There is currently a movie out called "What Men Want". It is essentially a remake of "What Women Want" from 2000. The idea is that one person can hear the innermost thoughts of people of a different gender. If you had the misfortune of hearing my innermost thoughts you would learn that I would like an answer to this question...HOW????
How? What exactly does that mean? It means that I am really struggling with a quote that seems to be getting thrown in my direction an awful lot lately. That quote is one that I am guessing many of you have heard before.
"Our job is to teach the students we have. Not the ones we would like to have. Not the ones we used to have. Those we have right now. All of them."
- Dr. Kevin Maxwell
I am not going to go on a tirade about the students of today versus the ones when I started. I get that things have changed. Hopefully I have adjusted and will continue to do so. But I am really struggling with my general chemistry classes in particular.
For context, about 50% of our incoming class takes General Chemistry I. These are students with thoughts of majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, engineering, neuroscience, physics, and random other majors with thoughts of medical school. We have a placement exam that will allow students to place out of the first semester of General Chemistry. And we do allow AP scores of 4 or 5 to count for credit. But it is not uncommon for me to have first exams where 33% of the class scores greater than 90% and around 25% of the class scores less than 50%.
This has been going on for some time, but what prompted this BITeS was something that happened last week. We were working on a problem in class. I was walking around talking with students as they were working trying to get a feel for how it was going. I'll admit, I am better at responding to questions when doing this type of thing, but I am trying to force myself to be more proactive in starting the conversations. I came to a student that seemed to be stuck. This student was having a problem converting a fraction to a decimal (this was not the actual problem the student was having just in case they happen to read this, but the level is equivalent in my mind).