Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

You will not pass this class without adding fractions 

That's what I wrote on a quiz today. My student was making a point of not paying attention while I went over how to add and subtract fractions (I think I did a good job of connecting it with combining like terms, incidentally), and then demonstrated her inability to do this when we had guided practice. On the quiz she pretty much skipped the questions on adding and subtracting fractions.

"Can you really do that?" my wife asked after class.

Sure, I replied. I'll just make sure that there's enough questions about adding and subtracting fractions for the rest of the semester that she won't be able to pass unless she can do it.

Because sometimes a math teacher has to draw the line.

And when did fractions become a part of algebra anyway? Granted, I took algebra I in 1981-82 and Algebra II in 1982-83 (and knocked off the final semester of HS Algebra in the first few weeks of the fall of 1983), but I seem to remember us having put fractions behind us by the time we started algebra.

In other student news, I had a student threaten to complain to the education office because I wouldn't allow calculators in the pre-algebra class. "But the last instructor did!" "I'm not the last instructor."

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