Tuesday, September 9, 2014

AP Math is HARD!!

Friday was the end of the grading quarter, and my students are definitely freaking out after their first test scores.  Even though I have been working on re-wiring their brains about what really matters (their learning the material), old habits die hard.  They still fall back into the old thinking of "I need to get an A."  I can see their heads nod when I explain to them that the grade should correlate but that grades are a temporal thing and learning is enduring.  When they are in their next math class, in college, it will be those who really applied themselves that are rising to the tops of their class.  I always let them know that College math at any level will be harder in comparison so they were wise to take this course in high school.  They have more time to digest the concepts in high school and more access to the instructor (ME!) for help.  Plus the fact that their peer group is more accessible to them for assistance (here's where they see the benefit of the flipped classroom) is invaluable.  I go on to further tell them that Calculus is a sorting hat in college.  Those that can do Calc get all the "good majors"...you know the "big money maker" degrees, while those that can't compete in that arena end up in the soft majors.  I want them to have their choice (it's not about the money, it's about your passion). I will have to continue this counseling all year.

But I want to make sure I'm encouraging them mostly, so I make sure I tell them these things:
1) You are talented when it comes to math! If you weren't, you wouldn't have made it this far.  Look at the rest of your class (senior or junior), how many of them are here?  Enough said.
2) I want to encourage you to continue pushing yourself, because you will have no regrets when you leave this class for doing that.  I only have students regretting either (a) not taking this class or (b) not completing it.
(3) in Stats, I tell them: you can speak a language that most adults can't even speak! All you need to do is say 'I'm taking Statistics' and people will react with 'Whoa, you must be really smart'.  So keep on pushing because you will be able to do what most can't.  That will be bankable right there!
(4) I'm here for you. Come and get help any time.  I believe in you and I want you to get it.  Let's work through this together!
(5) I hope not all the grades I give out right now are A's.  If that is the case, then why do I need to be here?  What have I taught you if you have an A lock solid?  I want there to be room for you to grow.  I want to expand your mind, thoughts and learning.  Room for growth is a good thing. Be satisfied with the fact that your brain is growing.  The grade will come, so for now, just be excited about learning!!

I got a few head nods, but it will take time for all the re-wiring to happen.  The affirmation is enough for now.

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