|Now time for another story. |
Last Tuesday night I went to "Parent Night" at my little charter school in the hood, where lots of people got up to talk to parents about what their job is and so on. I gave my little talk about reading with your kids, and then the "itinerant teacher" got up to do hers. She was really ambitious and had visual aids and all. I was excited because I also had no idea what she did.
So first, she wants to demonstrate how she helps kids learn to read by teaching them one syllable at a time. For example, she says, and writes on the board "HYPERTENTION." I waited for someone to point out that it was spelled wrong, but noone did, so I said, "I think that should be an S at the end." Still noone spoke up, so she looked at it for a moment, then added S to make "HYPERTENTIONS." Brightly, she said "Sure, we can do it that way, too."
Next, she demonstrated math. The topic was "The 11 Times Table" and how it can confound kids. She pointed at us in turn so we began the drill (much like in my third grade class). Fortunately I was only third so I could say "33" with confidence. After the person who had "99" though, the next person paused. The itinerant teacher was loving it! She said this is what always happens, kids get all flustered. Now the bombshell. "Simple, just go back to 1 and now you have 111, 122, 133..." Now I am a math retard, but even I was sitting there thinking "wait a second..." So I added it up on a piece of paper and then again, said "I don't think that's correct." She said we could talk about it afterwards.
At this point I am beginning to not be surprised at how the children at my school are failing to learn anything.