Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Needing Help

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.** 


  1. I missed your lie!

    If students are going to talk or act out, it's going to be in math. If they don't get it, they give up. When I sub math, I feel like I can't help them as much as they need. That's why I avoided those assignments.

  2. You have a difficult job, like Theresa. I don't know how you do it, but I truly appreciate how hard you try!

  3. The math sounds like so much fun! *is geek*

    Nice to meet you fellow Crusader!

  4. Marieke, you're not a geek. Or, I am too. Not sure which.

  5. LOL -- I guessed wrong! Great fib, though :))

  6. Personally, I think that people need to take a certain amount of responsibility for their own education. I know that these are children that we're talking about. However, if a person doesn't understand something then they need to get it clarified rather than screw around and waste time. Wasting someone's time is about the most disrespectful thing that you can do and you are definitely not at fault here (this in regard to your comment that you should have asked sooner).

  7. So can I call you when my high schooler comes home with a math problem I can't fix? :)


I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.