First off if you've been reading my diaries, then you already know that I'm a middle school teacher at a very small school. I teach four core subjects: Science, Math, Social Studies, and English. My Master's is in Japanese, so you may be wondering how I even got this job. Needless to say, through several brilliant strokes of fate, I winded up in the job and have become the anchor to the school. I am basically the middle school program all rolled up in one package. I've had some of the parents tell me point blank that if I were not in the school they'd leave. Anyway, let's get to the story.
I'm teaching a genius.
One of my children is thirteen years old and we just started Calculus I. Yes, you heard me right. I taught him Geometry and Algebra II in the space of three months, and now he's finding limits and can derive an equation (both the easy way and the long way). He understands what a derivative and an integral in fact are. He's doing high school level physics, long essays on famous people, and learning three languages. I am of course teaching him Japanese :) He's an exceptional young man.
And trying to teach him is a 24-7 job.
I am not an experienced teacher (1 year previous experience) and my specialty is not in any of the subjects I teach. I have to thank my own teachers from my time in middle school for all the hard work they put in. I still remember Newton's laws of motion and a lot of math. Still, to stay ahead of him I had to learn Geometry and Algebra II faster than him, or at the very least, be versed enough in it to answer his questions. I haven't done middle school math since...well middle school...so this was a test of endurance for me.
I spent the last two weekends taking an online calculus course, got a textbook for him and myself, and have been spending most of my spare time understanding it. I took a Calculus I course in college, and now I'm wishing I spent more time in class and less time lollygagging. It's been stressful, and I've been trying to find ways to increase my knowledge and my energy level so I can do the best job I can.
The kid's father even has me come to their house on Saturdays for two hours to continue to teach him and pays for it. He told me he has to tell his son to go to bed and stop doing math, and that his son was never so interested in school until I arrived. I think his father was buttering me up a bit, but other parents have said the exact same thing.
I was talking with a friend of mine who was giving me help with calculus, and while he was tutoring me, I told him about the genius I was teaching. I told him how it was taking a lot out of me to try and learn calculus faster than him. He looked at me, paused, and said "I wish my middle school teacher had done that for me. I learned nothing in math until 10th grade."