Friday, May 09, 2008

The Quiet Ones

For various reasons I thought it would be best for my calculus students to practice more than class would allow, so to entice them to come after school for 6 straight days before the AP exam, I called them "power sessions" and said I'd bring food every night, and we could meet from 4:30 -6:30 and just do and discuss old released exams. I had anywhere from 10 to 28 kids show up (out of my total of 40) each night. I think it helped. We were all relieved once the AP exam was over, and I think it payed off for the ones that put out more effort.

During these sessions I'd call out a couple of problems at a time, and they'd work them, and then we'd discuss them. As usual I mentioned that people should just ask questions when they had them. I always have people asking questions. This gives me a false sense of things-are-okay-for-everyone. Or maybe I'm just gauging my time and trying to get through a lot and just moving on once the questions die down. Or something else.

I know there are a couple of girls that work hard but struggle. They asked NO questions. I'd even look them in the eye and ask if they had questions. Nope. I know I should know better than that, but apparently I don't (even after 11 years of teaching). So finally I started going over to them while the class was working the problems and would say, "you're fine? or do you have questions?" and invariably they'd have some question that I could quickly answer for them to set them on their way.

It seems like each class gets a culture, and there are the talkers and jokers and more vocal participators and then after a while we all settle into a routine and maybe it's hard to rock the boat and make your voice heard if you are not used to it and the other kids are the "cool kids (?)" or the "class representatives (?)" or something. Here's to being reminded to remember the quiet ones.

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