I believe that a good math teacher is someone who can accommodate every student when teaching different mathematical concepts. A good math teacher gives multiple ways to learn different different concepts. Throughout this semester, I have learned that a good math teacher will allow students to use manipulatives to learn about different mathematical concepts. By giving students tangible items to manipulate, a good math teacher is allowing for open exploration. This open exploration can lead to a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, which can lead to a better understanding of the algorithm.

Throughout my placement course, I had the opportunity to observe my cooperating teacher as a model for a good mathematics teacher and I had the opportunity to help students as they worked through math problems. My cooperating teacher used stations throughout the semester. She focused on teaching students in small groups while other students were working on other worksheets or projects. For instance, she taught the students how to do 2x2 multiplication as a whole group. The next week she focused on 3x2 in small groups. This allowed her to differentiate the lesson and quickly understand each students' knowledge of the concept. The other students were doing worksheets that focused on multiplication, using a tool to check their multiplication, and working on word problems. I had the opportunity to walk around the room to ensure that each student was on task. I also answered questions and checked their work. If they incorrectly answered the question I told them to recheck their work or pointed out the problem they were having. I did not give them the correct answer. I wanted to give them the opportunity to find the correct answer. I think this is an important trait to have as a good math teacher. I want my students to be comfortable enough to ask me questions and to ask me to check their work. However, I also want them to be independent learners and make corrections on their own.

In addition, I had the opportunity to work one-on-one with a special education student. This was a great opportunity for me to learn other traits of a good mathematics teacher. I learned that the student needed extra time to do the problems, but is a very capable student. He does not like to work through problems by himself, but can do the work independently. This taught me that mathematics teachers need to be patient and need to differentiate instruction based on students' needs. This opportunity also gave me even more insight into how to teach in my placement classroom in the spring.

Throughout my mathematics methods course, I had to opportunity to keep journal entries to enhance my understanding of what a good math teacher should be. My first journal entry focused on my initial reactions to mathematics and who my favorite math teacher was and why. This created a basis for my understanding of mathematics throughout the course. Other journal entries focused on what I was seeing in my placement classroom and how they connect to mathematics. A few of my journal entries are presented here.

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