10x + 5y = 20
-4x + 6y = 8
Yes, that is a system of linear equations. I have been teaching my students for the past week a 3-step process (using knowledge they have gained already) in how to solve them. What was so frustrating was that this student is generally attentive and listening - but for some reason he wasn't over the past week. Hence me working with him for an hour, getting increasingly frustrated at my lack of articulation of the concept and his lack of understanding.
While all this was going on two of my other students were in the room answering questions for a focus group. Their attention sometimes wavered to me and one of them commented over and over again how she would never have the patience to be a teacher. It was amazing how this simple act (well, maybe not so simple) of helping a student for an hour provided a context in which she could empathize with me.
What was even more amazing was that she can often be one of my most frustrating students in regular class time. Yet, at one point, she hugged me and said she was going to act better in class. It was awesome.
So there you have it - sometimes wearing your emotions on your sleeve can be a good thing with students. I got a change to help one student understand he had to do the OPPOSITE operation to cancel out a term, and another student will likely behave better in her class because she saw how much effort I put in.
No if only I could duplicate that feeling for the rest of my students.....