The computer called on one student and his eyes rolled back into his head, he mouthed some profanity to himself, and began to shake. This is why I don’t like cold calling. I could see the fear, anxiety, and embarrassment on his face. He didn’t try to answer, preferring to say “I don’t know.” I didn’t let the kid off the hook and instead told him to pick one classmate for an assist. A classmate responded correctly and I had the student that didn’t know repeat the answer and add it to his notes. Simple enough.
Two questions later, the computer picks the same kid again. The kid laughed and said, “Are you kidding me?” Nobody could believe it. Because they were being graded as a class, some of the other kids looked visibly unhappy with this student being selected again. The thing is, I know this kid is engaged and getting the material because I have tracked his progress over the course of the entire year, but outwardly, he seems to have no confidence or grasp of the material. That’s what his classmates see. Once more, he said he didn’t know and had to be bailed out by a classmate. He repeated the correct answer and added it to his notes.
Another question goes by, and the last question, by some stroke of luck or misfortune, fell on this same child for a 3rd time. “I’m not going to get it right,” he said. The rest of the class was silent, but one kid said, “Yes, you will.” I followed the students’ example and said, “I agree, you will.” I asked the question, the kid thought to himself for a few seconds, then answered.
He got it right.
The amount of cheering and applause nearly got me in trouble with the other teachers around me.
Sorry I’m not sorry. He earned it.
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