Letters to the Editor
A proud, traditional teacher
published: Jan 19, 2006
To the Editor:
I was a 5th- and 6th-grade teacher (in Manhattan) for almost 34 years. I retired in 2002. There were many years when I had classes of 32 students. They sat in rows, and I taught with only a piece of chalk.
It was definitely a “no-frills” approach. The students had sets of textbooks in all the subject areas. They had a basal reader as well as comprehension and phonics workbooks. My classes were quiet places where children were given instruction in a very traditional style. My bulletin boards were decorated with store-bought materials.
I taught math applications! Today, from what I understand, that is not allowed. I am told that children sit in groups to discuss strategies to solve word problems.
Well, my students could do examples such as these:
3 4/5 + 7 1/4 =
8 1/3 - 4 1/2 =
13.3 x 4.9 =
257.9 x .31 =
2 3/4 x 7 1/7 =
My goodness! All this discussion and quibbling over the minutes in the school day seems preposterous! I agree smaller classes are certainly a step in the right direction; there can never be a downside to that! But, it also seems to me that even a limited return to a back-to-basics approach (especially in math) is necessary.
Education should be about “quality,” not “quantity.” Students and teachers are tired after a long day.
Marjorie Levine, retired