At 9:31 -0400 6/10/97, mark snyder wrote: ... >1. My teachers in high school couldn't answer the questions I asked, and >made me feel stupid for even asking them a question. >2. My teacher in high school told me I was stupid and that I would never >learn to do mathematics. >3. I have a really hard time with word problems. In high school, my >teachers often got confused when they were explaining how to do word >problems , and so they couldn't explain to me how to do the problems. >4. My teacher in high school basically read from the textbook, then >assigned us a lot of problems to do for homework, then checked only if we >did them, not whether we did them correctly.
Gee, Mark. This sounds just like *my* high school teachers. I'll never forget Coach Sterns who spent every Monday of Algebra I rehashing the big football (or basketball or...) game. Or a colleague of mine from my first year of teaching (hope he's not lurking on this list) who used to come over to my room to ask me questions about solving linear equations in pre-algebra. Or... OK, to get to my point. The problems you bring forth are real, but hardly new. And they have nothing to do with reform. (In fact, the Standards directly address each of your points.) On the other hand, I had enough good teachers who gave me a view of mathematics that inspired me to want to know more. And I see that same sort of teacher in the schools I visit today -- teachers who care about kids and love mathematics. The "scary stories" may be fun, but there are lots of teachers who are working hard to do the best they can for their students. Respectfully, Gary Martin
PS: I'm not sure but that your observations would hold true of *every* profession/occupation. I was just thinking about all the competent people I run into every day (waitresses, clerks, taxi drivers, doctors, ...) and their most incompetent counterparts who go through the motions without any real effort to do the job right.