I’m sitting here with a pit for a stomach watching kids find slopes of lines that only exist on worksheets. There has to be another way to teach children necessary math skills. Or maybe we need to rethink our necessities. I’m watching instruction that resonates with only some students. He’s on number 4 when every else is finished with 23. I could only imagine the frustration.
I can remember my parents attempting to help me with math in middle school. They did well. I was struggling- frustrated with content that had no meaning and no relevance to me. I didn’t get it and I didn’t care to.
I don’t want to force people. Especially kids. I’m starting to think I’m getting my degree in hypocrisy.
‘Sure, yeah. You’re totally going to use this in real life. It’s important. You need to know it.’
I have yet to find the slop or plot any points outside of algebra class. I’ve never needed to use a proof or prove anything other than my ability to function in society, which I start to doubt more everyday. They only thing society has taught me is that I don’t agree with the masses and there are a mass amount of students who, un-doubtfully, feel the same.
Alternatives to public school make more sense to me with every time I see a kid give up. They turn in empty chapter reviews and blank worksheets. They misbehave to avoid work so they get sent in the hall, which only furthers the gap in their learning. The system isn’t set up to help them.
Food has become a reward. Jolly Ranchers have taken the place of high-fives and check marks as if extrinsic motivation is worth the furthering of childhood obesity. Motivation is depleting as fast as instruction is being ignored and avoided by all the students who can’t seem to grasp grade level concepts.
Me? I was a good student. I understood concepts pretty easily, enough so that frustration was immense as soon as I was stumped. I can’t imagine the defeat being constant.
So yes, I’ve become a hypocrite, telling these students what my teachers told me and what I still don’t really believe just in order to get a degree. And one day, hopefully, that degree with land me a steller job with incredible children and I’ll be the best teacher and people will write books about my philosophies that will one day be taught to students just like me.
Or maybe not.
My pre-student teaching placement in a middle school resource room is hitting me hard right where my tolerance sits. I’m stuck between feeling almost like these student’s friend, wanting to joke around and agree with their negative attitude towards school, and being the adult “teacher” figure I am supposed to be. It’s hard because I feel closer to their age than my host teachers. On top of the small age gap, I also am finding that (and sorry to all the middle school teachers out there) I truly don’t use a lot of the information they are teaching those kids. It’s hard for me to stand behind that.
I do, however, fully enforce their ability to get up in front of those pre-teens and teach them lessons day in and day out all while handling behaviors. It’s just that, from the back of the room, I notice those kids that are slipping behind. I’m wondering if they are really in the cracks or if I’m just not there often enough to see the extra help being given. I’m wondering if information would click better for those kids who sit there, day in and day out, tapping their pencil and resting their cheek on their palm if the path of instruction was different. What if the students were in charge of their own learning?