Sunday, September 26, 2010

Superman Is Already Here

I just marked my first algebra exam of the semester.  In a class of 34 students, the grades ranged from 11 to 93.  Sixteen of the kids got grades of 80 or above while 10 scored under 50, 6 under 40.

Someone with super powers is needed to teach a group this large with this diversity. If I go too fast, or do problems too difficult, I am losing half the class.  If I stick to snail's speed many will be bored.  I heard a boy in another algebra class say,"This must be a special ed class because we are going so slow." (My class is not unique.)

These kids are in a four term class which means none are math super stars and while they can and do do well, they cannot learn on their own. 

Klein praises Waiting For Superman.  He should realize that to be a NYC public school teachers is to have super powers.  He has nothing to wait for.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said. I don't suppose you can "group them" and teach 2 different concepts?

EFM said...

The kids in my son's school are ranked by ability in each subject area. It gives the teachers a chance to focus on what will benefit the entire group, without any child being made to feel inferior or unchallenged. (That we all have strengths and weaknesses is a worthy life lesson.) The teachers do an excellent job. To make such a program a success you need good, caring teachers, and a supportive administration. His school is blessed with a proactive principal who is respectful of her colleagues, and believes that the key to success is working as a team. It makes a big difference in teacher moral, and that trickles down to the kids, and yes, even their parents.

Pissed Off said...

How many kids are in your son's class?

EFM said...

Due to a an endless procession of yearly budget cuts (thank you Mr. Mayor) and OSEPO sending more kids into the school every year, as the budget continues to fall, class sizes have been steadily rising until they have reached well into the mid thirties, and in some cases, beyond. To retain as many teachers on as she can, the principal has given up her secretary, as well as lost one of the AP's. (A person who has been with the school for many years and was well respected.) I personally know of one teacher who, last year, chose to retire a year early so that other teachers could be spared. So far the school retains most of its veteran teachers, though some of the younger teachers, many of them promising, have been lost. It's sad to see these changes happen. This is a great school that continues to fight valiantly for its students. What this school, and others like it, deserve is support. What they are getting are cuts and more cuts. Mr. Mayor wants to create new schools. How about supporting existing schools first?

A Phillie Teacher said...

I'm personally waiting for Super Student. Maybe I should make my own movie?

Pissed Off said...

Actually, I already have many Super Students. I am very fortunate. This year I have 3 AP calculus classes with registers of over 32 each. And, my morning college class is also full of some fantastic super stars.