~my thoughts about life~

Friday, February 26, 2016

Why I Love Language Arts

Son #1 is getting an F.  In Pre-Calc.  I'm ticked.

He's always been a smart boy....takes honors classes, catches on fairly quickly (when he applies himself), and gets mostly As with a couple Bs here and there.

Now he's getting an F.

I had a parent-teacher conference last week with this woman who is teaching Pre-Calc for the first time.  The following are words that actually came out of her mouth:
"I just don't know how to teach this."

Hmmm...  What I wanted to reply but didn't (because I'm much snarkier in my head than I am in real life) was, "Then you should not be teaching this class," or "Why are you a math teacher?" or "So my son has to suffer and struggle because you don't know what you're doing?"  But I didn't.  She also said, "I know how to do this type of math, I just don't know how to explain it."  Isn't that kind of the hard part of a teacher's job?  Knowing how to explain it to others?

The teacher also told me that anyone getting an A or a B in the class is staying after school daily for help. She suggested that Son #1 request help from another math teacher, who happens to be the chair of the math department.  She didn't even suggest that he come to her for help.

Since then, we've sought out two separate math tutors for him.  One is a college student who is currently enrolled in Calc 3.  The other is a peer who reads calculus books over summer break for pleasure.  I decided to give it just a bit more time, even though my gut told me it's already too late.  You see, in math, one concept must be mastered before a student can move on to the next concept.  Since Son #1 hasn't fully grasped the last 39 concepts, moving onto the next concept is like trying to brush your teeth while eating an Oreo cookie.

His last two test scores were 23% and 27%.  The class took a test yesterday and, according to #1, everyone failed it.  Even the kid who reads calc textbooks for fun failed the test.  So, I decided I've had it.  I called the principal.  Why should my son be the guinea pig for this teacher who is trying to figure out how to be a teacher?  This experiment of putting her into a class she can't teach has screwed up my kid's academic career.  Not only has his GPA plunged, now we're hesitant to allow him to move onto higher math for his Senior year.  If he can't get pre-calc, how is he going to get Calculus or Physics?  And move on another year or two....how is he going to grasp college level math when he never learned it properly in high school?  Mama Bear is not happy.

While I'm all riled up, I'll go ahead and let you know that the principal wasn't available and I had to leave a message.  So, I'll be a nervous wreck anticipating his return call.  I don't know what I want him to do about the situation, if anything, but I think he needs to be aware that he's employing a teacher who can't teach.

Wish me luck.  I hate confrontation more than spiders.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

We had a situation like that. My daughter's geometry teacher missed more that 2/3 of the year due to cancer. I am not unsympathetic to that, however, the school system should have hired a long term substitute rather than a long string of weekly subs. As a result, none of that advanced placement class learned enough to pass the AP test and get the college credit they should have. First one parent complained and then another and we finally went as a group to the superintendent of the system. We were not offered much. Our kids could take a summer replacement course that wouldn't offer college credit, or have the course expunged and take it over the following year. Mollie went for the summer course. The whole situation still irks me and she is out of college now. We were complaining in October and nothing happened until the kids were almost out for summer break. To me, it seemed that they weren't concerned about the long-term consequences for the kids.