I've confided in this to my wife and asked for help from my AP. In a nutshell, it feels like my teaching day is spent half the time teaching and the other half babysitting. During periods 1-3, I have younger students who can be challenging to teach but rewarding when they understand stuff. Periods 4-6 are the older ones who are just waiting for graduation so they can start work. I talked to my AP and he said to "do the best you can with what I have." He then read off the school's mission statement. Basically, to prepare the student to become respectful and responsible citizens. So back to the thread's heading.... I feel as if I am teaching in the morning and just passing time in the afternoon. Granted, I love being a teacher at this school but feel like I'm short-changing myself AND those in the afternoon. I think I can do more with the afternoon classes but they can only accomplish so much... they mostly feel like they can't do the math so it's made it challenging to teach. Now, I'm not looking for a way out of the school. The situation feels very different than last year when I just couldn't wait to find a new job. The fact is, no matter where I go, I'll have the same issues. Question is how do I reach my older kids who are just biding time? I can only wonder how bad it's gonna be when Spring Break rolls in!!

Could you provide details of what each of these periods typically looks like in terms of what you and the students are doing and time allotment?

I follow a basic formula for each period. Bellringer, check HW, lesson, practice, assign HW (could get finished in class), dismiss. Rinse and repeat... Every now and then, some "short-paper" quiz problems to see what's been mastered. I give students half-sheets of paper, some problems to do, and a time limit. Once done, trade and grade. This goes well during 1st-3rd. 4th-6th is where it breaks down... 4th is seniors who are more interested in just biding time 'til graduation. Most of them will go to work right away so teaching complex numbers, Descartes Rule, synthetic division.... flies over their heads.... next is the group of Junior boys who are just like the seniors.... one who had transferred in because he got expelled for selling drugs at another school has dropped out. 3 of them decided to go to the tech center (which is great for hands-on work training) so that leaves 4 boys who would rather kick and pinch each other (remember..... 16-17 year olds here) than do work.... it's the group where the AP says make em clean my room for grades! And 6th period is my slow Algebra IA class... a very weak and immature group of mostly boys (2 girls until 1 moves away next month). I've slowed way down with this group. What might take 2 days for a lesson might last 5.. don't know if that helps but it allows them to master stuff at a slower pace

I’m not sure there is a magic bullet solution. Keep trying to build and maintain positive relationships with students. Use positive reinforcement when students meet your expectations, and try to limit negative reinforcement and punishment.

I don't have any concrete solutions, but I do know that many of these kids have learned that if they play helpless long enough they will get passed along without mastery. They'll be able to clean rooms to pass a course. The lower the bar gets, the less they will do.

It might be helpful to look into problems and activities that are more low-floor high-ceiling. I think area models are really useful for polynomial division and it makes more sense than synthetic division or long division with polynomials.

The only thing I can suggest is to teach and review using games (team games) that involve collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Find every kind of practical (for you) game possible. I always had small classes, which was great, except that I wanted larger ones when we played games, which we did almost daily in almost all subject areas. That was the best way to get buy-in from apathetic students. I made sure that students could participate without feeling put on the spot so the less proficient students would be willing to join in and give their best efforts.

As far as I know, math is still a requirement to graduate. I would have high rigor, and high expectations and let those soon to be graduating students know that without passing math they will not graduate, so get their acts together, start behaving and try to pass the class.

I disagree with your AP about having students "clean the classroom for a grade". So bizarre and inappropriate. Bottom line is that math is a requirement, so they need your class to graduate. Period. Also, I would avoid having them start the homework assignment in class. If they can't do the work, they most likely need more time during the gradual release of responsibility part of the lesson: I do, We do, You do! https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/modeling-strategy-getty

The 2 classes that I would have to do this would be the seniors and juniors. My greatest concern is that I go slow, they go slower, I go slower, they go even slower, etc..... Second, I know my school requires everyone to take Algebra II. It's a state mandate. However, most students that I've taught have had trouble in Algebra I.... Most kids struggle in Geometry because they can't do the Algebra!

