Tonight was The Middle School Open House.
It was my first time in my son's new school. Our town built a new high school, so there were some school shifts that went on and the middle school is now in the old high school and houses 7th and 8th grade.
I will admit, I don't always look forward to these things. Flashbacks of my own school days creep in and inevitably, I always feel like I'm not paying enough attention.
I do think that the staff at the school did a nice job with the Open House. They used a new format and it was a little easier than last year's running around to every single class.
We managed to find our way to our son's Algebra class. As we were seated and I looked around and was astounded by the beautiful handwriting on the white boards. I am a sucker for nice penmanship.
The teacher then spoke to us. I was mesmerized. This man proceeded to tell us that he loves teaching. He has been teaching for 11 years, he didn't start teaching until he was 56 years old. He said that each year he teaches he loves it more and more.
He told us that he wants our children to have a successful year with Algebra. He told us that in his classroom, no one will ever feel humiliated or singled out. There will never be a stupid question. He demands respect from the students towards him and to each other.
This man comes from working in business for years and he actually provides the kids with notes. He doesn't want them sitting in the class and taking notes, he wants them to all be able to go over them and have a discussion. He informed our children that they are all responsible and mature eighth graders.
He does expect them to study the notes, he expects homework to be done every night, he gives lots of quizzes. However, he only wants them to work on math homework for 30 minutes a night, if they can't finish everything in that amount of time, it's okay. He wants them to come in and say , " I couldn't figure out problem number 10." For him, it shows that they tried, and that's all he wants. He tells them he gives them quizzes so he knows what they're understanding, he doesn't want them to stress out about it, no one will fail his class. They will work together and this class will be successful for them.
As my husband and I walked to a lecture hall where we would meet all of our sons team teachers, we both remarked how much we liked this guy. We wondered if he was the kind of teacher parents love, but kids don't appreciate. We decided to make sure to let our son know what a privilege it was for him to have this teacher.
My son's other teachers spoke to us and it wasn't as detailed a presentation as the Algebra one was, but all in all , I think he has a great bunch of teachers. The Algebra teacher spoke once again and informed us, that being older, without little kids to run after, he is available for extra help 5 days a week. He arrives at the school before the custodians do and he makes himself available for help every day. He joked that he has nothing better to do, but I would wager, he's having the time of his life and loving every minute of it. It is so refreshing.
On a side note, this teacher put 4 algebra problems on the board and labeled it "Homework for parents, Due Friday." The parents sort of chuckled , and I jotted them down, for kicks. Last night, my husband and I both agreed that we should in fact do the homework along with a note saying that we really enjoyed meeting him. This man made me want to do Algebra, need I say more?