I really really dislike how simple procedurals understandings can destroy my ability to get through higher level topics. More and more I'm starting to notice that syntax and low level numeracy cause me the most headaches.
In both instances a majority of my students wouldn't see the problem with the how the problems were input. These types of issues crop up in Algebra II, moreso students having issues juggling negative numbers, but lack of ( ) awareness is definitely present. In Pre Cal it's just maddening because I expect a bit more out of them. Especially so when I scream and shout (and let it all out) warnings about ( ) dangers so. many. times. Lack of ( ) awareness and my second favorite "does radian mode matter for [something that's not trig]?" get in the way so frequently.
There's got to be something I can do about it. And why does this happen? Is it their Algebra I teacher? Is it TI's problem? Should I start taking the calculators away? A fundamental disconnect between the way we write math and type it? Do we need to start having Math Literacy 101 every week? To still be facing these problems so late in the school year means my current approach is ineffective.