Making the Switch

Photo taken by Nancy Horst, USD253 community relations

It’s been a week since I made a decision in my career. One that I believe will be a great one. I was asked if I would like to switch to mathematics next year. I said yes.

There are many factors that went into my decision. It was a tough one to make. I still feel like I am letting down my two Professional Learning Community (PLC) members who also teach 8th grade Science with me. They are two great people that I have enjoyed working with this year. We have collaborated and came up with some great ideas this year. We also have talked about what we want to achieve next year in the Science classroom. So many great ideas have been tossed around, and I feel like I’m leaving them in the cold.

However, part of my decision was that I am not that fluent in science as I am in math. I have felt as if I was relying on the other two quite a bit and was afraid I would make a mistake and lead students the wrong way in the subject. I know I am harder on myself than what I really am, but that is part of the decision.

Another factor in my decision was how much I do enjoy math. This last quarter we will be looking into physics. I am so excited about this because I really understand physics and the math behind it. I’m getting into my element again. I am able to really dive into math and build projects, which I have difficulty in doing at times in Science. You can read about different projects that I have done in math in this blog. However, there are very few science examples, mainly because I am not that confident.

There are many other factors that went into my decision. The last one I want to point out was having the chance to teach students last year in Math and this year in Science. I talked with those students and asked them which they saw me teaching better. They all agreed that math is my strong point. They said they have enjoyed me as a Science teacher and have done well, but say my true passion is math. It was great to hear this from them and know that I do make a difference.

They told me examples of what I have done in math for them and that it is what I’m really good at. I take their words very seriously and am very happy to hear from them. They are honest and really know you as a teacher when they can sit and tell you things like this.

I appreciate all the support I have been given in this decision. I look forward to finishing out this year in Science very strongly. It’s hard to believe that it is the Ides of March. This school year has flown by. I have learned so much about Science that I didn’t know before.

With that, there is another reason I made the decision. Now that I have the science knowledge, I will be able to work with my current PLC members next year and help connect the subjects of math and science together. It will be exciting to have similar things happening in the two classes at the same time. Having a chance to help students see how closely the two work together will be great.

The rest of this school year is going to go great, the summer quickly, and I’ll be back in the math classroom soon.

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About Anthony Purcell

I am Anthony Purcell and I am currently teaching math in Oklahoma.
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3 Responses to Making the Switch

  1. -eD Purcell says:

    It’s one thing to make this switch based solely on your preference for one subject, but it is a great decision when you based in on what you think will benefit the students the most. That’s why I respect your passion for teaching so much…it always comes down to serving the students and advancing true education. God bless your decision and your future!!!

  2. CindyS says:

    I believe that teaching your passion/strength areas leads to better student learning. Just seeing you “loving” what you teach can change many students.

  3. Shanan says:

    Having connections with students and truly understanding their strengths and weaknesses is exacly what our students need from a teacher here at EMS. I understand the difficulity in making such a large decision as the one you faced, but selfishly I am happy you had to face it. I (and the other members of our mathematics team) will benefit from your addition.

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