Tuesday, December 27, 2005

As I ponder the remainder of the school year, with the end of the first semester pressing quickly into view, I am terrified. How will I ever get through everything? Really.. seriously.. someone.. anyone... HOW DO YOU EVER GET THROUGH IT ALL??

I think it is just the change in mindset I have this year, the feeling I must teach to mastery, the I cannot move on until a majority of my students "get it", a knowing that if they do not understand the basics, the order of operations, the adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing of integers, balancing simple one-step algebraic equations.. if they don't really GET all of that, the other things I will expect of them will be impossible. To me them understanding these concepts is so much more important than moving on. However, I also know that the MEAP next fall will expect them to have learned it all.

Am I an incompetent teacher, are my students slower than the average Michigan students, is it the fact they come to me underprepared for grade level work? Is it a combination of all of the above? I only have control over my teaching - I must deal with the students I have, with the skills sets they arrive with. So therefore the solution to the dilemna lies solely within me, my teaching, my ability to impart my knowledge into their minds. How do I do it? How can I improve? I need time to reflect, to really look objectively at the things I am doing, how I am doing them, and why... and ultimately, what do I need to change?

Monday, December 12, 2005

I can't believe the school year is almost half over. I feel like just yesterday those 7th graders walked in the door all excited to be back in school.

As far as covering curriculum, I think I am moving too slowly. I am always caught between moving on, and making sure they "get it". How do you balance the two? I constantly struggle to find that balance.

We're just now finishing Chapter 1 in our new math textbooks. Granted, it is a very involved chapter, covering everything from problem solving strategies, to integers, to writing and solving algebraic equations. And we've done some thing not in the book, of course, several tech integration projects, a review of decimals, place value, rounding, etc... that they sorely needed. But at this rate, my students will be in grad school before we finish 7th grade math.

So how so other teachers handle this problem? Do you just MOVE ON.. do you keep reteaching until you are confident that they get it? Are you better at time management than I am? Are you better at differentiating instruction than I am so you can have students working on 14 different lessons in your classroom? What so you use assessments for? Do we really need to give Chapter Tests if we plan on moving on anyway, regardless of the students' performance? How do you produce grades for report cards? Do you consider participation, or only how a student measures up against a pre-set standard?

hmmmm... issues to ponder.. questions for the ages..