Bridging Math and the World

Comfort Zone

Well, we have officially finished the first week of school and it was sure good to be back!  It was nice to see my fellow coworkers and te students both new and old.  I can already tell that it is going to be a great semester! I can’t wait to share the new knowledge gained from my fellowship with my students!

I have learned a ton from this fellowship – from curriculum, to pedagogical, to implementation ideas!  However, one of the most valuable aspects that I have “re-learned” is to push my self to do things that are uncomfortable.  For instance, many times through out my internship I was I asked to do things that I would never have seen myself doing.  I never imagined I would suit up and spend a morning up and close with a colony of bees, disecting soybeans, pipetting materials into tubes, harvesting soybeans, or even planting soybeans.  These activities are not activities that I would normally seek out and do.  However, this fellowship got me out of my comfort zone and try new things.  This allowed me to learn about myself (like I am terrible with a scaple and a pipet – I think my fine motor skills are non existant) and reflect on what it is like to be pushed out of your comfort zone.

We, as teachers, are asking our students to leave their comfort zone everyday that they enter into our classroom.  Many of our students have never performed some of the skills that we are teaching and asking them to do.  They must leave their comfort zone in order to learn something new.  Leaving your comfort zone is not always easy or fun.  It pushes you to work hard, use skills that you haven’t used in a while or never before!  Consequently, your instinct might be to quit or not push through the uncomfortableness in order to master something.

This experience reminded me of this feeling that I hadn’t felt myself since high school.  Consequently, I will draw upon this experience to relate to my students and be more understanding and patient – particularily with my students who appear to not try.  Instead of being frustrated that they aren’t trying I need to remind myself of these experiences and how uncomfortable I felt.  I had forgotten this feeling and how your first instinct is to quit or not try.  This year I am going to focus on this and how to work with the students to get past this point.

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