Math student has courage and others’ respect

Guest Blog by Misty Self

Math Teacher, Mitchell High School, Bakersville, NC

A few years ago I had a freshman student who struggled to understand math. To make matters worse, he wasn’t completing assignments or participating in class to get better.  He failed Math 1 that year.

Since then he has passed Math 1 and 2, and he seems to be a different student in my class this year. He has completed every assignment and he talks (about math) every day in class.  One of my favorite things is that he uses math language, but he mispronounces many of the terms. He now tries his best in class, even though he knows his future won’t be full of logarithmic functions, quadratic formulas, synthetic division, etc.

One day I talked to him about his new attitude towards school.  He said his dad told him he would be the proudest of him the day he graduated from high school. From that day forward it was his goal to make his dad proud.  And his dad promised him the farm if he graduated.

Those words changed this student’s life. He went from a student who didn’t see the benefit of school to a person who was working toward a bigger goal. Later I learned that although he appreciated the family farm, he was making plans to leave the county to pursue other goals in life. He wants to be a mechanic.

This student has the courage to use math terminology, even if he sometimes says things wrong. Because of this courage, his math skills have grown.

In his personal life, he has also shown courage. He is part of a very close family, but he wants to pursue his own interests. I know it will be hard for them to understand why he wants to leave home, but he has the courage to do what is best for him and his future.

This student has developed courage in a way that will benefit him the rest of his life. What seemed impossible three years ago is now within reach.