I Wanted to Jump Up and Down Screaming!
The algebra tutor visited three times in a week, for two hours each time.
Dylan had a test coming up on Chapter 9, and he wanted to be ready. Meanwhile, the class took three quizzes, so that the teacher could see if anyone was having trouble.
Dylan got a 1 out of 11 on the first quiz. That should have been a clue. His overall grade was a low D.
His behavior chart at home called for “No D’s or F’s as final grades” – a goal that Dylan had to attain in two weeks’ time. If Dylan didn’t get a star on every category on his behavior chart, he wouldn’t be attending the extremely fun church event at the end of the school year.
When the tutor first arrived, Dylan had very little knowledge about factoring polynomials. Near the end of the second visit, Dylan realized that he’d been doing something wrong all along – and knew that he had not (as he’d hoped) aced the second quiz. In fact, he got a 63%.
When the tutor wasn’t around, Dylan was still working on his problems. By the third quiz, Dylan had a grasp of the material. The third quiz was a binder check, whatever that means – and he got a 16 out of 17.
Then, the night before the test, he called the tutor at home – twice – to get some clarification on how to do something. The tutor’s patience was endless.
Meanwhile, his other grades steadily went up. He had to get rid of that D in algebra in only four days!
On Monday, Dylan took the test. He took it during algebra class, and worked on it some more during lunch time. He went back and worked on it again at lunchtime on Tuesday. And then he went in again and worked on it during lunchtime on Wednesday. Three days (five school hours) later, he finally finished the test.
On Thursday, I went out of town. It was Dylan’s last chance to raise his algebra grade – and I was almost glad that I wouldn’t be home when the deadline hit. If Dylan didn’t substantially raise his algebra grade, he didn’t get a star on his chart – and until now, he hadn’t missed getting a single star.
So I was more than 200 miles away when the call came. Dylan was calling on my husband’s cell – in a moving convertible with the wind whooshing. I could barely hear him. “Phlmbtpt bluk algebra!” Dylan yelled over the wind.
“What?” I asked. “What about algebra?”
The windows in the car went up. “I have a C in algebra – 73%.”
“Holy cow!” I said, finally hearing him. “How did that happen?”
Then he dropped the real bomb.
“I got a 94 on my test,” he said.
Did I hear him correctly?! He got a 94! A 94! I wanted to jump up and down screaming! HE GOT A 94!
Instead, I started to cry. I tried not to let Dylan know, since he was on the other end of a telephone.
“Oh Dylan, that’s great!” I said. Then I started to say, “I’m proud of you!” But long ago, I read a book that said you should not tell your kids how proud you are, and instead point out how proud they should be of themselves. It’s a good way to raise self-esteem.
“You should be really proud of yourself!” I said. “You worked really hard for that grade; congratulations!”
“Yeah, thanks,” he said, cool as any teen can be.
Aw, to heck with that book.
“And I am so proud of you!”