Thursday, September 1, 2022

Back to Normal

Ninth grade math. (It's basically a bit of algebra and a bit of geometry, the easier topics of both.) 

It's early in the year, so the class had a simple review of solving for X worksheet with a coloring component. 

(To make some of these math review worksheets "fun", they make them with puzzles that can only be solved if the students work the problems correctly. It can be a riddle with the answer being a really bad pun. Or they might make a picture in a color by numbers thing. There are hundreds of these things for most math levels, and teachers generally give them out on sub days.)

I got class started and passed out the worksheets. 

I noticed a boy not doing any work. In fact, he didn't have his worksheet on his desk. I questioned him on this. 

He explained that he was waiting for his neighbor to get done. They were "working together" which he interpreted as meaning his neighbor did all the work, and then he'd copy. 

Yeah, no, I wasn't having any of that. If they wanted to work the problems together, fine. But the whole copying thing... Doesn't fly with me.

The boy didn't understand why I had a problem with this. 

I asked if the neighbor was going to be available to do the boy's test for him.

(He had some excuse, but I got distracted by something else.) 

Did he do his own work? Nope, not really. But this is how one gets one's name in my note, so his teacher knows to watch out for him.

Sadly, this sort of thing is common. They never listen to my explanation of why it's a bad idea, so it always gets referred to the teacher. 


  1. The bad thing about kids in school is they think they can cut corners, not do the work, cheat and so on.....they don't realize that they are learning this stuff for a reason, to help make it in the world. Yep, they might not ever use Shakespeare or Greek Mythology, maybe not even geometry.....but step one is learning to work on your own, do your own work and do it well, not depending on anyone else, when they get a job having learned those things is a big start.

    1. Yes. Exactly. But at that age, some of them just don't get it. It's about getting the task done with as little effort as possible. Later on, they may figure out what the point of it all was.

  2. Hi..back again, Shakespeare might not get you going in a job (depending on what type of job, maybe as a teacher) but I have been known to spout off parts of Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, and

  3. Ah, another future enrollee in the School of Real Life, where he will learn that lesson you tried to teach him the hard way...maybe. When he's ready to learn it. Some people never are ready.

    1. True. Most of them seem to get it by junior year, but yes, some never do.

  4. Hi Liz - the power of understanding ... all the best with your pupils - cheers Hilary

  5. Once upon a time in high school there was a girl who “liked” to copy my algebra homework. I enjoyed the challenge of solving for x and y and z, but I usually screwed up my arithmetic so got the answer wrong. I figured if she continued to want wrong answers, she was welcome to go for it.

  6. There's always some he think it's fine to let others do the work


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