I handed back tests today and my calc kids worked on their folder of corrections to turn in for the quarter.
When I handed back a test to one kid, his friend peaked at his grade. “WHOA! That’s AWESOME, man!” the friend said, as he saw the A the first kid earned.
The friend himself did not do as well.
But, in the end, wouldn’t you rather have a kind kid above all? I’d take an encouraging comment over an A any day.
That’s the real goal as parents and as teachers.
My favorite thing I saw while grading nearly a hundred folders today was this:
Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to get to teach kids who love math. (Not all of them do–but some of them!) I love my little nerds so very much. I think it’s so important that we nurture this love of mathematics. That we don’t consider it weird. That we embrace this passion: especially in girls.
That’s one of my hidden goals as a female calculus teacher: that I make it abundantly clear to my girls–and maybe more importantly, my boys–that girls are just as capable in math and science as boys are. I hope that when my girls doubt themselves or when my boys are tempted to believe a stereotype, they look back to their calculus experience, and think, “No. Girls can, too.”