Well, I have to shift too


I empathize with my students. They operate at a 5th grade level, they’re being given 9th grade work ( or 11th grade work), obviously dumbed down so they can understand it, and they come in day after day, to be made to feel bad about themselves.

I feel ground down too. I have grandiose ideas to bring in new projects, I have tried to make up applications that will interest kids and… nothing. Meanwhile, we got these new text books which provide an exploration/hands-on application for every lesson ( I don’t have those, I have a “lab” class). And the other teachers are hunting down our old traditional textbooks to use them. No, they didn’t work either. We’re a failing school.

Anyway, after some personal PD, I have given myself a good shake at the nape of the neck, and kicked myself. I have found a website to teach LOGO to kids, I have written step-by-step instructions for making math models on Excel from the M&Ms activity on growth and decay.

I had accidentally started dragging the poor beasts through an “all do this together” lecture-type interaction, so I had to undo myself, and give it back to the kids. I was wavering on not giving instant feedback to the Math Mistakes warmup – and then some kids said they realized on day 4 how to do day 1’s work, so they were glad they had a week to think about it.

But I realized it’s lonesome. Even though every teacher operates in a vacuum, we continue to get the slurry shoveled down about what we should be doing. And being the salmon swimming upstream, because I read all the common core stuff, and Dan Meyer, and the entire panoply of “let’s do it” blogs, is tiring.  I don’t even know if it works, but what we were doing does not work for teaching math skills. And then – somewhere in someone’s blog – I found Mathematical Quality of Instruction § MQI Training Site  Hooray! I feel as if I have something to fight back with. Stop evaluating me on whether students comply, start looking at what math I know and what math they can do.

And I recognize that Mike Pershan is such a nice boy, I only hope my son is half as kind. And Fawn Ngyuen sharing her lovely ideas, her work, her classes with us. I have been ungrateful, and I repent. Will try to do better.

I blame winter. Hate those short sunlight hours.


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