davidd (davidd) wrote,

math class

I'm in my third, and final, week of subbing for an 8th grade math class. The real replacement teacher starts next week. During the three weeks I've had to create lesson plans, administer a statewide assessment test (that's what we're doing this week), collect money for various field trips, and on Friday we're having a "career fair."

Oh, yeah, and, this is the week that the pay cut for subs kicked in, so I'm making eleven dollars a day less than I was last week.

The teacher who retired was a 30 year veteran, so she should know her stuff, right? If so, why did, on average, eight out of twenty-two students in each of her classes receive grades of D or F last quarter... and the quarter before? Yeah, some of the kids are rowdy. Yeah, some of the kids take longer to catch on. Yeah, some of the kids don't give a rip. But, like, a forty percent failure rate? That, dear readers, is not entirely the fault of the students!

I see that the 2004 stats on the school indicate that only about 16% of the students "meet standards" set by the school district.

It may amuse you to know that, during my three week tenure -- bear in mind that I am a mere "sub" -- one young lady, Jasmine, formerly operating at a D-minus level, is so far turning in all of her assignments and producing work at a strong B level or higher. I'm not saying I'm a great teacher, or that I'm better than a 30 year veteran. What I AM saying is that it seems to make a difference just to tell students that they are NOT stupid, and explain that sometimes it just takes some people longer to catch on to certain concepts. It also helps to be patient, and to be willing to explain the same thing over, and over, and over, while watching their faces and trying to see who's "getting it."

It doesn't hurt to let 'em watch "Power Rangers" on TV once in a while, either, apparently.

Yesterday I confiscated fireworks. Today it was a squirt gun. I consider myself fortunate that, to date, such are the most serious offenses I've encountered.

Oh, I let them chew gum in class, too. Verboten by most teachers. Actually, it's not worth hassling with the petty crap, since I'm not gonna be there after this week.

I hope their new teacher is better than the old one.

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