It was during my five-year-old’s visit to pre-calculus class in my second year out of college and teaching “back home” that I realized: My baby was a more confident thinker than the “big babies” who sat in silence before me. They stared at me as if frozen by the question I’d just posed about the dimensions of those dreaded fractions. What was it that I had intentionally taught my five-year-old daughter that made her so eager where my students were hesitant? It couldn’t have been a hard question; I’d modeled it first, and my daughter even answered correctly! My students had fallen victim to simply doing math over the years and not learning math.
At that moment, I too was paralyzed as I flashed back to days as an undergraduate, emotionally drained and nearly stripped of my confidence. High school in my neighborhood rarely required critical thinking skills, but (more…)