Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Slice #25- Such a privilege
Over the last six months we've become friends, and she drops by to say hello on a pretty regular basis. Today, I run into her in math class. The class is supposed to be doing a math lab on the computer, but A's best friend, J, is providing a floor show, much to the first year teacher's chagrin. A is sitting beside her, not really participating in the comic chaos, but not getting the math lab done either. I kneel down beside her.
"What's going on?" I say, tapping the computer screen.
"I don't know how to do this," A says.
I'm a little surprised. A is a bright girl and this activity, having to do with dividing positive and negative numbers, seems relatively simple.
"Yes, you do," J suspends her show and interrupts, glancing at the screen, where the problem -54/6 is displayed. "It's -9."
The computer deems J and A's work "Brilliant" and then advances to the next problem.
"-42/-7, that's 6," says J authoritatively. "Very good," says the computer, and the screen advances again to -30/5. J solves that one too, and then several more after that.
A reaches for the pad of post-it notes in my hand and writes me a note. "I don't know how to divide."
I am surprised. A is a bright girl and we have a great math teacher. I write a note back.
"You don't know how to divide, or you don't know how to divide positive and negative numbers?"
A writes again. "I don't know how to divide at all."
I take another post-it note. "Would you like someone to teach you?"
This time she has a one word note. "YES!"
Another note from me, "Would you like me to teach you to divide?"
And another one worder from A, "Yes!"
Another pink sticky note: It won't take us that long. You know how to multiply?"
Another sticky note: Well, then, division will be easy-peasy lemon squeezy. It's just the opposite of multiplication.
A looks at me doubtfully and writes another note. "OK."
I slide another note across the table. "So when do you want to start?"
A writes again. "I don't know. I 'll ask my mom."
I think about the rest of this week and write, "The week after vacation would probably work better for me. I can do Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays if you want."
This time A nods. Our conversation is over and she turns her attention back to her friends.
I'm so glad I walked through that classroom this afternoon. So glad I had a pad of sticky notes in my hand. So glad I get the privilege of caring for kids like A every single day.
Teaching. It really is the best job in the world.