One Hundred and Twenty Reports to Write

i-love-mathsI have committed myself to writing a blog post a day for the whole of November for National Blog Posting Month. Today is my 29th blog of NaBloPoMo but I really have other things to do that need my time. I have to write a report for each of my 120 students.

I am  a maths teacher. I teach GCSE maths in a Further Education college to students who failed their GCSE maths when they were at school. I love mathematics and I love my students but I sometimes find my job disheartening because my students do not love mathematics, no matter what I do to share the love with them. I spend hours looking for new ways to teach maths that are different  from the ways they were taught at school, because the ways they were taught at school didn’t work for them. I enthuse about the beauty of mathematics. I show them awesome visualisations like this one.  I tie them to the table leg and make them walk round the table to teach them about loci.

But they moan and say that this won’t be on the exam paper. They just want to do past papers.

What they really want to do is go out on their horses or their tractors, or go and play rugby or football. They went to college to study agriculture, equine or sport, not maths. They already feel like failures because they failed their maths. Now they have to sit in a classroom and do maths while their friends who passed their GCSEs are out on the football pitch. They hate my subject and they are not too keen on me either since I am the one making them study it.

And now I have to write a report with a positive comment for each of my students. It’s going to take up a lot of my blogging time!

Here is an excellent article explaining why my job is so hard.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “One Hundred and Twenty Reports to Write

  1. must be where you work. At my sons school, a lot of them really do love maths! Shame your efforts are wasted, but at least you are trying and hopefully when they are old enough they will appreciate it!

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    1. It’s a new thing that the British government have decided. In the past we used to teach them Functional Skills maths which was things like managing money, working out how many tiles you would need to tile a bathroom, working out the price for all the tiles in different shops and deciding which shop gives you the best deal. In my opinion this was much more useful and relevant to the students, so I don’t know why the government suddenly decided that everyone needs to get the GCSE qualification. The students don’t see the relevance. They ask me when they will ever need algebra and geometry, and it’s hard to answer that question!

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      1. We are beginning to have the same problem here in South Africa! The problem is that here the standard is dropping so that everyone can pass!! My answer to your students would be – No education is wasted – your brain is being exercised and even if you never use algebra – your brain has learned a thinking skill which will help in all kinds of other learning too. Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean you should give up.

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