Messed up

I messed up. After what I consider a really successful unit in Algebra II on inequalities and quadratics, I was told that I had to introduce students to applications of quadratics. These include revenue problems, maximum area problems, and falling objects problems. I pilfered a list of 10 problems that the Algebra IIA class (the accelerated version of the class) used, and we went through each one of the problems.

Instead of giving a formal assessment on these three types of problems, I gave students a 3 problem “graded homework assignment” — which had two falling object problems and one maximum area problem. I told students they had to work alone, but they could use their notes.

I collected them and graded them, and the grades were atrocious. Almost all of the grades were atrocious. Which leads me to two important conclusions:

1. I really, really messed up teaching these topics.
2. I really, really messed up teaching these topics.

Now I’m not sure what to do. I honestly don’t want to revisit these topics now; we’re making good progress on function transformations and I’m not ready to lose the momentum we’ve gained. I don’t have time to re-teach the topics. And spring break is starting at 3:10pm on Friday.

Blah. The only reasonable solution I feel I have open to me is to:

1. Be direct with my students and accept responsibility for the bad teaching for those days, and have a (short) conversation with them about what made it difficult to follow. (I have a number of ideas, but I want to hear it from the horses’ mouths.)
2. Tell students that I am not going to count this assignment, since I’m taking responsibility for it.
3.  In the fourth quarter, pick one of the application types (I’m leaning to the falling objects one, because the students had the most problems with it), and just focus on teaching it well for one day.

I hate it when I mess up.


One comment

  1. Would it work to wait until after Spring Break? That wouldn’t interrupt the flow at all [and it’s not like they’d be studying this topic before that, or if they were then you could give a heads up that people had trouble, that you aren’t going to count this assignment and that you’ll go over it when they return so not to worry about it in the meantime].

    (I also hate it when I mess up. Students seem to like it when I admit that it was me, though.)

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