Students don’t learn because teachers don’t teach. The reason for this is that the teachers who try to teach get screwed over and either burn out or get fired when students and parents complain that classes are too hard. So the good teachers either leave or give up and phone it in. I discovered this the hard way.
After I retired, I took a couple of years off before becoming a teacher, which I did part time for two years, and then full time for the next five years. I taught high school science classes during all of that time. For the first couple of years that I was full time, I taught advanced courses like Chemistry and Physics. The courses I taught allowed a student to take an exam after it concluded, and if they scored high enough on that exam, they would receive college credit for the course. In other words, a college level class being taught at the high school level. Students hated the fact that my course was difficult and constantly complained. Meanwhile, school administrators wanted my course to be both more rigorous and easier for students to receive an A.
During that first full time year, I was physically attacked in my classroom by a student because I took his cell phone and told him he would have to get it from the office. I wound up quitting that job and changing school districts.
The second year saw me teaching physics in my new school district. Students were constantly complaining that I was destroying their GPA because my class was too hard. They just didn’t have the math or study skills to be successful. I spent far too much of my time trying to teach things like calculating uncertainty, which isn’t that mathematically difficult.
A quiz in this class would look something like this (you will find the answers at the end of this post, for those of you geeky enough to want to solve them):
- A man in a tree stand 5 meters above the ground fires a rifle perfectly parallel to the ground. At the instant the 4 gram bullet leaves the muzzle of his rifle, his 125 gram watch falls off. If the bullet’s muzzle velocity is 1,000 meters per second, which will hit the ground first: the bullet or the watch? (You may ignore air resistance and the curvature of the Earth)
- NY Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hits a baseball. It leaves his bat at a 22 degree angle while travelling at 40 meters per second. The outfield wall is 370 feet away. Does he score a home run? (You may ignore air resistance, the initial height of the ball when it was struck, and the height of the outfield wall.)
- You specify that a metal shop cut you a metal plate with the following specifications and margins of error: 32.0mm +/- 0.5mm x 30.0 mm +/- 0.5mm x 1.0 mm +/- 0.05 mm. If the density of this metal is 2700 g/cm3, what will the plate’s mass be (in grams)?(Significant figures count)
They began circulating a petition to get me fired. I caught them cheating. It was a tough year. The average grade for the class of 20 students was an 84, with 3 students getting an A, and two getting a D. The rest got B’s and C’s. When the college exams came around, four of them managed to score high enough for college credit.
So in year three, they gave me standard track Biology to be taught to the students that they euphemistically referred to as “underperforming.” This paper, written by a 15 year old who was in the 10th grade, is what I had to work with. Yes, this is a scan of an actual paper that was turned in to me, and no, he is not retarded:
At the beginning of year four, I was pulled aside by the principal and asked if I wanted to go back to teaching physics to the smart kids. It seems that the teacher that they had given that class to gave 3/4 of the class an A, but every one of them failed the college credit exam, even though the class average was a 92. I told them that the only way I would teach it was if I would not have to catch any static from administrators when students complained about their grades. The reply that I got was “We were hoping that you would agree to find a way to make your class more fun.” I declined and was sentenced to teach Biology to the dumbasses again. Hey, at least the lovable little morons weren’t trying to get me fired.
COVID hit at the end of that year. Teachers were instructed to hold class by Zoom meetings, we were required to give and grade assignments, and were told to enforce it rigorously. So I did. I would up doing quite a bit of effort and work, holding class. Only a quarter of my students did the work. At the end of the school year, the school district gave everyone at least a C. To think I could have done nothing for three months and gotten paid.
My fifth year as a full time teacher was to teach physical science. At the halfway point of the year, we were told that, due to the stress of COVID, we would have to give every student a passing grade. More than a half of my students were chronically absent. Then we were told that our students’ performance on end of the year exams would not affect their grades, but would affect our pay raises. I quit a week later and went back to health care.
ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ ARE BELOW THIS LINE
- Since the acceleration of gravity is the same (~9.80 m/s2) for all objects on Earth, the watch and the bullet would strike the Earth at the same time, but the bullet will be some distance away in the horizontal plane.
- Yes, he will score a home run because the ball will land 372 feet away.
- The plate will have a volume of 0.883-1.04 cm3. That will cause it to have a mass of between 2,380-2,800 grams. (three significant figures) This last problem gave them fits. They couldn’t understand how tolerances could give you an uncertain result.