Yesterday, we spent our class time talking about graphing rational functions. This is a fairly advanced topic in Algebra 2, so I planned to spend some time on it. As usual, I had students fill out their self assessment paper before they left class. After school, I browsed them to see how the students thought they did. As I suspected, they weren't very confident in the learning, so I wanted to do another check at the beginning of class.
After our usual fraction warm-up, I put a graphing rational equation problem on the board. I gave them roughly 10 minutes to complete. The students worked diligently for most of the time, but I could sense their struggle (which I suspected and wanted to validate). I collected the papers to give the students feedback. On one girls paper, I saw some work plus this comment, "I'm sorry I don't get this".....
This tore me. I was pleased that the student didn't want to let me down, wanted to do well. However, I wondered what message I have been sending. I always want my room to be a safe environment. Students should feel safe asking questions etc. I really hope that I didn't create a fear of failure with my students..
My response to her comment hopefully made my point. "We're learning, it's okay not to get it yet!"