Selling Short

Summer is almost here. I still have two weeks for lessons before I can properly think of summer. Personally, my brain cells seem to refuse to work anymore and my body is already on vacation mode. To top it off, I am teaching Physics for the remaining weeks. Correction, I am TEAM-teaching Physics. And my team mate is a seasoned Physics teacher.

Imagine what this is doing to my self-esteem.

Half the time I was teaching wave properties, I was thinking about how the other teacher was going about in his class. More than being compared, I dread not being able to equip my students with the much-needed skills they will use when they move up to Grade 9 more. I don’t want their experience in Physics to be like mine. I don’t want to bore them by droning on and on about frequencies, velocities and rarefactions. I wanted them to grasp the concepts and understand their applications in their daily activities.

The second-guessing has made it hard for me to think of creative ways to teach the subject. I felt like I was bumbling earlier when I had to start the topic on wave properties because he was using a ripple tank to illustrate how different waves looked like in his class while I only used a slinky in mine.

I needed help. So I talked with my co-teacher and he was kind enough to give me ideas and pointers on how I can better teach the topic. We decided to forego solving for variables and instead just help the students understand the wave relationships, how waves look like and how they behave. The kids will (properly) have more time to solve for wavelengths and amplitudes next year.

By putting things into perspective, he was able to help me relax and tap into my creative juices to think of other ways to demonstrate waves and ways for the students to relate them in real life. It also helped that he gave me a small pep talk. I now feel that I can teach the kids better.

Sometimes, it’s hard to look for ways to encourage critical thinking skills in students when you are being too critical about your strategies. Asking for help about the material I had to teach was a good thing. I know that doing so will benefit my students better.

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