One thing I really like about teaching math, is watching the girls “get it.”  Let’s face it; there aren’t a lot of my students that LOVE math.  There really aren’t a lot of people who LOVE math.  It’s confusing.  It’s hard.  “When am I ever going to use this?!”  Granted, I have a few girls that really excel in math and seem to at least love it a little bit.  But again, that is rare.  However, when I get to teach and see my students thinking about what is going on and answering the right questions, I get a little excited.  A lot of the time I find that they think they won’t understand so they don’t even try.  I call it a lack of “math-esteem.” Once they find a little bit of confidence regarding a math concept, I see that math-esteem gets a little bit better.  And then they excel again, and they improve even more in the overall subject.  Sometimes they just needed the change in environment.  The smaller class setting really helps.  It’s a lot easier to keep an eye on each student when there aren’t 30 in the classroom.  I love watching the concept click and the “oh, I get it!” happens.
I also see this occur as their whole person is improving.  Their progress as they are here is so awesome to watch.  As their self-esteem continues to improve – along with their math-esteem – and they understand the skills that they can put in place to make their life better, their light comes on.  Even their outward appearance changes from sulk to light and they do wonderful things.  Come graduation day, they couldn’t shine brighter.  They mostly “get it” – even though some of them don’t truly get it until a while after they’re home.  The change is beautiful!
– written by Krista Nugent, Mathematics Teacher