I can’t give you problems basic enough. There is no question leading enough. “Doing Math” to you means you saying “I don’t get this” and me telling you the answers. You see math and everything it entails as a huge changing frictionless landscape with nothing to hang onto, and I can’t destroy enough of that perception to make you feel like something holds true for longer than a single problem.

I am SO TIRED of telling eleventh graders that “a number next to a letter means multiply.” I’m tired of reminding them that “solve for X means get X by itself” and I’m so unbelievably effing tired of having to say “no, finding the area of a triangle isn’t base times height.” I’m sick of teaching the same sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math concepts OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN and STILL getting blank looks.

WHY is this so confusing? It’s not like it can have changed much in the SIX YEARS you’ve done these types of problems. It’s not like I’m weaving some kind of complicated web of slippery math facts that don’t align. We spend fifteen minutes at the beginning of class going over what a “supplementary angle” is and you still can’t start a problem without me over your shoulder, and then you try and tell me they’re equal or that they add up to 360.

Getting confused about similarity or trig functions or asymptotes is one thing. I can accept that if I’ve just taught you something for the first time, it’s going to take a while to stick. But what is so impossible about these basic, basic, absolutely crucial fundamentals? How can I break this up any smaller?

Not one of my better days.

… How many years of teaching do you need to become a school counselor?

…

… sigh… and how many years before you stop blaming kids in your blog posts for yours and other teachers’ shortcomings?

What math curriculum/texts did these kids have in K-8? Did they meet state standards on earlier exams? If not did they get remedial help?