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Rewards of a Math Teacher

One morning, I saw a student I taught last semester. The quiet and mild mannered young man usually sat in the front row. Although he had good attendance, he had challenges getting the homework done on time. Yet, he diligently worked in class. I learned he work at night like many of his classmates. Well, he barely passed. I wondered if he was ready to take the next level of math. He definitely had the determination. Hopefully, he would have more time to devote to his studies next semester. I hoped. I wished. I prayed.

I saw him by the elevator. I spoke first because I knew this shy person would not say a word. I asked him about his math class. Without making eye contact, He said he was doing okay. That didn’t tell me much; I wanted to know if he was passing. So, I asked, ”are you passing?” With a smile he said, “ I am doing better than that. I hoping to get a B or an A.” Then, he looked straight into my eyes and said “Thanks” and held eye contact for a few extra seconds. His eyes showed so much gratitude! I said you’re welcomed. He nodded his head and walked away. I did not move. I had to think about what had just transpired. Then, I swallowed and headed for the elevator. Once inside, I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Yes, I saw water in my eyes; of course, I held my composure. I had another class to teach. …What a nice way to start the day.
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During a warm up, a student exclaimed, “I’m beginning to like fractions.” When she saw the smile on my face, she said, “just a little bit.”

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In the middle of a percent lesson, a female student interjected, “you mean I can determine my tip using this method the next time my family eats out. Yes, I replied. Smiling from one ear to the other, she says, we’re going out tonight! The next week, I followed up on her declaration. Yes, she went to a restaurant and was able to calculate her tip. She was so proud of herself.
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Motorcycle rider with tattoos all over his arms walks into the classroom and says in so many words, Mrs. Mackie, thanks to you I won the trivia game at Dave and Busters. I asked,” How so?” He shared he was the only one able to answer a math question. When he saw the question he coached himself through it by saying,” …Okay, this is Algebra; let’s think about Mrs. Mackie’s class”, and…he answered correctly. Thus, he was rewarded 50 ticket coupons. My reward was the fact he remembered a lesson and was to apply it.

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