I just wonder sometimes where education has gone wrong.
With kids whose experience of Maths has been failure and confusion, I like to build up their confidence by spending long enough on a topic for them really to feel they understand it. To go fairy-step by fairy-step so they’re saying “This is easy, Miss” in that lovely tone of utter surprise. I like to seize on opportunities to do something that’s fun, like tying learning about money into putting together a Christmas wish list (cutting and pasting the toy section of an Argos catalogue onto a Christmas stocking cutout and listing the prices and what coins you could use to buy them, or what change you’d get from a £20 note – i.e. very little!) and learning to tell the time by making clocks and calendars.
And do you know what? It works. I have few children in my groups who are afraid of maths any more, and all are making outstanding progress. BUT
I am no longer to do this. I have been given my orders. I an to adhere more closely to the national curriculum. This esteemed document informs me that within the next three weeks leading up to Christmas I am to teach my nine-and-ten-year-olds: the time, weighing, measuring, capacity, using metric and imperial measure, adding, subtracting mentally and on paper, basic decimals, multiplication tables, worded problems, coordinates, transformations and number sequences. Whether they are ready for it or not.
Why do I do this job? Why? Why? Why? Does my professional integrity and expertise count for nothing?