2011 Oct 25: The action on Twitter indicates that few people are looking past the infographic itself before mashing the retweet button so let me put this out in front: I think it's a losing game to share this image with math students.
Another day, another provider of online degrees looking to boost their PageRank by trading some trinket for a link. (Link responsibly.) In this case, we have an infographic from Rasumussen College. Click for larger.
A couple of quick ones on this:
- I just don't think you can ask a student to endure twelve years of frustrating math instruction now with the promise of a job making $70k as an architect later. It isn't just kids who are lousy at delaying gratification like this, it's everybody. And you're asking them to do more than delay gratification. You're asking them to delay gratification and embrace something they dislike. Tell me to put down the maple bar for the sake of a healthy heart later and I might — might! — accommodate you. Tell me to put down the maple bar and lick a cactus instead and I'll definitely tell you where you can shove your infographic.
- Good news about learning second-year algebra and trigonometry, though. It seems you're well-positioned for a career teaching second-year algebra and trigonometry. (See also: careers in physics.)
- A week ago, Jason Buell took on the tortured concept of the "real world," particularly as it relates to due dates but also in the sense that everyone's real world is different and immediate. I'm posting his last paragraph because it's exactly right:
The other is that our students are living in the real world right now. There is nothing more real to a student than right now. Their friends, their enemies, their greatest loves and biggest heartbreaks, their passions, their hopes and their dreams are wrapped up in a few buildings, a quad area, and a blacktop. Saying this isn't "the real world" diminishes everything there is about a student. Stop preparing kids for the real world and prepare them for right now.
Why complicate things? My favorite reason to do math is fun. Seriously. Make that your premise and prove it throughout the year.