Thursday, August 2, 2007

Math Hell

I had to take a "College Math" course as part of my pre-req's. I went in on the first night thinking "OK, we will review some polynomial equations, maybe a little trig thrown in for some good measure."

Boy was I wrong!

The subject matter consisted of us learning factoring, Venn Diagrams, fundamental geometry and other meaningless stuff. I think at least half of what we covered where concepts that I taught my 6th grade students 10 years ago. Please tell me we haven't regressed that much in the educational system. Oh and did I mention my favorite? Yes we had to do the dreaded "group projects". I was lucky enough to get a partner that felt the same way I did about the things.

Now this is a math course that is taught to future nursing students, so you think the metric system would be covered. WRONG. Why on earth would they have us study something we actually would use?

So putting the content of the class aside, the humor of the situation was the instructor.

Having come from an educational background, I have met my fair share of math teachers and they tend to have some logical thinking. This woman taught in the high school setting for over 30 years. Therefore, I figured she would understand the concept of teaching to your audience. That was so silly of me.

You are a math teacher and you are teaching adults who are going to be working in an environment where they need to be absolutely clear on what is going on. Therefore, they are going to be more anal and inquisitive than a 16 year old geometry student. This MAY mean that we are going to challenge your problem solving by coming up with multiple ways of getting something done.

The solution to getting the concept through to the class is not to repeat the same thing in a louder voice, the solution is to rephrase your answer or to listen to what our question might be and not what you THINK we are asking. Louder doesn't mean that it will penetrate our skulls with understanding. Louder = headache

It got to the point where I started to time the moment when she became unglued from the challenges to her logic and her inability to clearly explain concepts. Some days it was an hour, other days she lasted three.

Despite all of this I cut her a fair amount of slack like I do all my instructors. I understand what it is like, I've been there. HOWEVER, when you finally cross that line, it's not pretty.

The first night of class while discussing our research papers she told us we could either attach the reference materials we used (like it said in the syllabus) or we could just cite the resources. We were taking our final and she was grading our last paper we had to write. All of a sudden she says "Class, it clearly states that you are to attach your reference materials to your papers, some of you didn't do that." The immediate response was 18 people looking at her with dropped jaws and bugged out eyes. Keep in mind that we had already turned in at least two other papers by this point and nothing had been said. Naturally, one of the more outspoken members of our class reminded her of what she had said. The response was the typical annoyed, "Well, OK".

At that point she crossed the line - interrupting us during a test with this inconsistent drivel was the last straw for me. We get the opportunity to fill out surveys on the classes. Let's just say we could have roasted marshmallows with the flaming review I gave her.

No comments: