As An Upper Level High School Mathematics Teacher, My Students

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As an upper level high school mathematics teacher, my students are assigned to classes based on skill level rather than grade level, but the due to the nature of the material, most students are juniors and seniors. Tasha, the student constantly demanding my attention to ask if she is doing the work correctly, is almost certainly one of these upperclassmen as the rare underclassman who is in an advanced math class generally has more confidence in her abilities if only because placement in such a class implies that the school believes that she is highly capable. While not offensive or intentionally disruptive, Tasha’s behavior does impact the classroom environment negatively. Every minute that she demands my attention is a minute that I…show more content…
As a result, I am forced to spend more time refocusing students and dealing with inappropriate behavior which cuts down on the amount of instructional time in my classroom. While Tasha’s motivation for monopolizing my time is almost certainly not to deprive other students of having their questions answered or to keep me from maintaining order in the classroom, these are the inevitable consequences of her behavior if it continues. By allowing her to continue this pattern, I am also doing her no favors as she is not learning to be a self-directed learner or taking ownership of her own learning and work if I am constantly at her beck and call to confirm that she is doing just fine. Tasha’s behavior appears to be rooted in a lack of confidence in her own abilities, and she is exhibiting some signs of learned helplessness. It is unlikely that any particular incident in my class caused Tasha to be so insecure as low self-confidence and learned helplessness develop over time, but certain situations in class are more likely to trigger her need for confirmation that she is doing her work correctly. She is most likely to demand my attention when I have shifted the class into individual work time as opposed to group instruction or discussion. Tasha’s insecurities become more pronounced when she is left to work on an assignment without step by step guidance from me. If she sees other students getting to work immediately and seeming to breeze through an
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