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Author Topic: Please pray for me as a teacher.  (Read 2148 times) Average Rating: 0
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Papist
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« on: April 14, 2010, 01:51:43 PM »

Its that time of year when I am definitely starting to feel the burn out of teaching and I think that there are definitely certain aspects of the job that are wearing on me. I consider myself a good teacher, who challenges students, manages my classroom well, and activates higher level thinking skills in my students but...

As some of you know, I have been teaching remedial and credit recovery classes this year and the incredible apathy of the students is getting difficult for me to deal with. During the day I run two on line credit recovery labs for Algebra IA and IB. The students are being given the opportunity to recover credit for two math classes in one semester and very few are taking advantage of the opportunity. I know a lot of it comes from the fact that these students don't want to be in school in the first place so constantly playing the cheer leader, trying to get them to finish these courses is wearing on me. I also know that part of it is a function of my student being Freshmen. And finally, part of it is a function of living in a state with a low socioeconomic status with generations of poverty and generations of undereducation.
My other four classes are called Math Lab. They are designed to help students who are substantially below grade level with regard to their math skills. All of the problems that come with my credit recovery courses are repeated here, with the added stress of trying to help them be successful in their algebra classes when many of them have math skills that are below that of many elementary school students. Further, these classes have students who are in gangs, gang affiliated, or students who's families simply don't care.

In the end, its apathy, apathy, apathy all around.

And I hear statements like the following:
1. I don't need this; I am going to be a famous rap star.
2. I don't need this; I am going to be a veterinarian.
3. I don't need this; I am going to be a doctor.

I kid you not. Of course we discuss these matters but a week later, its "I don't need this; I am going to be a doctor" again!
I know that this sounds ridiculous and I know I sound really negative but I am just plain worn out. I need prayers to sustain me through the rest of the school year.

Good News: Next year I get to teach two Pre-AP courses (enriched courses) for juniors!

PS: I love teaching and I and I am so greatful for my job, but I need some grace to do a good job throughout the rest of the year.

Please pray for me.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 01:53:37 PM by Papist » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2010, 01:58:45 PM »

Lord, have mercy!

Maybe offer your students this interesting book to read: http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017922

In "Outliers," the author explains that the so-called "natural gift" of many celebrities is a myth, and their success is always, inevitably, the result of a very lond and hard work, much of which people simply do not notice. For example, The Beatles, naturally gifted of course, became really good at what they were doing after they worked practically around the clock when they lived in Germany.
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ytterbiumanalyst
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 02:03:02 PM »

I understand completely. I teach freshmen Spanish and low-level English classes, and I too am feeling just as you describe. It's getting even worse now that we are coming to state exams. In Missouri, all high school students take a state-written final called an End of Course Exam. They begin for us next week, and as each one ends, the kids think that they shouldn't have to do anything else in that class for the rest of the year--which may be as long as a month, depending on when that particular exam is given. We try very hard to motivate students, but as you well know, it's hard enough under normal circumstances, let alone when we are saddled with so many more reasons for the students to be apathetic.

Lord have mercy on all the teachers during this most difficult time.
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Papist
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 02:17:57 PM »

Lord, have mercy!

Maybe offer your students this interesting book to read: http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017922

In "Outliers," the author explains that the so-called "natural gift" of many celebrities is a myth, and their success is always, inevitably, the result of a very lond and hard work, much of which people simply do not notice. For example, The Beatles, naturally gifted of course, became really good at what they were doing after they worked practically around the clock when they lived in Germany.
I recently participated in a committee that was seeking to determine why our mathematics scores are so incredibly low in our district when compared with scores in other subjects. We talked about a recent study that demonstrated that, for the most part, people are not naturally gifted nor naturally handicapped with regard to math. It turns out that success in mathematics is almost entirely a function of how much effort a student puts into the subject. I can confirm this with my own students. I surveyed them to see how many of them actually pay attention most of the time in their algebra classes. Almost every student admitted that he or she rarely pays attention or participates, let alone does the homework. No wonder they come to my Math Lab with such skill deficits. I don't know how our country has much hope of competing on the world stage. I think that the 20th century will not be an American one.
GOOD NEWS: From this study we know that pretty much anybody can be taught if the student is willing to practice some fortitude. Smiley
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 02:29:04 PM by Papist » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 02:20:09 PM »

I understand completely. I teach freshmen Spanish and low-level English classes, and I too am feeling just as you describe. It's getting even worse now that we are coming to state exams. In Missouri, all high school students take a state-written final called an End of Course Exam. They begin for us next week, and as each one ends, the kids think that they shouldn't have to do anything else in that class for the rest of the year--which may be as long as a month, depending on when that particular exam is given. We try very hard to motivate students, but as you well know, it's hard enough under normal circumstances, let alone when we are saddled with so many more reasons for the students to be apathetic.

