Archive | July, 2014

Americans Stink at Math….Cause We Stink at Implementing What We Know

“It wasn’t the first time that Americans had dreamed up a better way to teach math and then failed to implement it. The same pattern played out in the 1960s, when schools gripped by a post-Sputnik inferiority complex unveiled an ambitious “new math,” only to find, a few years later, that nothing actually changed. In fact, efforts to introduce a better way of teaching math stretch back to the 1800s. The story is the same every time: a big, excited push, followed by mass confusion and then a return to conventional practices.”  Profound statement in the article Why Do Americans Stink at Math? Elizabeth Green.

Americans, stink at math, education reform, math classroom, common core mathWe have all the great ideas, even other countries look to us for inspiration. However, where they implement and succeed, we flounder.  Our education system dictates reform, with little support on the actuals. We are hoping to move the math classroom toward concrete math, real world scenarios, and critical problem solving versus calculations and a “cultural script” of steps and repetition; sadly without offering any concrete support.  Add to the realities the classroom teacher faces just in regard to their students and their personal struggles and the reform is unwelcome. The reform flounders in system bureaucracy.


Retired Special Education Teacher’s Reflections: Still Mentoring and Inspiring….

special education, teacher summers, retirement, making educationIt is summer!  And no one needs it more than teachers!  I believe all teachers are taking full advantage of summer, it is really a necessity.  I myself have gone in for meetings at least once a week, I have been studying for an exam, and spent two days in professional development training for my district; so making the most of the time in-between is crucial.  Being one month into summer…I can say yes I am mostly off, but I am still a teacher and teachers seem to always work.

I was delighted to read an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch by one of the finest teachers I have ever worked with, Ms. Luzzi.  She was my unofficial mentor when I began working for Henrico County Public Schools.  She would visit my room often, since we shared a printer….and I quickly realized she was my go to gal for anything sped related, school-wide related, and/or kid related.  We taught many of the same kids and I often sought her opinions on their struggles and strengths.  And even though she was retiring, she wasn’t going to let up on any of these students.  To say she cared was an understatement.  However, she also had a way of being extremely realistic, she could complain without complaining….we could talk about the negatives of the system without getting dragged out to the sea of useless whiners.  It is an art to be able to turn negative sentiments into productive and inspiring conversations, but Maria Luzzi definitely could.  Perhaps that is how she managed to go well past the burn-out cycle of most special education teachers by 4 times as much.

Please enjoy her article; her reflections on teaching and summers off, but mostly on her caring attitude.  And enjoy…cause it’s summertime!!!


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