Queen of the Quadratic

Monday, September 06, 2010

Running Start

Two weeks down, 34 to go. My students seem to be pretty motivated this year so far. I am a little concerned about the lack of background knowledge a great many of them have, but I plan to push them hard until they either buckle down and learn the basics or decide that they are in over their heads and select another course to take instead.

I've already caught a couple of students who are perfectly willing to cheat their way through, which is really not okay with me, so their grades will be taking a hit in this first marking period. It will be well worth it if they learn that they must learn the math to earn a credit with me.

Private tutoring is picking up also. A former student contacted me on Friday and asked if I'd be available to help him with a refresher for the first portion of College Algebra. We met and I worked with him and he was so impressed with the service, he asked for a few extra cards to hand out to his classmates at the college. I hope I'll hear from a few more. College students are often much more motivated than high school kids. It's amazing what an effective motivator money is.

The math team met on Friday for the first time this year. We have quite a good group so far, and the other coach says she has several good prospects in her classes. She has access to the cream of the crop incoming freshmen whereas I only deal with the average older kids en masse. I do get a couple of "diamonds" in my group, but they are often the laziest diamonds and not much interested in doing math for fun even if they are really good at it.

The principal and I have begun to see somewhat eye-to-eye now. I'm beginning to see the benefits that his influence has had on our student body despite the great deal of stress that it put us all under and he has begun to recognize that my goal is to continually improve my *game* in the classroom to the effect that my students will leave with enough confidence in their abilities to chase their dreams despite whatever math requirement might be attached to it. Since I can now understand his point of view, I've actually found myself rationalizing what's happening in our school to other teachers who were carrying ill-feelings about it. Essentially, I've become his ally. Strange how human/working relationships evolve.

...And now, to get back to enjoying Labor Day.