Tuesday - October 28, 1997
Today was one of the frustrating days. In 5th hour Algebra I, I felt like
I was talking to a class full of rocks. The chalkboard was as receptive
to my lecture as they were! Today was essentially the third day (two full
days, one partial) we spent on converting english sentences into math
sentences. After all this, at least half of the class still doesn't
get it. Now, I don't mind working with them on it... provided that they
put some effort into it also. This is what is getting to me -- most of
the class just isn't trying. If I steal a glance at the class while I'm
explaining step by step how to work out a particular problem, I can
guarantee that at least half of them will be staring off into space. When
they are that lazy, I'm not inclined to even want to help them, much
less put in my own effort.
I finally graded the Algebra II quiz. This was the quiz that they
had one full class period with no notes and 30 minutes of another class
period with notes and their book. There were two scores on it: A and
E. That's it. They either aced it or bombed it. That was no middle.
I debated going over it a little more, but since the (slight) majority of
the class got an A, I decided to go on. As luck would (not) have it,
the next section is word problems involving two variables. The entire
class hates word problems. Fun, fun fun!
I would have thought that by now in Geometry, that the students would
be able to follow some simple steps. Hah! The vast majority of the class
still is trying to just get some answer without doing any work. Even
when the book gives steps like Step One: do this and Step Two: do that,
they ignore it and try to magically guess the "answer." Argh.
Today just reinforced a notion I've been having: If or when I ever
get a teaching job, I'm going to get in writing a guarantee that I'll
never have to teach any Algebra classes.