Day 102: Monika, Middle and Upper School Math Teacher

[ By on March 01, 2013 ]

This is my tenth year teaching math and today I learned the value of taking the time to simply think.  Over the years, my teaching goals have shifted, changed, and grown. My goal as a first year teacher was to make it to June. My goal as a fourth year teacher was to add more interactive activities to the curriculum. As an eighth year teacher, my goal was to teach math in a way that was challenging, yet affirming, to my students. This year, my goal is to get all my students to think deeply about what we are learning in class. This is not as simple as it might seem because we – teachers, students, school administrators – are always in a state of hyper speed.

Today, a tenth grade student asked me whether logarithmic functions have a horizontal asymptote.  My immediate answer was “no” but the student was insistent that there had to be one. I grappled with how to explain it to him because I could understand his confusion; many of the functions we have studied have horizontal asymptotes, and the graph of a logarithm surely looks as though it does. I had difficulty explaining this without having to resort to higher level math such as calculus or discrete math. So, scrapping the lesson plan for today, we took the time to think it through and I was finally able to explain it to him by proof of contradiction. I could not have planned for a better lesson.

Monika feeds her wanderlust every chance she gets.  She says, “One of the major reasons why my fiance and I moved to NYC five years ago is because of its proximity to major airport hubs.”

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