Just Plain Scary

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by KinderCowgirl, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jan 20, 2011

    People have told me on many occasions how "smart" I am because I can easily contribute to discussions on a huge variety of topics. I don't think that's a fair assessment. While I might also be smart, in the context of these comments, "well educated" or "well read" would be a better description, and it should be one that fits all teachers, no matter what the grade level.
     
  2. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    I think that middle school teachers who are departmentalized should be required to major in their subject in college. I've known science teachers who were liberal studies majors and then took the test (CSET) to be qualified to teach science, and they don't know nearly as much science as someone who majored in it.

    I once worked with a history teacher who had been a psych major. I knew more about history than he did! Every week I would catch something that he had completely wrong (we had our planning period at the same time) or the students would ask me questions about things he said that they were sure weren't correct. Also, one time he subbed for me when I had to miss a class period, and instead of saying he didn't know the answer to a student's question, he tried to convince the students that birds have no ears and are deaf. I mean, really! Just admit that you don't know and go look it up!
     
  3. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    Jan 20, 2011

    ugh!
     
  4. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    Jan 20, 2011

    I am like you, mmswm. I am shocked at the number of teachers in my school who don't read the newspaper( in hand or on-line) or watch the news on TV. Some have told me that it's all 'bad news'. They have nothing to contribute to a conversation of current events or have no idea of what is going on in the community. These are teachers of all ages. There are an awful lot of people that have no general knowledge background. It scares me that so many are teachers.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'm less sure that teachers should have to have majored in the subject area they teach - there are Spanish literature majors who have also amassed the undergrad coursework to qualify handily for medical school and math majors with the academic and performance backgrounds to teach music. Certainly, however, the onus certainly is on the teachers who didn't major in a subject to ensure that their subject knowledge is sufficient: a teacher of science who lacks college-level laboratory science courses in any of the four science domains (physics, chemistry, biology, earth science) should remedy that deficiency.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2011

    I don't think that they should necessarily be required to major in their subject, but at least have some content background. I started out as a science major, but switched over to education after a year. I think I would be qualified to teach middle school science
     
  7. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jan 20, 2011

    NO!
    I cannot wrap my head around it!
    I never did my goodist in Language Arts! I needed more learn'n of words and them frases and clauses and Apostrophes (weren't he some Greek guy?) and Hyphens and Quotation Marks and Propositions and Predicates and Participles and Compound/Run-On Sentences and Infinitives and beyond (Buz lightyear?) and pronoun (are there any amateurnouns?) or Appositive vs Anegative or if there are Adjectives and Adverbs why aint they're subtractjectives or subtractverbs?.!

    That is why I tried very hard not to teach Language Arts! :whistle::rolleyes:
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 20, 2011

    Rollin' eyes back atcha, Dave...
     
  9. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jan 20, 2011

    I'm the same way. Not gifted by any means (especially when it comes to math ;) ) but I can hold a conversation on art, politics, religion, literature, fashion, pop culture, etc.-so I come off as "smart" but really it's just paying attention. Maybe compared to people who don't know who is on a dime....:whistle:.

    If nothing else we should be watching/reading the news so we can teach our kids current events! Not to mention we're part of community and should know what's going on around us. It really makes me wonder if we did a survey at our school for the last book they read, what the results would be.
     
  10. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Stupidity doesn't really bother me; I've met lots of really nice people who weren't very bright. However, it does bother me a little bit in teachers, simply because teaching involves so many subtle and accurate judgments.

    Lack of specific factual knowledge would bother me less if the teachers who did not have the basic knowledge were at least aware of it and willing to look it up or correct misstatements.

    It bothers me a lot more when teachers don't have some of the conceptual understanding they need. My pet peeve was having a teacher create a "Class Bill of Rights" for a Constitution day exercise without understanding that the Bill of Rights is a set of restrictions on the government, and that if she honestly created one she'd have to limit her own power within the class.

