Yesterday was a new low.
The Year 10s had their exam which, I might add, I had stayed at the school til 8.30pm the night before, preparing. I did two versions as the range across the group is enormous. It involved lots of visual cues, diagrams, physically cutting and pasting pictures of shapes divided into fifths, quarters etc. The horrendous effort involved in putting it all together and trying to predict where they would trip up and metaphysically putting in 'ramps' was exhausting. So imagine my delight when, at 5.58pm, I paused in the mammoth task to phone the BA and make sure all was well at home only to hear the system close down automatically behind me. It does not autosave. Neither, it appears, do I.
The irony is that the system warns you of imminent shutdown and allows you to cancel this and continue on if your workaholic soul so desires. This is fine if you are looking at the screen when this 10 sec warning flashes up and not talking to your beloved daughter about possible dinner plans. I lost around 45 minutes worth of labour intensive work.
It was lucky there were no other good Christian teachers around to hear my language; the Lord and I are still working on that aspect of my flawed character.
So that was pretty depressing. But the REAL low came today when they attempted the exam. Three of them came to my room afterwards to berate me for making the hardest exam ever for them. And I mean berate!
"Mrs A!!!! That exam was SO HARD!!! There was nothing from what we did in class!!!"
"Yea Mrs A! All we do in class is play games and do tables and there was NONE of that in the exam!!!"
(actually there was a question directly related to the playing of a class game...but I guess they missed it in their panic. I don't know how as I had actually used their names.)
I checked over what they had attempted later that afternoon and was mortified. The results are going to be bad. Very bad. Questions which we had completed in workbooks in a repetitive and hopefully cumulative fashion, may as well have been written in Dutch. The place value of decimals still has no meaning for most of them. 7/10 as a decimal is apparently 0.12. Why? Where did the 1 and the 2 come from? 50cm x 50cm tiles required to cover a square metre? One apparently. But you'll still need 500 of them to tile a 35 square metre floor. And if they come in boxes of 20, you'll need 100 boxes. Again I say....why?
Many times when kids make mistakes you can follow the erroneous logic. For example, one question asked them to order the decimals from smallest to largest. This was one girl's response.
2.5 2.03 2.36 2.63 2.035
Not one of them is in the right place. But wait dear reader. There is logic. The first number is the shortest (ergo the smallest) the last is the longest thus the biggest and the other three are perfectly ordered in the middle. Thus we normally find some mistaken thought process in an answer.
Not so in some of these exam answers.
How many hundredths in a whole? 1000.
How many tenths in a whole? Also apparently 1000.
All of this was exacerbated by a discussion with their previous maths teacher who had managed to get them all to score between 70-80% on their exams. >:-(
I came home feeling like a complete failure. How was he able to get them to remember things and I wasn't? I curled up on the sofa and went to sleep telling everyone to 'leave me alone!'
In the cold light of morning I decided that despite the scores on their exams last year, they really hadn't learned very much as many of the things we had repeated this year....and it was as if they'd never seen them before. I mean, no point answering the question correctly in an exam and then not recognising it next time you trip over it is there? (We shall leave the small matter of what I retain from my Matric double maths course for another date.) So I tried to cheer myself and to think of what I could do differently.
Back at school, my mainstream Year 10 History class did their exams. I marked them at the hairdressers last night and I feel once more justified to take a pay cheque!! They have done reeeeeallly well! :-D
Happy Happy Teacher :-DDDDD
More of this late. I must away to face the last of my nemesis today. The Year 9 Maths Exam :-(