I am struggling and need help to just keep teaching
I think that this is the most relevant discussion post to this topic but if I need to put this somewhere else, please let me know!
Long-story-short, I started the beginning of last year on top of the world. I finally got approval to pilot a curriculum that I designed myself: it was full of tasks, spiraling, and proportional reasoning. I was the only one working on it, and it felt lonely, but it felt like I was moving my students forward.
Flashforword to that (last) spring, my students didn’t achieve on district benchmarks where they needed to be. When we got the state tests back at the end of the year, it told a similar story. So my pilot was cut, and I had to go back to the district-curriculum. Which focuses on traditional procedures and minimal problem solving.
After, an announcement was made where all the math teachers have to teach at the same pace, give the same tests at the same time, as well as the same pre tests and bellwork. No discussion, no questions. So any flexibility I had was shot: I need to teach traditionally so I can keep up with every other teacher.
So I buckled down, and found a way to teach the students creatively, and still give the same tests at the same time as other teachers.
Now the district is taking control one step further: they’re adopting a curriculum next year which dictates our bellwork, classwork, notes, exit slips, and assessments.
On top of that, we got to speak to a Math Consultant on how to teach better, but he refused to define terms he use or give us concrete guidance.
For example, he talked about the importance of tasks, and I asked him to narrow that term down: Is it Fosnot’s definition of tasks, where students learn and practice through the task, or is it more the Dan Meyer definition of tasks, where students get hooked with interesting content and still need to do independent practice. Dude said that tasks are anything that you do math with: fosnot, meyer, textbook problems, they’re all tasks equally.
All tactics to solve problems are great as long as the students are reasoning through it, there is no stress on more sophisticated strategies. We were told to tuck the computation away if that causes problems for the students and give them a calculator if they need it.
Dude’s definitions were a moving target that could mean anything to anyone.
And none of this was a discussion. This was someone explaining to us, nicely, that this is how things are going to be. And it is dispiriting.
I honestly don’t know what to do. I can make it through this year, but all of the changes next year, none of which I agree with, it’s just so much.
Any advice would be appreciated.
I’ll clarify anything that needs it, as well.
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