Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November Slump

Sheesh. I forget this happens every year. I get super depressed and down on various kid behavior and teaching and the stress and all the whole bundle every year at about this time. I think I should make a cross-stitch sampler to remind myself that this will pass, and things do get better SOON.

It's been especially bad this year. We are mandated from above to have meetings up the wazoo that suck the life out of our planning periods. Then we are dictated to teach to the "exit exam" in a specified way and eat into our regular curriculum to do this. Then .... then .... then.

I think I have enough seniority to say "phhhphflt" and do what I think is best for the students: a type of don't-ask-don't-tell policy. My rationalization is that if questioned, I'll have a valid reason for why I think what I'm doing is the best for my kids.

On a positive note. My students are mostly great. Highlights:

One shared with me her way of remembering the sine and cosine graphs. She's Hispanic, and "sin" in Spanish means "without", so that's the one that is zero at zero. And "con" in Spanish means "with", so that's the one that has a value at zero.

A day or so ago we were doing the ambiguous case of "Law of Sines", and for the "no triangle case". I wanted to show them that in the A.S.S. case when they're first solving for the angle, the ratio of sides is 1._____. So I asked what happened on their calculators when they tried to solve sin x = 1._____. They said, "ERROR". Then I said, okay, close your eyes and picture the graph of y = sin x. My goal was to get them to see that the largest it could be was 1. So I asked, after they were thinking for a while on what the graph looks like, "what do you see?". One kid answered, "ERROR".

Anyway. Some of us got together tonight as a math department and went out for a drink after work and destressed and laughed and such. That will go a long way to making the rest of the 6 weeks livable.


  1. I'm glad to hear someone else gets the November slumps too.

    I enjoyed the way your Hispanic student remembered the sin and cosine graphs. I teach a lot of Hispanics also, so I might mention this. I am always looking for "mental hooks" for my student to hang their learning onto.

    I've been reading and enjoying your blog for a while, keep it up!

  2. Anonymous6:56 PM

    Thanks for your kind words ... I visited your blog and have already learned some things I want to use :).

    Ms. Cookie

  3. I love math department nights out. If only there were "important" people listening to our conversations we could solve the problems with education (almost) overnight!