Be less helpful

I gave my kids some not-your-mama’s-calculus problems today. I said we’re going to the gym today and working those brains for an hour.

The questions were difficult, no doubt about it. I gave them several crutches: the right answers (they had to show the work), a partner, and the ability to skip any three problems without a dip in their score.

But because of that, I didn’t walk around the room for an hour like I usually do. I told them I was putting some distance between us on purpose, so they would feel that productive struggle. I tried to channel my inner Dan Meyer to “be less helpful.” But I am here to tell you, Dan, that is easier said than done for an Enneagram Two (Wing One).

The amount of grading I had left to do did make the sitting at my desk thing a bit more palatable.

In the end, my kids struggled through—and conquered—some pretty difficult questions. I loved watching a light bulb go off and then seeing that student explain it to the others around her. I loved hearing, “Oh, we are not skipping this one. I’m determined to get it now.”

And I got lots of grading done.

So there. I, too, can be less helpful.

Now. Who has a math question I can help with.

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