Our sixth hour Intermediate Algebra class has seemed to grow every day the last two weeks. Every time I pulled up my roster, I felt like there was another green name (aka new student). 

Thank goodness I have my partner in crime, my wonderful co-teacher, to keep me sane. [For example: today she spent half her plan to help create a seating chart. It was a mammoth of a puzzle. But I think we finally got a decent arrangement.]

All this to say, it’s been a rocky and inconsistent start to the semester.  

Today, though, as I was checking over the answers of one of the new students, he said, with all the gratitude in the world, “You’re a really good teacher, Mrs. Peterson. I’m learning a lot in this class.”

Oh man. I needed that so much. I had been feeling recently that maybe these kids weren’t learning anything. Are they really retaining the material? Am I holding them to a high enough standard? How will they do in their next math class? Will they take another math class? Will they go to college? What will their futures hold for them?

It’s a rabbit hole, I know. But I worry. 

But this young man’s comment reminded me of my original vision and philosophy for this class: get kids to like learning math again and help them feel successful. 

It took two grateful sentences from a teenager to refocus me and to remind me of what’s important.


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