Friday, April 20, 2012

High School Today

I frequently sub for math classes at the high school level.  I am decent at math, though it has been a very long time since I had calculus, so that is a bit of a struggle.  Thursday, I was teaching two calculus classes and two pre-calc classes (block scheduled) and today, Friday, I was in a different school district, teaching three algebra II classes and two intermediate algebra classes (and one study hall) (non-block scheduled).

Two things are relatively noteworthy:  what's with the eating all day?  Kids come into class with candy, breakfast, snacks, lunch, and drinks, no matter what time of day the class meets.  Evidently the regular teachers permit this, but it completely astounds me.  The kids have 30 minutes for lunch, but evidently they don't like to eat lunch at lunch time.

The other thing that I notice is that, with the exception of the calculus classes, most of the students are confused and not interested in even trying to find out why they don't understand their math.  If I explain something on the board, even in response to a question, I have the feeling that I might as well be talking to the walls.  No one is paying the least bit of attention - even the person who asked the question.  I KNOW I am not that bad at explaining things.  Over the years I have gotten enough direct feedback to know that I am actually reasonably good at it.  But only if I am talking to students who are actually paying attention.  It is impossible when they are shielding their faces so much that you can't tell whether they get it or not.  I usually assume they are not getting it, but I leave feeling very confused myself:  what is going on in their heads?  Given that 80% of them are hooked up constantly to their electronics [why do teachers permit iPods all day? iPods that morph into iPhones and cell phones and electronics of any sort], my guess is that they aren't really there.

No comments:

Post a Comment