Pop-quiz goes the weasel

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We are in trouble out here. They don’t understand the math that I am supposed to be teaching them. That math is way too far outside their current level of mathematical understanding. I am required to teach that math. They are not asking questions. They are not trying to fill in the blanks. They just want to sit and chat with friends. The new seating chart caused an uproar in one class. (The other did great.) The class that erupted wants to socialize and their new seats were standing in their way. My patience was fraying by the end of the day.

“Fine,” I said, “if you can all talk, you must know the material.”

I hit them with the pop-quiz and quickly realized they knew just about as much as I thought they knew. After letting them struggle a bit, I gave them a rather fierce lecture about accountability, the gist of which was that it’s OK not to know, but not OK not to try. I cancelled my pointless quiz.

ONE problem with being in a district that is suddenly attempting to force increased academic improvement through lesson plans scripted by outsiders: These kids are unused to being pushed to move at a faster pace. They need to learn to operate at that faster pace, but I am pretty sure they are still hoping all the new changes will go away. They want to behave like they did in past years. They can’t. They can’t if they want to pass their classes, anyway. Accountability has gone up dramatically for them. My students don’t like it, but I believe they are likely to benefit in the long-run.

Eduhonesty: I’m not sure I can get buy-in for the new program, at least not from a majority of students. I haven’t given up yet. Soon mandatory after-school tutoring will kick in. When they start losing afternoon hours because of what they failed to do or study, I hope for more effort.