UPDATE: Here is my Advice from Algebra 2 Students Past, in full glory.
Today I was compiling and typing up my “advice from Algebra 2 students past” to hand out to my kids this year. And I forgot about a striking passage from one of my students:
It will behoove you to understand going into class what exactly Mr. Shah wants from you, which is an attentive, honest, and interested student. It has taken me six months to realize what Mr. Shah really wants from you; he wants you to ultimately be a good person in the world.
Where that came from, I have no idea. None of my other students wrote anything like it. It rang so sincere and specific in the way it was written that I know it wasn’t just a casual, flippant remark. Of course I glowed when I read it — because the student hit on something even I hadn’t been able to articulate. My primary goal is to get my students to understand and be able to do mathematics, but these kids are in the process of learning how to be adults. And whether my kids remember completing the square years down the road is ultimately less important than the person they forged through trying to learn how to complete the square. Not that I ever say that to them, really.
Which is why I’m darn curious from whence this remark came from, though. Cuz I have no freakin’ clue.