Standing in front of the class declaring all the interesting facts about mathematical concepts feels wonderful. I enjoy math, I enjoy explaining mathematical concepts, and I enjoy watching students as they learn math.
The “hurt” is felt when it’s time to grade exams. Some students are able to explain mathematical concepts, but have a hard time writing their explanations mathematically. Some students can solve problems intuitively but cannot write the procedures the way they are taught. Some students have anxiety attacks at the mere thought of taking a math exam, even when they know the material.
I understand the importance of tests, but I am a fan of assessments (not standardized, but individualized). Most of my students understand the basic concepts that I teach and can explain them to me during class. However, during quizzes and exams, those same students perform poorly. This is when it hurts! My heart just sinks when I know a student understands a concept, but cannot recall it during an exam.
The ultimate “hurt” happens when it’s time to submit final grades and students just don’t make the grade, so to speak. My students are really “good” people who are trying to get through college so they can pursue their dreams. Should one class get in the way?
Of course, the answer is obvious, but there are systems in place. They are there for a reason, even when we disagree.