It's been an interesting few weeks. I signed up for Tuesday and Thursday afternoon Regents prep, mainly because I could use the hours. Don't get me wrong: I'm happy to help a handful of kids in the morning, during period 1 (which was "period 0" in my old school). There's just something about having a large group of students to work with. Too often, it just feels like I'm teaching another class, and like students in those classes, too many of them just wait for the knowledge to appear instead of pursuing it, running down whatever avenue they have to until they find it. But I gave it a shot. The AP sounded desperate for bodies inthe classroom, and I thought it might be helpful for some "artifact" or "rubric" or "agenda item" or whatever those 22 points or 39 steps we're being rated on actually are.
Then I found out that she had so many people, that I'm only doing it on Thursday. That actually seemed like a waste of my time -- I'll be getting half the hours that I thought I would.
Then -- we're talking next morning -- one of my students approached me and asked if I'd be interested in moderating (or assisting in moderating) the new Anime Club. Of course, I would! Unfortunately, it meets on Thursdays. I've wanted to poke my head in over there, knowing a little bit about Anime (although very little about Manga). I even had the ulterior motive of trying to lure a group up to Lunacon next year. It worked for old Dom and his kids from the Bronx High School of Science so many years ago. (Many of that group still turns out year after year. Sadly, we lost Dom Corrado in the past year.) But that's a topic for another column.
Last week was actually the first Thursday of tutoring. I had six kids. Not bad, except four of them were mine, and they were more interested in reviewing for the test we were having the following day than for the Regents exam next month. (They do want to review for that. They just didn't at that moment.) I had two others retaking the Integrated Algebra Regents. We reviewed an old exam, and I think some learning occurred, but it's always hard to tell with those exams. Are they checking their answers or just filling them in? Are they copying the work or just circling a letter. I wasn't collecting or grading the sheet, so writing down the correct choice isn't a helpful strategy, but it does get employed often.
I have no test tomorrow, so I had none of my own students today. And I lost half of the other students. Were you paying attention? How many did I have left?
That's right: one.
I had printed out ten copies of the open-ended questions from the same test. I gave him about ten minutes to work on the problems to see where he had trouble and to allow time for other students to appear. I knew they wouldn't, but I hoped.
And then he leveled with me, that he wasn't sure how to do any of the problems. Not a good sign. I wound up "teaching" each of the questions to some extent or other. There were a couple of "a-ha!" moments where he couldn't believe the question was as easy as it turned out to be (a good reason to get started on each question and try something). In others, he went through the paces and got the answer, but it seemed like an experiment he didn't think he could duplicate.
With only one student to ask questions, we finished a little early. It wasn't my room, and I didn't have any extra materials with me.
We'll see how much interest there is next week. Will he bring a friend or two? Will he skip out, too?
What will I do if no one shows up?
Probably punch out and go watch Anime.