Lord have mercy on all the teachers during this most difficult time.
Indeed, Lord, have mercy.

I find the spring state exams to be quite a challenge as well. What motivation do the students have to put their full effort into these exams? So how can we reliably test our students to know where their skills fall? I have faith that we can eventually address these problems but the institution of education a lumbering slow moving animal. It will take time.
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 03:40:51 PM »

Lord, have mercy.

I think that it also has to do with springtime being here at last. We all just want fun in the sun!
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2010, 05:16:24 PM »

I understand completely. I teach freshmen Spanish and low-level English classes, and I too am feeling just as you describe. It's getting even worse now that we are coming to state exams. In Missouri, all high school students take a state-written final called an End of Course Exam. They begin for us next week, and as each one ends, the kids think that they shouldn't have to do anything else in that class for the rest of the year--which may be as long as a month, depending on when that particular exam is given. We try very hard to motivate students, but as you well know, it's hard enough under normal circumstances, let alone when we are saddled with so many more reasons for the students to be apathetic.

Lord have mercy on all the teachers during this most difficult time.
Indeed, Lord, have mercy.

I find the spring state exams to be quite a challenge as well. What motivation do the students have to put their full effort into these exams? So how can we reliably test our students to know where their skills fall? I have faith that we can eventually address these problems but the institution of education a lumbering slow moving animal. It will take time.
Indeed, the whole system needs a fundamental overhaul. But that's a subject for the Politics forum. In the meantime, we do what we must and we hope our efforts yield good results.
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2010, 12:21:31 AM »

LORD HAVE MERCY!
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2010, 03:50:38 AM »

Jaime Escalante, may Lord have mercy on his soul, was reported to have been able to motivate and teach mathematics successfully to disadvantaged pupils.  Perhaps some of his teaching strategies might help in your case also.
A lot of times it helps to bring up concrete examples. When discussing probability theory, for example,  it might not hurt to bring a roulette wheel or a pair of dice into the class and tell them about the MIT students who cleaned out Las Vegas. For exponentials, it might help to bring up the question of mortgage payments or continuous  interest on your CD account.
Also, can you apply to teach a higher level course, perhaps in a private or Catholic school? The dollar  pay might be less, but the psychic income might be greater.
And you had mentioned black holes in another post. So it might be enjoyable from time to time to show a science fiction movie and relate it to mathematical concepts. Alice in wonderland was written by a mathematician.
There are card tricks that work on a purely mathematical basis which are fun. And there is mathematical art such as that of Escher:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EymU_8ZVEzA&feature=related
Good luck
and
Lord have mercy
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Papist
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2010, 10:21:01 AM »

Jaime Escalante, may Lord have mercy on his soul, was reported to have been able to motivate and teach mathematics successfully to disadvantaged pupils.  Perhaps some of his teaching strategies might help in your case also.
A lot of times it helps to bring up concrete examples. When discussing probability theory, for example,  it might not hurt to bring a roulette wheel or a pair of dice into the class and tell them about the MIT students who cleaned out Las Vegas. For exponentials, it might help to bring up the question of mortgage payments or continuous  interest on your CD account.
Also, can you apply to teach a higher level course, perhaps in a private or Catholic school? The dollar  pay might be less, but the psychic income might be greater.
And you had mentioned black holes in another post. So it might be enjoyable from time to time to show a science fiction movie and relate it to mathematical concepts. Alice in wonderland was written by a mathematician.
There are card tricks that work on a purely mathematical basis which are fun. And there is mathematical art such as that of Escher:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EymU_8ZVEzA&feature=related
Good luck
and
Lord have mercy
Thanks buddy.... Yeah, we try all of these things in the classroom now days. In fact, if you were to walk into my classroom today, you would find that it is much different from what you or I experienced in high schoo. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions.
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2010, 10:58:41 AM »

