Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Pray for the Day

Friends, teachers, parents lend me your ears. Four score and a bunch of years ago math problems were either right or wrong. Teachers didn't have to grade the "strategy a student chose" on a rubric. It wasn't possible for a student with a WRONG answer to out score a student with a RIGHT answer. You had to memorize your multiplication tables in third grade. I think it was an era when Math instruction was ruled by common sense.

Once upon a time, Reading instruction was just as convoluted as Math instruction is now. The brightest minds in education thought whole language was the only way to teach reading. Basal readers were believed to be from Satan. Things were all about themes and reading levels weren't that important. Then, a huge body of research, told us what was abundantly clear: it wasn't working. This research brought back a concrete, structured approach to teaching reading. I was lucky enough to be teaching AFTER this miraculous transition.

What I have never been lucky enough to experience is common sense in teaching Math. My whole career, I have been asked to use a very murky Math resource. I really want to try a structured, objective approach. I even have such an adopted curriculum in my cabinet, BUT it is not what I am supposed to be using. For years, I've gone along with it. Now, though, as I try to think about goals, I know I need to improve my Math instruction, but this required use of this adopted curriculum is holding me back.

I have always gone along with this, and this year will be no exception, BUT starting next year over 50% of my evaluation will be based on test scores. Why should I be personally responsible for my Math scores, if I can't teach according to what I believe? I pray that common sense comes back to Math soon, because I am afraid I will be punished for the sins of methods I would never choose.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Why should I be personally responsible for my Math scores, if I can't teach according to what I believe?

That's it exactly. I can be responsible for the scores of my students if you tell me what they need to know when. I'll do that. OR you can tell me what I have to do and say, but then I can't be responsible as long as I did what I was told.