Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Hallelujah! A Classroom Miracle
I had a good lesson with Year 10.
This is itself is a miracle but add into the mix the fact that it was a Monday AFTERNOON lesson and the ridiculously unlikely nature of the event becomes more apparent.
Further add the fact that the topic was Trigonometry and that one week ago I knew next to nothing about the subject and it becomes obvious that there has been Divine Intervention.
Oh, and I made them follow a seating plan.
Actually, maybe that was the key?
Many of you who know me in real life will recall that of all my academic strengths, Maths was actually the most problematic. Well, maybe it was Physics...although it was Chemistry that I bombed out in at the exams....
That fact is that I was a 'problem maths student' all the way through school and only focused on the sciences at matric at the suggestion/insistence of my father. I drove my maths teacher mad. I asked questions ALL the time. "What do you mean imaginary numbers?"I exclaimed," we don't have enough numbers already but you go and have to make some more up?????"
She called me 'PigPen' because she said I spread my mess all around me. When I didn't understand, I doodled. Eyes mostly. With long lashes. I still have the folders with the evidence.
Every time I look at those folders and think..."they've got to go"......I look inside at the pages and pages of equations which, in 2009, mean absolutely. nothing. to. me. and I can't bear to throw them out. I mean, I used to know that stuff! Look at that clever stuff I did!!!!
That was 30 years ago. This year, teaching mainstream Y10 maths for the first time, I knew Trig was coming up and only vaguely remembered the words sin, cos and tan. "But it will come back to me," I thought, "after all, algebra did." Last Sunday night however, I experienced severe panic as I read through the next chapter of the text book and realised that I had no clue on earth what the authors were talking about. Himself thought it was hilarious.
But never fear, oh ye of little faith! I did do this stuff once and I'm sure all I need do is ask my Maths teacher guru boss when I get in to school. Just give me a brief history of Trig please mate......
Are you beginning to see why Monday afternoon was such a miracle?
So why, I hear you ask, is such an incompetent being allowed to teach maths to our preshus chiddlers?????? Well that's easy. No one else wants to take the bottom classes.
However I am happy to report that it is all coming back to me, thankfully at a slightly faster rate than it is coming to my class. We must be doing ok because Monday afternoon was a remarkable work-fest with minimal incidence of arguing, ipod fiddling or 'what do we need this for'ness. I do have to admit though, that two of my main protagonists were away :-(
Wish me luck for tomorrow. With a bit of luck they'll all bring a scientific calculator.