Georgia’s math: Kathy Cox says it was a smooth transition

In Washington today, I ran into former state School Superintendent Kathy Cox who misses visiting schools but loves her new job.

In Washington today, I ran into former state School Superintendent Kathy Cox who misses visiting schools but loves her new job.

I am in Washington at the Education Trust conference and just ran into Kathy Cox, who is now here leading the staff at the U.S. Education Delivery Institute, which advises states on reform strategies.

When I mentioned the continued controversy over Georgia’s integrated math, she mentioned something that I thought might interest you.

Cox and her former top DOE aide Stephen Pruitt,a vice president with Achieve, also in Washington, both have children who were taught under Georgia’s new math approach.

Despite critics’ contention that Georgia’s math is incompatible with other states, Cox says her son and Pruitt’s two children are ahead of the game in math in their highly regarded Washington area schools.

In fact, Pruitt’s daughter was jumped a full grade in math by her new school. And his son made a seamless transition from eighth grade to higher level algebra in the local high school. Cox’s high-school age son went from Georgia math to pre-calculus and has an A- average.

Cox looks and sounds great and watched this week’s election to her former office with interest this week. She believes that John Barge will do fine as superintendent. She reminded me that Barge has to clear major changes with the state Board of Education, which may mean challenges to his intention to undo the new math and to tinker with Georgia’s single diploma.

This conference went nearly 10 hours today, and I have some good stuff to share but now have to work on the Monday education letters for the print newspaper so I will keep this short.

142 comments Add your comment

bobbie

November 4th, 2010
8:53 pm

On the one hand, math is math – whether it is called Math 2 or Algebra II. On the other hand, two courses called Algebra I aren’t always the same, either. If schools are willing to examine carefully what students have learned in previous schools, they can always find a way to place them in the right courses.

td

November 4th, 2010
8:53 pm

From what I have been reading on this blog and hearing across the state, there are not a great deal of people that agree with Kahty’s position about Math 123.

David Sims

November 4th, 2010
9:07 pm

Why does anybody have trouble with math? As long as you know where the teacher (or the textbook) is going, it’s all so straightforward. At least it is through differential calculus. Integrals can be tough and non-obvious. Getting differential equations into integral form can be, too — but there are rules and tricks you can learn, and experience in knowing what to do accumulates. You’d think people would have more difficulty in some other subject, but math seems to be most people’s bear.

Burroughston Broch

November 4th, 2010
9:10 pm

Did you expect her to contradict her former position?

money

November 4th, 2010
9:20 pm

@BB

i think you hit it on the head. Change cut scores, claim a victory, and run like hell.

God Bless the Teacher!

November 4th, 2010
9:20 pm

That picture…ugh, I just spit up…

Earl of Ft. Liquordale

November 4th, 2010
9:24 pm

Maureen: I am going to the South Florida’s Drop-outs Who Did Well Conference (SFDWDWC) in Boca Raton. These multi-millionaires are seeking help in writing cogent sentences and doing long-division in their heads. I love working with these high school drop-outs because they really appreciate good tutoring. They also want to become somewhat computer-literate. They are jovial, personable, and financially savvy, but they just did not cotton to much to formal education.

I think that you know that I will not be teaching them Whole Language or Math 123. After each session we go down to Captain Bill’s for some great seafood (the Grouper is out of this world!) and some drinks. What a life down here in Liqourdale! Don’t forget next year’s SFDWDWC which will be held in Key Largo. I can hardly wait! I grew up on Carroll Street and Boulevard in Cabbagetown. I’ve come a long way, baby!

Maureen, tell Kathy that I said “Hello,” you heah?

ScienceTeacher671

November 4th, 2010
9:26 pm

I’m in a district with a lot of transient (i.e. military) students, and they would tend to disagree, I believe. Glad the Cox & Pruitt kids aren’t suffering too much from what their parents imposed on the rest of us, before packing up and leaving.

all right

November 4th, 2010
9:34 pm

Wow, did she just call Dr. Barge out???? “She reminded me that Barge has to clear major changes with the state Board of Education”. Just love the contempt oozing out from the article and K. Cox. Also, throwing in their own children as examples; rich, smug, and _____________ just jumps right out of the writing at ya.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amy Bakari, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Georgia’s math: Kathy Cox says it was a smooth transition http://bit.ly/aqJyxa [...]

