An interesting development

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by Aliceacc, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jan 4, 2007

    I left my school in 2000 to become a SAHM. At the time I was math department chairman, teaching Calculus and Precalculus.

    Six years later, I'm back, this time teaching 7th grade math.

    It turns out that 2 of the 3 pregnancies in our department are in February. (The 3rd is in June.) I found out tonight that I'll be picking up 4 Precalc classes in February, as well as an SAT prep class-- basically taking another teacher's whole schedule for 6 weeks. (The've hired a computer person who also has a math degree; she'll pick up my classes for that time period.) Many of the people in my department are hesitant to do Precalc, and there were enough freshmen classes to go around, so this is the fix they've come up with.

    I'm OK with it. I helped develop the syllabus many years ago, and I love the course. I will have to hit the books; those conic formulas will be a little rusty.

    I think the current Precalc teacher and I may have a chat tomorrow!
     
  2.  
  3. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,439
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 4, 2007

    good luck Alice. Talk about making a change in the new year!
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,958
    Likes Received:
    2,115

    Jan 4, 2007

    The kids you have now will miss you!!

    Have fun with the new stuff though!!

    Makes my brain hurt a little just thinking about Pre-Calc!!
     
  5. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,938
    Likes Received:
    681

    Jan 5, 2007

    More power to you!
     
  6. pi lover

    pi lover Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 5, 2007

    Hearing stuff like this makes me glad that I'm in a small school where we have one middle school math teacher and one high school math teacher! :)
     
  7. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,809
    Likes Received:
    190

    Jan 5, 2007

    Wow...that's doesnt sound like fun to me...of course I like math that's 1 apple+ 1 apple = 2 apples!!

    GOOD LUCK!!!
     
  8. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    7,775
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 5, 2007

    I'm with you , Diz. Math makes my head hurt. I like words much better.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,062
    Likes Received:
    1,886

    Jan 5, 2007

    You demonstrate the need for flexibility in this job, Alice! I'd like to commend you for your positive attitude--way to go!
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jan 5, 2007

    Thanks! If it were a brand new prep, it might be a different story. But this is a course I've taught before and enjoyed, so it's not a huge deal. (Of course, we'll see what my 7th graders say when they find out!)

    I stopped in to see the Precalc teacher after school. I have to laugh: she has it set up just as I did when she covered my Precalc class in 1998 when my son arrived from Korea. She has the entire trimester mapped out. Each day, she has sample classwork problems and a homework assignment. She has test dates determined. Her trimester exam is all done. All I have to do is go in and teach the class. It really couldn't be any easier. (And she expects to teach the conics before the baby is due!)

    And I think that the flexibility is part of what made them so glad to get me back. I was part of the founding faculty of the school when we opened in 1987. At this point, 6th grade is the only course I haven't taught yet. So they knew they could put me anywhere and it would be OK.

    When I was department chair, that was my major critique of so many people in my department: the unwillingness to take on a new prep. When things like this come up, with 2 maternity leaves at the same time (as it did with myself and another teacher in 2000) it leaves the potential for a huge problem. If you're certified to teach a course, I think you should be willing to take it on.
     
  11. Alaskanteach

    Alaskanteach Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 5, 2007

    Well, I am glad that you are eager for it.. and I think you bring up an interesting point. I teach at a large school, and it is strange because when they schedule classes, the math and science people always get the same classes (or the changes they request) while the English teachers are expected to teach whatever they assign us to..

    The problem is that an English teacher can have specialties- some are experts in Shakespeare, others are experts in medieval lit (my fav!), etc etc..

    why stick someone who took all modern literature courses in a course which focuses on slave narratives (for example?)..
    oh, and then 3 weeks into the semester, that teacher's slave narrative class gets changed to.. mythology!

    (a similar scenario happened to a new teacher this year.. and she has now quit).

    So, I guess I agree with your point about flexibility.. but there is a point where admin oversteps it.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jan 6, 2007

    I agree up to a point. I don't think it should be up to the administration as much as the teachers.

    Some teachers teach, say, algebra, and are adamant that that's what they teach. Sure, it may be their specialty or their favorite. But I think it makes so much sense to teach the course that comes before, or after, the one you "specialize" in. It gives you a sense of where the kids are coming from and what they'll need to know for next year.

    I'm not suggesting giving up your favorite course entirely, merely taking on a 2nd prep and broadening your teaching repetoire.
    (And we do only full year courses-- I can't imagine a change after 3 weeks!)

    I know that my certification is for Math grades 7-12. I picked up CAlculus for the first time when the teacher that year got seriously sick. I found out on a Saturday that I would be teaching it 1st period on Monday. (And, as chairman, I had to spend part of Sunday Xeroxing my Precalc notes for the teachers who were surprised with that! The ill teacher, obviously, had no time to Xerox anything for me.)

    Did I do a wonderful job? No. Did that first Calc class learn calculus? Yes, they did. The following year I did a much better job. But I think that we have to be open to the idea that we can teach a variety of courses within our certification area. Otherwise that certification which got us hired is a lie.
     
