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09 May 2013 @ 01:51 pm
You shouldn't become a teacher. Like, ever.  
Lunchtime rant. It's lunchtime and I'm sitting alone and I think I'll explode if I don't rant about how everyone sucks. Been a while since I posted, I've taken to ranting on Twitter because it's easier to just capslock at the screen, but this one doesn't exactly fit in 140 characters. And I don't think any of you deserve to hear this from me one-on-one, so.

Things about me:
1) I like maths.
2) I don't like stupidity.
3) People who don't get maths or think it's too difficult for them aren't stupid. Their teachers never explained things properly.
4) I'm taking yet another class on didactics this semester. (I don't want to be a teacher AT ALL but it's easy credits and I like learning about how people learn, if that makes sense.)
5) This fucking class is full of fucking stupid people who want to become teachers.

...You can probably guess where this is going.

Look, I get that the mantra of this class is that with teaching there isn't no 100% guaranteed best way of doing it. We're shown a lot of examples and we talk a lot and we look at studies and surveys, and we're supposed to think about it and have our own ideas. Like a very wise man once said, it's not rules, it's more like guidelines. And I'm not saying I'd be the best teacher ever, far from it, I'd be a terrible teacher for several reasons. But I'm pretty sure that out of all the people in my class I wouldn't be the worst teacher, and the idea that some of my classmates are going to become teachers and fuck up future generations is just. Urgh.

Case in point. We're all given mock answers from students and asked how we would grade them. Professor repeatedly states that there are no right or wrong answers, we're just going to discuss, blah blah. I get that. We're never going to agree on something so subjective as grades because, surprise!, even in maths grades are highly subjective and depend on the teacher. But. BUT. IF YOU THINK THAT THE BLATANTLY WRONG ANSWER, THE ONE WITH A BUNCH OF MISTAKES AND RANDOM PASSAGES THAT DON'T FOLLOW ANY KIND OF LOGIC, THE ANSWER THAT DOESN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION AT ALL, THE ANSWER WHERE THE STUDENT NOT ONLY WAS WRONG BUT YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT HE WAS TRYING TO DO, IF YOU THINK THAT ANSWER IS THE BEST ANSWER OF THE BUNCH BECAUSE IT USED X AND Y AND SO THERE WAS ~FORMALISM~ AND THEREFORE IT'S THE BEST AND IT'S AUTOMATICALLY BETTER THAN THE ANSWER GIVEN BY ANOTHER STUDENT, WHO USED SIMPLE WORDS AND NO FORMALISM BUT REACHED A CORRECT SOLUTION, IF YOU THINK FORMALISM TRUMPS HAVING THE RIGHT IDEAS, THEN, PLEASE, GET OUT. It's literally the opposite of what we're told every day in this class. And in all the other didactics classes, which I know you took. And it's a free country and you can take whichever classes you want, but the idea of you going out in the world to teach, to actually teach maths to poor hapless kids, so we'll have another generation of students who hate maths because it's complicated and you must have X and Y and use lots of difficult formulas because otherwise it's not right, because the teacher said so, it pisses me off so fucking much.

For bonus points. At the end of the lesson, asking the professor how he would have graded those answers, implying that his is the right answer, and the past two hours of discussion don't matter at all. You keep doing that. Why.
 
 
 
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Noscatteredintime on May 9th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
:( I like simple answers. They make sense to me. In my time at school among the math teachers I had, one previously taught at university (and thus had a very different approach than what is probably suitable for math-hating teenagers), one who absolutely insisted on using the most complicated way to write things down (even while first teaching us those things so it wasn't even like I understood the basics of what we were doing because it was all just mumbo jumbo to me), one who was really nice but ultimately trying to be the cool teacher out of all the old grandpas (which ultimately led to all the boys hanging on his every word and being oh so cool because we got to call the teacher by his first name wow so great, while a lot of the girls were like IDEK WTF IS GOING ON HERE) and one "loser" teacher who couldn't teach his classes when he forgot his answer sheets (that he made himself) at home. (And two other teachers before those four, but they ultimately cared about the welfare of each student, not just the "smart" ones.)

