Walking out of class

Friday is quiz day. I give a quiz. I try not to make it an easy quiz. This week inspiration came in the form of an online homework problem everyone said was difficult. I didn’t think it was that bad, but I took time to write up a solution and post it for them. Then I recycled it for the quiz question, figuring that after they had tried to do it, and after I had posted a solution, it was fair game. And if we still didn’t know how to do it, it was time to learn.

I could tell that many were unprepared for the question, and they were too flustered to come up with a coherent strategy for dealing with it.

And that’s fine. That’s why I solve quiz questions immediately after giving a quiz. If you don’t know how to do it and you should, well, now I’ll show you again and hope that this will impress the method on your brain.

Five students stood up and walked out before I started doing the quiz solution.

That kind of blatant display of disrespect for me and their own learning annoys the daylights out of me. I know that we are a learning environment, not a forced learning environment. You can lead a horse to water, blah blah blah.

But. Wow.

I’ve seen this happen in other people’s classes, including one I was sitting in on for fun. I know this has nothing to do with the quality of the instructor, and everything to do with the quality of the student. Still … it can be hard to sit/stand there and take it.

I pointed out to the ones who stayed that they were at a competitive advantage in the class.

Before we went home, I reminded them that I would love to see them in office hours. “Maybe I am weird, but I love to watch you do math,” I said, “I guess that’s why I am a math teacher. So if you are wondering if you would be `bothering’ me in my office hours, don’t. Working with students is the best part of my day. So come.”

Three new ones did. Maybe the day was not without its successes.