I am the nerdy mother to two boys who are nine and six. They are very active and keep me on my toes.
Outside of being a full time 6th grade math teacher I am a private tutor, participate in an enrichment/mentor after school program and I am currently in the Digital Learning and Leading graduate program at Lamar University.
I love math (especially Algebra is my favorite!!), technology, board games (which are still cool by the way!) , learning and laughing. I am a self proclaimed nerd but my colleagues agree with my statement. I get chills each and every time I am able to inspire and spark a love for learning and commitment to try from my students.
My name is Kameco and I started teaching about 10 years ago. I am originally from Houston, Tx and received my Bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation I started my career as a Space Flight Instructor for United Space Alliance working on site at the NASA Clear Lake campus. Although there were amazing parts of my job at NASA, I truly enjoyed the assignments where I had the chance to teach as a trainer. It wasn’t necessarily the material that excited me but rather the “aha” moments from the learner and their success as they moved forward to the next course. It was fulfilling for me and in my classes I felt like I wasn’t just working. I was imparting and impacting and even exciting the learner in the topic. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to do that as much as I would have liked because I spent a great deal of my time in meetings and reading technical material about doing instead of actually doing. I decided to look into other career choices and I started with teaching since I was passionate most when I was in teaching mode as a trainer. I discovered that I could become a substitute teacher as I completed my alternative teacher certification. The more that I experienced teaching as a substitute it was clear that this was where I needed to be.
Teaching chose me. Fast forward about 10 years..
I am currently a 6th grade math teacher and I LOVE engaging, inspiring, learning with and teaching the “tween” population. I love seeing and showing each student that they can learn as well as change their mindset when it comes to math (or school in general). After gaining my stride during my second year teaching, I was in heaven. I had learned to jump off of the book pages, try new things, make constant changes as needed and account for failures in ideas that help me to move forward. I was learning with the students and becoming the teacher that they needed me to be. Each year this strategy worked with students from the general, special needs, ELL and advanced populations. I was met with adversity because my administrators did not understand my methods or how they fit into the strict timeline from the scope and sequence. There was a constant concern about me taking more than the department planned one day for the concept or changing the textbook order of the material. Now that we are in the STAAR era it seems like each year there is a proposed change which causes a new “the sky is falling” set of decisions. Teaching chose me and I was madly in love with the opportunity to learn and help new generations of students to become as passionate as I am about learning new things (even if math wasn’t their favorite thing). My being in love with my job has been turned into just I loved my job which is becoming closer to I like my job. I’m becoming worried that if I continue where I am then I will do more harm than good especially if I start to hate my job.
The fun part was the “magic” that was created in my room which helped me to deal with the behavior (of students and the parents) along with excessive meetings, lack of support, lack of leadership and celebration of mediocre staff.
I’m at a crossroads with my job and I’ve been thinking about if I should break it off or try counseling. 🙂
I am trying to lead my organization away from giving generic directives that are usually presented with an inspirational motto and a beautiful prospectus at the beginning of each school year.
Teach to reach every student! (empty motto number 1,272 and counting)
However, by the end of the semester it’s clear that plans weren’t followed and it’s too late to start because testing season is now priority number one. The previous year’s test scores were not where they wanted them to be for various reasons. There was one year where the staff was actually told at the beginning of the year that it was about the school and not about the students. This statement literally broke my spirit and heart.
I starting thinking then that it was either time to leave or lead. My introduction to the growth mindset ignited a spark that is helping me to aim for leading and I’m learning from the new wins along the way.
It’s my first year and teaching chose me so I am a nervous wreck trying to make sure that I learn everything to successfully teach each student. I have read every book that was suggested and assigned in my alternative certification class. I survived the first six weeks of being a 6th grade math teacher but I still feel like I’m not reaching every learner. So, I requested a half day from my principal so that I could observe veteran teachers to try and discover any strategies that may help me reach every student. However, I left my observations with no bright ideas to add to my tool belt. On top of being a nervous wreck, I was now confused.
I saw each teacher teaching the material per our required schedule set within our administration department meeting. I saw each teacher using the material that was discussed and suggested as a supplement to the adopted textbook. I saw some students learning and engaged but many were not as they seem to be the highest and lowest students in the class. One particular teacher ignored off task behavior and told me that she addressed it by answering questions from those who paid attention to the lesson first and if she didn’t get to the others then it was their fault. The higher students were done with the independent practice and were content doodling or talking amongst their friends. The lowest students (whether paying attention or not to the lesson taught) weren’t attempting to complete the assignment on their own and when the teacher did not address their hands up then they checked out. They talked, doodled, asked to go to the restroom, etc. There was one student that took her hoodie and folded it within itself to appear to be a bundled new born baby and she laughed with her neighbors as they made cute baby noises.
I understand that one glimpse into a classroom doesn’t represent all day or everyday since each class and student in it is unique. Therefore, I made sure to debrief with each teacher after the class to make sense to how it functioned, asked questions to clarify observations and of course asked for any candid advice that they teacher would be willing to give. I learned a great deal that day. The most important thing that I learned that day was that it was impossible for every teacher to teach the same content using the same book, worksheet/activity, class management and personality. We are human not a robot – even after presentation practice (the lesson). This discovery made me really think about downfall of even trying to make everything “aligned” between the 6th grade math teachers. Every student is different, each mix of students in a class is different, the reception of each set of content is different for each class, learning time is cut short for some classes due to school and federal holidays, etc. It goes on and on. I didn’t feel overwhelmed with the difficulties that were presented to me rather I was frustrated with how we were constantly given directives that clearly didn’t consider these things.