Thursday, January 12, 2006

"Faking It"

I must have really looked as frazzled as I felt today (full moon coming?), because by my last period, at the start of class while we were reviewing for tomorrow's quiz, as I was talking and trying to get a point across to my chatty bunch of spaz cookies ..... one of my students said,"Ms. ___. ... smile."

That was a nice little wake up call as to how I was coming across. So for the rest of the class, I put on my happy (and not too fake) smile and kidded around with them and helped them through the review.

Another reminder I needed ..... it's so easy to get caught up in my routine of preparing for class and grading and passing back homework and thinking about what comes next and getting too easily convinced that everyone knows how to do the math we're doing when a few pipe up with the answers, that .... I was totally floored the other day when one of my students couldn't do a "simple" thing we had learned months ago. This was apparent when I was walking around checking on homework.

I knew she wasn't the "quickest" in class, but I didn't know she had THAT much difficulty. Now that I see it in writing here, it seems obvious, but what I guess I'm trying to say is that I was ASSUMING (and you know what that means) that if she was having that much difficulty, she would come in for help (hasn't).

So I've been making a concerted effort to make more comments on her homework (and ditto for another few students that I've now noticed are "faking it"), and I now see her (and them) paying more attention in class. Hope it lasts in their case and in mine.


  1. Anonymous2:30 PM

    I am teaching high school algebra 1. I have two types of classes. I have two classes of purely freshmen, and then I have a class of repeaters. I have noticed that a lot of my repeaters are just "faking it". They just write things down to get through. No matter how hard I try to get them to come in for help, or constantly look at their work, they do not seem to care. I have called parents and tried to do my best, but it is not working like I would hope it would. Some of these parents are frustrated with their own kids and do not know what to do to help.

    Most kids are just faking so that they can get through and get their D-. How do I motivate these kids? I try to call on them when they know the answer to see if that builds up their self esteem. Some of my kids will still not answer.

    I love my class. I have fun with them. But they are a tough bunch of kids.

    I want them to be succesful so bad!


  2. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Hi Kara,

    In the past I have taught a "lower level" algebra 1 class. Here are various things that worked for me, but BIG GRAIN OF SALT: every class is different, and I think you have to keep trying various things until you find things that work. Good luck.

    * I poll the class for feedback on how things are going in life and school and class. Before I hand out the paper and put the questions on the overhead, we have a brief discussion on constructive as opposed to bad criticism. I've gotten good feedback and insight into the kids at various times: everything from "you're going too fast" to "more practice"...

    * I heavily relied on "Pizzazz" type worksheets that had problems you answered and got to solve a puzzle or riddle in the meantime.

    * I've allowed late homework up to the last day (for points off)

    * I FREQUENTLY hand out a grade sheet (with their student numbers and not names) so they see what they're missing.

    * I did more activities or "real world" problems.

    * I let them work with a partner to figure things out.

    ... That's all I can think of now. Again, every class is different, so good luck, and I'll cross my fingers for you.

    Ms. Cookie

  3. Anonymous11:44 AM