This week has been a tough week. I wouldn’t say I got any particularly good ideas from this week. Twice my CT actually called me out in front of students and it actually made me rather uncomfortable. I don’t think she meant to be malicious or unprofessional, but it kind of came across that way. I think I am sensing that she and I have different ideas of professionalism. I notice that she will talk to one student about their test score but while leaving other students tests and scores out for them to see. Maybe it’s not something that as important as I thought. But the first instance of her calling me out when a minute or two after she said to me privately how she can’t stand how one of the 7th graders again doesn’t have a pencil with him for class. We were circling around the room with students were working in small groups, and I was over by this particular student’s table and said to him, “do us a favor; go get a pack of pencils after school from Duane Reade (which is located next to the school, and we know that his family can afford plenty of school supplies).” We have told him many times to bring a pencil to class. Right after I said that, my CT walked up and said, “Oh it’s ok, he can write with pen, he’s allowed because of his handwriting. I like writing with pen too, sometimes it’s easier.” It really threw me off, since she had just been complaining that he didn’t have a pencil, and I heave heard her tell him plenty times before to bring a pencil to class.
The other time she called me out this week was a dispute over grading. I had helped her grade the 6th graders unit tests after we discussed how we would grade it and what kind of point value we would assign to each question and mistake. A student approached us after class to challenge a point his lost on his graph, a student who’s test had been graded by me, and my CT ended up saying that she didn’t think I should have marked him off. She said this in front of the student and myself. I reminded her that I was grading it based on how we had graded all the graphs, but she still wasn’t very convinced. She left the grade, but I thought she was wrong to question like that in front of the student. Especially because I was mathematically correct. It was rather uncomfortable.
So it wasn’t the best week for me. But I’d say the best “idea” I got was actually more of a warning of how to go about pre-planning things. We are teaching percent proportions to our 6th graders this week and many of our word problem examples have to do with tax and gratuity. My CT and I have different beliefs about tipping: she believes you tip on the subtotal, pre-tax, and I believe you tip on the total, post-tax. She basically ignored me, even though we tried googling to see different opinions of what you’re supposed to do and go either mixed reviews or reviews that led to believe you should tip on the grand total. I believe she mislead the students and taught them incorrect tipping etiquette. So the idea that I have learned is to make sure if you use a real world context in your math problems, make sure it is an accurate context. Regardless of what we decide about tipping (and we will take a bit of a poll), I think that it is our responsibility as teachers to not only teach our content accurately, but to teach all aspects of education and life lessons accurately. I just wish she had at least introduced the idea by saying something like, some people tip this way and some people tip another way, so at least she wasn’t misleading the students to think there is only one way to do it. I’ve worked in the service industry since I was 13 years old off and on until a few months ago, and I would hate to think we are teaching our students to be poor tippers!