Teacher2Teacher 
Q&A #525 
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From: Richard M. <Jhexam7563@aol.com> To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion Date: 2003042212:41:59 Subject: Re: Teaching Math to Disadvantaged High School Students The conjunction of similarities here, Richard, which is my name too, prevents me from passing up this opportunity. I just started collecting SS, and I'm interested in teaching mathematics to disadvantaged HS students. I left the field of civil engineering some 13 years ago, and, although mine is a highly problematic situation, I have made preliminary efforts towards certification. During the summer of 2001, the local comunity college here in NE Florida was required to revamp its HS/GED program, and they used me to fill inremediating older HSaged/adult students towards a HS diploma or GED certificate. The students signed up for basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry courses; bought books; attended class twice a week; worked according to a prescribed homework schedule; and took prescribed tests whenever they felt ready to do soall in one room. I was there as a tutor (on an individual basis)and as an administrator/grader of the tests. It wasn't a typical HS setting, and the students came with a range of motivations and disadvantages. I stressed neatness, completeness (no skipping of steps)and the fact that there is nothing easy about the study of mathematicsthe student should always have pencil and paper ready. I wish I had had a whiteboard to work on, and maybe manipulativesif I knew how to work with them. If your local CC has a HS program, you might check it out. Sorry, but that's all I can offer; I'm mostly interested in what your experience has been. How are you doing? About halfway through the summer of 2001, an 18 or 19yearold boy wrote in answer to the question What is the reciprocal of 2/3?: "2/3=3/2." I calmly told him never to make such a (false) statement even in the privacy of his room at home with no other human being within a 5mile radius; that the answer is simply "3/2;" and that some mathematics can be done by inspection. He noticeably held his head a little higher as he left the room, and was a more assiduous student for the remaining time. I hope, if I ever get to the classroom, I can say the right thing, and only what is necessary.
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