Maureen Downey

November 4th, 2010
9:56 pm

@All right, Not sure why you think she was calling Barge out. I asked her about his plans to get rid of Math 123 and to revisit the diploma and she pointed out that the board of education would have to sign on and that they may not be willing to reverse direction.
I think she was stating the facts; that the state super has to get board endorsement.
She was very complimentary of Barge, who she said did a good job when he worked for her.

Maureen

Maureen Downey

November 4th, 2010
10:00 pm

@Scienceteacher, I recently talked to two families who moved to other states — NJ and Florida — and both said their high schoolers had no issues with math and were doing well.
As to the military families: Are you seeing that kids coming in have a problem or kids moving out?
Maureen

Lisa B.

November 4th, 2010
10:03 pm

The problem with math 123 is that it is NOT straight forward. My son in in the roll-out year (Class of 2012). The class has been guinea pigs for the “math roll-out” since 6th grade. Each year the students have teachers with a brand new curriculum, no textbooks, and few materials. By 11th grade, my son, his classmates, and the teachers are frustrated. Day after day, year after year, the students have struggled to “discover” how to solve problems and “discover” who is right, when sometimes, the poor teachers cannot even decide. The teachers who taught Math 2 last year for the first time, are now in their second year of teaching Math 2, and far better acquainted with the material. However, the Class of 2012 are in Math 3 this year, once again with teachers new to the curriculum. I have no doubt Kathy Cox’s kids made a smooth transition. They are haven’t had teachers struggling with the new curriculum each year since 6th grade.

td

November 4th, 2010
10:12 pm

The board will do mostly whatever the Governor and key legislators tell them to do. I know Dr. Barge just spent the last two weeks traveling the state with the Governor elect and I would guess the direction of the DOE came up as a subject matter.

Maureen, What are the terms of the BOE and how are they staggered? I do not think I have ever seen that subject on the blogs?

Cousin Booger

November 4th, 2010
10:13 pm

Lisa B., It’s so good to see you back! Where have you been? Last time that I saw you, you were Baxter Street in Athens, drunk out of your mind! The Dogs had just beaten Alabama. Wasn’t that the Fall of 1976?

Just teach the regular kids (the non-engineering-going kids) to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and to do some percentages. The rest of that cr-p is for the birds! Talking about birds, Me and Little Skeeter are going quail hunting down in Vidalia this weekend. Dogs are gonna beat Auburn this year! You heard it first on Maureen’s blog! Maureen, who is Fairly Dickinson (is that how you spell it?) playing this weekend?

AJinCobb

November 4th, 2010
10:14 pm

@ScienceTeacher671,

Maureen asks a good question about the military families among your students. It seems unlikely they are complaining about math curriculum adjustment problems going FROM Georgia TO other states, since you’re presumably encountering these folks while they’re here in Georgia. Or is this feedback that’s getting passed along to you from families who have moved on to other states?

Alternatively, is the problem that students moving in from other states are having a hard time catching up with Georgia’s math curriculum?

Little Skeeter

November 4th, 2010
10:18 pm

Booger — I ain’t going with you to Vidalia. I’m going down to Union Springs, Alabama with J-Bird and his brother. We duck huntin’ this weekend. Booger — you crazy!!! But, you right about aithmetick. I just want to be able to count the ducks and then to divided by three.

Tony

November 4th, 2010
10:18 pm

The current math curriculum is a good one and does not need to change. Going back to the old organization with its lower expectations will set Georgia back 30 years. The true problem with the roll-out is two-fold: severe lack of funding for professional development to prepare the teachers and teachers who were poorly prepared for advanced math content.

Now that the teachers are becoming familiar with the content, they will do much better. As for the students, even the students performing poorly have been pushed to develop math skills that were more advanced than they would have gotten in the old curriculum.

Alex

November 4th, 2010
10:42 pm

Kathy Cox was a spineless leader. She sold her soul to the devil….in this case Sonny Perdue. She wanted to make curriculum changes. In exchange for token funding, she sold out schools for billions in QBE austerity cuts. Rarely, did she express any objections. She just let it happen on her watch. So now, John Barge is State School Superintendent. I certainly hope he changes direction – with or without Sonny’s appointed board. If not, education in this state will get even worse.

Ron Hyatt

November 4th, 2010
10:56 pm

If I performed like teachers do, I’d be fired. A long time ago.

flwrgrl

November 4th, 2010
11:14 pm

Lisa B., I agree with you. My Class of 2012 son is a special needs student who loved math and excelled before middle school and the new curriculum. It has been a terrible challenge to help him each year, due to the lack of curriculum materials. If it wasn’t for us paying another teacher to tutor him individually each year, he would never pass!! He also gets an extra math class (Math Support) each day, but that causes him to lose an elective choice.

