Tuesday, April 28, 2009

asking for help

today i was well into monitoring a competitive game of 'make 10' in my before-school math club for third graders when another teacher brought a little boy to the door. he's in the hallway, but he says he wants to go to math club, she explained, but i think that's just for certain kids, right?

she's completely right. it's for kids who were identified by their teachers in the beginning of the year as needing extra support in math. really, it's before-school remediation. not that we call it that. the kids all think they were selected for a super-special math experience.

i didn't know what to say, but how can you turn away someone who shows up early wanting to learn?

how did you know about math club? i asked

oh, these two girls in my class told me that if i'm having trouble in math i can come here on tuesday and wednesday mornings. he explained, with a matter-of-fact voice that wasn't ashamed of needing help. not that he'd heard it was fun, or that he wanted to be with his friend, but that he thought he realized he needed help and decided to seek it out.

so what do you feel you need help with?

multiplication, and you know, times. but i'm really good at decimals! he announced.

alright, come back tomorrow, same time, same place.

i think i was in high school when i first asked for help outside of the classroom. i admire this third grader so much for taking seeking out help, and i'm so glad we've been lucky enough to be able to have these before and after school remediation programs this year. i don't know that we've done anything special to make them math wizards, but i think it's given them a place to grow their confidence in math, as well as a group they can feel a part of.

although, i suppose it's value will all come down to the scores they get on the upcoming state tests, right?

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