1.2 Communicating with Students – Teacher’s explanation of content is appropriate and connects with students’ knowledge and experience. When I first started my internship, I was teaching both Algebra and Geometry. Aware of the content I was teaching in Algebra, I had baseline assumptions of the level of competency my Geometry students would have. During the first two weeks I discovered that I had assumed a level of conceptual mastery that was much higher than my students felt they had. This was very challenging for me, because in order to teach the Geometric concepts they needed to learn, I needed to reteach a significant amount of Algebra. Geometry allows us to solve problems we otherwise could not, but after the Geometry is done, we are required to use Algebra to get to the final answer.
This situation opened the door for me to use high quality questioning to a greater degree. Not only did the Geometry require in-depth, step-by-step instruction, but so did the post-Geometry Algebra. Every detailed step involved a variation of the questions, “What do we do next?” and, “Why can we do that?” After several days of prodding and examples, my students realized they knew how to do every step. They needed to be connected back to what they had previously learned. Once this was done, I could teach them how to apply what they knew to situations they had not previously encountered. While it made for a rough start, my high expectations of what my students could do was ultimately fulfilled.