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BLOG REVAMP! I am moving to Arizona and starting a new job as a 5th grade teacher in Phoenix with 65% ELL, 95% Hispanic population, and almost 100% living below the poverty line. I hope all are still interested in hearing my wonderings as I begin my career in my own classroom.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How to make them care? No, not the students...

After attending the district-wide math night at Mount Nittany Middle School on Wednesday evening, I came to realize the truth of what one of my instructors told us at the beginning of the PDS program: that you always want the crazy parents, the ones that will be annoying, involved, and in your face, rather than the parents that don’t give you any trouble.

This was hard for me to understand at first, because obviously I want parents that will support me as a teacher and not make my job more difficult. But when I saw that there were ten parents at the math night out of about 9,000 students that are enrolled in the district, I realized that being involved in any way is better than not making an effort at all. 

This district has had a lot of uproar over the math program that is in place. We teach math conceptually, showing why rather than only how. Parents have understandably had difficulties with this new program, due to the fact that it is very different than how they were taught (and I was taught.) 

However, I thought that giving an opportunity for parents to learn, ask questions, and debate the math curriculum with over 20 teachers, administrators, and principals would be something to jump at. It turns out, there were more math stations set up than there were parents attending. Why is this so enraging? I understand that people are busy, and that things come up, but if your child is learning math in a totally foreign way and you are angry about it, shouldn’t you try to find out more about it? Or maybe get some resources that will help you understand it? 

Obviously, I am not qualified to speak as a parent or a teacher. But as someone who will be a teacher very soon, I can’t believe how difficult this makes my job. If parents don’t agree with what you’re doing, you can offer options to help them, but it’s still totally up to them whether they take advantage of the options or not. How am I supposed to make them care?

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