I also have a Class of 2015 son who gets the benefit of his teachers having three years worth of experience. He (like Ms. Cox’s son) is doing fine. I have said all along that the first 5 years worth of students would be the guinea pigs, and when the results are tallied and the test scores fall, the curriculum will be changed again, and the cycle will start all over. Isn’t that how it always is in education?

Atlanta mom

November 4th, 2010
11:16 pm

Any time you don’t have a text book, you have a problem. I have discussed this with a friend in Coweta county, and the history textbook were collected two weeks before finals. We thought that was bad. Never would I believe you could go an entire year (or six) without text books.

Michael in Decatur

November 4th, 2010
11:55 pm

I agree with Lisa B. My 2012 student’s principal annouced that the PTA was trying to raise funds for new, better math books. Evidently the math teachers did not like the math books provided? WTH? And check this out. If your student scored less than a 70 in math for one semester, what do you think happened the next semester? Do you think they repeated that course? uh, no. They were ‘promoted’ to the next math course. And told to make it up ‘on-line’. Our county did not offer ‘instructor-led’ sunmmer school. So there is no provision for ‘catching’ up a student who scored less than a 70 one semester. It’s like, oh well, sucks for you, we’re moving forward.

I predict the on-time graduation rate (if the state can ever figure out how to compute it) will represent a record low for our state for the class of 2012.

Kathy Cox owes the class of 2012 an apology.

Mike Honcho

November 5th, 2010
12:20 am

I sure hope Kathy is doing well up there. Hopefully she’ll stay there and we can get her messed fixed. I’m looking forward to see what will happpen. I hear we have a survey coming to math teachers soon. Last change they didn’t ask for our opinion and totally ignored what those of us in the trenches had to say. We’ll see.

Avery

November 5th, 2010
12:59 am

I can kind of understand the lack of incentive for students to understand math. They know they will be working for Chinese employers who DO understand math when they fail to graduate high school or drop out of college.

Bruce Kendall

November 5th, 2010
2:18 am

The problem is not the math. The students are not prepared for it, and teachers are unhappy that they cannot always teach just their favorite niche.

Bruce Kendall

November 5th, 2010
2:23 am

Having a textbook does not fix the problem if a student cannot read, or comprehend what they have read. When my Aunt was in school nobody had textbooks, and she tutored me all the way through high school, without using a book.

First in Japanese, Last in SATs

November 5th, 2010
5:28 am

This was the math slogan in Fulton County when Cox announced the program. It is a joke and on the order of the “New Math” from the late 60’s early 70’s. Cox was a failure just like education in Georgia.

Ellen Harrison

November 5th, 2010
5:32 am

Lisa B. hit the main concern: for six years, one cohort of students has mightily struggled, and many have been peddling double time in support classes. These kids have been handicapped. I too, can’t place much faith in the highest education official reporting that her own child did well. Most do take care of their own, and have plenty resources with which to do so. Teachers needed professional support in helping struggling math students — what we got was the pressure to produce data showing improvement. Eegads, those kids have suffered.

Attentive Parent

November 5th, 2010
6:08 am

Maureen-

Shouldn’t you have pointed out that Achieve and Education Trust are the financial backers of US Delivery?

Kathy Cox did not “happen to be there”. She’s an affiliate and in actuality a subordinate to their agenda.

Secondly, she’s up in DC trying to nationalize what she did in Georgia so of course she needs to keep up the facade that it’s working.

Why do you think Ed Trust’s president, Kati Haycock, traveled all the way to Milledgeville last fall to tell Georgia legislators and other officials to hold the line on keeping one track for all?

Georgia is the test case and had to be protected. She didn’t come to marvel at the architecture.

That was the same conference where Haycock used SEIU (the notorious ACORN affiliate in thuggery) as a shorthand when she meant workers and provided a misleading bio that described herself differently than how she describes herself and Ed Trust at other conferences. The old appeal to authority gambit.

Does your continued advocacy for Cox mean that the AJC is officially pushing the “let’s move away from academics since it does not produce equal outcomes” that lies at the heart of all the Common Core implementation documents?

Is Kathy Cox’s snide remark about the Georgia Board a reminder that under the terms of the PRISM grant both her DOE and the Board gave up decision-making power over math and science direction?

There certainly are quite a few pertinent details left out of this story.

ScienceTeacher671

November 5th, 2010
6:10 am

True, the students I’ve personally talked to have been coming TO Georgia.

I see some coming from other states who are behind in skills, but I also get quite a few who were promoted despite failing the CRCT, so I don’t know that we in Georgia are preparing our students better than those in other states are.

The last big complaint I heard was not from one of these, but rather from an advanced student who wanted/needed to take Geometry but was told it wasn’t offered…at least not as a stand-alone course.

Attentive Parent

November 5th, 2010
6:21 am

Maureen-

Please rescue me from the filter.

Was it set to stop me from commenting until it could be preapproved?

Attentive Parent

November 5th, 2010
6:45 am

While I wonder when my comment will show up, let’s point out that when the CRCT scandal started to break, Maureen posted a letter from Ed Trust trying to deflect the investigation by saying it was about race.

Georgia and APS are very important to EdTrust because we have been the curriculum guinea pigs for years.

Attentive Parent

November 5th, 2010
7:18 am

I am going to rework slightly and try again. There are numerous material omissions from this story.

Shouldn’t this article have pointed out that Achieve and Education Trust are the financial backers of US Delivery?

Kathy Cox did not “happen to be there”. She’s an affiliate and in actuality a subordinate to their agenda.

Secondly, she’s up in DC trying to nationalize what she did in Georgia so of course she needs to keep up the facade that it’s working.

Why do you think Ed Trust’s president, Kati Haycock, traveled all the way to Milledgeville last fall to tell Georgia legislators and other officials to hold the line on keeping one track for all?

Georgia is the test case and had to be protected. She didn’t come to marvel at the architecture.

That was the same conference where Haycock used SEIU (the notorious ACORN affiliate in thuggery) as a shorthand when she meant workers and provided a misleading bio that described herself differently than how she describes herself and Ed Trust at other conferences. The old appeal to authority gambit.

Does your continued advocacy for Cox mean that the AJC is officially pushing the “let’s move away from academics since it does not produce equal outcomes” that lies at the heart of all the Common Core implementation documents?

Is Kathy Cox’s snide remark about the Georgia Board a reminder that under the terms of the PRISM grant both her DOE and the Board gave up decision-making power over math and science direction?

There certainly are quite a few pertinent details left out of this story.

john konop

November 5th, 2010
7:21 am

Math 123 has been a catastrophe by any measure. When all three candidates agree it had major issues and Fulton county schools kicked it out it should tell you something.

Kathy Cox’s kids were not in high school. Also the old system allowed students to complete all of high school math by sophomore year.

Kathy won the game and become high paid lobbyist at the expense of our kids and left behind massive personal bills for tax payers to bail her out. How was this a success?

Attentive Parent

November 5th, 2010
7:52 am

At least you are not locked out John.

Even reworking the lead-in I cannot post beyond a few sentences.

Propaganda and censorship-is this what we have to look forward to if we have facts that differ from the preferred narrative?

Cobb County Parent

November 5th, 2010
8:38 am

The new math curriculum has been and will continue to be a failure. If we must wait for the declining SAT scores to point that out, then so be it. Other states have already seen the fallacy of this integrated math. Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before GA discovers the truth as well. In the meantime, I just keep supplementing my kids in the hope that they will not lose any more ground and they remain competitive nationally and internationally.

As an aside, I discount anything Kathy Cox says as absolute garbage. And… the fact that Maureen is touting her as some type of expert, puhleeze.

And Maureen, if you want to be seen as un-biased, release Attentive Parent’s comments from the filter. I not only look forward to hearing what s/he has to say, I have reviewed the links provided by AP and have concluded that s/he really does know what s/he is talking about.

Maureen Downey

November 5th, 2010
8:42 am

@Cobb, I did release her comments as soon as I saw them. Not sure why you think the SAT will tell us something as the PSAT scores showed no change.
I want to reiterate one point about the math. There are mathematicians in this state who reassure me that there is nothing bizarre or inherently wrong with how we are teaching math. I spoke to two Tech math professors only a week ago on this topic and they still don’t understand the parent furor. (And each of them had kids in public schools who are in this math.)
It is far from clear that there is a consensus around the pluses or the minuses to this program.
Maureen

Attentive Parent

November 5th, 2010
9:05 am

Maureen-

Given the fact that the USG Board of Regents has told all of these profs that tenure, salary, promotion, are all tied to a willingness to push the new math or to be silent in their opposition,using what profs say has no value.

The presence of such a gag rule itself is telling. When Coercion is necessary to gain support, it’s not a good thing.

