Sunday, January 28, 2007

Via: Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth (

I've been teaching Algebra 1 and 2 and math fundamentals in high school for more than a decade now. This video explains why I usually fail a third of each class. The students are unprepared for high school math and have no concept of a work ethic. Few will consistently do homework or even classwork. Honors classes are an exception, but even there they seem unprepared for high school math work. (The math fundamentals is a class where I teach elementary level math to students who are so far behind they haven't a chance of passing Algebra without such extreme intervention.)

My daughter-in-law teaches third grade. I just asked her about the math text she uses. She told me she hated it. She usually adds supplemental material to the text which includes lots of practice using "normal" math algorithms. It's interesting that her students test much higher in math than the others in her school, and yet she considers math one of her poorest subjects.

I recently completed my Master of Education degree. I took as many math related teaching courses as I could, unfortunately they taught teaching methods that show the same thought processes as used in the math texts mentioned in the "Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth" video. We were encouraged to teach exploration rather than use the more boring traditional math learning methods. I went along, got my degree and threw most of it away!

I believe many teachers are victims of the education system as well. We who actually try to teach and make a difference are outnumbered by the socialists who make up the bulk of the bureaucracy that controls education. Most days I feel more like a babysitter than a teacher. I love what I do, but with just a few exceptions I feel that I'm wasting my time. It would be easier to just give in to the system. But I won't. I'll keep fighting what is probably a losing battle unless something forces a change.

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We basically had a normal week this week, but Laurana livened things up Saturday. She apparently snuck over to Brown’s and was playing in their yard with the dog when it went into the house through the doggy door. Laurana followed it into the house. Well after searching through the neighborhood and getting more and more people into the search, Jane cutting her trip to Mesquite short, and calling out the cops, she finally wandered home. Robert and Shannon were frantic and hysterical. Browns came home and found toys strung around and muddy little footprints everywhere. We’re all of course glad she’s all right, now can we kill the little brat?

It also turns out that one of the Brown’s kids, when he was small, knew where the key was hidden to Robert’s and Shannon’s house back when someone else lived there and he would use it to sneak into the house when they were gone. Aren’t children wonderful?

Since Mark and Rick managed to break my cement mixer, I decided to work on it and see if it could be fixed. After considerable effort I got it all taken apart. Unfortunately it’s in more pieces than it should be since it broke. Oh well, I’ll borrow the one Rick bought and break, I mean use, it!

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