This week, math focused on having the students apply their knowledge to real world situations. The students were set up with a virtual stock trading experience. The students have appreciated the hands on learning experience, and have been more lively and engaged as a result. For instance, during lunch time, I talked to both Tyler and JJ who were both incredibly excited for math that day. They were asking me strategy questions about whether they should buy stocks that are decreasing in value. It was rewarding to see them push one another intellectually to try to think and reason through both the upsides and downsides to doing that. As both students are very engaged in their sports and downtime, it was meaningful to see that their learning had impacted them outside of the classroom. On the other hand, a few students have been unwilling to take risks this week. For instance, the girls in my group have not been investing their money because they are afraid to lose it. However, you cannot make money if you do not spend it in the stock market. When solving equations, I have found that some students have become slightly lazy or scared. They do not seem to want to take any risks. Overall, it has been wonderful to spend time with the students I am assigned to. It allows me to really understand their strengths and weaknesses so I can tailor my explanations to them.
A consistent highlight of mine is spending time with my family group. Every week they become closer and more comfortable with one another. During the first two weeks, I had to initiate every conversation and keep it afloat with questions. However, this week the kids have started to have their own conversations based on their own interests. The Fourth of July was a great conversation topic for the kids. It allowed them to move past Peninsula Bridge to talk about their family and friends. They were genuinely excited to hear about what each other had done over the weekend. Their understanding of one another was exemplified when Abraham was sick. That day, they all had to sign up for their enrichment classes. Jose, Valeria, and Sophia had together ranked the choices from one to eight based on what they knew about his love of soccer, his dislike of dance, his interest in science, etc.
Ultimately, I have had a wonderful experience during these past three weeks. The teachers, students, and fellow TA’s are all such a pleasure to work with. I am genuinely excited for the weeks to come, and am looking forwards to how the students continue to progress.