I’ve learned that students from all backgrounds, grade levels, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and so on are first and foremost adolescents with adolescent interests, resources and challenges.
I’ve learned that students want to be successful, to be liked, to be recognized, to be supported, to be challenged, to be appreciated, and to be tolerated for their frequent albeit minor behavioral transgressions.
I’ve learned that students in algebra intervention, algebra 1, or even AP Calculus can feel excited about their success or overwhelmed by their failure.
I’ve learned that while most students say they want to lead better lives, to attend college, or to succeed in high school that many do not know how to fulfill those desires, or if so, are unable to devote the time or effort to doing so for a variety of reasons.
I’ve learned that many students have been promoted from one grade level to the next without retaining the concepts and procedures they were taught in prior years, some of whom never truly learned key fundamentals such as subtraction. These students continue to struggle year after year with more and more challenging concepts that require mastery of earlier concepts in order to succeed.
I’ve learned that in spite of their challenges in school and out of school, students come to class mostly to learn, if they feel there is a chance they may learn the material. If they do not feel there is a chance, I’ve learned that is when students give up.