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Maths teacher

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    (Original post by Dalek1099)
    I will be studying A-Level Maths and is the government really planning to force A-Level Maths on people,when allow its fun and i really like it,it really isn't useful in society because only basic maths is ever needed no algebra in society.
    You have £2 and want to buy flakes (35p) and mars bars (55p)

    35f + 55m = 200

    You don't do the algebra consciously, but I'll bet you'd find having done algebra will get you the answer quicker
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    (Original post by Mr M)
    "What's the point of algebra? My mum doesn't know anyone who has ever used algebra and everyone in her factory agrees it is a pile of crap and we shouldn't have to learn it. My dad hasn't used any maths since he left school and he has two cars and a snooker table and he said he's going to sort you out if you keep wasting my time."

    30 students bang on their desks and heckle you.

    Over to you.
    To be honest I wouldn't try and convince them that maths is worthwhile. There are people with poor attitudes, and no matter how many times you tell them that maths is important they're never going to listen. Best to keep the trouble makers at bay and focus on the people who want to make something of themselves, IMO.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    To be honest I wouldn't try and convince them that maths is worthwhile. There are people with poor attitudes, and no matter how many times you tell them that maths is important they're never going to listen. Best to keep the trouble makers at bay and focus on the people who want to make something of themselves, IMO.
    That actually wasn't a bad answer. The worst thing to do would be to try to persuade them of the error of their ways - most of the time they are just trying to send the lesson off course or take the piss anyway. As an educator you can't just "focus on the people who want to make something of themselves" though - every student is important and you will be judged on the progress (or lack of progress) they make.
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    (Original post by Mr M)
    That actually wasn't a bad answer.
    You sound surprised?

    (Original post by Mr M)

    The worst thing to do would be to try to persuade them of the error of their ways - most of the time they are just trying to send the lesson off course or take the piss anyway. As an educator you can't just "focus on the people who want to make something of themselves" though - every student is important and you will be judged on the progress (or lack of progress) they make.
    Of course. It helps that I went to a pretty bad school (35% 5 A*-C) and once upon a time I was a little **** at school too, so I have quite a decent perspective on the mentality of these kids, since I pretty much was one. I actually only got a C in GCSE Maths (intermediate - got a D in the higher paper) yet went on to get an A in A-level maths two years later followed by a first class degree in maths and an Oxbridge masters.

    During the ages 13-16, nothing you could have said to me would have changed my attitude towards school. It was a personal change and decision which caused the transformation. People seem to think that the minds of teenagers are malleable and you can inspire and transform their learning and lives. That's true to an extent, but only if they want to, since at that point in most teenagers' lives they're at their most cock-sure and arrogant and will do pretty much what they want to do provided the can get away with it.

    No point peeing in the wind. Help those who want to be helped.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    You sound surprised?
    I was attempting to set you up but you didn't fall for my dastardly plan. The next set of responses would have included "Are you having a bad day?" and "Do you have a girlfriend Sir?"

    http://teachingbattleground.wordpres...ting-terrored/

    http://teachingbattleground.wordpres...eacher-is-gay/
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    (Original post by Mr M)
    I was attempting to set you up but you didn't fall for my dastardly plan. The next set of responses would have included "Are you having a bad day?" and "Do you have a girlfriend Sir?"

    http://teachingbattleground.wordpres...ting-terrored/

    http://teachingbattleground.wordpres...eacher-is-gay/

    Are you quoting that blog because you write it?


    I found that recently and, having been placed in a tough school, have found it so so so enlightening. I never got terrored though, just ducked flying chairs and confiscated knives...


    And I still feel like the answer was a bit inadequate because you can't just focus on the ones who want to be there, you have to engage all of them.
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    (Original post by Suzanathema)
    Are you quoting that blog because you write it?
    No - I'm only half as cynical as oldandrew.

    Edit: two of my favourites:

    http://teachingbattleground.wordpres...riving-lesson/

    http://teachingbattleground.wordpres...he-dictionary/
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    (Original post by London Prophet)
    You have £2 and want to buy flakes (35p) and mars bars (55p)

    35f + 55m = 200

    You don't do the algebra consciously, but I'll bet you'd find having done algebra will get you the answer quicker
    I never use algebra in that way-just trial and error even though i'm really good at it.Analysing things can help you write your own stuff and understand authors from hundreds of years ago,whose message could have been lost in time and analysing can also be used to understand secret and emergency messages of people in dangerous situationsand science can help you escape real life problems and create new medicines and technology-that is needed or wanted by society.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    To be honest I wouldn't try and convince them that maths is worthwhile. There are people with poor attitudes, and no matter how many times you tell them that maths is important they're never going to listen. Best to keep the trouble makers at bay and focus on the people who want to make something of themselves, IMO.
    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    No point peeing in the wind. Help those who want to be helped.
    I couldn't disagree more. Maths is a subject which many kids "don't get" - they vent this frustration by playing up and messing about. This is all an avoidance tactic to hide themselves from failing (thus the "I don't give a **** attitude").

    By ignoring those kids and helping the others you are failing many. In a low set you can fail practically all of them this way. Effective behaviour management can deal with those students who want to play up. However, kids like to learn, they like to have new skills. The best thing you can do is find out where the kids are having problems - I recently ran a lesson on basic addition and subtraction to a Year 11 class to help them sort some of their fundamental problems out - they lapped it up.
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    (Original post by London Prophet)
    I couldn't disagree more. Maths is a subject which many kids "don't get" - they vent this frustration by playing up and messing about. This is all an avoidance tactic to hide themselves from failing (thus the "I don't give a **** attitude").

