Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm Scary

School has been in session for almost 3 weeks now. I've given my 1st test, and there have been about 5 homework assignments, and I've passed out current grades. Therefore, various students with low grades came in after school today to get tutoring to boost their understanding and their grade. I keep mentioning in class that I'll work with the students and they're welcome any time and if they make improvements from whereEVER they are in their understanding, they'll pass (or better) my class.

It's been my experience teaching precalculus and calculus that the students are finally, "oh, NOW I have to study to actually get a good grade. ... oh, NOW I have to actually do and do properly my homework ... oh, NOW I have to come in for tutoring to make sure I get it."

There were about 8 students in my room after school, and I'm circulating around, and I'm helping this one girl with domain and range. We were working through a problem. I'm prompting her for answers. I don't think I was rushing her. I paused and waited for her responses without any physical gestures of impatience or interrupting. At one point, as I'm waiting for her response, I could see she was flustered, and she said, "oh, I'm so nervous."

Wow. I didn't think I was that intimidating. My perception of myself and how new struggling students must see me are apparently not in line. I made a joke of it, "I know. I'm scary." and we went on. But it made me remember that just because I think I'm a nice and patient teacher, a student that's just meeting me for the 1st time and is struggling sees a different person.


  1. Some students seem to get nervous in one-on-one situations with teachers no matter what. And others seem to have this "I can't do it, I'm so bad at it, I shouldn't be wasting my teacher's time, my teacher thinks I'm stupid" track looping in their heads. I do my best to let students know that I actually appreciate it when they come in for help, and that it makes me think more of them, not less. I always hope that will convince more of them to come in for tutoring.

  2. Anonymous10:18 PM

    Good point. Hopefully, I won't have scared her off by yelling at her :).

    Ms. Cookie