One Response to The Kids Are Alright or Don’t Look Too Deep For Your Next Step…

  1. Pamela says:

    Hi ottawabrent,

    I don’t know if this is too late for feedback, but I was probably one of your first students (grade 6 at Queen Mary, so I’m 25 now). I remember you as a fantastic teacher. I remember how you’d bring your guitar and sing us songs from Blur and your band (the Dandies, if I recall correclty). There was a song that went, “And you’ll go your way, and I’ll go my way, d’accord.” I wish I could remember how the rest of it went. It was great, but unfortunately just shy of the Youtube explosion. You had really innovative assignments, like pretending we were designing rooms to learn area calculations or pretending to write our own newspapers for current events.

    It’s okay if you don’t remember me, but if it helps, I left halfway through the year because I took the CCAT test. In university, I spent some time as a tutor in an elementary school, and it was odd seeing the experience from the outside, especially in the amount they had to learn. It is almost as if curriculums are living organisms that eat new ideas and are ever expanding, even though the room they live in stays the same size. In the face of the deluge of learning, it can be tempting to shut down completely and let it wash over you. I know because it happened to me in grade 7 and again in grades 9 and 10. But then something strange happened. Middle school algebra was a nightmare, but university calculus was effortless. There was an article by Andrew Hacker, “Is Algebra Necessary?” in the NYT. As you can imagine, it incited a massive flame war. As much I love and respect mathematics, I found myself guiltily agreeing with some of it.

    But as you said in your post, the kids are alright, and it was at least true in my case. I’m doing my PhD in Bioinformatics at NYU, and like most people my age, I’m just happy to have a job. Do I feel the irony of making a living out of what almost ruined my childhood? Everyday.

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