The University of Kentucky link with the UGA dean bragging about the coercion and how USG presidents have been told this advocacy is “easy money” for their institutions was taken down almost immediately after I linked to it.

Do you really think I posted that link before I and many others had downloaded and hard copied such damning testimony?

hmmm?

November 5th, 2010
9:18 am

maybe this was a way for K.Cox to help NCLB crash the public schools?

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1812758,00.html

Lynx

November 5th, 2010
9:19 am

I am now living in Northern VA in one of the most highly educated counties in the US (Arlington). I joined the math parent advisory committee to the Arlington County School Board – there is a Board liaison who has 25 years’ teaching experience at all levels of middle school and high school math, as well as five other parents of kids in the school system. Each year the committee reviews ways to improve math education, usually focusing on better ways to reach all students, from special ed to gifted, prepares and presents their recommendations to the Board. And the Board actually LISTENS and ACTS on these recommendations.

Not only that but the Board and the Committee both pay a lot of attention to what the math teachers say are problems and needs from elementary through high school. For example, elementary teacher surveys and observations showed that many were not comfortable teaching math due to their self-perception of not being “a numbers person.” On recommendation of the Advisory Committee, the county Board put money into summer Math Academies to help teachers get more comfortable with the math curriculum, understand how it relates to middle school and high school math, and just get more self-confidence.

Our district here has Parent Advisory committees for all subjects (Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Language Arts, Fine Arts and Music, Technology, etc.) as well as for a range of other relevant issues (Athletics, Gifted Services, Special Education Services, Nutrition and School Meals, Transportation, etc.) and several that report directly to the Superintendent. Though the county is highly educated, 30% of students are low income (free or reduced price lunch), mostly immigrants (native Spanish speakers, although 30 languages are spoken) among 21,000 K-12 students (not counting the dozen or so private secular and parochial schools).

In the 15 years I lived in North Georgia, I never heard of a parent advisory committee for anything, unless it was Athletic Booster Clubs. Maybe it is time for Georgia parents to do more than PTA bake sales in terms of gaining a voice in local education.

To the specific issue of math, a footnote…Here in Arlington, Integrated Math (123) is a supplemental program that is taught one day per month in elementary schools to encourage “discovery.” The discovery aspect is seen as great for integrating the basic concepts and operations that students drill on and study day by day.

Little Skeeter

November 5th, 2010
9:36 am

You see, Attentive Parent, that’s why I sometimes get disgusted with this blog…too much darn censorship, if you disagree with the agenda that it is pushing. It sounds like EdTrust ain’t nothing but EdMoney or EdCheddar. My cousins Booger and John Trotter have been saying all along that it’s all about the money! I knowed is was. I knowed it!

Attentive Parent: You keep pouring it on, OK? You always have your facts to back up what you’re saying. Hey, have you ever had Bar-be-qued Duck Breast? A. P., come on down here to Opp, Alabama and we’ll fix you up. This stuff is nasty! I love it! It’ll make you spit in your mother-in-law’s eye. It taste a little bit like Brunswick Stew, but it’s got big chunks of white meats and more fresh corn in it! Maureen ain’t no Southerner. She’s still looking for Bagels for breakfast! Ha! Ask her to try to find Grits in Washington, D. C. in the morning. She won’t be able to find Grits! That’s why she likes D. C.! I walked all over that city on Saturday morning about back in the 1980s trying to find Grits. Never did find them. Just Bagels. I hate Bagels to this day!

The New Math is stupid. This is Little Skeeter’s anlysis. It’s all about trying to be politically correct, and I ain’t politically correct.

Really amazed

November 5th, 2010
9:40 am

I think the math would have been changed in a heart beat, if either of these two wonderful examples of leadership’s children would NOT have done o.k. with the lovely intergrated math 123 bs. I am sure Cox kids did well with it since she had all of the proper material for them when they got home and knew exactly what and how to teach it to them, unlike some of the teachers that just got thrown into it!

Little Skeeter

November 5th, 2010
9:46 am

I knowed it. I knowed it day before yassaday dat it was all about Kathy Cox and her not-so-hidden agenda to find herself one of them there purple parachutes. Attentive Parent, you da man! You da man! Keep pouring it on! Get on her like white on rice! Wait a minute…was that politically correct? No? Good.

