Long Rant About Ignorance

The whole thing started off yesterday, when Luigi, my 3rd grader, told me about a spelling game they play in class. The students line up, the teacher says a word and as a group, the students spell out the word, each taking their turn at the next letter. If you get the letter wrong, you sit down and you're out of the game. The last person left standing is the winner & they get a prize. Cool beans! Makes sense & it's a good incentive for learning.

Now, here's the catch. If you're the person who says the last letter of the word, you're also out. How is that fair? How is that right? You correctly answer the question and you're punished for it? Yeah... okay then.... And then Luigi informed me that they play this game 2 or 3 times a week and so far he's been one of the "winners" a grand total of 3 times. There are only 6 kids in his class so this number is outrageous to me.

Apparently Luigi shares the same enthusiasm over losing and missing out on a prize. He was being stubborn about something and his teacher had the nerve to say "You're just mad because you didn't win the game." Yeah... well I'd be mad, too. And actually... I am.

After that discussion, he handed me a note. It was a letter that he had written to me as part of his punishment for his atrocious behavior at school yesterday. In addition to having to write this letter (and have it signed) he wasn't allowed to play at recess. Care to guess what he did? You'll never in a million years guess.

Luigi.... was holding his breath. Yeah... that's all. Just holding his breath. No apparent reason. Just sitting at his desk... minding his own business & holding his breath. Here's how our conversation went:
Luigi: Are you mad?
Me: No. Just don't do it again if she has such a problem with it. What exactly did she say to you?
Luigi: She said "do you think that's funny?!?!?"
Me: What'd you say?
Luigi: *shrugs*
Me: You should've just been honest and said yes.
Luigi: *giggles* I did.
Me: Well good. She shouldn't have asked such a stupid question.

Okay... so that's all fine and good. Maybe something about what he was doing was disrupting the class. I don't know. The recess thing kinda ticks me off, too. But what really makes me mad is this letter. It said something like "Dear Mom. I am writing to tell you that I got in trouble today for holding my breath. I should not do this. I could pass out and have to be taken to the hospital. I could also die. Now I know why I should not hold my breath and I will not do it again."

It was at this point that I realized that he was lectured about how dangerous it is to hold his breath. It was also at this point that what I've been saying this entire school year was confirmed! His teacher, is an idiot!!

Hello!! McFly!!! You absolutely cannot die from holding your breath. Not unless you were to pass out and hit your head on something. And in that case, your death would be caused from a fall, not from holding your breath. If he were strangling himself, totally different scenario! But your body is equipped to say "Alright, you're being an idiot. I'll take over from here." And at that point you will either gasp for air or you will, in fact, pass out. (I would bet $1,000 that 95% of the people in the world do not have the will power to hold their breath to this extent.)

Next up came his math homework. "The school has 14 books. There are 3 classrooms. Divide the books equally between the classrooms and give the left overs to the library."

So, being the math whiz that he is.... He says "That's 4 books per class and 2 for the library." Good job. Problem solved. Move on.

No. No. No. First he has to draw a picture and separate the books into groups. When I see him drawing these pictures, I always imagine him being an accountant and drawing a thousand little pictures of dollar signs on his notepad, dividing them into groups and counting them. It's just ridiculous!!

So, after he draws the picture, he has to write sentences to explain the steps he took to figure out the answer. THEN he has to explain WHY he took those steps. BTW, this caused a 5 minute discussion about why it's not okay to simply write "Because it's the right way to do it." LOL

That simple little math problem, the one he answered in 10 seconds, took 45 minutes. Fifteen minutes were spent on him trying to explain to me how his teacher wanted him to do the problem. (Which was TOTALLY jacked up) Another fifteen were spent on me trying to explain that mathematics is the one and only universal thing on Earth with a couple "Your teacher is a moron"'s thrown in there for good measure. Five minutes explaining the polite way to tell his teacher that she can feel free to give me a call!!!!!!!! And the rest of the time trying to come up with a reason besides "Because it's the right way to do it."

