I had been dreading sixth hour all day long. My fabulous co-teacher was home sick, and I had planned to play a review game (in the form of Bingo) with my Intermediate Algebra kids. But games with that group and just one adult…well, let’s just say you’re asking for it.
I decided to go ahead with the game anyway because I didn’t have anything else planned. And, as a student pointed out yesterday, I’m a Ravenclaw so I never just wing it.
Sixth hour came and the kids were actually quite delightful. Mind you, I had to waddle around the room about fifty times to make sure everyone was following the directions and actually doing the work, but they stayed on task and I think actually enjoyed the game!
As they were getting closer and closer to a Bingo, the kids would say, “Can you please call Problem #____?!”
I’m sorry…did I hear that correctly? Are these kids asking to work math problems? These students? The ones that are credit deficient or lacking satisfactory state testing scores in mathematics? They want to work another problem? And yet another?
Yes–they do. Because math is fun and beautiful (and you don’t even have to put it in the form of a game to come to this conclusion). But so often these poor kids are forced to abide by our state cookie-cutter tests when they are anything but cookie-cutter human beings.
And so they’ve failed these tests. Over and over. And you know what conclusion they’ve come to? They’re bad at math. Math is no fun. In fact, math just might be impossible.
That’s what I love about teaching Intermediate (full disclosure–I only have one section of it). It’s quite the departure from the other classes I teach. But I love getting to witness kids enjoy math again. Kids who maybe had given up on it for a while.
Because let’s face it: no baby is born hating math. It’s just something we have to work to rekindle sometimes.