What seems relevant isn’t always relevant; this is one of the many things I am learning in this student teaching experience. The senior course “Business Math” that I will be teaching consists of all important and “relevant” math these students will need when they graduate. We cover hourly wage, overtime, savings accounts, writing checks, taxes etc. Now this is that “real” math those students are always asking for while they’re factoring or playing with quadratics. So imagine my surprise when these seniors show they could care less about this course. They are bored, uninterested and find this content extremely non-relevant.
After a grueling 5 days on hourly wage and overtime pay my co-op made the comment that, “Hey – this isn’t even what you get to take home, but we’ll talk about taxes later.” A couple of students groaned and one student called out, “Yea, well strippers don’t have to pay taxes so…” And about three other girls started nodding their heads. Now, I don’t even care if these girls want to be strippers or that one student did divulge to Mr. M last year that her dream in life is to become a pole dancer my honest reaction was, “Shit, this is just as irrelevant as Trig.”
I need to always remember the student context when creating my lessons. I don’t want to take this course content for granted – just because it seems more practical they should want to learn it for the sake of learning it. I am starting to realize that this class may be even more challenging than my PSSA prep class but I’m looking forward to finding (appropriate) and engaging ways to hook these students.