Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Get Out Your Notes

Remember that special ed. algebra 1 class? Last week, I covered it again for three days. (The teacher had a training thing he had to go to.)

The classes were given review worksheets which turned out to be a good thing as the students clearly needed the practice. At least, it seemed so because of all the questions I got. 

Of course, it was a difficult chapter. Solving multi-step equations. Don't know what that means? It means that they were solving for x things that looked like
2x + 3(x+1) + 7 = 25
This is a challenge in the beginning. So, I made sure to go over things with them and help them as much as I could.

One girl got stuck on the 3(x+1) part. So, I explained the distributive property as well as I could. This involves a bit of hand waving along with pointing to the 3 and trying to indicate how it has to combine with the x and the 1.

All I got in return was a blank stare. So, I asked the girl to get out her notes.

I knew the teacher had gone over this with the class. I had seen the notes. He had shown the distributive property on them. I figured that perhaps seeing those notes might jog her memory.

But, she refused to move.

I asked her to get out her notes again. Told her that her notes would help. Explained that her teacher had done this with her and her notes might remind her of the procedure. Still, she stared at me, making no move to get into her backpack.

So, I walked away. My only two other options were to write her up for refusing my direction (kind of harsh) or going into her stuff and getting the notes out myself (which I'm not allowed to do, but even if I was, I wouldn't as that was her stuff).

A couple minutes later, I looked back, and she had gotten out her notes. She looked them over...

Next thing I saw, she was busily working on the assignment. Making progress. Because sure enough, those notes did contain the thing that I was not able to convey to her.

At the end of the period, she had not finished the assignment. The back and forth between us had taken a while.

Why do they fight me on these things? I don't really want an answer. I'm just shaking my head.


  1. Some kids just have to be difficult. I think she should be forced to look at calculus problems for punishment. It might be too cruel, though.

  2. She was too lazy to get up and get the notes. She wanted YOU to repeat it or get them for her. Glad you held your ground.


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