Wednesday, April 22, 2009

goin' to the conference and we're gonna get nerdy

So I'm on layover in Tampa for another 2 hours, poking around the NCTM website to see what looks good and maybe plan out the next couple of days in DC. There is so much juicy mathematical, differentiated instruction, technological, new teacher-oriented goodness on the conference schedule that I wish it were longer. I've already got some much overlap that I'll be holed up in a conference room all day for the next two days and part of Saturday. It's looking way damn cool and nerdtastic.

All that said, I definitely need these few days to get my head straight. I'm in give-up mode again. Monday and Tuesday were soul-sucking days. Again, is it worth it? It's awfully painful to teach and coach and mother and model and lather-rinse-repeat only to realize that after months and months their behavior is still horrific and they still don't understand how fractions or decimals work. When word problems at a 5th grade level are still viewed as insurmountable obstacles even though they have the skills they just refuse to use them. And they talk. They just never shut up. Which would be fine if they would stop and listen every once in a while.

Even so, I think the disconnect is somewhere higher up. If the kids are totally fucking bonkers then it is probably on account of some adult somewhere either doing something wrong or not doing anything at all. I count myself among such adults and therefore, while I am away on this conference, am also working on my resume and considering my options.

I want to keep teaching, but I very well may stop.

Until that's figured out, however, there are 4 weeks left in the school year and I have to survive them. Hopefully a little better than that.

1 comment:

Ronn Kistler, published author said...

You are so right, and we’ve all had these soul-sucking days. And the key to effective differentiated instruction, I believe, is to involve the students, and not just mentally. Involve them physically, emotionally and sensorily as well, whenever you can. How do I do this? I use the arts as my instructional vehicle—so much more powerful than simply reading a textbook! I have tried to bang the drum of differentiated instruction loudly during more than 35 years of working with students of every age, and tried to demonstrate how that can be done in the new book I just co-authored entitled "Teaching Curriculum Through the Arts." Students love to be involved and the arts involve them… they motivate them. And they reach them on so many different levels (read “multiple intelligences”). I can only hope that more people will aspire to your burning desire to reach the students and begin to teach in this powerful way.