Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lifting My Dark Mood

I give hard calculus tests, I want the kids to think and apply what they learned, not just memorize. It is stressful for them because no one ever made them think before. Being good students, they just memorized and spit back material. That is why letters like the one I got today make a difference to me.

Mrs. POd,

It feels bad that after studying for a very long time, and finally understanding all of the material, I make silly mistakes. After leaving the classroom, I felt good until E asked me questions. She said that for the graph, where the function passes through the x-axis, you do not make the deivative pass through zero. I did. I should have followed my first instinct!! I just over thought it. Will I get the whole question wrong?

2nd thing: For the local linearity question part 2, I thought it was a separate question and so I used the value close to 10 which is 9. I did not notice that we had to go to the original question and say whether or not we can use the number 4 to determine the approximate value of 10. Will that question be considered all wrong?

But overall, your explanations and pace really helped me understand everything. And after sitting for a while studying, I feel much better about calculus. I actually think it's a lot of fun now!

And my answer to her:

I got home too late to concentrate on your questions. I make more silly mistakes than you do. Understanding is the key. Don't even think about grades--just enjoy learning. You'll see, it will all end up coming together for you.

I'll look at your questions and answer them tomorrow.

Thanks for the e-mail.

I love using e-mail to communicate with my students. It takes no effort on my part to respond and it can ease their minds. Kids like this one lift me from my black moods and keep me going.


Miss Eyre said...

I love e-mail (and AIM, where I have a separate students-only account) for the same reason. It's definitely an easier and faster way to talk to students, and if students are shy, they also find it easier to chat or e-mail.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I don't use AIM. I'm too nervous about what could be said and misunderstood. I keep e-mails to school business and occassional fun stuff involving math.

I had a student argue an entire exam in an e-mail. I know this girl would have been too shy to say anything in person. And, while she was not correct, I praised her effort and encouraged her to do the same things again. Maybe next time she will have th courage to speak in person.