Mr. M’s personality was vivacious and he was definitely charismatic. He had his expectations set high for his students and expected them to perform their best, as well as participate. That’s exactly what they did. They were drawn to their teacher, and seemed to have high regard for him. As his students settled down, and prepared to begin class, Mr. M turned off the music. He grabbed an interactive white board and he began to write computations on the board. He joked jovially, but with a very serious undertone, as he jotted down fractions in algebraic equations. He spent some time explaining the equation and then had his students jot down and solve the problems. As they solved the problems, he circulated around the classroom, all the while he told funny jokes and made sarcastic-tongue in cheek remarks. For the most part I thought he was really quite funny. However, it was his students’ reactions that caught my eye. As I glanced around the class, I noticed that every student was focused on solving the problems that were jotted on the white board. I took note that everyone was participating, and all of them wanted to prove that they could do it; they wanted to show their teacher their best effort. He wanted his students to work out the problems—find the solutions before being told. When they finished solving problems, the students would all shine their results toward their teacher-holding up their whiteboards to show the work. Mr. M would take the time to acknowledge everyone’s result, as he circulated around the class. He pointed to each student and said, “excellent, or close, or good job”. He positively reinforced his students, and as he did he would make jokes with them. He also told them to think out of the box-nice to hear.
After his lecture, he allowed the students to work on their homework, quietly. He told me that he does not like to overwhelm them with homework. While they worked quietly, he circulated around the room, answering any questions or concerns they may have had regarding their work. I took a moment to
observe the classroom. I laughed to myself when I looked around. The entire class was decorated in a variety of t-shirts, in a variety of colors, including
tie-dye. Each t-shirt had either a mathematical equation on it, or a saying having to do with math.
Mr. M is a great teacher. He, himself, is an “out of the box” thinker, and presents math with humor. He is extremely aware of what is going on around him at all times. If one of his students gets off track, he quickly makes a joke, or quick witted remark in response; and he is open to their reciprocation. He has an excellent rapport with his students, and because Mr. M has high expectations for his students, for their participation and etiquette,
they shine for him.
As his students finished their homework, they quietly cleaned up and waited patiently for others around them to finish. When the bell rang, he wished them, “well and safety.” With that they collected their items, greeted him, and left. As they left, the next group entered. He was ready and set up to go again.
I greeted and thanked Mr. M for his time and energy in allowing me to hang out with them. I enjoyed my observation. I wish more teachers taught children with the same enthusiasm and vigor that Mr. M has. He sets the right attitude for appealing and engaging his students.