Twenty Percent

As I mentioned, I started an evening teaching job. I’m teaching developmental math at Austin Community College in San Marcos. God really did his work getting me there; it was a strange series of twists and turns no man could have made work out. I’m thankful I’m there, and maybe it’ll turn into something more later. The class is Monday and Wednesday from 6:00-9:00 pm, which is so crazy and backwards to me! I’m having the toughest time adjusting to get up and be productive at home (or be lazy, as some days have it), then go to work. SO, SO backwards! 
Anyway, we’re now three classes into it (two for me, I was on vacation last week) and I have a little more to write about. Last week, the students were supposed to take a pre-test for placement into the appropriate section of the class. One class is “advanced” the other is “basic” (actually, they’re both basic developmental mathematics, one is supposed to go a little quicker than the other, but I’m not sure that’s even happening). I was told all these pre-tests would be taken care of and the split would be done when I got back on Monday. 
Apparently, they had a problem with the grading of the test. (Really? You just graded straight off an incorrect answer key and didn’t notice? Wow. I don’t do that in my kindergarten classroom.) About 6:05, the other instructor strolls in with the re-graded tests while I’m in front of the class I haven’t met, asking about homework I didn’t assign, and trying to keep the ball rolling. Not my idea of organization. 
We finally get them split and where they’re supposed to be, and I take the “advanced” class to the other classroom. We get started, and they seem to sort of get most of what’s on the pre-test. I’m pretty impressed… then we start on new material and I lose about four of them completely. Two stop taking notes and just sit there! They don’t ask a single question, don’t respond when I try to ask them where they got lost, nothing! They. Just. Sit. (This is where I have a really hard time working with the students who are in a developmental math class in the first place–especially the younger ones who got themselves into this class by just those types of actions!) I offered them both the option of moving to the other class, and one took me up on it. That helped the morale some. I left feeling pretty disgusted by the whole thing. 
Last night was much better. The other student who was concerned moved to the other class, and the remaining two who were struggling (but actually trying) sat with the tutor and got extra help as we worked. One of the mouthier students from Monday took some sort of medication before she came in, so she wasn’t as outspoken about how she thought the class should be taught. It was much more pleasant, and everyone was making progress with the material. We’re still a little behind where I’d like to be, but we’re slowly catching up. 
It’s hard to believe that in a six-week course (five for me) we’re already 20% of the way done. They have so far to go in so little time, and most of them don’t have the ability to get to where they need to be without me dragging them in the dust of my new materials. We’ll see how it goes.

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