January 27, 2005

monitoring tests

In the last year I have had 2 monitors burn out on me.

And I think that I am about ready to lose another one.

I like to type my own tests. OK, actually I don't really like to type them, but I just don't like those pre-made tests that come with the curriculum. I am a fundamentalist when it comes to Math. I like to stick to the basics. Some of these more recent text books like to cram in several different topics and methods all together. But I don't like that.

I can remember when I took math growing up: If you had a chapter on fractions, then you would get like 100 fraction problems. Now, if there is a chapter on fractions, they give you 5 fraction problems, a few story problems, some problems with decimals, a couple of pictures of fraction situations, and several review questions.

I know that this concept of integrating several different things together seems sound, but I just don't think that it works in reality. If students are going to remember how to work with fractions, they need like a hundred fraction problems... at least! It is the repetition that burns it into their brains.

I just know that I am about tired of teaching the upper level classes and half of them don't know how to add, subtract, multiply or divide fractions. It's just crazy. It is one thing to have a couple of students that are struggling, but when you put some fractions on the board and half of a class doesn't know where to begin... very frustrating.

But anyway!

I planned on typing two tests at home last night (the tests were today) and it didn't seem like it would be too much of a problem. I had already gathered all of the information that I needed, written out all of the problems, and all I had left was to type it. And then it happened.

The monitor started flickering.

There it would go. In and Out. In and Out. Every time it started to flicker, I thought, "oh no! This can't be happening."

I barely made it through the tests. They were saved and printed. But I just couldn't believe it, another monitor! And on a night like that. I almost never bring work home to be typed on the computer, and the one night that I do, the monitor starts to go out. Wouldn't it just figure?