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My Algebra Teacher Mr. Chance

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In facing situations, we get to know ourselves more in depth when it comes to figuring out what works and what doesn’t when learning as it happened to me. I’ve never been the best student when it came to math, and as mentioned in the article “Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman” and how Richard P. Feynman describes the “Brazilian” students in not being the best at looking deeper into a response. When a question is asked to them they are unable to look further than what the student has memorized, so when the same question is asked, but in a different way, they’re unable to answer it. Unlike them, I was going to have to be different, and once I got to both high school and college. It was when I was faced with the reality that no matter how the professor decided was their best way of teaching. I was going to have to adapt myself to them. That overall was going to be my requirement as a student in putting the effort to understand the class, regardless of how much of a weakness it is.

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With dedication involve I believe can help overcome any obstacles I may have in life. Therefore, when it came to my senior year of high school while taking algebra I had Mr. Jones. He was a nice teacher and that is usually a good thing, at least for us the students, but it would get taken advantage of meaning people talked over him. Half if not more of the class would not do the assignments and in reality, there was not much learning being done. His way of teaching was much like a “Brazilian” teacher by how Feynman describes it. My algebra teacher as well would mostly talk throughout the class. While most of the examples would be written on the board, us “the students would all be sitting there taking dictation, and when the professor repeated the problem we checked it to make sure we wrote it down all right” but we never in reality practiced on our own. He would write down the problem work it out at a fast pace and have the answer all on the board. No homework was ever assigned and the one or two times we did have. It was almost an option as if we wanted to do it and never much of a requirement. I quickly began to realize that Mr. Jones kindness maybe wasn’t such a good thing. Especially when it came to my grades and how I was going to get the work done. Where I would be able to pass the exams that were going to be giving throughout the year but also the class as a whole. Towards the second semester of the class my grade was not where I would want. Didn’t want to put myself at risk of not graduating, and even though I had put in my best effort to try and understand the problems and examples it wasn’t enough.

I had to begin practicing on my own and going to tutoring if I wanted to pass the class. In changing the way, I would usually go about doing my work helped me. I would continue taking notes, but I would go home and study them as if the notes were homework, and started writing down the answer to the problem’s separately that way I would have something refer back to once I could complete it on my own. Not only did I have Mr. Jones who was a “Brazilian” teacher but going into my second semester of college also for my math class. Could say I had a professor Mr. Chance that was more as “Mr. Feynman.” Even though both Mr. Jones and Mr. Chance were a little similar in the sense they were both nice instructors. Their ways of educating could be seen to be different. As soon as the semester begun and he told us there would be quizzes and exams and that would be where our grades came from throughout the semester. I got worried since I had felt to have not improved and if I wanted to pass this class I was going to have to focus. Mr. Chance was clear on what he expected from us he wanted to make sure that even though he was easy going. There would still be plenty of work that would need to get done.

As soon as the semester started he was clear that some chapters over others were going to be harder, and “so he gave a strong lecture” to the whole class “about having to actually try it, not just sit back and watch him do it”. When explaining the problems on the board. He also told us the only way to pass each section was going to be by getting the homework not only completed, but actually working each problem individually. As Mr. Feynman Mr. Chance wanted to make sure we were not only memorizing how to apply a solution to one problem. Rather practice applying it to different scenarios that could be given in the quizzes. That way we would be able to solve or get comfortable seeing not only one way, but being able to solve it. No matter the way the question would be asked in. His way of going about it was he would start off by giving us a list at the beginning of each new chapter. To let us know exactly what it is that we would need to review. We then would go into the textbook and solve the problems depending on the page that was giving to us. From there we were responsible of making sure we were doing and practicing what we should. He would as well review with us and give us practice questions that would be related to the exam. Would further explain the process. For that reason, I believed to have done much better when it came to math.

Now having looked back into my Senior year of having Mr. Jones during the first semester “after …” even realizing it myself, “I finally figured out that … I had memorized only” some ways to answer the problems given to me “but … I didn’t know what anything meant.” Meaning I would use the information giving to me to solve a problem but didn’t know how to apply it on further I would just know the first couple of steps by memory. In being different than the “Brazilian” students I began to change that. Having done what, I needed my senior year and focused on relying not only on my teacher. Had helped me going into my second semester of math in college. I’ve been able to take the information Mr. Chance had given and continued to effectively be incorporated into his class. By doing so I had noticed a great improvement in my quiz scores and in being able to understand the homework had given me that sense of confidence I lacked. Also, being able to feel that has only been another encouragement. It is something I will continue taking it with me when going into my next math courses. I will be able to apply the same strategies and now knowing what I was doing wrong. Being able to avoid repeating the same mistakes and adapting to the new style of writing down the problems and practicing them in the different ways it could be given. In being able to do so and have gotten a better understanding of myself, how I am as a learner changing it and being able to adapt to different circumstance regardless of the professor. May have been an advantage for me since.

I will take my past experience and put them to use for the new upcoming classes. Not only in math, but in general and with any instructors I may have. For sure it is something I am going to have to continue dealing with if I am going to want to be successful in passing and doing what is required of me as a student.

13 January 2020

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