Monday, May 19, 2008

What A Waste of Time

Mr. AP was quite nasty when I walked into last month's departmental meeting a few minutes late. I don't let his rude comments get to me but still, this month I tried to be on time (minus the delays caused by hall traffic.) Well, this month punctuality did not matter because Mr. AP was busy. I did not comment to him but I did manage to make a few comments behind the scenes.

I was proud of myself. I managed to keep my mouth shut for the entire conference. Maybe it was the poison ivy or maybe it was just disgust, but I spent forty minutes in the room with him without opening my mouth and believe me, there was plenty to open my mouth about.

For starters, our school is not going to offer the first term of math B anymore. Good students who are finishing math A will now skip the first term and go right into the second one and then take the regents in June. To get more kids through the exam and increase his statistics he has decided that the geometry unit is unimportant. The kids can just go to tutoring to pick up the entire semester they are missing.

Next we discussed the results of Acuity test. I'm not teaching an Integrated Algebra class so I took that as an opportunity to put my head down and nap. The poison ivy kept me up all night. (I really didn't nap, I just wanted to see what he would say when he saw me that way. He always bitches about kids with heads down in class.) Most teachers had not bothered to look at the results for their classes. One teacher, whose results we analyzed, had no kids in Tier I, this meaning none that were destined (according to this exam) to fail. She was in shock when she heard this because many of her students are math illiterates. Mr. AP went on to point out that the exam was given before some of the topics had been taught, so that should be taken into account. He also said that two questions on a particular topic did not show whether a concept was mastered or not but the test was an indicator that we should use. It is a good thing we had that indicator. A teacher who has already given 10 -12 classroom exams and has been working with kids since September would have no way of knowing what her students know without this million dollar test. Besides, we have lots of extra days to reteach all the topics that our students have not mastered since September.

As our meeting ended and the next group began trickling in to start their meeting, Mr AP left to get his lunch. He can be late. He works hard. He doesn't have the easy life of a classroom teacher. In a twelve period school, the poor overworked administrators must meetings. I didn't hang around to see how late he came back. And so, another exciting meeting day has ended.


mathematicamama said...

I could almost see this one coming, but not this soon. I have taught geometry for 25 years. I have seen proofs disappear. I have seen work disappear, to be replaced by multiple choice. I have seen zeros vanish from gradebooks, to be replaced by 47(for no work) and 56(for trying and writing their names). Now GEOMETRY is going. Will I be next?

NO NO NO!!!!!!! Please hang in there with me. If we leave, who will know enough math to teach it?

Anonymous said...

Let's see: Elementary teachers were told not to teach basic operations like addition facts and instead "explore" the world of mathematics, and you're complaining about geometry. At least we still get to teach the shapes. But it's the shape of things to come that have me worried.


Pissed Off said...

The school will still be teaching geometry. It will only be the kids finishing math A now that will miss it. Most of them will get to take the new geometry course that most of the teachers in my department cannot teach.