Out of all those teachers, the only one who managed to instil a semblance of understanding in me and my friends was the "loser" guy. A lot of it probably also had to do with us being sat at group tables, four or five people each, and being able to discuss what we were doing and helping each other with the things that the others at the table couldn't do, instead of being sat at two-student desks while not being allowed to talk to each other and being told to learn everything the teacher wrote on the blackboard by heart. But then, out of everyone in the class, we were the best group table? While on our own we would've been shit and I had a 1 (like an A) in my pre-final exam (and then a 2/B in the actual final because I couldn't be bothered to study all over again, oops) instead of the 5/E that I was constantly trying to avoid with the other three (and occasionally failed to avoid). I just. We didn't much like the teacher but he made us understand what we were doing because he was just like us and he did things simple and accepted simple answers. I mean. It was ridiculous that he couldn't teach just because he forgot his answer sheet at home, but ultimately it wasn't about being hideously complicated and "smart" in your answers like with the other three. :( Idk why a lot of teachers act like they have something to prove by branding perfectly able students as incapable, just because they do their stuff in more simple ways.
RENrenrenren3 on May 9th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Simple answers are the best of the best. Because ffs it's scientifically proven: if you understand how something works you can always try to replicate it, if you learn smth by heart to pass a test you're going to forget it in two days lol.

Oh. Fun. In my other course we studied really in-depth that thing about dividing the class in small groups, it's called collaborative/cooperative learning and yeah I'm not surprised at all, it's supposed to be way more effective than frontal learning.

Also teachers that didn't accept alternative answers made me think they themselves had problems with maths. Because they had learned to do things in one way only and wouldn't/couldn't be bothered to try and understand a different way of reaching the same answer. I forgot what else I meant to say.
Her Hamsterness: find xhamsterwoman on May 9th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
IF YOU THINK THAT THE BLATANTLY WRONG ANSWER, THE ONE WITH A BUNCH OF MISTAKES AND RANDOM PASSAGES THAT DON'T FOLLOW ANY KIND OF LOGIC, THE ANSWER THAT DOESN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION AT ALL, THE ANSWER WHERE THE STUDENT NOT ONLY WAS WRONG BUT YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT HE WAS TRYING TO DO, IF YOU THINK THAT ANSWER IS THE BEST ANSWER OF THE BUNCH BECAUSE IT USED X AND Y AND SO THERE WAS ~FORMALISM~ AND THEREFORE IT'S THE BEST AND IT'S AUTOMATICALLY BETTER THAN THE ANSWER GIVEN BY ANOTHER STUDENT, WHO USED SIMPLE WORDS AND NO FORMALISM BUT REACHED A CORRECT SOLUTION

What. O.o

I am sort of shocked this person exists, and also I hope they never become a teacher, because that is beyond ridiculous.

Teaching different approaches starting with elementary school is a big thing here, and I'm all for that, becuase it's not a surprise that some approaches may work better for some people than others. I am a little annoyed when kids are forced to do problems in a particular way (e.g. do a bunch of multiplication problems in this grid way that doesn't involve carrying digits but involves more addition later).

But preferring an incorrect answer that uses more complex tools (wrongly) to a simple correct answer?? WTF...
RENrenrenren3 on May 11th, 2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
LJ is being mean and doesn't send me notifs, what.

Yeah. I simplified it a bit because we debated for 10-15 minutes about it, but that's the gist of what this person thought. At first she thought the kid's answer was correct, when, uhm, no. For context, the question was "prove that by summing two even numbers the result is an even number" and the answer was something like "let X and Y be two numbers, X+Y=Z, X=Z-Y, Y=Z-X, Z=X+Y=2Z, 2Z is an even number, therefore it's true". I said it seemed to me like this kid might have been trying to replicate something he'd seen his teacher do, without really understanding what he was doing, and that if I had to grade those answers I would have preferred the answers given by the kid who had drawn even numbers as two rows of dots because that answer shows the kid had some ideas about even numbers being multiples of two, and if you sum two even numbers the answer is still a multiple of two, etc. And my brilliant classmate said that she felt that answer was lazy because in high school kids must stop scribbling dots and start using algebra, which reminded me so much of all the awful teachers I had, and I keep hoping the professor will call her out on the absurdities that she says but I'm afraid it's not going to happen.

Teaching different approaches sounds like a great idea, sadly here the norm is to teach kids to do things in one way only, without even justifying it, and then have kids so the same type of standard exercises over and over. Italy doesn't do well in international tests because, as soon as they get problems different from the ones they're used to, the kids become confused and don't know what to do. :/
Her Hamsterness: find xhamsterwoman on May 12th, 2013 04:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, this is terrible XD Using X, Y, and Z without applying any of the actual conditions of the problem, getting an answer that makes no sense... um, no way is this a remotely acceptable answer, let alone better than a correct one. The dots approach is actually kind of cute!

I do like it that math here seems to involve less rote repetition... or at least the idea behind it. Sadly, I think the real result is not so much people liking math because it's less boring or learning to be creative thinkers but students not ever learning the multiplication table... I don't think there's a magic bullet for teaching/learning math, alas... Or if there is, I've not seen a country that has hit on such a method...
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