Queen of the Quadratic

Friday, September 29, 2006

First year teachers

We have several brand new teachers this year. They are experiencing their first end of a grading period now, my least favorite part of the year. Today, after school, I was finishing up my grades and had the math team in my room practicing (we meet every Friday). One of the new teachers came to my door and asked to speak to me in the hall. I could tell from her face that something was dreadfully wrong.

She was having a breakdown (as we all do several times the first year). She had just turned in her grades and noticed how terrifically high her failure rate was. On the way back, she had a miniature panic attack thinking that she would be fired for it. I assured her that this was not the case.

The powers that be, in all their infinite wisdom, decided to rewrite the curriculm for one of the math courses over the last summer to improve the scores on the state testing. Essentially, they packed all of the prior year's subject into this one AND included all of the material that was originally there. Then, they mandated that we all use the curriculum. As a result, there is far too much information packed into each "lesson" and the kids simply can't assimilate it that fast. The result...most of them are failing (across the board). I assured her that the aforementioned powers that be really needed to see what they were doing to the students with this ridiculous nonsense. Perhaps now we'll see some action from them to fix the problem (or at least sever the tethers on our hands to fix it ourselves).

I am buddy to another of the new teachers this year. For some reason, they gave her the worst hooligans that our school has to offer. Imagine a whole room full of kids that have failed Algebra and are taking it again. Most failed because of behavior issues (and complete lack of upbringing). Needless to say, she is in tears several times a week, and she is not new to teaching. I am quite peeved that they have done this to her. She is a dear friend of mine.

We also have one man who is new to teaching. He is my neighbor this year. He is learning (the hard way) what a hard job teaching really is. This is a second career for him. What possessed him to do it...do any of us know why we do this?


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