As a PI 4 school, (be thankful if you don't know what that is- NCLB at it's worst) I have lost my autonomy in the classroom. I am expected to teach as my colleagues do, and if they aren't comfortable with an exploratory style of teaching and learning, then there is pressure on me not to do it either. I drill students on algorithms with no time to develop comprehension. It takes a while to get a room full of 12-year-olds to understand concepts and often needs messy lessons that take a day or two to bear fruit. In a climate of teach to the test and teacher uniformity, there is no longer room for me to teach for comprehension or retention of key ideas. I feel like a dog trainer on some days, especially with the most struggling students. Adding fractions CAN make sense, even to child who (still!) hasn't learned her times tables, but it takes time and lots of untidy manipulatives. Instead we do drill and kill and then are surprised when we have to start from ground zero a week later.
Hence, my title. Even with all the management and teaching techniques in the world, I dont' feel successful with teaching rules instead of leading students to understand the meaning in the math that we are studying. Crummy pedagogy is always bad for learning, and it makes me wonder where the line between teaching to the the test and malpractice is.
Common Core is MUCH more to my taste and I can't wait to implement. If we do have to teach to the test, (NCLB isn't going away) at least let us teach to a really good test!