## Thursday, December 01, 2005

### I Love Teaching

Today was one of those days where I re-realize or (confirm) that I love teaching. I wish everyone to have a job where they are mostly excited about what they do.

In all my classes, we (they!) were reviewing for quizzes that are on Friday (or "tuizzes" as they may be). I love to have enough time to individually talk with students who are having trouble and to figure out exactly where their misconceptions or lack of understanding is/are and help them figure it out. I can say one thing and think I'm being perfectly clear, and in their minds they're processing it in a totally different way and I'm not clear to them.

For example, we're working with special right triangles and polar coordinates in precalculus. One key thing to remember about 30-60-90 triangles is that the smaller side goes across from the smaller angle, largest side across from the largest angle... So I'm working with this one student who is having problems, and we come across "sides" of "length" 3 and -3*squareroot(3). I ask him which side is bigger so that he can properly place it across from the 60 ... 3*squareroot(3) is bigger, so I'm waiting for him to see this, and he says that the largest side is 3. I finally had this ray of understanding enough to ask him why he said that, and he said that since 3 is positive, it's bigger than the negative number. Hmmm. He was correct in his thinking, but not correct in how to approach the problem.

But it was so nice to see where he went wrong and to easily fix it instead of both of us getting frustrated and thinking we're clear and not really understanding the other. ....

Another nice thing (and totally random which makes this such a fun job) ... one student calls me over (to a seating group of 3 boys and a girl) and says, "SOMEone in this group wants to know what type of shampoo you use." Oh my.