The paths to "Eureka" moments: Teaching Mathematics in Secondary Education

Archive for the ‘E3’ Category

E3-Exemplify and understanding of professional responsibilities and policies.

E3-Exemplify and understanding of professional responsibilities and policies.

Teacher candidates demonstrate knowledge of professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and policies.

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As a student teacher, I have had the opportunity to act as facilitator at a math department meeting. With this responsibility, I collaborated with my mentor teacher to create the meeting schedule. Throughout the department meeting, I introduced faculty and provided necessary transitions as it progressed.


Attached is the department meeting schedule (without names for confidentiality).

Math Department Meeting Agenda

Throughout the meeting, I demonstrated professional respect and consideration by enforcing department norms as well as contributing to the different discussions. I learned the importance of trust and mutual respect among faculty as well as the reasons for department norms and meeting organization. In the future, I hope to be an instrumental member of a math department by being prepared and abiding by department norms.

America’s Teachers, Chapter 5

This post is a reflective on assigned questions from Joseph W. Newman’s America’s Teachers: An Introduction to Education, Chapter 5.

Present a short argument for, and then, against the fact that teachers get tenured.


Teachers should have security in their job. Tenure protects experienced teachers from getting fired on the whim of their superiors. Teachers who have completed three years of teaching are given tenure, which requires school boards to prove that the teacher is unfit to continue their job before terminating their employment. This stabilizes teachers, and gives them the right to keep their jobs unless proven guilty of incompetence, insubordination, or immorality (Newman 2006).


Tenure often protects bad teachers. The status of tenure makes it difficult to fire teachers who do not teach at a high standard. Tenure gives teachers the ability to take school boards to court, costing schools to pour finances into court cases. As a result, teachers that have a low performance, but maintain tenure status, are often passed from school to school instead of being dismissed (Newman 2006). In this way, tenure is a hindrance to excellence in education.

What can cause a teacher to be liable for a students’ injury?

Teachers can be held liable for a student’s injury if the following four statements can be proven:

1. The teacher had a duty to be careful not to injure the student and to protect the student from being injured.

2. The teacher failed to use due care.

3. The teacher’s carelessness caused the injury.

4. The student sustained provable damages.

Note: These statements quoted directly from America’s Teachers, by Newman, pg. 157.

What are the limits of freedom of expression for teachers?

The freedom of expression for teachers can be viewed from several topics discussed in “America’s Teachers”. These topics include: academic freedom, right of public dissent, appearance while teaching, political activities, and lifestyle. All categories have seem to have one overall governing theme: the limitations set on teachers depends on how their expressions affect the classroom and academic learning of the students. Academic freedoms such as choosing controversial books or topics of discussion are limited, but these limitations vary from state to state. Often academic freedom will depend on the ruling of whether or not the discussion or book is age appropriate and handled in a non-disruptive manner. A teacher’s right to public dissent lies with the content of their voiced dissention. For instance, a teacher may voice an opinion regarding any issue that is of public concern, but not an issue that is heavily focused on the individual teacher. A teacher’s expression of appearance is limited to a more professional standard due to the fact that all teachers represent role models to their students and are called to “promote positive educational experiences” (Newman 2006). Finally, teachers are not limited in their own personal lifestyle such as living arrangements or sexual orientation so long as it does not affect the progression of learning in the classroom.

What is your personal position on teaching about sexual orientation?

Personally, the discussion on teaching about sexual orientation is a new consideration for me. So far, I have come to conclude that I hold all students to be created in the image of God, and thereby will treat all students equally and positively. As to teaching about sexual orientation, my role as a math teacher will most likely be a minor one. However, my position on teaching about sexual orientation is that teachers should give students truth. This truth should include the fact that homosexuality has been shown not to be a mental disease, that often HIV AIDS is contracted through homosexual men, and that using differing sexual orientations as grounds for bullying is wrong. It is my opinion that 6th grade students and above should be given some sort of introduction to sexual orientation from a purely informational standpoint. Once a student reaches the high school level, further information may be given. It is also my opinion that explicit details as to sexual activity be given with extreme caution, and by no means in an “encouraging” manner, but purely scientific. Concluding this topic, I believe that students, especially those in private Christian schools, should be encouraged, not in tolerance, but in love for humanity.

List 3 physical indicators and 3 behavioral indicators that you are very LIKELY to see (or have actually seen at some point) that would lead (or have led) you to suspect either physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

Three physical indicators that would lead me to suspect abuse are:

  • Bruises, welts, cuts, or burns

Three behavioral indicators of abuse are:

  • Fear of going home, Habit disorders (biting, sucking, or rocking), and suicide attempts.



Newman, J.W. (2006). America’s teachers: an introduction to education. White Plains, N.Y.: Allyn & Bacon.

America’s Teachers, Chapter 7

Intro to Ed. AT Chapter 7

1. Compare and contrast essentialism and progressivism.

According to the class textbook, essentialism has had the largest impact on elementary and secondary schools in the US. However, when in the realm of student teachers, one is most likely to hear the term “progressivism” and immediately recognize its meaning. Between both educational theories, there are many points of contrast. The role of the student, place of the teacher, as well as the method and content of curriculum widely differ when compared.

Essentialism casts the teacher as the highest authority of instruction, and gives the role of the student that of a clay object to be molded by the teacher. Students are to listen and learn from their teachers, who, “wear[s] the mantle of authority in the classroom, insisting on order and making no apologies for instilling traditional values in students” (Newman 233). In contrast, progressivism places the student at the center of learning and gives the teacher the role of a learning coach. In this scenario, the teacher may not be as organized as the essentialist, but instead, follows the natural path of student learning.

The essentialist curriculum is built on the “back to basics” philosophy. The 3R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic, are the very core to its ideals. Teachers are to stick to these ideals first and foremost, as well as introducing a sense of morals to their lessons. On the other side of the teaching spectrum, progressivism is about action, where “education is not preparation for life. It is life” (Newman 245). The progressive classroom will be filled with hands on and social reform projects aimed at stirring the students’ educational curiosity. In theory, progressive teachers will prepare lessons that evoke thought and questions that will lead to learning.


2.  Imagine you are preparing for a debate or a conference presentation where you must represent both the “for” and “against” positions regarding critical theory and theorists.

Pros of Critical Theory

Critical Theorists strive to aid students and teachers by providing ways of escape from oppression and social injustices. The goal is to empower students and teachers to choose the best and most appropriate curriculum that fits the culture of the student. With the chosen projects and topics, teachers are to design lessons and give power to their students by giving them opportunities to grow in knowledge. Critical theory pushes to close the financial aid gap between suburban and urban schools. Equality is a major theme throughout its philosophy.

Cons of Critical Theory

“Critical theory is progressivism pushed to the limit” (Newman 259). When ideas are pushed to the extreme, they often fall away from the focus and become out of balance.  Critical theorists are often radical in their methods and ideals. Much of their early work and documentation is difficult to understand and read. To have literature that is not readily available for the layman seems rather contradictory given the “equality” and “bridge the social gap” goals of critical theory.



Newman, J.W. (2006). America’s teachers: an introduction to

education. White Plains, N.Y.: Allyn & Bacon.