Educating the Gifted and Talented

“People should be free to find or make for themselves the kinds of educational experience they want their children to have.” -John Holt-

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bad Math Teachers

In his article "When Teachers Don't Make the Grade" which I accessed
through the National PTA website, Jay Matthews, education reporter for the Washington Post wrote:

"Take, for instance, my daughter's math teacher. I did nothing about him.
My wife had written a letter to our son's high school principal about a
struggling Spanish teacher a few years before, and that had prompted no
action. We figured that this case was also hopeless. My daughter endorsed
our decision to butt out. She found a way to survive. Her subsequent math
teachers were better, restoring her interest in the subject and eventually
making her the only family member ever to take math electives in college."

I responded to him: Your daughter was lucky that she did not get turned off to math. That is what happened to mine because of an unforgiving 9th grade math teacher. She was exceptionally good at math and even won a class award for some difficult problem. However, there was no understanding by the teacher that she had extreme difficulty doing lots of "practice" (?) problems she knew how to do but that were repetitious in nature.
In the end her homework
remained incomplete and resulted ultimately in a failing grade even though her test scores were still high! Not exactly fair.

She dropped out of 10th grade, got her diploma by alternative means, went on to the community college to get general credits out of the way and to build her GPA and is now at a four year college where she's majoring in philosophy with a minor in environmental studies. She still has to take the math requirement but intends to do it by CLEP. And...she still dislikes
math thanks to that one teacher who did not nurture her obvious talent!


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