I had an interesting conversation with a teacher last night that was telling me about how he built a relationship with a student and got that student to start going to math class. All the years prior, that student used to curse, storm out, and disrupt, but started going back to class after they had an honest talk about his life.
My cynicism and BS meter started to go off loudly in my head. Even though I believe in the power of relationships, I always roll my eyes when people tell me that's the answer to all the world's problems.
I thought back to myself in high school. I was failing math and every year I would only talk about how much I hated it. I hated it because I didn't understand. A math teacher built a relationship with me by admitting that I may not ever use some of these theorems or proofs but that the critical thinking may be helpful to me. I passed the class. That's the short version. The missing piece is that I wanted and was willing to go to tutoring because I liked the teacher. That same teacher helped me when I struggled with other math in the future.
I buy the story, but I believe the message more.
Sometimes students really don't like you or your subject, but the more things make sense, the more tolerable they become.
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