Teachers battling with maths? WTF!

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There goes my faith in education! Unless you really do live under a rock I am sure you have heard about this, but here in South Africa news like that just does not shock us anymore. We hear it and we think ‘Oh well, we all suspected that anyways.’ If you want to read more about it take a look at this article:

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Teachers-battling-with-simple-maths-20110404

For those of you who are too lazy to read that article the teachers are struggling with simple maths such a working out percentages etc. We all know maths is the kind of subject you either like or you don’t but how can you employ people to teach a subject they themselves have no clue about? This is Primary school maths. If you do not develop a strong foundation from an early age how can you expect children to excel at it later on in life? Education is so important in a child’s life I think it is a joke that people are employed who cannot do simple maths. It starts there and then spreads to every other subject so each teacher should just be allowed to make up their own garbage then instead of following a text-book they do not even understand. Then they say that just because the teachers perform so poorly does not mean it has an effect on the children they try to teach everyday. What is important to the children is that someone is present in the classroom. Um, get a baby sitter. Teachers are paid a salary to teach, not to be present in a classroom.

Maybe I am being to harsh, but it seems South Africa is starting to settle for mediocre instead of striving for exceptional. I remember this brilliant dj who was talking about the ‘dumbing down of society’ and how we all just accept it instead of raising the bar and pushing people to perform to the best of their ability instead of just settling for average. Education needs to be solid from day one. It is not alright to have second-rate educators at primary school level and then suddenly expect children to excel when IF they progress to high school. Education is key. There are loads of different ideas as to what education you need to become a teacher and as far as I know I could have gone from my Drama Degree and studied one year of teaching and then I would have been placed in a teaching position. Not necessarily a Mathematics teacher.

What are your views on this? At the same time just because you are good at something does not mean you can teach it, but you at least have to know what you are teaching is correct. Sometimes it is a profession people go in to make some money. It happens in every industry so why should education be any different? Some of us may pull our noses up, because we do not think the salaries for teachers are that fantastic, but for some people any salary will do.

ME

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2 responses »

  1. The results of this aren’t surprising at all. A few years ago SA used to participate in some international testing of Maths and guess what, we came last out of the dozens of countries taking part. You’d think that would get the Dept of Education to wake up and do something about it? Instead they stopped participating in the testing.

    One looks at Maths today at schools and people can pass Maths with a 30% pass rate? 30%!

    I’m sorry…in my books 30% will always be a failing mark.

    There are lots of examples across the world that show the very strong, positive correlation between the quality of the teachers and the quality of the education the students receive. There’s an excellent documentary called “Looking for Superman” that looks at some of the same issues that plague American schools.

    Too many of our teachers are more concerned about their own well-being and not that of their students. I have always felt that being a teacher was more of a calling than simply a job…like nurses or policemen. Look at the behaviour of our teachers last year — schools came to a standstill for a month while they were on strike for more money…and early signs are that we are heading for more of the same this year.

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