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.


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  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is some free course material. :)

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  
Anonymous Anonymous 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  

Post a Comment

<< Home