the littlest suggestion

I was subbing in a 6th grade math class today.  We were working on a probability worksheet regarding flipping a coin three times and what probability there was of getting three heads, three tails, two tails and one head, etc.  I introduced the concept to them by doing essentially the exact same problems as on the worksheet but with two different colored die.  One blue, one green, and the probability of pulling either one of them out of a bag at random.  I finished my explanation and handed out the worksheet, explaining that it was very similar to what we had just done together.  The students raised their hands as they had questions, and I walked around answering them.  One girl raised her hand, and I made my way over to her, anticipating a query about problem #2, as had the majority of the class.  Instead, to my surprise, she looked at me and said,

“Miss Kivela, I just want you to know that I really hope you become a math teacher.  This is the first time I haven’t had to really struggle to understand something math-related.  Thank you.”

I smiled and thanked her.  I reassured her that she was really smart and that she could do wonderfully in math without my help.  It was rewarding to know that I actually helped her; that I actually may be successful in my future career.  I’ve always been rather confident that I get along well with kids- let’s be honest, I’m still five years old at heart.  It’s easy for me to related to them and pick topics of conversation that make them feel important and cared for.  But I wasn’t very confident that I’d be able to get past the “kids like spending time with me” phase and into the “I can actually educate them” phase.  That simple comment, that quick recognition that I helped her to comprehend a subject that was typically difficult for her.  It’s what makes it all worth it.  Knowing that I’ll be successful with it into the future makes it all the more rewarding. :)

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