Following Footsteps…Finding the Balance

Throughout my schooling, my teachers – particularly math & sciences – have always assigned “extra problems”. They were never required or graded, but were there for good practice. I never understood why they always gave us extra work. Didn’t they know that if it wasn’t going to be graded we weren’t going to do it? Until college, I didn’t realize that these extra problems were good for studying. And when later college years hit, and I actually really needed to study, I found that these extra problems were good for trying to understand what was going on in class……good practice.

These teachers also had more tests or quizzes than other subjects. I never liked to be tested; always gave me way too much anxiety even with extra time. At times, I had quizzes every week. While it became routine – and I didn’t like it at first – I realized that the more quizzes I had, the less each quiz would count toward my average quiz grade. It was also, good practice.

As obvious as it seems, this needs to be said: With applied sciences, the more opportunities you have to work out different problems, the better you get at problem solving, thinking critically, and understanding the fundamentals. Done. Intuitively, I knew this, but it wasn’t until after college that I understood it.


I am now a teacher, and a student.

In my planning, I find myself following the footsteps of my previous teachers without even thinking about it. Until I realized why they assigned extra problems. Until I realized why they gave weekly quizzes. It is extremely scary when you come to this level.

I want to quiz them, but I know I despised being tested. I want to assign extra problems, but I know I never did them. I want them to like me, but I don’t want to let my guard down.

I have to find the balance between what I want and what it was like as a teenager. I certainly don’t think the same way as I did in high school. I have to back up, and look at the problem from the outside. What do I want them to take away? How do I motivate them? What do they want or need from my class? How far can I push without them breaking? I have to find the balance between what I want and what it was like as a teenager.

It’s just another problem to solve.

xo, LZE


1 Comment

  1. Look up techniques of the “Flipped Classroom”. There are some good things you might want to try. As far as teaching style and assignments, you will figure it out as you begin assigning things versus what is returned and useful. Yes, rely especially on the project-based learning techniques that were used at RC. Many private school classrooms use them already. I’m sure you know that though!

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