Thanks for the video - it was great. I use this "I do, We do, You do! " method. The best line was in the video was "...because the students know what they are doing, they feel safe learning new things." I have found this to be so true. Modeling how I am working through a problem, showing my thought process on paper and out loud, showing mistakes and how I handle fixing them, and giving them a method to use to start the learning process really helps my students feel comfortable both in learning the concept and in and branching out from there. Some stick with what I taught them, because it works and they feel comfortable with it, and others try out ideas and methods of their own.

Is there any way you could assign a project? Maybe an open ended one: How much money will you need to retire? Based on this, your age, and the average rate of return in a mutual fund, determine the amount you need to save per year, per month, and per week. Now, budget this in to your future....career options? research requirements, job growth, starting salary, median salary at "x" number of years. Don't forget you have to living expenses, so ...... hmmmm. the possibilities are endless.

I did something like this in a computer class in high school and it stuck with me. We had to create a whole fictional family and then create a budget. We had to choose what careers we had and then find the average salary for that. We had to research and choose apartments, make a grocery list with a monthly or weekly budget, and say what we were doing for entertainment, savings, childcare expenses, etc. It can get as complicated as you want it to get. I'm not sure whether this is a great fit for Algebra or Geometry, but it involves mathematics at least. I agree that it's totally inappropriate to just pass them on, but is this what your AP is asking you to do? Find ways to get them to pass even though they lack the skills to succeed in Algebra II? You can remediate, but it's hard to remediate for years of math when they're that high up and should have not passed prealgebra.

Try to engage them with something new -- I know it sounds cliche, though. Try FlipGrid...it's free and easy to use. Students record themselves and post their video responses that you can review, 90 seconds max per video.

Yes, the AP said do what you can to make them better citizens when they leave school. In a nutshell, if they leave school and cannot be productive members of society, then I would have not prepared them well. What does this have to do with Algebra II? Nothing. But the AP knows the makeup of my Algebra II class. Most of them will go to work right after high school. The largest employers near here in-state are the trailer, metal, and chicken processing plants here...

I feel it's just become impossible to teach the 2 groups that have just given up on doing anything in almost all of their classes. The P told me that he hopes that I can teach the Junior boys some math. Not a lot and definitely not a year's worth of Geometry but something... anything.... I am grateful that the 1st half of my day is enjoyable and makes me feel like I've accomplished something and that I'm a good teacher. The 2nd half makes me feel like giving up because I'm not getting anything out of them, all but maybe 2 students hate math or have so much trouble that they give up, and I don't feel like I've helped them at all. My wife says don't give up and that I'm definitely making an impact on them but I can't see it.... that statement is true because for my 2nd half of students, I can't and don't see how I'm impacting them.

If you have flexibility on curriculum, even though I don't really agree with passing them on, it makes sense to at least provide some life lessons that they can use. There are a lot of missing skills in young people today regarding financial literacy and basic life planning. Teaching them about budgeting, credit cards, taking out auto or home loans (comparing interest rates), and even math such as having them figure out whether the 20 oz bag of pasta for $2.00 is a better deal than the 24 oz bag of pasta for $2.20 could all be worthwhile. There's a lot of math in the real world that they will need to know to be functioning adults.

If you don't need to teach the Algebra 2 curriculum, I would do some fun and engaging math activities. Möbius strips are a fun activity where students make Möbius strips and then make conjectures.

Such a wonderful idea! I bet a bunch of them don’t know how to properly write a check! Why can’t math class incorporate math skills necessary in everyday life? ETA: I wish I would’ve had a class like the one you mentioned above when I was in high school!!! I was book smart, but not street smart!

I briefly talked to the P in his office about my struggles with those 2 classes. The AP was also in his office. After I gave a description of what's been going on, he casually asked, "You planning on coming back next year?" and I jokingly replied, "as long as you don't hand me a letter thanking me for my contribtuions" and they both laughed. I said the super my just end up issuing pink-slips to all non-tenured but the P said if that happens, it's not from his recommendation. So I guess the P wants me back so that's good. He then told me about the senior class and their low ACT Workkeys math test scores and that I should help them with those kinds of questions. He told me to modify my lesson plans to list the standards that I should be covering but add something with providing extra help with state assessments.