Lord, have mercy on all who teach and on those who learn. 
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2010, 11:17:01 AM »

Wishing you wisdom, grace and patience, dear Papist!
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2010, 01:11:09 AM »

Lord have Mercy.
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2010, 08:35:15 PM »

Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2010, 09:08:23 PM »

I understand completely. I teach freshmen Spanish and low-level English classes, and I too am feeling just as you describe. It's getting even worse now that we are coming to state exams. In Missouri, all high school students take a state-written final called an End of Course Exam. They begin for us next week, and as each one ends, the kids think that they shouldn't have to do anything else in that class for the rest of the year--which may be as long as a month, depending on when that particular exam is given. We try very hard to motivate students, but as you well know, it's hard enough under normal circumstances, let alone when we are saddled with so many more reasons for the students to be apathetic.

Lord have mercy on all the teachers during this most difficult time.
Indeed, Lord, have mercy.

I find the spring state exams to be quite a challenge as well. What motivation do the students have to put their full effort into these exams? So how can we reliably test our students to know where their skills fall? I have faith that we can eventually address these problems but the institution of education a lumbering slow moving animal. It will take time.

I was in dumb bell math.. The teacher gave no instruction at all. He just sat at his desk and graded papers from other classes. Many of the guys ended up in Vietnam..Grist for mill.

Both or my kids complain about the low quality of the math teachers at their High School. It's one of the best public schools in the nation, number 2 in rank as a matter of fact. Often it's the teachers who make no effort.

This is where many of the bad math students in my class ended up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC4tpeN6pj4
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2010, 09:44:00 PM »

 angel
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2010, 02:54:06 PM »

Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2010, 11:04:08 PM »

As someone in med school, I think people need a little algebra in their lives  Wink

Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2010, 03:06:44 AM »

In my prayers...
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« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2010, 01:38:51 PM »

Papist,

As a fellow teacher, I feel your pain.  I'm at the point now where my Latin students are saying "I'm going to be x, I don't need to learn Latin and conjugations."  Teaching is a noble profession and is a trying one.  I think that there are few other vocations which are training to be a saint!  Cheesy

Good luck to you for the rest of the year.  Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2010, 02:47:03 PM »

Papist,

As a fellow teacher, I feel your pain.  I'm at the point now where my Latin students are saying "I'm going to be x, I don't need to learn Latin and conjugations."  Teaching is a noble profession and is a trying one.  I think that there are few other vocations which are training to be a saint!  Cheesy

Good luck to you for the rest of the year.  Lord, have mercy.
Indeed!!! It's the only chance I have! ha ha
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« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2010, 02:57:37 PM »

Papist,

As a fellow teacher, I feel your pain.  I'm at the point now where my Latin students are saying "I'm going to be x, I don't need to learn Latin and conjugations."  Teaching is a noble profession and is a trying one.  I think that there are few other vocations which are training to be a saint!  Cheesy

Good luck to you for the rest of the year.  Lord, have mercy.
I have found that knowing latin is a big help when learning modern languages, especially Romance languages.
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« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2010, 02:33:37 PM »

Papist,

As a fellow teacher, I feel your pain.  I'm at the point now where my Latin students are saying "I'm going to be x, I don't need to learn Latin and conjugations."  Teaching is a noble profession and is a trying one.  I think that there are few other vocations which are training to be a saint!  Cheesy

Good luck to you for the rest of the year.  Lord, have mercy.
I have found that knowing latin is a big help when learning modern languages, especially Romance languages.

Knowing Latin and Greek would definitely help big time with medical terminology.

Not to mention if these two languages were taught at a much younger age, I'm sure high school students would do so much better in the verbal SAT's, especially when trying to understand vocabulary.
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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2010, 02:39:55 PM »

Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2010, 07:10:57 PM »

Lord Have Mercy ! Amen Amen
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« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2010, 11:41:49 AM »

Lord Have Mercy.
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« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2010, 03:43:34 PM »

Lord, have mercy.  I pray the recent weeks, and the coming ones, bring/have brought strength and resolve to you.  May He Who enlightens the world always enlighten you and your students!
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