Monthly Archives: May 2014

Link: What Students Really Need to Hear

Yesterday, a colleague of mine linked to this post on Facebook:

What Students Really Need to Hear by Chase Mielke at AffectiveLiving

If you haven’t already seen this, go read it. Right now. It’s ok – I’ll wait.

My first response: It’s like Chase Mielke works at my school!

This is exactly what has been causing me the most frustration lately – my students don’t persevere through hardship of any kind. I hear “I don’t get it”, “I can’t do this”, and “This is too hard” more times than I can even count every day, and I’m a math teacher. I can count pretty high. I was having a really hard time expressing in words why I’ve been so frustrated. I couldn’t explain why it drives me crazy to have to repeat instructions 56 times, or why I can’t stand hearing “I don’t get it.” Then I saw this post from Chase and I was floored. This is EXACTLY what’s going on in my classes.

This morning, my first period started asking me why I’ve been so frustrated lately. They’ve asked me this before, but as I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t really put it into words. I explained this to them, and said that another teacher passed along this post to me yesterday that explains it perfectly. I asked if I could read the post to them. I managed to make it to the last few paragraphs before I started to tear up, which I think is pretty good.

I’ve never seen them pay such close attention to anything I’ve ever said. Every eye in the room was on me, and every student’s body language said they were listening. I was interrupted in the middle of the post by an announcement over the intercom, and they asked me to finish reading before we left the room to respond to the announcement.

When I finished reading, the whole class applauded.

I don’t know if this will make any lasting difference in their attitudes about my class or their other classes, or high school in general. It will give me something to go back to with them:

Man up. Woman up. No more excuses. No more justifications. No blaming. No quitting. … Let’s do this.

We have 11 days of school left until final exams. Let’s do this.