Thursday, March 06, 2008

Eighth Graders Demand Math

Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Daily Star had a piece Wednesday about middle school children staging a protest for a permanent math teacher that can teach them the skills they need to pass the AIMS test and move forward into high school math.

They are eighth graders: basic algebra.

The story caused my eyes to well up. Put me in front of these kids for an hour a day, just one hour, and they would sail past their peers in less than three months. I know the space between almost every mental state and a strong command of algebra, and by space I also refer to the self-doubt, fear and anxiety, reaction to initial failure, the struggle before the bulb flashes, and the joy of each insight. Give me an hour a day for a year, and I kid the reader not, every motivated student would sail past twelfth grade equivalence fully prepared for trigonometry and calculus. The reader has my word this is no smoke from a cockroach. I've done it over and over and over with the terrified and broken mathophobes some of whom throw up before the first class and enter the room trembling. I do not exaggerate.

I'm tempted to call the school. I have the Class One Fingerprint Clearance Card, although it's expired. I have community college teacher certification but not the K-12 blessing. A bureaucratic maze stands between me and those kids, and I have serious work to do regarding financial aid for higher education. The photograph of children protesting for decent math instruction just kills me.

I posted about a meeting with my good friend Bill awhile ago. He wants me to join him as a fellow course leader bringing such distinctions into high school classrooms starving for leadership and instructors who have what it takes to transform lives and make a powerful contribution to participants. He gave me permission to use his real name. It's Bob, not Bill. He has a wife named Donna. Some Tucson Democrats may have heard of her. Great people.

Bob was a participant in my LDP Group 7, the "before the bulb" terrain that almost killed me.

5 Comments:

Blogger Sirocco said...

Do it! Doooooo eeet!

Ideally, of course, you would end up teaching training sessions for people who know the math, but could learn to teach it better. I hope, maybe 15 or 20 years from now, to be one of those people.

3/06/2008 6:22 AM  
Blogger PrimezeroMediaLabs said...

Here is some free course material. :)
http://www.primezero.com/aims/

If you need more course materials, just let me know, I can build a workbook on short notice.

Good luck!

3/06/2008 6:39 AM  
Blogger PrimezeroMediaLabs said...

You can just download the Arizona AIMS Math Test Annotated Solutions Manual here.

3/06/2008 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sad reality is that if you did go to the school, they would not believe you. Since you aren't certified for K-12, they would turn you away.

3/06/2008 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Do it! It will make a difference. Did I say "please"?

My husband volunteers (well, he is retired) at the elementary school level, three times a week, half hour per small group of kids at risk. Huge impact. As a principle, I am no big fan of volunteering in schools, but under the circumstances....whatever it takes to keep kids from failing in life works for me.

3/07/2008 9:25 AM  

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