Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Math Mondays: Engaging the Unengaged Student

This week for Doc Running’s blog hop, we are sharing strategies for engaging the unengaged students in our classes.  I would like to share a personal story that still brings tears to my eyes when I recall the events of last spring.

This week for Doc Running’s blog hop, we are sharing strategies for engaging the unengaged students in our classes.  I would like to share a personal story that still brings tears to my eyes when I recall the events of last spring.

Last year I left my beloved full time teaching position to pursue a part time position as a Title 1 Math Tutor.  I came from a very high achieving suburban district and now teach at an urban middle school school.  It was definitely a culture shock for me, but I felt I could really make a difference and I was right.  During my first week, I witnessed a lot about the culture of the school.  Disrespect, depression, and disinterest seemed to be abundant. 

This week for Doc Running’s blog hop, we are sharing strategies for engaging the unengaged students in our classes.  I would like to share a personal story that still brings tears to my eyes when I recall the events of last spring.

A student, we’ll call her Natasha, got into a verbal battle with her math teacher, and right away I was intimidated by her.  She was tough.  Nevertheless, I began teaching intervention lessons in her class.  I oozed with energy and joy as I worked with these kids.  How could I help it?  This is what I love to do.  For the first couple of weeks, I would make a quick stop at Natasha's desk, offer advice, and quickly move along.  After a couple more weeks, she would start to call me over to help her.  About two months into this experience, one afternoon when I was helping Natasha through some rate of change practice, she said "you can call on me for the answer to this one."  I was overjoyed that this girl with the cold, argumentative nature, now wanted to volunteer in math class. 

Well, by the end of the year she would smile when she saw me in the hall and in class, volunteer to share her answers, engaged in all our activities, and even asked me to be her tutor. 


Moral of the story?  It is amazing what a little energy, passion, and love can do.  I gave her time to learn to trust me, monitored her progress from a distance, and let my passion and love shine through.  I made sure Natasha – and all my students - knew they were respected and cared about.  This is why I teach.


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2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story! There is nothing as gratifying as making connections with students, especially the tough ones. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,
    DocRunning

    ReplyDelete