  13. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,974
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 6, 2007

    Good luck Alice, I know what you mean many teachers don't want to teach a new class. I am a department chair and when we need someone to teach a course, many titmes it is hard to get someone new to teach it. This is probably why I teach 3 courses and all the other department chairs only teach one, keep in mind we use block scheduling.

    This is even worse in our math deparment, they couldn't find one math teacher to pick up a 7th grade math class, so I volountered.

    BTW, Precal is what grade for you guys?
     
  14. SCIENCE GUY

    SCIENCE GUY Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 6, 2007


    Aliceacc
    My major is chemistry, but I also have a minor in math and I have 46 quarter hours of biology. My certifications are in math, chemistry, and science. I teach in a very small high school, but even here the administration usually asks if we will teach a different class.
    This year I am teaching Biology, 7th grade science, chemistry, precalculus, and one semester of calculus and one semester of physics. When I took over the calculus and precalculus I was several years out of school and only taught as high as Algebra 2. Soooo I went back that summer and retook survey of calculus and pre calculus -- It seems that we become rusty at a subject quickly if we are not actively teaching that subject. At least I have not been asked to teach earth science for which I am certified but in my opimion not qualified.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jan 6, 2007


    Wow!! So I take it you agree with me?

    If at some point your school ever has to downsize, who are they going to fight like crazy to keep? You or someone who teaches just Chem?? My money is on you!!

    And I imagine that when you hit the biochem chapter, you know exactly what to emphasize in preparation for next year's Chem class, right?
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jan 6, 2007

    Seriously? 7th grade math?? It's not exactly brain surgery!!

    I'm in a college prep Catholic HS. We have 3 tracks (although that's not what they're called.) The honors and "average" (for lack of an easily understood term) kids all take the Precalc course I'm picking up as Seniors. (although there's always one or 2 classes that pass the placement test as incoming frosh, take Precalc as Juniors, and Calc as Seniors.) The "below average" kids take an abbreviated Precalc course. But everyone takes a serious Senior math class.

    We also are very old school in a lot of ways. For example, only the Calc kids use a graphing calculator, and even them on a limited basis. The other kids learn to graph polynomial, square root and rational functions by graphing them. They also graph all the conics by hand. (Our kids don't use a calculator of any sort until the hit the trig chapter in Geometry.) There's a real emphasis throughout the school on the basics. Our kids do tons of grammar, for example. Our "below average" kids don't take a foreign language; they double up on English. THe closest we have to electives is a choice of language: French, Spanish, or Latin. And our Jr. High kids all take Latin to give them a real basis for English.
     
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,974
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 6, 2007

    Alice,

    Yes I know 7th grade math which is prealgebra for the honors kids. I don't think It was more the content, but the kids in general.

    I'm suprised about how old school your school is. Around here Catholic Schools usually offer more classes and are more high tech, if you will.
     
  18. SCIENCE GUY

    SCIENCE GUY Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 7, 2007

    Alice
    In a way you are correct about using biochem chapter to help prepare them for chem, but the trouble is that it tries to cram a lot of info into a small time frame and usually makes the kids afraid of chemistry. Ideally, the students would have the chemistry background before they took the biochem as the concepts they need are covered in 10 weeks of the chemistry course.
    In Washington state we have a state mandated test that the students must pass to graduate-- taken first at 10th grade. The science requirements are so broad and in depth that I would have been pleasantly surprised if my college students had mastered them. They cover all aspects of science but our sophomores are all taking biology. They must remember their previous science and know chemistry that they have not even seen yet. ( I bet you can guess that students in the state do very poorly on the science portion.
    When I took biochemistry at university level, I was the only chem major in the class, the rest were biology majors. The stuff is extremely complicated and the biology majors really struggled.
    By the way, I am not Catholic, but we sent our kids to Catholic school due to the atmosphere there and the intolerance of disruptive behavior and students that would not work.
    I've chattered enough. It is Sunday and I need to get my lesson plans for the week revised -- I always wait until the weekend so I can reflect on the students progress during the preceding week before I formulate my approach.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jan 7, 2007


    Most around here are as well.

    But I have to tell you: we opened in 1987, taking over another Catholic HS that was floundering. At the time our enrollment was in the mid 1500s.

    That first year we threw out 100 kids on discipline alone.

    Twenty years later, we're stuffed to the gills at 2,550 kids. There's a huge waiting list to get in. Unlike many other college prep schools, there's a place in our school for the "below average" kid who still wants to go to college-- and he gets a great preparation for it at our school. The emphsis on the basics really makes a difference, particularly to those kids.

    (Then again, there's always those that just don't get it. One of our graduates was just in the paper. He's a corrections officer who got arrested for trying to smuggle pot into the jail on Christmas Eve... he hid it in some cannolis for an inmate. So I guess that somewhere in our basics we should have said: "Do not smuggle illegal contraband into the jail. You WILL get caught:rolleyes: )
     
  20. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 7, 2007

    I admire you. Happy New Year and Best Wishes.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. agdamity
Total: 332 (members: 2, guests: 300, robots: 30)
test