Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Life of a Teacher Day 5

Well, here I am again and let me tell you what has happened. I have spent most nights grading and preparing for class. I am creating a new project for our exponential growth and decay unit. The project involves bacterial growth, compounding interest on home loans, student loans, credit cards and certificates of deposit. In addition, I will be creating radioactive decay problems for the radioactive isotope, Carbon-14. The students will learn such things as the procedures used by geologists and archaeologists when dating rocks and how much interest would be paid for a thirty-year mortgage loan (interest compounded monthly in the U.S. while in Canada it is compounded semi-annually....Canadian always get it right....health care and home loans!).

Now, for the bad part. Let me tell you what some of my students did the day of the exam. I had some students show up to the mathematics office with a third of their chapter review packet completed and told me that they didn't know how to complete or even start the blank problems. I responded, "Oh really, could you please take out your notes?" and I proceeded to show them similar problems from their notes to problems from their review packets. Surprisingly (sarcastically), my students were able to complete their problems by looking back at their notes!! So, I ask myself, where is the disconnect in the brain of an adolescent? Do they not understand that there is a reason we take notes in class? Apparently, in their minds we just take notes so they have something to put in their mathematics folder to show their parents! OMG children, GET ON THE BALL!! Use your brains!! By now, students in their adolescent years should be able to put two and two together and get four!

Then, another student says to me during the exam, "I was not present when we did this particular section, so I do not know how to do these problems." Now, let me just say before I go any further that this is one of the most frequently used excuses in my eleven years of teaching. It is a horrible excuse. One of the worst excuses of all times next to the old "my dog ate my homework" excuse. So, here is how it works. The student misses a day of class and never retrieves the notes for the section that they missed (which, by the way, are posted on my website along with a daily schedule of events, homework, and sections completed in class) and then they wait all the way until exam day to let me know that they never understood the day they missed two weeks ago. Moreover, the students expect me to sympathize with their situation. But, guess what?, I do not sympathize with them. I tell them that they have had plenty of time to come in for help and now they must pay the consequences of their poor choices. That is life! Everyone pays for their actions or lack there of.

Now, I am sure you can clearly see why I have grey hair and am getting more.