Concerned Teacher

November 5th, 2010
9:48 am

I do not teach Math but have been told by H.S. Math teachers that this transition has been anything but smooth. During each year of the roll-out, some teachers have had to teach materials that are new and at times coupled with materials that have not traditionally been linked together. Unfortneately, Math teachers cannot just teach what is in the book without consequences. In many instances teachers also use the first part of the year to go over or review materials from the year before. Teachers who have taught the traditional curriculum the same way have had problems with that transition and students often suffer.
Additional problems occur when trying to fit the curriculum into a block schedule or scheduling students to repeat the classes when they are not successful. Guidance counselors are also under pressure when trying to place students into the “right” class. Additional problems occur when trying to schedule students who move in from out of state and have used traditional curriculums. They do not always transition seemlessly and sometimes must be placed in classes in which they have already mastered a part of the curriculum. Moving back (to a traditional curriculum), also creates problems, as two curriculums would be utilized for a period of time to put everyone back onto a traditional curriculum without forcing students to repeat or skip some of the material.

Educator for Life

November 5th, 2010
10:10 am

Most of you on here are funny. Math is math, regardless of what it is called, as one commenter said. Here is my issue. Most of the people on here are not in the classroom teaching the new Georgia Performance Standards. If you are teaching it and have a problem with it, then it is because you are not used to making students think critically. Our teachers have been so one-dimensional, some knowing Algebra, but not Geometry, some knowing Trig, but not Stats, etc. The new GPS has exposed these fake teachers. Also, parents who had older kids who succeeded in math may not be taking in all the factors. I say this because history has shown that a lot of GA graduates were spoon-fed and not required to think critically. I have taught several GA high school Valedictorians at GT and GPC who struggle with math. I don’t care what we call our math courses, we need to TEACH our kids and not do the work for them. Some of you can fight this all you want, but the truth is, there are only a handful of high school seniors right now who really graduate with real math knowledge and understanding. Give me any topic and I will find a way to teach it without blaming the curriculum or the state or the school system for it. If you think I am wrong, just look at the GHSGT from the QCCs and you will see that an 8th grader should pass it. But, lack of student responsibility topped with lack of teacher content knowledge causes students to not learn math.

What's best for kids?

November 5th, 2010
10:21 am

Mr. Hyatt,
I invite you to come to my classroom and see how well or poorly I perform. I also invite you to go and actually teach a class, a real class, in a real public school for a year before you talk about teacher performance. Yes, there are bad teachers, and yes, they need to go, but please separate the good apples from the bad.

Concerned Teacher

November 5th, 2010
10:47 am

Educator for life,
Tread lightly! The fake teachers you point at may indeed not be strong across the entire Math curriculum. I do not believe that should be an indictment of their ability to teach within a part of the curriculum. A strong Alegbra teacher may not be as strong in Statistics or Geometry but it doesn’t mean s/he can’t teach Algebra. (In fact many co-teachers are forced into classes to teach all of the curriculum.)
This kind of specialization happens across high school academics in other areas. For example: A teacher may feel much more comfortable teaching Biology than Chemistry or World History rather than Economics. Most department chairs put teachers in the areas in which they feel that teachers are strongest. This is, (of course), related to test scores. Teachers who have proven scores in one area tend to teach that class year after year. The fact that the test scores are related is a different subject entirely, but a fact of life in Georgia High Schools.

Atlanta Mom

November 5th, 2010
11:19 am

Educator for life,
“Give me any topic and I will find a way to teach it without blaming the curriculum or the state or the school system for it”. I trust you’ve taken into account that you will have 180 students over the course of the day and if you are teaching in a public high school, your students’ abilities will most likely span at least 5 different grade levels. To make that a little clearer: if you are teaching 9th grade, some students will be working at the 5th grade level, and some at a 10 or 11th grade level. Good luck with that!

Educator for Life

November 5th, 2010
11:35 am

Atlanta Mom,

You need to read “Never Work Harder Than Your Students”. If you don’t think you can bring a child up from where they are, then that is saying a lot about YOUR ability to teach. Every teacher has the same issue. There are some Practitioners who know how to remediate without doing the work for the students. Trust me, I am new to 6th grade (taught HS and college all my life) and I have students who don’t know 2+2. Trust me, I am working my butt off because I have to meet the student where they are and bring them to where they need to be, but it isn’t easy. Yet, I am still not doing the work for them and I am not working harder than them. The book will tell you that if you don’t think the kids can learn it, it is really a reflection of you not knowing how to get them to learn, not the students not being able to do it. If you don’t think a child can learn, you will not try as hard to teach him/her. If you think you can, you will pull out all stops to reach that child. Your thought proces of students being on different grade levels is no different than any other subject.