We have a quiz in PreCalc tomorrow, so I created (what I thought was) a good review for today.  One of my first hour kids complained, “Why do you have us do sooo much review?  You’re stressing me out!”

It took everything within me not to tell the kid to sit his *** down right now and try the quiz cold–with no review.

I did give him a stern lecture about the rudeness of his words.

It probably was not in the kid’s benefit that I had not yet had my whole cup of coffee.

Then, second hour came, and I gave them the same instructions.  You want to know what they said?

Thank you for being such a great teacher that helps us know exactly what to expect on the quiz.

Now, that’s more like it!


I start Intermediate Algebra with a form of Counting Circles (but I call it “Sequencing”) every day.  Right now, we’re practicing powers of 2.  I had several expressions on the board (like 2^1, 2^-3, 2^0, etc.) in no particular order, and then we went around in the circle simplifying these.  One girl walked in when we were almost done.  I gave her 2^-5.  “Four,” she mumbled.  “No, try again, please,” I asked kindly, as it was clear she was in a mood today.  “Four, I said!”  My pause was greeted with a, “UGH!  I don’t know!  Leave me alone!”  [This kind of behavior from her no longer frazzles me.]  “Ok, look at 2^5.  Does that help?”  “Fine.  I guess it’s 1/32!”  “Yes!  Great!”  And then we started the review worksheet for today…

I gave her some space, but it was clear she much preferred her phone today as opposed to her lesson.  I finally got her to allow me to work some problems with her.  We sat together.  She did most of the work.  I acted as cheerleader/nanny/teacher for several minutes (thank God the other kids were fine today).  I finally got the victorious, “Ok, I got this now.”

When I came back to check her work…every single problem was correct.  “T!  Both sides of this paper are FLAWLESS!  You did not miss a single problem!  Now, that’s gotta make your day a little better than it was when you walked in here, huh?”

She nodded to the affirmative…and I even got a smile.  I think this is a very cool job/mission we have every day:  I hope that–every day–my kids leave my room happier than when they walked in…and that they know that nothing they could do would cause me not to love them.


One thought on “Kids…

  1. The scenario you describe is one or the other of several female students. I now know that each of those children is in deep need of some positive interaction and feedback. I love the way you handled that situation! I sigh when I see teachers who don’t want to “deal” with a student who is standoffish. They are losing the opportunity to acknowledge and connect deeply with that child. “I see you. I hear you. You matter to me. I believe in you,” are words that come alive for them through our responses to them.

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