    What really, really bugs me is when stupid people with little factual knowledge are arrogant and will insist on teaching their own versions of facts. Actually, that bothers me in anyone, not just in teachers. And thankfully the teachers I've known that applies to have not lasted very long in the teaching profession, so far.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    From Julia's math workbook, tonight's homework:

    "Explain why any fraction with a denominator of 13 is in simplest form."

    Umm, it's not!!!! 26/13 can be reduced.

    Had they inserted the word "proper" in front of "fraction" it would have been accurate.

    So of course she was treated to the "math teacher mommy" explanation.

    Why is this necessary????
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    From my 4th grader's SS book: Agribusiness is a large, corporate owned farm. Ummmmm, tell that to the commercial nurseries that surround my parents' house.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Gotta love sweeping generalizations that teach kids the wrong things.

    And these aren't from the teachers, these are the sources that teachers who don't know their stuff are looking to for their information.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I love that! How true!

    Alice and mm - doesn't surprise me at all. Very sad. I caught myself with the negative number thing recently. The kids were talking about the lowest number and decided it was zero. Part of me wanted to just let them think that (they are 6 and I really didn't want to confuse them further) but I had to at least tell them about negative numbers so they wouldn't have that generalization in their minds.
     
  15. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Ahhhh, what an opportunity to really set the stage! What's a number anyway? They won't understand it, but when my kids were little, and we were having general discussions, I told them there were "different kinds of numbers". I might have told your students that for the kind of numbers they know about right now, zero is the lowest, but later, they'll learn about other kinds of numbers that have even lower numbers. Not only does that open their minds to negative numbers down the road, but also complex numbers, the idea of sets and set theory, and so much more!
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2011

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with the idea that "there's more, but you're not old enough for it yet."

    But there's a whole lot wrong with the idea that "there's more, but it's too much trouble to let you know about it yet."
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jan 21, 2011

    Was this question from her textbook or the teacher? Has the class been introduced to improper fractions yet, or is their content still focusing on just proper fractions to help them get used to the idea of partial numbers?

    If the teacher wrote the question (and the class has not been introduced to improper fractions), I can understand why (s)he might have phrased it this way, even though I agree it is wrong and a disservice to both the students and their future teachers.

    I've been working on addition and subtraction of fractions and mixed numbers with my class for the last few weeks. One of the main ideas we've worked on is remembering to "borrow" from the whole number in subtraction when the first numerator is smaller than the second (ie, 6 4/9 - 2 7/9). When I illustrate this on the board, I line the fractions up and then ask "Can we subtract 7 from 4?" Naturally, the students say "No, we can't." My answer is "Well, yes, it can be done, but for right now, we are focusing on just positive numbers. We will be learning about negative numbers a little bit later, but for right now, we want to keep our answer positive."

    BTW, I was going through the illustrative examples in our brand new textbooks today for multiplying mixed numbers.

    One step in the explanation stated "Use repeated addition to find 12 x 1 1/4."

    At least it didn't state "Multiplication is just repeated addition" :rolleyes: I know it helps some kids understand the concept a little better, but I would much rather them learn they need to either convert both numbers to improper fractions OR multiply 12 x 1 and 12 x 1/4, then add the products.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 21, 2011

    As I said, it was a page from the workbook. Julia's teacher is on the ball.

    And while I was sitting with her as she did the homework, she asked if the bigger number always had to go on the bottom, so we discussed the idea of proper vs. improper fractions, and how both can be reduced.

    But you know how it goes: if it's in print, especially in a school book, then it MUST be true.

    Even when it isn't.
     
  19. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Jan 21, 2011

    I admit to not knowing which president is on the nickel, but I did know that Teddy and FDR are different people!

    Having said that, I do know that the queen and a beaver are on our nickel.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2011

    And it was a categorical statement:

    Explain why any fraction with a denominator of 13 is in simplest form.

    Had it even been hedged with the word "probably", it would have been better. (Though, of course, it might then have been asking a somewhat different question. But at least it wouldn't have been encouraging an indefensible conclusion.)
     

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