Thursday, November 22, 2012

Frustration and Cupcakes

I teach math.
Let me rephrase that in the pursuit of honest writing.
I am assigned two sections of a course called Algebra Prep.

Which means I have two classes comprised of students who fit the following criteria.
They were at some point in their school career designated as requiring a full time special education program. And they have yet to pass the all important New York State Algebra Regents.

I like my paycheck. It allows me to browse the Macy's website at 6:30 Thanksgiving Morning and if I clicked the correct button, four pretty sweaters should be lodged between my screen door and the front door early next week. I am not sure I hit the correct button. I did reveal the secret information about where my wedding reception, was held, but then things seemed to happened quickly and the page disappeared.
I got frustrated and moved on to making coffee.

Which is why I differentiate between teaching math and doing all the things that I call teaching math, like searching for appropriate tasks, trying to infuse meaning into sets of equations, tediously pulling apart problems from the exit exam and explaining them bit by bit (The educationalese word for that is scaffolding- not to be confused with the metal and wood structure outside the classroom window where the workman is jack-hammering while I do all those things)

After four long weeks of looking at the relationship between a linear equation and its graph I give a test.

Regina said it wasn't a real test because I didn't make them sit every other row. Then she asked wasn't I going to give them something it was the day before Thanksgiving.

“What is this first grade?” I ask, as I unwrap the last tray of cupcakes. The group in the Resource Room has polished off the last of the Hawaiian Punch the period before, so I figured I wouldn't have to collect red-soaked test papers.

Then Richard announces it was good I was giving out cupcakes because it was his eighteenth birthday.

And that got him thinking about how he was grown up and should be responsible for things. Like maybe get married and have kids.

But only two kids
by seven wives......

Wait!!!! (see why I don't really teach Algebra)
You can't have two kids by seven wives, what, each wife is going to be 2/7th pregnant?

Regina wants to know why I make everything math, Fred wants to know if you go up or down for a positive slope, Donny wants to know if he can borrow a pencil, Matthew is staring very hard at the paper and is deciding where he should write his name (on the line that says name would be my first choice.).

So Robert, who is in an introspective mood- says no what he really wants is one special 'ho.

He's the romantic type.

So I walk around and help people finish the test- Cheating I suppose. But it is a non-credit course and
the point is to convey some knowledge of algebra, maybe enough knowledge of algebra to pass the stupid regents.

Without getting too frustrated.
And then move on.

PS- I'm not sure what passing the Regents will allow them move onto , but dem's the rules. Mine is not to reason why, mine is just to do and give out cupcakes.

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog through TBA's Special Education Blog section and am so glad I did! I am your newest follower :)

    Mindful Rambles