Teaching Mathematics

“So You Want To Teach Mathematics” is an on-going work on my reflections in teaching. Your thoughts are appreciated!

Here is an excerpt as of March 17, 2014:

In the first year I taught, my office hours were dead. From my second year on, my office hours were always filled. Students came for help with homework. Sometimes they would come just to talk about their life. Sometimes they would come for advice about what to do with their life, or what courses they should take. I grew as a person, as a mathematician, and as a teacher. I got a teaching award and it felt nice to be recognized.

The changes I made from the first year to the second were “minor” but huge. For starters, I stopped mimicking the stand-and-deliver method that I had become so accustomed to receiving. That’s not to say that the stand-and-deliver method is bad or wrong in an absolute sense. It was just that stand-and-deliver was bad for me. I’m a conversationalist. I like engaging in dialogue. I do a far better job at conveying material to students when conversing with them, asking them questions, having them ask me questions, etc. than if I just stood up and filled the chalkboard (yes, we used chalk) with mathematical symbolism.

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