martes, junio 07, 2005

 

day 2

straight from the trenches: i started the day off in my self-assigned role as teacher's aide, spending the first part of the morning cutting up hundreds tables for a center activity my friend (then the only 5th grade math bilingual teacher) was going to do today. as i was cutting away in the lounge, another teacher came by to remind me to get my attendance. "oh, no big deal, i'm not even teaching!" i announced. she gave me a funny look and told me that the principal had just sent a kid to my room. i took off running since my room is empty and all the bilingual 5th graders are in my buddy's room. the student had already been intercepted, but on my way back to the lounge i saw two kids wandering around looking for their classroom. one had a post-it with my name, another with the other teacher's name. i thought it was weird that they were still assigning me students, but i quickly led them to the other teacher's classroom then went back to the building... where three more kids looking for me showed up! so now i'm back in my room giving the same practice TAKS test we did yesterday to all the newcomers, totally unprepared to teach and kind of wishing that they hadn't shown up so i could have been released from summer school duty and been given a slightly longer vacation. ah well, guess it's not in the cards.

that said, fifth grade math is freakin hard, at least from the point of view of someone who has spent a year teaching first and second grade math. i taught sixth grade math for about a month as a substitute, but it was at a charter school where academic expectations were very high. not to say that public schools don't try to challenge their students as much as possible, but let's be realistic. i guess more than anything i'm amazed by the breadth of material we're expected to cover over the next 15 days. i graded the first group's set of practice TAKS tests yesterday, and sadly all of the 8 students' scores fell between 10 and 13 correct out of 23 problems. some of their biggest struggles were with tables and fractions, but a lot of them also slipped up on the underlying math skills like knowing when you need to add or subtract, multiply or divide. my heart really goes out to these kids... there's so much pressure on them and so very little time left for them to make the grade. the phrasing of a lot of the test questions in spanish is particularly complex, unnecessarily so in my opinion. really, it's just as much a reading test as it is a math test.

in summary: this is why i don't teach a TAKS grade, and have no desire to ever do so. for more info about standardized testing and what we can do to reform it, go to fairtest.org or read this article addressing accountability in bilingual ed by THE MAN james crawford.

in other news: cheers to meeting fellow bloggers in random places, people cooking me dinner, mothers ironing my clothes (ok, just one mother =P), friends going on dates, people introducing me to cute guys, and good art books at the library. boos to nose piercing infections, friends who seem to have fallen off the face of the earth (coughmadhattercough), pencil sharpeners without the cover that prevents the little shavings from flying everywhere, and me being too stupid and preoccupied to talk to cute guys!

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