Today is midterm day. I'm working on grading previous classes as the current one tests. There are plenty of students who I feel like I've just failed as a teacher. At least they're failing my class. Even though I can tell they've learned something, it's not as much as I expect. Claiming the success seems all the more important to help encourage me. Otherwise, I'm not sure where to find the energy to keep encouraging them.
D stayed late for tutoring last night. She stayed about an extra half-hour after other people left. Grading her test was exciting. There were all these concepts that had finally clicked. The highlight from her test was watching her struggle with one of the questions I'd included to challenge my top student. It was a question pulled from an old test, but not one that we'd reviewed this week. (It was an equation whose solution does not exist.) D fought with that question, asking "Why isn't this working for me? What does it mean?" I finally told her to leave it and go on to the other questions. Because, really, she got it right. The difficulty is learning to recognize situations where you just can't go any farther.