A rant from the BFF.

I’ve heard a lot about bad Professional Developments lately.  I mean a lot. I’ve had friends coming out saying they learned nothing, that it was a waste of time and even that they had both suicidal and homicidal thoughts.  Here is a rant from my bff (first spoken of here) (my thoughts to follow.)

Haha the rant I was planning on posting?
6:14 PM Like the whole thing?
6:17 PM Attention all educators! Listen up.We don’t live in a perfect, wonderful dreamland. We live in a grimy, bleak reality. We do not have brilliant, self-motivated students. We have lazy asses who want to be spoon fed shortcuts, and who’d rather amputate a limb than sit in class. We do not have infinite time to implement amazing programs. We have (approx.) 50 min. a day to drink from the fire hose that is district programs and “quick fixes.” Standardized assessments aren’t perfect tests that mirror exactly how you teach. 

Get the hell over it. The minute you stop bitching about “what a terrible question that was,” or “that’s nice and all, but I don’t have the time,” or “well, the students should know this,” and get your ass to work, you might see some results from your students.

I’m not sure you are aware, but the USDOE could give 2 shits about all of your pissing and moaning. As far as they are concerned it is your job, let me say that again: JOB, to make sure that the students are achieving and developing deep understanding of concepts, including ones tested by “bad” questions.

If you can’t find effective ways to get students to achieve at the necessary level, or are unwilling to change the way you teach to accommodate unideal students, then get the hell out. You are making the profession look bad and more importantly, you are making me look bad. Besides, I’m sure there are people who are willing to take your jobs (Don’t believe me? Go check out Southern California.)

Okay, back to me.
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First off, not all our students are lazy but he’s right some are.
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He’s totally right about the perfection of standardized tests being that they aren’t.
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He’s also right about another thing which he doesn’t state so much but its what I got from talking to him.  He spent a fair amount of time arguing today with people who said the questions on the test were bad or to hard.  They were upset because they were teaching their kids rules and he wanted them to teach their kids to think.  He wanted them to work harder and to do better and, well, in the words of people from southern california, suck less.
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The question was something like this, “You are going on a road trip and it takes you four hours to get somewhere 250 miles away. What is the dependent and what is the independent variable?”
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The correct answer is that the independent variable is the distance because you decided where you are going then the time is dependent on that. (“No, Soph,” he told me, “you are an aberration other people don’t just decide to drive for 5 hours and then have vacation there.” He thinks I’m weird can’t figure out why)
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BUT one of the multiple choice answers was time because time is always independent. Which in this case is proven false except a ton of teachers teach their students this.  They say, “Remember time is always independent.” except when it’s not.
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So the teachers were yelling at this district PD (only 36% of students got this question) about how this question was BAD and Ryan was just trying to say, “Maybe it’s not the question. maybe it’s you.”
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4 thoughts on “A rant from the BFF.

  1. i hate that i usually can’t comment as a counselor. sometimes teachers like that make me so angry, especially when they send the kids to the counselor to get fixed, when sitting in class bored and never actually understanding what they’re supposed to be learning is what’s making the kids act like zombies. however, it does create job security when i have to talk a kid out of amputating their limb and talk them into going back to class.

  2. The issue seems to be whether it’s worth discussing the badness of the question. I’d tend to agree with your friend – I don’t see the point of those discussions. All we have the power to do is teach a good class and I prefer to direct my energies to that.

    HOWEVER, it is a bad question. I don’t see anything in the question indicating that the time was decided first and the distance depended on that. “It takes 4 hours to drive 250 miles.” Why does it not make just as much sense to conclude you decided to drive 250 miles, so it ended up taking 4 hours? I don’t think the wording of the problem gives you enough information to decide which is dependent on which.

  3. To be fair I don’t know the exact text of the question. It was a pretty involved and I think clearly defined. Maybe Ryan will post it.

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