It’s the last week of the math teacher blogger initiation! I’ve decided to respond to a prompt about classroom sayings. Two sayings that I use immediately came to mind, one that I love and one that I wish I could stop saying.
The one I love: “You’ve got it!”
It’s something I started to say naturally without even realizing it. The department head who interviewed me for my first teaching position, and observed me teach a lesson, pointed out this phrase during our post-lesson debriefing. As I helped students throughout the lesson, I frequently used this phrase to let the students know when they really seemed to understand something or make a great point. Since he pointed it out, I have used it in my repertoire ever since. I think it’s a stronger affirmative than just saying “Yes” when a student asks if they did something right or explains a concept to us. When I say “You’ve got it!” students hear and feel that they know something well enough to explain it to others.
The one I need to stop saying: “Sure!”
Again, this is another saying that I used without realizing it until a student pointed it out to me last year… “Ms. Kohn, when you say “Sure” in response to something I ask, I can’t really tell if you mean it or not…” Excellent point. What do I mean when I say that? I’ve thought about it a lot and decided that I mean something different every time, which is confusing. When used in response to a bathroom request, it makes sense. But when used in response to a “Did I solve this correctly?” question, I can see how students can be confused. Did I mean that they really did solve it correctly? Or am I being noncommittal because the problem could have been solved many different ways and there wasn’t one correct way? “Sure!” has been on my radar ever since and I’ve been trying not to use it anymore. If it accidentally comes out, which is still at least once a week, I quickly follow up with another statement or a question to provide the student with more information.