3 down, 1 to go

Today is the end of the 3rd 9 weeks grading period, only 9 more weeks until summer! Yay!

So of course instead of finalizing my grades, I’m blogging, but I have an excuse. Really, it’s a good one! The required online grade book program that I use is on some silly scheduled maintenance or back-up or something every night from 10-11, so I really can’t do it now.

In the meantime, I have been taking time to reflect on my practices. Recently some of my students (the struggling ones in particular) have been complaining pretty directly to me that they do not like my methods. In their words, the way I’m teaching doesn’t work. They want me to tell them how to do a problem, then give them problems exactly like that to solve. No group work, no extended problems, nothing challenging–that sort of thing makes it too difficult to make an A!

Now it would be soooo much easier for me to succumb to this type of mind-numbing “teacher dumps knowledge into students’ heads, students dutifully regurgitate” routine, and grades would likely improve, and many students would be much more comfortable in math class. But the thing is that I really don’t want them to be comfortable! I want to stretch them and make them think and choose experiences that will help them figure out the important ideas. I want the problems to be messy and long and challenging–isn’t that what math is like in real life?

So as I plan my last two units of study, I am really trying to “stick to my guns” and teach the way that I truly believe is the best way for students to learn and understand and remember long-term, despite the obvious fact that many of them really do prefer some boring old school marm un-differentiated, low-technology, outdated pedagogy.

Here goes nothing!