Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Response to Mratzel

First, please view the comments made by Mratzel to my previous post, 10 Things You Should Know About Blogging with Students.

I understand about "Big Brother" always watching what you are doing in you classroom.  I don't know what you teacher, but I teach math and this is the first year I have taught 8th grade math, so needless to say, I'm behind on the curriculum.  This is our third day of snow in Georgia causing our school to be closed.  So, we have no time for fun blogging and anything but teaching the curriculum as fast as we can.  Normally, I do fun stuff after state testing, but 8th grade is a make-or-break testing year, so for the month between the first test and the second attempt for those who fail the state test, I will be reteaching the curriculum under the assumption that everyone failed.  It makes no sense to me to spend one week with the ones that fail when you can spend  four with everyone.  To me it's like putting all your eggs in one basket.  Also, after the state testing everyone is doing projects and doing all the fun stuff that we haven't had time to do all year.  I've had parents complain in previous years about it.

Kids today....They are so used to instant gratification.  I see this when teaching math.  We are doing algebra problems with multiple steps.  If they can't get the answer in one step, they don't want it.  I can't tell you how many times I have told students that the time for one step problems has passed and they need to get over it.  Driving a car takes more than one step, and I'm aware that is more fun than Algebra, but get over it.  Video games have extra lives and bonus points.  High speed internet gives them instant access to everything.  Facebook gives kids instant access to what is going on: who is dating, who broke up, who just scratched their nose.  Everything in their world is instant, so when we ask them to do anything that is not instant they are going to resist.

I wish I had the answer as to how to help the ones that won't try when the going gets tough.  For years, I've been sure there is some type of game or group building activity out there that will show students the value in trying to do hard things, but I can't find it.  I found one for explaining the differences in how students learn and answering the question of "why do they get to use a calculator and get more help and I don't...that's not fair."  But I just haven't found one for this situation.  Let me know if you do.

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