My cooperating teacher spends an inordinate amount of time teaching basic math skills in science class to eighth-grade students. These students seem to have a brain freeze when they encounter division. He does not allow the students to use calculators but the numbers are actually fairly simple and, other than needing to know how to set up the problem and where to put the decimal, the actual arithmetic is fairly straightforward. I’m not sure how I feel about the calculator issue – on the one hand, every cell phone has one; on the other hand, you have to know if you are in the ballpark to know if you pushed the correct buttons. It is terrible to watch the impact of poor math skills on a student’s understanding of density, which is a relatively simple concept if the student is comfortable with division.

I think Middle School age students are lots of fun and really enjoy their enthusiasm and energy. This is not all that common a reaction as I have seen teachers and parents recoil when I mention teaching at that level. I observed a High School Chemistry class this week and the contrast was startling. The material being presented that day was fairly dry but I think they were mostly being “too cool for school”. My question is to determine whether my enjoyment of being with Middle School students could compensate for the simplicity of the Science that I would be teaching at that level. Of course, it might be presumptuous to assume that I will get to choose where or to whom I teach Chemistry.

*Completely Random*: It was school spirit day on Friday and everyone wore school colors. The shirt that I ranted about shopping for here came in handy. Ya just never know.