This isn't the first time that he's come to me with math problems and explained the genius way his teacher wants him to solve the problem. My biggest issue is that the things he's learning NOW are just the basics that will be needed in the future. It ticks me off to no end to know that she's teaching him the incorrect way to figure out problems and he'll have to relearn all of those skills, the right way.

Okay... Last part of this rant. There are MANY more examples that I'd love to share with you but at this point, my post is already way overdue for an ending.

This year, they've started learning cursive handwriting. Now, think back to when you were in school. Do you remember the big letters that they put above the chalkboard? The ones that demonstrated the correct way to write letters? The ones that, even though it's been 20+ years since you stared at those letters for 7 hours a day, the image is still imprinted in your brain?

Okay... now... imagine that I told you that even though you see those letters all day, every day, you are NOT allowed to write the letters in the same manner that you're seeing them. No. No. No. You must refer to the handwriting book that you've been given.

To me, that's the equivalent of putting a huge poster on the wall that says 2+2=5 and then expecting the students to just remember that the answer is incorrect.

Why???? WHY would you do that????????

End Rant...

Oh hey -- BTW -- I put up the new Site of the Week & Post of the Week at Text Imps yesterday. Make sure you check it out. And pay VERY close attention to the Site of the Week. It's important!

ETA: I should also point out that I love teachers! I think they're under appreciated and under payed. I'm just saying..... this one..... Luh-who-zuh-her!
Posted on 1:52 PM by Chris and filed under , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »


Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy said... @ February 24, 2009 at 4:06 PM

You crack me up...I love reading these posts. I am a teacher and I think the whole holding his breath thing was blown out of portion...just a bit, don't ya think?! ;0)

Mrs. Nurse Boy

Gina said... @ February 24, 2009 at 4:31 PM

I so totally know where you are coming from with this. I have written many posts over the years about this kind of stuff. I get so mad over the idiocy that goes on at the school.

And the math is one big pet peeve - they teach them so much bullshit. Sometimes, mr b and I can't even figure out what they want - not that the math is hard, but they do this really weird round-about stuff that makes no sense. And the estimating. I fully believe that they should know how to get the actual answer before estimating.

OK, I am ranting, so I had better stop. but like you I could go on and on with examples.

Terri said... @ February 24, 2009 at 4:36 PM

The holding the breath thing just cracked me up.

Math- Don't get me started! With 5 kids, not one of them has learned math the same way.

HeatherPride said... @ February 24, 2009 at 6:28 PM

OH, I'm telling you, I just cannot wait for Logan to get into school!!!! (NOT!) The first time I have to deal with a teacher like this I will be tempted to pull him out and homeschool, even if my husband does think it's weird. (I think it's fine, he just turns his nose up at anything non-traditional!) Good luck getting through the rest of the school year!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said... @ February 24, 2009 at 10:10 PM

Okay, i'd better not spout off at the mouth about too much... I am a teacher... a math teacher... and I know that a lot of things taught nowadays are to give the kids an introduction to the stuff so that when they're in 9th grade, they already can understand n+5=9 means that n=4, even if they don't word it that way (i.e. what number can I add to 5 to get the answer 9?)

BUT yes that is stupid for the teacher to have a kid write a letter about how he'll be in danger of dying from holding his breath. If anything the letter should have said, "The teacher told me to do something and I did not listen to her. I will listen from now on." Even if she's a total dingbat, there needs to be that careful teacher/student relationship where everyone understands that she is in charge. I only say that cuz I have been in MANY situations where the students totally thought they were running the classroom, and that all they had to do was argue enough and they'd get their way. NOT helpful!

Just one idea (please don't throw rotten fruit at me): be careful about talking your kids' teacher down to him. It will lower her image in his eyes. Even if you think she's a total moron, it won't help his relationship with her if he thinks, "yeah, even my MOM says she's a moron." And, ultimately, he does have to finish out the year with her. Better just make the best of it.

Chris said... @ February 25, 2009 at 12:32 AM

Yes, Mrs - waaaaay out of proportion!

