Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Deciding Point

Since I've taught different levels of math in high school, I've seen various students come to the realization every year at various grade levels that just sitting in class and paying attention won't make the grade. The kids I've taught are pretty bright, and in the past for most of them, they've been smart enough to just do class work and not study for quizzes and actually do pretty well (A's and B's). Of course some of them always do work and study for tests and come in for extra help if they need it, but then there are the lazy ones that get by on their brains.

The bad part is that all of a sudden, that doesn't cut it. Now if they want to get A's and B's they actually have to put out an effort. Gasp. ... I'm seeing that this year in precalculus with a former A/B student. Now, he's not turning in work, he's not studying for tests, he's barely squeaking by with a C. He's not stepping up to the plate yet, though. I'm crossing my fingers for him because I've seen changes in others in the past where they have the work ethic enough to realize that they have to change their sorry ways.

On a totally unrelated note, we did hand stands in yoga on Sunday. Too exciting. If someone had told me ahead of time that that's what I would be doing, I wouldn't have believed them. I've shied away from them in the past because I just picture my arms buckling, cracking my head/back/neck/... BUT. What good teaching this person did. He started us off slow. We practiced. He upped the bar. We practiced. And all this time, he did not say where it was leading. THEN. He mentioned the "H" word. We all looked at each other in class. Right. But, sure enough, we attempted and did (against the wall, of course). WooHoo. How exhilarating. He always gave us an out and let us stay at any of the previous levels. ... Of couse, then I started relating it to teaching. I should force (nicely like he did) the students to do hard things, because when they attempt it (and not necessarily 100% successfully, but at least with progress), then they'll be impressed with themselves.

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