Get a clue...

Tonight I finished my second quarter grades. Usually I go through the process, leave my comments, and be done. Don't get me wrong, hours of grading occurs before grades are actually entered, but on the actual night, I can make pretty quick work of it. Tonight, as I was going through this process, I was struck by the sheer number of students who are not passing my math class. I figured out the percentage and it is horrifying, 46.6% are not passing. These, my friends, are our future.

I wanted to look deeper into these numbers, the math nerd in me, and really get to the root of the issue. First I am looking at how many absences each student has (thanks to my colleague), then I will be looking into whether they receive any services, and finally, look at their grade from last quarter...where are they trending. This may be the worst my students have ever done and even worse they don't seem to care.

This year has caused me reflect a lot on my teaching practice, my effectiveness as a teacher, my choice of a career. I am sitting here looking at my teaching partners grades and comparing our numbers, trying desperately to find a correlation. This is the math nerd in me...crunching numbers, sifting through to find a clue. There must be something that I am missing.

Teaching is like spinning plates on sticks. You feel like you've got things going in a the same direction when all of the sudden, one plate gets wobbly and you see all of them start to fall. You desperately try to spin again, but by then, you may have lost momentum and are just trying to catch the plates.

I try not to feel depressed about the success of my students (or lack thereof), after all, they have made choices too. I don't know how to stop the plates from falling and, frankly, I am looking for help. Someone, I don't know who, knows the ins and outs of this "trick" and they seem to be holding the golden secret close to their heart. Tonight I will spend some time crunching the numbers, looking for the secret thread that binds all of these things together. I believe I will find something...I don't know what, but I hope it will inspire me to continue looking for, and finding, the clue.


  1. You may not be able to help them all, but you can help one. Focus on the One.


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