Rarely do I read something that urges me to say "amen" but in reading Ramblings of a Math Mom today, I wanted to cheer. The author spoke to the issue that teaching math is hard and it requires a masterful teacher.
I have other friends whose school does an awesome job with Everyday Math, though I realize that that appears to be the exception and not the rule with that curriculum. What is key is great teachers, in either case. But that is all I am saying about particular curricula.....
While many teachers can and do follow the script provided to them by their adopted instructional text, it takes someone with vision and knowledge to make that conversation come alive. It is SO not about which text you adopt....and it is SO about the expertise that the teacher brings to the table.
I can tell you that this is true of Connected Math Program. I use this curriculum in my room and it has taken me years to get really good at it....to make it seem fun and easy....to instill the commitment to work hard even though you don't start off well.....to know the connections to help students make...to know the patterns that should be uncovered and how to lead them to finding those....and on and on and on. It is the years of experience and thought that has created this environment and the capacity I now have to be good at teaching math.
Teaching isn't for anyone who doesn't want to work hard....who doesn't want to believe that all can do it....that empowering children to believe in their inate ability to do well in math. And I'm here to tell you that these kinds of teachers don't come along everyday.
Our country needs to wake up and figure out that we need to be more rigorous in the preparation of teahcers. Then we need to figure out how to strengthen them once they are in the classroom....and I'm not talking about the typical mentoring programs. yes, you do need to figure out classroom managment but it is so much bigger than that. It needs to be about falling in love with mathematics. It's about sharing that love of the content with children in powerful, compelling ways that make them interested and excited to work hard and to uncover the secrets/patterns that await them.