Could we revise the graduation standards? Yes we do have high expectations of our graduates. But what do they really need? COMMON SENSE. Do you know how far they could get in life if they just had a little common sense rather than none?
Several years ago, I had a student that had a probation officer. I have no idea what he had done to have one. But I always liked him and treated him with respect. He understood that I thought he was smart and could do well in school. As a result he put forth a strong effort in my class and did just fine. The thing that he had to get him through the tough stuff was common sense. He could read a question, get an answer and look at it and decide if he was on the right track or not.
Today I gave a final exam in my Trigonometry class. We’ve been doing SOH-CAH-TOA problems for ten weeks. The test involves the angle of elevation of the sun and the length of shadows. With this information, you can figure out the heights of objects. One problem has them calculate the height of a tree. The other has them calculate my height. The answer is indeed my actual height. (5.83*tan42)
As I was correcting tests after school I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Do I look like I’m 3.9 feet tall? 244.1? Holy crap!?! Is it too much to ask that they stop and wonder, does this answer make sense?
My next task? Trying to shake off this frustration.