One of my Intermediate students didn’t entirely finish her work for the day today. She worked all hour, but still had a few problems left.
“Can I come finish this during RAO?” (RAO is a time right before lunch for kids who have a D or F to stay in class and get some work done, as well as for any other kids to just come ask us questions.)
“Of course,” I said.
When she first started asking to come to RAO a few weeks ago, I didn’t think she would actually come. For most of my Intermediate kids, math class is not a high priority. I don’t say that with bitterness; it’s just a matter of reality for many of them. They have bigger fish to fry: like paying bills, taking care of younger siblings, translating for their parents, you name it.
So, in classes like this, I feel like I can either be a part of their continued problems, or a part of their solution. I can either demand that they make my class a priority (which, quite frankly, would leave me very disappointed), or I can work with them to learn as much as possible when in class and then leave it at that–and pick up where we left off the next day. That’s how we roll in Intermediate. The three teachers that teach it all feel our primary mission is to help kids feel successful at math again by giving them bite-size, palatable pieces each academic hour.
But even so, sometimes (not often) there are kids who still don’t finish their daily work. And in that case, we do expect them to complete their missed work on their own time.
Most of them just don’t and are ok with a low daily grade once in blue moon.
But this sweet girl comes every time she has work she needs to make up.
She doesn’t have to. She would still have a good grade. But there she is, completing her factoring assignment, asking questions as she needs.
She came back for factoring.
God only knows what bigger things are on her plate. But today she committed to finishing her factoring assignment.
And I have to believe that expecting these kids to finish their assignment, to have it checked for accuracy, and then to praise them for their work is lifting their souls…even if just a little.
Why else would you come back for factoring?