Strange New Math: Less Student Effort Equals Much More Teacher Work

Every day I go to school I learn something new. The latest lesson is very difficult to swallow. With the increasing level of apathy in our students, it creates more work for teachers.

If a student chooses not to attend class and fails, then the teacher must “JUSTIFY” why that student did not pass.

If a student sleeps through class and fails, then the teacher must “JUSTIFY” why the student didn’t pass.

If a student refuses to copy the work from the board and fails, then the teacher must “JUSTIFY” why the student didn’t pass.

If a student chooses to listen to their headphones instead of paying attention to the lesson and fails, then the teacher must “JUSTIFY” why the  student didn’t pass.

To “JUSTIFY” failing a student I first must describe the interventions that I have attempted to ensure the student’s success and their level of effectiveness.

The following interventions available to all students:

1.    Late work accepted entire six weeks.

2.    Individual/Small/Large group tutoring.

3.    Before school tutoring 4 days a week.

4.    After-school tutoring.

5.    I am required to tolerate uncooperative behavior daily.

6.    No homework is assigned.

7.    All daily assignments are done in class as small group/large group.

8.    Review of specific test objectives prior to the test.

9.    Anchor charts/diagrams displayed during testing.

10. Students are not removed from class for rude and disrespectful behavior.

11. Poor attendance is tolerated without any consequences.

Additional Procedures I have not implemented but have considered:

1.    Give credit to students that do not complete any work.

2.    Curve all tests so that all students pass.

3.    If a student is absent then their grade for all missed work will automatically be a 100.

4.    Award more bonus points for inattentiveness, sleeping, listening to headphones, being disrespectful, being out of dress code and ignoring all instruction.

While my “additional procedures” may seem a little ridiculous, they are not far from the reality in most schools. The teachers are being held accountable for everything while the students and administration deflect all responsibility. The administrators favorite response is “did you call the parent?” Typically the response is no because there are too many to calls because it is a school-wide culture problem and not an individual student problem.

David R. Taylor

27 Year Teacher, Coach, and Principal

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