Post Vax Life

My daughter teaches high school math. She taught summer school this year for kids who failed Algebra I. She noticed that kids had learned to find the answer online without learning the concept and seemed to want the answers fed to them.

I in no way want to minimize the impact Covid has had on our youngsters, but to offer hope it might help to know we’ve had several refugees in my school, some who arrive without even knowing how to say “hello” in English. They’ve usually missed years of schooling in their country and have seen war - the really horrid sides of war. My heart goes out to those students and I can’t help but be really sad when I see the same thing going on in Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere. I wish all people in this world would grow up and learn to live and let live.

Yet by 12th grade (even if they are a year or two older than their peers), the vast majority of the refugee students do well. They go to college if they want to. (Many do.) They do well there too and become successful adults in all sorts of professions.

If we adults are too negative around our kids they may not realize they can handle the pandemic. If we remind them of the many, many students throughout history to now who have endured worse and still done well, they’re more likely to realize they can too.


I heard a segment on this earlier this week, but discussing college students. Chegg and other online tools are feeding students the answers so they get a passing grade, but they have no mastery of the concepts. They were justifying it by citing the need to just get by during the pandemic. Makes me glad this will be my last year of full-time teaching. I hope your daughter and other younger teachers can find the motivational tools to shift this trend.


My county’s public school system has always pushed math to the point they put kids in higher level classes when they didn’t belong there.

Years ago, I read an article about a local HS math teacher in our public school system at a competitive magnet school. He said the kids come with in with their fancy calculators and spit out the right answer, but the don’t understand the concepts.

That article stuck with me so this issue has always been a concern of mine for my kids - I am probably the only parent in our hyper-competitive parent county who has said “Are you sure she is ready for that class? Maybe should should be in [lower level] class?” :grinning:

I can only image how bad it is now for kids! But I agree with people above who said kids are resilient - they can catch up!

That said, COVID will make the “gap” even wider. While many parents worked from home during COVID and could stay on top of their kids, many could not. Many parents have the resources to get what their kids need to catch up (tutors, books, etc.), but many do not.

Yes, this has been going on for years. I wish calculators were almost banned in math classes, only used once all the basics are down or for those who have serious math issues and need them (not heading to any sort of math career). I’ve seen teachers actually teach topics (fractions, negatives, quadratics) solely with calculators vs concepts. Kids have no idea when they mess up with the buttons because they have no idea what the answer should be (roughly). I’ve seen kids in Alg 2 get stressed when I asked them to do 4x100 without a calculator and had different students argue with me that (-2)^2 is -4 because they forgot parentheses when doing the math via calculator. It’s really frustrating.

Rant over. Back to Post Vax life…


I don’t blame this guy at all for resigning:

He’s far more at risk than I am and I don’t plan to return to school while the wave is high.

It’s amazing how selfish the student was. I sure wouldn’t be proud of her if she were mine - she didn’t care a hoot about the prof. My kids aren’t perfect, but they definitely care about others. Chances are she’s like her parents though. Apples tend to not fall far.


More detail from the student newspaper The Red & Black:

The professor is an 88-year-old retiree-rehire.

Another part of the page says:

1 Like

Good heavens, what is wrong with people? Being asked to wear a mask is not the end of the world … especially when not wearing a mask might possibly contribute to the end of the professor’s world. Too many seem to have a very messed up moral compass, if they have a moral compass at all. It makes me sick.


I think this student was mighty selfish…but UGA doesn’t have a mask mandate…and that really is THE problem here.


@Creekland, my favorite when I was teaching chemistry is the kid who had no idea how to use their calculator, and would give you an answer containing ten to some absurd power, more than there are atoms in the universe! When I asked them if that made sense, their reply was “but that’s what the calculator said!”

I heard a professor from Boston University speak once who taught freshman chemistry with calculators banned. All his problems could be solved either in your head or doing simple math on scrap paper. It was all about kids getting the concepts with him, not about some meaningless answer.


My sons calculus class in college did not allow calculators


I still think the bigger problem is the selfishness of the girl. In the world I like there wouldn’t have to be common decency rules. Covid could not exist, the prof could have asked the students to wear a mask due to his health issues, and all students would have willingly complied because they cared about him.

There’s no way I’d hire (or recommend) a gal like her for any job. Some traits I like to see in employees go way beyond “what” they know how to do.

Around here employers sometimes ask me what I think about a student - if I know the student well enough, I’ll answer honestly.


well this UGA professor succeeded in requiring masks Georgia professor bucks administrators to order masks in classrooms


At medical lad’s hospital they are getting bigger and bigger protests out front. It’s sad. He said he always goes in/out a different way when they’re there so no one can take a picture of him as a doctor as if he were part of the group. He also said he’s seen at least one person in a short white coat standing there - probably pretending to be a doctor. Doctors have long white coats, but if he hadn’t told me that, I wouldn’t have known.

It’s so wearisome for those who work there.

Lightening the mood, youngest son asked him if he took note of those out there in case he meets them in the hospital later. “Ah sir, I see you’ve met The Conspiracy, well don’t worry, this tank says oxygen, but it’s really Ivermectin inside. I’m sure you knew that all along.”


Saw the suggestion this morning that anyone who protests outside of a hospital blocking or verbally/physically harassing patients/providers/staff should be banned from ever getting treatment of any sort from that hospital.

I could get on board with that.

It would be similar to anyone causing a ruckus anywhere (store, restaurant, etc) getting banned from that place.

Let them have their protests elsewhere or at least quietly out of the way of those with everyday life going on.


While it is an interesting idea, once a hospital puts up an emergency room sign I feel fairly certain that would not be legal.