Yes Gina, isn't it amazing how stupid 3rd grade math can make you feel?

Mine either Terri.

Thanks Heather. I'm gonna need it.

Texan Mama, you feel free to spout off all you want. LOL A little controversy never hurt anyone. And don't worry. The worst I'd throw at you might be a Twinkie. Thanks for commenting and I appreciate that you did it in a tactful manner rather than "Oh yeah... well I think YOU'RE the moron." LOL Not that I would expect that from you. I know better.

Ginny Marie said... @ February 25, 2009 at 6:15 AM

I might be able to provide a little more insight into the math problem, too. I taught 3rd grade in Illinois, and Luigi will have to take ISATs pretty soon. The way his teacher had him answer the math problem is how he'll have to do it on his ISAT. Schools are under a lot of pressure to perform well...don't get me started on standardized tests...I hate 'em!

I think I would have just laughed along him holding his breath, though. I was never the strictest teacher...and my classroom was never the quietest classroom, either! During the last two years of teaching before I left to stay home, I finally found a school that agreed with my philosophies. It was a hard choice to make...teach, or stay home with my babies? Hopefully, I'll be able to find a similar school when I go back, or the same school will hire me again.

And so now I'm completely rambling on about my own stuff...SORRY! :)

calicobebop said... @ February 25, 2009 at 8:11 AM

What kind of school is this? Do have nightmares like this to look forward to next year? CRAZY!

Chris said... @ February 25, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Ty Ginny Marie, for the insight. He did say something the other day about taking the iSATS or something like that.

Calicobebop, I hope you don't have to worry about it. This is the first time I've ever really been unhappy with one of his teachers. I mean, I even nominated one of the others for a Golden Apple award which is a contest by our local TV station (she won it by the way... 2 years later)

I think this teacher's main problem is the fact that this is her first year teaching 3rd graders. She's been a 7th grade teacher for many years and maybe she just hasn't figured out how to make the transition yet.

Heather said... @ February 25, 2009 at 2:18 PM

I remember when we were in fourth grade we would hang out in the bathroom and try to make ourselves pass out different ways. Not the smartest thing to do! But still, I am far too outspoken when it comes to my children and I would've been emailing that teacher in a heartbeat about how one cannot die from holding their breath. The math thing, I totally understand how you feel and I'm sure that I will feel the same when we get that far but I was in high school when no child left behind started and I remember how many hoops the teachers had to make us jump through and how frustrating it was for them to do things the long way when they knew that we didn't need that crap. She sounds like an idiot but she might also be teaching curiculum that she can't avoid.

Anonymous said... @ February 26, 2009 at 3:28 PM

Crikey moses - what a complete dingbat. Holding your breath is dangerous? Yes, and picking your nose means your brains will fall out through your nostrils. For goodness sake - where has all the common sense gone?

Rachael said... @ March 2, 2009 at 2:46 AM

Oh my gosh! Freaking people. It reminds me of that part in "The Day After Tomorrow" when the kid gets punished because he tells the teacher he made a mistake and is RIGHT. If a kid can do the problem, why do they have to "show their work" like that?

Mary said... @ March 3, 2009 at 6:28 AM

I just found your blog and feel I need to comment (sorry! I hardly even know you :) )
My oldest daighter and her class had a simliar idiot for a teacher- and an equally idiotic school system that decided that starting with her 1st grade class, they would all be taught a 'new method' approach to learning. Which was basically osmosis. There were no phonics, no math 'rules', no nothing! So every day she'd do work (and I use that term loosely)and we'd have to teach her the right way to do things. Like the proven for-a-fact way that phonics work and math rules apply.
The year she went to middle school, the district conceded that their attempt at this new method had failed so they'd be going back to, you know, regular old teaching. After my kid spent 6 years being taught nothing. Nice foundation for life jerkoffs!
I just feel bad for the kids who don't have a concerned parent to teach them their teachers are idiot, I mean, the 'right'way.
Rock on!

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