Saturday, December 05, 2009

Too Bad He Can't Always Do What Is Best, But, I Can Try

I recently found out that the community colleges are raising requirements for incoming students. I shared the information with Mr. AP, hoping he would understand the importance of stressing algebra, rather than geometry with these kids and the importance of trying to move them ahead instead of trapping them in a cycle of endless repetition of the same course. Last year, he was pissed at me for passing kids that failed the geometry regents, even thought they were passing the class (I did this with principal approval) and repeating the subject would have done nothing for them. Grades are due this week and once again, I am dropping almost no one from my class. My Ouija Board is out of commission so I can't accurately predict my June results.

This is from his latest e-mail on the subject:

The state requirement sometimes has nothing to do with what is best for a student. Unfortunately or fortunately, we both work in a NYS high school. I wish I could do what is best for the students all the time.

Furthermore, the Geometry and Trigonometry Regents exam should be the basic requirement or exit exam for passing the course. You don't have to agree, but that is what it should be. We can't lower the standards anymore.

Have a nice week.

I don't believe I am lowering standards by passing kids who don't pass that ridiculous exam, especially when they only fail by a few points. The raw scores are so low anyway that what possible difference could it make if we even lower it? As for doing what is best for the student, I try to do that every day. I work in a NYS high school and that is my job.

Alex--I know you will have some nasty response to this, calling me an old teacher who is being reduced to nothing, to allowing myself to be humiliated but, I don't see it like that. You see Alex, no one is humiliating me. I'm not allowing Mr. AP, the principal, Bloomberg or Klein or anyone else to do that. I'm standing up and fighting for my students, fighting for what is right. I'm doing something that you have no clue about. Walking away would be humiliating. Walking away and letting them win would allow their abuses to win.

Alex, because of your negativity and because of your mentioning my real school in your comments, no comments will be printed here without my approval. And, Alex, don't bother writing as your comments will never appear again.


Schoolgal said...

Isn't algebra the basis for trig????

I don't know who Alex is and how he knows your school, but one thing is for sure, hell would freeze over before you can be humiliated. Alex, you're an idiot if you can't understand that being a sheep will get you nowhere in life.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. I too am a NYC teacher with 24 years in and still willing to fight the fight. You are my hero. I look forward to reading future posts.

Anonymous said...

I teach Algebra, Geometry & Algebra2/Trig. I had suggested that Algebra(two terms for the upper level 2 and 3) and Alebra2/Trig(two terms) be given in that order and leave Geometry for last(grade 11). Many of my students cannot transfer the skills learned in Algebra into Geometry. They have a hard time integrating those skills especially since Geometry deals with so many definitions, theorems, postulates, and it's very abstract. I also suggested that students in their senior year should take a pre-calculus or an intro to college algebra so that they have the mastery to deal with the rigors of college-level math. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears.

But, I do have students who pass my class and cannot pass the regents. As a classroom teacher, I give students opportunities to excel in the class, but, of course, there are those few who do not make it because they truly lack the basic algebra skills.

jbaldwin said...

I am currently enrolled at a university to become a teacher. We are presently tackling these issues right now as to test scores and the grades in the classroom. I agree 100% with you by letting your students pass the class, even though their test scores are below the level of passing. One test should NOT be a way to show if a students should pass or not. There are other things to look at, like their grade inside the classroom. That one test can cause the students anxiety to sky rocket, as well as the test just being way too difficult. YOU are the type of teacher that inspires me by doing what she believes in and FIGHTING for it. Thank you for posting this, and thank you for fighting!