Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Value of y

It's been many, many years since I sat in a high school Algebra class.  
It could have been many many more years and I would be quite happy.  
I limped through Algebra I and II with my oldest two, 
but I knew this year I was going to have to step in more actively for my Algebra student to engage. 
The first several weeks were hard.  
My student had no interest whatsoever in finding the illusive x 
and cared not one bit for its value.  

There was a lack of concentration.
There was doodling.
There may have been tears.

And more than chasing after y, we were both chasing after WHY.

Why do I have to do this?  
Why do I need to learn this when I will never need to solve for x in real life?

I didn't like teaching it any more than she liked learning it.

The moment it came together in class
and the moment it came together for me as a teacher were one and the same.
The day she made a 100 on the quiz 
when it was time to demonstrate mastery over multiplying the likes of (x+y)(x-y),
I understood why I'm teaching this math-we-will-"never"-use-in-real-life.

I'm teaching her to stay focused on a problem.
I'm training her to order her thoughts in the face of confusion.
I'm teaching my student how to think.

My Dad used to say, "the more you learn, the more you can learn".  
I never quite understood his statement, although it did ring true.
Education teaches the brain how to think.  And if you know how to think ...
you can do anything.

We're not out of the woods yet as far as Algebra is concerned,
and we may not have the value of x quite nailed down ...
but at least we've figured out the value of why.

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

  1. Melissa, thanks for stopping by my blog....glad you like my runner....
    Hope you have a great weekend.