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Time to flee Chattanooga...

2003-10-08 12:53:11.547136+00 by ebradway 8 comments

What is this picture of? Your worst fears realized... These are three local math teachers in the public school system. I'm really scared now. Here's the article on the University's web site.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Photography Mathematics Education ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Time to flee Chattanooga... made: 2003-10-08 14:47:55.229762+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Wow. what a bad picture. I would bet it was a satire.. but no.. it's real. Sob. and the story.. In other places, 6th graders are learning calculus.. ours are estimating and measuring trash.

#Comment Re: Time to flee Chattanooga... made: 2003-10-08 18:34:43.167398+00 by: ccoryell

What about this picture suggests that these three women are not qualified and capable math teachers? We have no idea what the context of this picture is, perhaps they were specifically trying to look goofy.

Also, I think that trash volume estimation is a great skill to practice. In my professional career I have used differential equations probably 5 times, calculus several dozen times and estimation problems exactly like figuring the trash volume coming out of a stadium hundreds of times.

Yesterday we were doing back of the envelope calculations estimating when I could store archive.org on a machine that costs less that $10,000. (I wanted a local backup of the internet for when my net connection went down, right now I think they have 300TB growing at 12TB/month, storage costs ~$3K/2TB and halving every year.)

#Comment Re: Time to flee Chattanooga... made: 2003-10-08 18:40:51.6461+00 by: Diane Reese

I don't quite understand. It's a silly picture of 3 women who were probably having a refresher day on how to make their curriculum more relevant to their students, and were goofing around for the photographer. What's "scary" about it/them? There's also nothing wrong, IMO, with bringing reality into math in school. For a small percentage of kids who are turned on by math, this won't be sufficient or challenging, and for them there should be options to advance more quickly. But for others, for whom math quickly loses relevance, something like estimation of trash generation and carosel speed time might be just the ticket to keeping students involved and learning.

PS: meuon, can you cite places where "6th graders are learning calculus"? My older son (who is one of the most intellectually gifted people I have ever met, all false modesty aside) first studied Calculus as an 8th grader at an academically selective private school in Silicon Valley, but he is one of only 3 students the school has ever approved for this acceleration in curriculum. It is not common by any means.

No sense in overstating things to make a point. Now, if you'd said that in other places, 10th graders are learning Calculus, I wouldn't have poked at you about it. :-)

#Comment Re: Time to flee Chattanooga... made: 2003-10-09 00:03:19.57383+00 by: Dan Lyke

It's weird, because I know exactly why Eric cringes at this picture, having spent some time in 'Nooga, and yet...

The absolute worst grade school teacher I ever had was the total antithesis of these ladies. Yes, she was part of the Hamilton County education system, and part of the reason I told my parents "screw this, I'm moving back to Connecticut to finish High School", but she was white, dressed conservatively, and had a look I'd expect to see at the Walden Club, not out at a 'cue place on South Main.

Dunno, no answers here. Maybe it's just us west coasters who aren't having the reaction?

#Comment Re: Time to flee Chattanooga... made: 2003-10-09 03:14:21.653943+00 by: Diane Reese

"West coasters"? Sir, I do not (yet) accept that label, having spent my first 43 years living between DC and the suburbs of NYC.

#Comment Re: Time to flee Chattanooga... made: 2003-10-10 04:05:22.97006+00 by: Shawn

I don't get it either (I'll cop to the full-blooded west coaster label - never lived anywhere else). I was delighted with what I read in the article. Wish there were more teachers like that.

#Comment Re: Time to flee Chattanooga... made: 2003-10-10 15:22:02.836596+00 by: Diane Reese

Is it because they appear to have bad teeth and bad hair days (perhaps on a regular basis)? I'm still trying to understand what's scary...

#Comment Re: Time to flee Chattanooga... made: 2003-10-10 15:42:35.392107+00 by: Dan Lyke

If I put this in the context of Chattanooga, they look like any number of dive bar's resident lushes, who speak English with an unintelligibly thick accent and generally have anyone who hasn't had a pitcher and a half edging towards the door. I'm not sure I can individually point out each of the qualities that makes me react to them that way, but the teeth, the hair, and the expressions and poise all contribute to that feeling.

Out here I run into that particular pose and expression in many more situations, not all of which involve life-threatening quantities of alcohol or controlled substances, so I'm less tweaked by it, but I do see why Eric would react that way.