Today I had a conversation with Number 3’s math teacher and I broke down crying.
Yep. I was sobbing on the phone over math homework.
And I used to be an elementary school teacher.
But last night was the last straw. Number 3 lost all focus. I lost all patience.
And ultimately, he crumbled up his math homework, threw it in my face, stormed out of the room, and slammed the door.
I’m done with the math homework.
This shit should not happen with a ten-year-old.
The way that math is being taught in elementary school now needs to be changed.
And I’m not saying we don’t try to help kids understand concepts.
I understand why students have to draw models of every single goddamn thing they do in math class.
I get why they have to draw a model to add fractions with unlike denominators. I get why they have to draw a model to subtract decimals.
I know when I was a kid I didn’t really have any idea why I was borrowing from the hundreds column or carrying a one.
That didn’t click for me until much, much later.
So I’m not against kids understanding why they are doing what they are doing. Not at all.
BUT YOU SCHOOLS NEED TO SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.
There is way too much stuff being taught in one year.
Actually, forget one year.
There is way too much stuff being taught in one week.
WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.
You want my kid to understand why he is doing what he’s doing?
You want him to understand why the answer for 1/3 + 3/8 is 17/24?
Fine. Then slow down. Give him more than twenty minutes to figure this shit out.
In fact, if he needs it, give him more than a week.
Yeah. A week.
When your kids joins a baseball team for the first time, you don’t give him twenty minutes to learn how to hit the ball, send him home that night, tell him to ask his parents or to watch a video if he needs help, review it one more time a week or two later, and then give him one at bat to measure whether or not he can hit the ball.
You practice that over and over and over.
For a whole season.
And another one.
There is no nurturing of students. There is no time for nurturing.
You just put them up to bat, whip fucking balls at them as hard as you can for one class period, and then the next day, move onto something else.
If the kid can’t hit the ball?
Too bad, kid! You’re fucked!
I listened to my son tell his sister that he was stupid today.
I wanted to run down to his school or to the superintendent or to the state legislators or to wherever and whoever is making these decisions and present them with the homework my son had to do last night.
I guarantee they would not have any idea how to add 1/3 + 3/8 using a model and drawing pictures.
I guaranfuckingtee it.
My son is not stupid.
But the pace at which we are teaching math is.
You don’t throw a ten-year-old up to bat against a grown man who throws the ball at 90 mph.
But that is basically what we are doing to our kids with this fucking math.
And before you start chiming in with the well my kid gets it and he needs to be challenged, um, fine.
I’ve got a challenge for you.
Have your kid teach my son how to do this shit in 20 minutes.
That will keep your kid plenty challenged.
It will also teach your kid how to be patient and how to communicate effectively which is something we neglect to teach our kids at all in school.
It is not difficult to challenge the kid who gets it.
But it is very difficult to explain to a sobbing ten-year-old (who really is pretty intelligent but who is definitely not ready to go up to bat against a major league pitcher) that he isn’t stupid.
There are only so many times you can strike out before you have no confidence in yourself.
My son has already struck out dozens of times.
And he just wants to quit.
And to be honest, I don’t blame him one bit.