A bunch of math teachers had a meeting today, so I got to cover algebra. Yippee.
The students were factoring quadratic equations. Ms. R. had a different way of doing this, so she made sure I understood her method before the day began. After glancing through the notes, I was up to speed pretty quickly. (It's a great way to do it. Simple and easy for the math-phobic to do once they get the hang of it. If I wasn't sure I'd bore you, I'd give details.)
At the beginning of each class, I stated that I could help if any of them needed it. I prefaced this by saying that they should look through their notes first. I think that was the problem.
It was fourth period. I walked around and helped those that needed it. But there were two at the back of the class who seemed to be doing more talking than working. As I was busy helping various students, I didn't get a chance to call them on it, at least not until near the end of the period.
I approached them in my usual manner: "Are you having some difficulty with the assignment."
They told me yes.
Yes is not the answer I usually get. I usually get students who remember that they should be working, and they at least make a pretense of working after that. So, I followed up the question with, "Why didn't you ask me for help sooner?" I guess my "could help" sounded like "couldn't help" at the back of the room.
There was a little time, so I spent it trying to get those students up to speed. I don't think I succeeded. I didn't have the time I needed.
If only I had asked that question sooner.
**Before I finish, I need to tell what my lie was. That paper I couldn't write: 3rd grade, not 4th. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan and Jeanne both were in the right paragraph, although they didn't pinpoint the exact lie (which was such a small one anyway), so I'm giving them credit for guessing it.**