Posted by: rdkpickle | 01.14.2015

textbooks, etc.

Textbook adoption season has begun.

I can’t get into it, or have too many opinions. Mostly it just makes me sad – for all the things I wish I was doing in the classroom, for all the things I don’t feel empowered to do, for all the ways I feel I am underserving the young adults in my room every day — who deserve more from me. Who deserve more from us.

Dan quotes: “Children should not be asked to practice procedures they don’t understand.” (source)

I hear: “The real goal is for students to learn math well enough to solve math problems in the real world they live in, not on tests.” (source)

And then I get mad because that’s not the world I live in. Teacher evaluations are impacted by scores on state tests that sit shrouded in a cloak of complete mystery — talk about this test and lose your job — talk about this test and the world might end. State tests that will change next year. Students can’t graduate unless they pass these tests. We’re not PARCC or Smarter Balanced; we’ve made our ambivalence on CCSS quite clear. A new legislative session; an unclear future. I used to think these things couldn’t possibly matter – good teaching was good teaching and that was that. Protect the kids in my purview from whims of the day, teach math, engage their minds and all would be fine. But now I just sit and listen to buzzword bingo from a sales rep trying to convince our county to adopt a different textbook, convincing us this iPad app and “worktext” will be the solution. I teach students procedures without.r.t. whether they understand, and I am part of the problem.

What am I doing? Is it worth it? Is it having an impact? I leave school each day with a gigantic list of half-formed thoughts and half-done tasks. If there were 25 more Ms. Kernodles in room B-14, we might have a fighting chance. I hope you’re thinking. I hope you’re growing. See you tomorrow — I’ll be there with a smile and a plan.


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