Thursday, April 26, 2012

Memo_041 Or Double Talk In Writing

After the faculty conference yesterday, I began to think of how we grade students on efforts. I honestly think that it is not an option in our math classes for students not to put in the effort, at least for most of us. The final grades students receive reflect how much effort they put in, provided they are in the correct math level. Unfortunately, some students could not pass their pass math even though they put in the effort. Some of them fail because of their lack of basic skills which have nothing to do with effort. Others fail because they lack the abstract thinking ability which also has nothing to do with efforts. We are also bound by the Regents exams. So, if you are one of the few teachers who allow your students to sit in your class and not put in effort, you need to find a way to get them to focus. There are many strategies to get students to participate and I will be more than happy to share them with you. There are many math classes that have close to 100% attendance. Why? Because the teachers give students hope – the students believe they can learn and pass the Regents exam with the help of their teacher. If you have attendance issues in your class, it is a good idea for you to begin re-examining what you are doing with your students. If you change or modify what you do, it is likely that more students will attend your class regularly.

I had to read the above memo several times before it made any sense and it still doesn't make much sense to me.  Is he saying teachers should count effort or they shouldn't?  And, if kids are in the wrong class, exactly how does one encourage them to attend and put in the effort?  Previous memos stated students had to do more than just pass the regents to pass the class but how do you get them to put in the effort if they have been told the effort might not be enough.

There might be many strategies to get kids to participate but, it is almost May.  A goosd supervisor might have used conference time to share these strategies and demonstrate how they work.  If the kids lack the basics, there is no way they can comprehend what is going on now.  Credit recovery and social promotion is a big culprit.  As for attendance, I would bet big money on the classes with good attendance also have higher functioning students.

I know the teachers at Packemin.  They don't allow their students to sit and do nothing. They've done all that is humanly (and super humanly) possible to get them to do well.  At this point, it is hopeless for many.  If a boy is reading a book instead of doing math, he is not disturbing others.

Memos like the one above do nothing but demoralize the people they are addressed to.  And, the amount of time figuring out what is being said could be spent on doing things to improve the class.


Anonymous said...

Out of all of the memos, this was the most absurd (and turdiest)of them all. I only read it once, with a "WTF" expression my face.

I wonder if he wrote up the 4 grade math question with the 2 correct answers.

Anonymous said...

Once again a memo that puts all the blame on teachers. This guy has no respect for teachers in general. And yes, his writing skills alone should have kept him from becoming AP. First of all, he is recognizing that he places students in the wrong class. (Something you had been fighting for years.) Then he writes how he expects teachers to show concern. (Something you have always done and still got kicked in the a$$.)

I still think the fault lies in Hula for not demanding to see all memos before they go out. I took courses in administration and was taught by some of the best principals and superintendents on Long Island, and we were taught to be very careful of our "tone" when we sent out letters and memos.

I hope someone is keeping every memo he ever wrote and uses it to write a book about a system that abuses both students and teachers.

Arbeiter said...

Hula uses AP to achieve certain goals, obviously. Hula is well aware of AP's shortcomings and limitations. The children are throwaway values in any educational equation they are involved in.