    By ignoring those kids and helping the others you are failing many. In a low set you can fail practically all of them this way. Effective behaviour management can deal with those students who want to play up. However, kids like to learn, they like to have new skills. The best thing you can do is find out where the kids are having problems - I recently ran a lesson on basic addition and subtraction to a Year 11 class to help them sort some of their fundamental problems out - they lapped it up.
    Totally agree. The problem I can see with this guy is that he has always been great at maths and so has no concept of what lower sets are really like and what they require
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    (Original post by cat_2002_12)
    Totally agree. The problem I can see with this guy is that he has always been great at maths and so has no concept of what lower sets are really like and what they require
    By the time I started my NQT year, I thought I had already encountered some very weak students but I was unprepared for teaching a Year 11 girl who couldn't count beyond 20. She went "... 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 76, 94, 52, 64, 33 ...". I have never really got over the shock!
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    (Original post by London Prophet)
    I couldn't disagree more. Maths is a subject which many kids "don't get" - they vent this frustration by playing up and messing about. This is all an avoidance tactic to hide themselves from failing (thus the "I don't give a **** attitude").

    By ignoring those kids and helping the others you are failing many. In a low set you can fail practically all of them this way. Effective behaviour management can deal with those students who want to play up. However, kids like to learn, they like to have new skills. The best thing you can do is find out where the kids are having problems - I recently ran a lesson on basic addition and subtraction to a Year 11 class to help them sort some of their fundamental problems out - they lapped it up.
    They don't get it because they don't listen and they don't try. The fact that kids can get through 4 years of school (presumably they had to do maths in this time) without knowing how to add and subtract is testament to that. The correct response to "not understanding" something is not to play up and misbehave.

    As I said, if kids are willing to learn and take some responsibility for themselves then I'd be willing to help them. For those who aren't, I don't give a toss. I could imagine the results of my classes being bimodal, with approximately the same mean as if they were normally distributed. The good get rewarded, the bad get punished, one of life's harshest lessons come early.
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    (Original post by Mr M)
    By the time I started my NQT year, I thought I had already encountered some very weak students but I was unprepared for teaching a Year 11 girl who couldn't count beyond 20. She went "... 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 76, 94, 52, 64, 33 ...". I have never really got over the shock!
    How did you find that out?
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    (Original post by cat_2002_12)
    Totally agree. The problem I can see with this guy is that he has always been great at maths and so has no concept of what lower sets are really like and what they require
    I guess you missed the bit where I said I got a D at GCSE Maths Higher paper then?

    I have encountered very, very few people who have tried sufficiently hard at something and still not understood it in my life. The reason in 99.99999% of cases for not understanding something is not trying (hard enough) and not listening (hard enough). This is true for literally anything in life, not just maths.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    How did you find that out?
    Sounds awful but her previous teacher told me to get her to do it like a performing seal. Worryingly this completely innumerate student still attained grade G (supposedly a pass grade) at GCSE.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    The reason in 99.99999% of cases for not understanding something is not trying (hard enough) and not listening (hard enough). This is true for literally anything in life, not just maths.
    This isn't correct. I have taught many young people who tried their very best but were simply incapable of progression beyond a certain point.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    They don't get it because they don't listen and they don't try. The fact that kids can get through 4 years of school (presumably they had to do maths in this time) without knowing how to add and subtract is testament to that. The correct response to "not understanding" something is not to play up and misbehave.

    As I said, if kids are willing to learn and take some responsibility for themselves then I'd be willing to help them. For those who aren't, I don't give a toss. I could imagine the results of my classes being bimodal, with approximately the same mean as if they were normally distributed. The good get rewarded, the bad get punished, one of life's harshest lessons come early.
    And your senior management will LOVE you. The big thing they want is more C's. If you get the A kids up to an A* will thats lovely and all but all they really want is everyone getting a C. And whether they try or not it's still gonna look crap on you if you don't get enough kids getting C's. And the point is you are meant to INSPIRE the one's who don't give a toss so they start giving one. Obviously not possible in all cases but you can't give up - you have to keep trying
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    I guess you missed the bit where I said I got a D at GCSE Maths Higher paper then?

    I have encountered very, very few people who have tried sufficiently hard at something and still not understood it in my life. The reason in 99.99999% of cases for not understanding something is not trying (hard enough) and not listening (hard enough). This is true for literally anything in life, not just maths.
    Okay fair enough I forgot that part. But you clearly had ability and didn't try. There are plenty of kids who try really hard but just cannot progress beyond a certain grade/level
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    (Original post by cat_2002_12)
    And your senior management will LOVE you. The big thing they want is more C's. If you get the A kids up to an A* will thats lovely and all but all they really want is everyone getting a C. And whether they try or not it's still gonna look crap on you if you don't get enough kids getting C's. And the point is you are meant to INSPIRE the one's who don't give a toss so they start giving one. Obviously not possible in all cases but you can't give up - you have to keep trying
    Well the exam boards make it easier and easier to get a C every year, so eventually grade inflation will take its toll and my bimodal distribution won't be so bad.
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    (Original post by barnisaurusrex)
    Well the exam boards make it easier and easier to get a C every year, so eventually grade inflation will take its toll and my bimodal distribution won't be so bad.
    Totally different argument there. And it wouldn't work out like that. But believe me if you can't be bothered with the ones who can't be bothered you are not going to make a great teacher. It just isn't possible
Updated: April 4, 2012
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