Saturday, September 15, 2012

Path of least resistance

The path of least resistance is not only for power but it is also for the typical math student.  The typical student, the one that wants to pass and get their diploma follow the path of least resistance.  I am not talking about the rare student who cares only for the learning which is a very low percentage.  But everyone else including the "A" grade driven students, who sometimes are the worst offenders  -- memorizing procedures for tests versus making connections, etc.  

My first round of assessments this year has reminded me of the least resistance fact.  The fact is the typical student will do the bare minimum to get the passing grade and has little concern if they learn the math.  It seems funny that most teachers forget how minimalist we were too when we were students often just driven far enough to get to a magical level of learning called A or B or C or D (remember D for degree!).

Thus I take it upon myself to make sure that concepts are learned and that learning the concepts is the path of least resistance in my classroom.  I try to not worry about letter grades but make sure students are conceptually strong (ready for career or secondary). 

So as I comment on the assessments and reflect on student's current level of conceptual knowledge I quickly remind myself to make sure my path requires understanding.  We must remember that the teachers who push, are tough, are typically remembered more and thanked more....

So watch out Mr. A's students 80% isn't enough - you need to demonstrate understanding....  And I always remember I am in customer service - I work for the student, not today's 16 year old but the same student when he/she is 25 in the work place and wants the skills needed to succeed.

Funny thing is -- the future student always seems to want me to push their current self....