Doing My Part for High School Readiness

Jose Vilson Education, Jose

Amare's wildin' out a la Office Space
On Sunday, during our walk for the Run for Change, one of my students asked,

“What are we going to do for the rest of the year?”
“You mean in terms of math?”
“Yeah, like what’s going to happen?”
“Well for the next month, I’ll be teaching high school math, and in June, I might even do some calculus if we have time.”

He said, “HA! That’s what you think. I’m going to go to class, sleep, wake up, maybe draw something, then go right back to sleep.”

I laughed. “You know you’d never get away with that in my class.”

“Absolutely, I will. Now that you know my schedule, tell me yours,” he said with a smirk.

“Well, let’s see: 1st period, I’m going to hurt you. 2nd period, I’m going to hurt you. 3rd, I’m going to teach math like I always do …”

He laughed. “I like how you’re going to take a break from hurting me to teach me some math.”

“It’s the least I can do, kid.”

The nerve of this kid, who is super-bright by the way, to think I’m going to stop teaching just because there’s no standardized test at the end of June. I teach a generation of kids who don’t remember a time when the grade at the end of the marking period mattered as much as the state standardized test, if not more. Nowadays, when the test is “done,” the school year is done for them. Yet, they always get a rude awakening when, after the test, I have my chalk / marker ready to go for the next subject.

On Monday, I found myself having 2 periods with the students and having to cover a third period with the same class. They expected me to give them free time for all three periods. Instead, I started off by saying, “Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. Today, I’m going to start preparing you for some high school advanced math.” The class sighed. “Today, we’re going to touch on the standard form for equations and why that’s helpful in figuring out certain situations.”

“Mr. Vilson, are you going to give us a test on this?”

“Not exactly. There will be assessments, but nothing like the state test.”

The work continued from there. My word.