Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hi.

A high school Social Studies teacher may have a degree in History, but may be called upon to teach Economics, Business Law, Personal Finance, Sociology, Psychology, Criminal Science, or whatever subjects fall under Social Science, despite having little or zero background in that subject. We just assume the teacher will learn what he or she needs.

A high school or college Math teacher may have a degree in Math, but that doesn't mean he or she has taken every possible Math course. College Geometry? Finite Math? Statistics? Cryptography? A Math teacher may be called upon to teach one of these, despite having little or zero background in that subject. We just assume the teacher will learn what he or she needs.

So when a small college puts Accounting in its Math department, and decides that Accounting will fulfill a student's Math requirement, is it so surprising that the college will ask a Math teacher to teach Accounting? They did, and I am.

I did take a semester of college Accounting, decades ago. I have worked in my non-academic career with accountants. And trust me, Accounting 1 is not rocket science. So I am teaching Accounting.

The part that bothers me is that unlike the claim I make when I teach Math, I do not have a passion for Accounting.

Any comments? Would you agree to teach Accounting?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Math is hard.  Although so is putting on eyeliner - not that I've done a lot of that.




Hi.  Something not discussed in my various teacher trainings is normalizing the difficulty of an exam.  In teaching a course for the first time, I borrow another teacher's exams, and then I try to create mine that seem about equal in difficulty.  But how difficult is my exam, and is it the appropriate level of difficulty?  For a gen ed community college math course, I sort of think the very best student should get close to 100, and the class average ought to be about 75.  Of course this assumes students attend nearly every class, pay attention in class, take notes in class, do the assigned homework, etc.; assumptions that have not been exactly true in my classes.  Maybe this also assumes I am a decent teacher.  I have been curving my exams about 15 points to account for the fact that maybe my exams were too hard, and I was perhaps not the most effective teacher. Hopefully I will improve my exam creation with experience and curve less in the future.