It’s over (a break-up letter)

I’ve been thinking about this for some time now and I need to tell you that I feel it’s time to go our separate ways.
Reading Time: 2 minutes
July 18, 2021

Dear maths resource,

I’ve been thinking about this for some time now and I need to tell you that I feel it’s time to go our separate ways.

It isn’t you (well, it is a little). It’s me...I need more from this sort of relationship. 

Remember when we first got together? Sipping coffee side by side in the staff room, you told me about how much you would improve student learning in my classroom. You dazzled me with your beautiful worksheets, and gamified lessons. We spoke for hours about how easy your digital content was to use and how helpful your team was (it isn’t and they weren’t). I felt we were really on the same page about our teaching philosophies and what we could offer one another. 

Or so it seemed.

The more time we’ve spent together the more I’ve realised that we’re very different, you and I. 

I want to support all of my students in their unique maths journeys through true differentiation. But you disguise grouping by achievement level as personalised learning. 

I want to give my students content that is engaging and is proven to scaffold their maths learning. But you prioritise gimmicks over outcomes. 

I want data that is timely and actionable so I can use it to inform my practice. But you spit out useless spreadsheet after useless spreadsheet with no practical information. 

I want to assess my students with diagnostic, formative and summative assessments so I can get a complete picture of where they are at and what they’re ready to learn next. But you assess students within a “two levels up and two levels down” range and call that comprehensive. Do you even know that maths is learnt on a continuum? 

I certainly kept my end of the deal… prepared lessons, assessed students, corrected a zillion said we would do this together but your heart was never truly in it.

You might say you’re about best-practice. But we both know you’re not. Where’s the explicit teaching? The handwritten work? ‘Guaranteed’ to improve my practice? The only thing that’s guaranteed here is your inability to evolve and be committed to growing with me. 

If we’re honest, it’s not working and it never will. It’s best that we part ways now.

I do genuinely hope that this letter will give you the push that you need to be better for all Australian maths teachers and students. Because we deserve it. In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on another solution that fulfils all my maths learning and teaching needs...

No longer yours, 

Maths teachers everywhere.

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