Ever wonder why the kids in middle school just don’t care? Do you think it’s “just what they do?”
Granted, a lot of kids are like this, but there are a lot of good kids out there that really try hard AND have a good attitude. How did they get there? Well, that’s possibly a combination of many things, from a positive home life, good friends, but most importantly, from a great amount of success they have had up until this point in their lives.
Success breeds success. If you’re good at something, you generally enjoy doing it (even if the rest of your friends are like, “School sucks.”). Day after day, you learn that hard work brings you the success, and you feel good about yourself.
Let’s focus on a kid that “hates math,” throw in a couple of other factors, and subsequently “hates school.” Why do they hate math? More than likely it’s from a history of not doing well in math. Maybe way back in elementary school they didn’t quite get something (let’s say multiplication) and felt bad about it. They never learned that thing well, and when the class moved onto the next thing, they just felt stupid because they couldn’t “get it.”
In my article, Are you is someone you know struggling with Algebra? I detail some steps to remediate those issues at home. Not many of us can afford a $50 an hour tutor. Look there if you are a parent in need of some resources for your child.
As a teacher in Middle School, you pretty much have a set curriculum of pre-algebra with little to no time for diversions back to basic math. Here is a tip for you: These kids that are not engaging in class may have big holes in their basic math skills. Most kids do at this age, but a lot can fake it… especially with a calculator.
Get the kids to show off their successes
The other couple of days I taught lessons of multiplication facts. I trudged a bit through some things, like making flash cards and worksheets. Sure, the sheets were tiered for their different levels, but it was tough. Then I remembered something I did myself back in the day, and that was to have them walk through some multiplication facts on the board.
I wrote 36 x 6 and asked if anyone wanted to come up and show how to do it. The amount of hands that shot up made me pretty happy. I could see their smiles and excitement at something they felt good about: a success.
Another good (albeit sad) moment was when I had to move on to something new, and a few kids were, “Come on, I didn’t get to do one!”
This is not something you can do all the time, but kids do like to show off.
No, really, they do.
Even when it is math related.