I am beginning to get frustrated by the unrealistic expectations that are placed upon us. I have relatively large class sizes 34, 32, and 27 which I have gotten used to but it is still extremely stressful. Surprisingly, my class of 34 is generally well behaved (I have them in the morning, but I hear that they are not good later in the day.) However, it is still a lot of kids and there are some behavior problems, so I do have to be circulating and kids do have questions. In my class of 34, I have a student who is failing and can’t do any of the math. Literally, everything I get from him is completely incorrect. (I actually have about 4 total students like this in all of my classes, but two are barely passing and two are failing.) I wanted to get him into intervention, but I was told by my coach that intervention wouldn’t help him anyways and that I should be pulling him individually. How am I supposed to pull a kid individually with 34 students in a class? I like to be able to check in with all groups and I usually have groups raise their hand to get problems checked by me and I have to redirect behavior, etc. in ALL of my classes, not just my challenging class. She also said I should ask him to come after school. We are contracted to stay after school 1 day a week — I stay 2 and the kids who need to come don’t come. We are not supposed to have kids fail but our grades should be representative of mastery. I have kids who have not mastered the concepts and should be failing. Some of them are scraping by with D-s because I grade classwork sometimes. My math coach doesn’t like this but also doesn’t want F’s. (I wasn't directly told this but this is what I heard.) What am I supposed to do? I currently have about 5 F's which my mentor tells me is too many. Our pacing guide is also ridiculous. We have no time to teach the standards and the assessments are rigorous. I am tired of feeling like I am being judged by my test scores. I didn’t even have time to teach everything on the test! The pacing guide said that I should teach a unit in 9 days when the unit will take my kids 15 days minimum (and I still think this is too quick...this is 15 days with a new lesson every single day), but more with time for the assessments and a review day. (So it would really be 18 days total). Again, my coach says that we are expected to teach to high rigor with no time or curriculum. We are also supposed to practice open response questions in addition to the curriculum. I told my math coach that 9 days seemed unrealistic for this unit since it took me 3 days to teach the vocab. (It is a unit on expressions so it consists of expressions vocab (ex. variable, constant, term, like terms, unlike terms), translating expressions, combining like terms, distributive property, order of operations and substitution. This is a lot for 6th grade and 9 days makes no sense. My coach said that the idea is to teach it all together so it can be done in 9 days.??? Does anyone else feel like too much is expected of us?

I'm sorry for your experiences, but as us "oldies " can attest, this is what education in this country has turned into and this is why many of us have left public school. As far as ideas to help you, perhaps you can fit some independent seatwork in to give you a few minutes for one-on-one work with your lower students. As far as pacing...do you have to teach the whole lesson or can you just teach the main idea and leave the extraneous stuff out? Another idea, assign some of the extra stuff as homework. Maybe you could give some short assessments as morning work to raise some grades. It might seem like you are artificially inflating grades, but it seems that's what your school wants you to do, unfortunately. Lastly, you have to realize and accept that you won't be able to teach everything to mastery...no one in public school can do that anymore!!

It sounds to me that your math coach is giving you advice that you really disagree with. That is a tricky situation. You might want to be observant to see if other teachers follow the coach to a "T". The tricky thing in teaching is to find out what you must do and what things you can do that are best for children that you can get away with. The newer you are the more careful you need to be in taking risks. When pushed with questions administrators or coaches will tend to give hard rules and clear lines. That is why sometimes on more gray situations it can be better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Tread wisely and see how you can do what is best for children with breaking the least amount of "their rules" as possible. A very delicate situation.

If you don’t have a curriculum, could you ask your math coach to plan out an entire unit with you that would adhere to the pacing guide? It takes multiple years teaching the same content to really get a feel for how quickly to move through units. I would then teach the unit you planned with her and meet with her to discuss how it went, how the students did with the material, and what changes could be made the next time you teach that unit.

ask your math coach to model a day's lesson for you. You'll both learn something that day. Contact home for the kids that refuse to stay after. Put the ball in Mom's court. What would happen if you did provide authentic final grades? If five kids got Fs? If admin says that absolutely is not allowed, then give all of the failing students the lowest D possible and make a note in the comments for the report card that student earned ___ (whatever the actual grade was) but was passed along per principal.

^ I asked her to model stations a while ago and she never did. She wanted to model a lesson next week but the timing didn’t work out. I’m not sure what would happen if I let kids fail. I had 4 F’s last quarter and no one said anything. Most of my students are doing alright, but I still have kids where everything they hand in is incorrect.

I am shocked by how much students have to learn. I feel like the expectation to teach everything before the standardized test is ridiculous!! I showed my friend who teaches high school math some of the work my 6th graders have to learn. She said that her high school students couldn’t do it. It’s like we are pushing everything earlier and earlier and then the kids don’t master it.

I'm English, not math, and same issues. I was told once to teach to the middle - the lower ones will take too much time and the higher level will learn with less help. If I can teach to the middle, the theory is, test marks will go up and higher ups in Admin will like it. I have very mixed feelings on this, but it also has saved my sanity at times. Yeah, especially in math I feel like in my district they are asking kids to think like grad students.

This is the reason why the teaching profession is losing respect by the public. The teachers, through no fault of their own, have to pass students that otherwise wouldn’t pass. Not every student can be average, so there are some students who are going to fail! It shouldn’t be that every student passes just because an admin says they should. I cannot fathom how your math coach and principal don’t get that and how they are doing more harm than good. It’s not helping the student (s) when he/she/they do nothing and learn absolutely nothing and STILL pass. I’m so sick of hearing stories like these where students just get passed along through the system when the students should be held back instead.