Today when I got to my classroom, I was greeted by Student T with: “Miss Jordan! Why didn’t you tell me I was doing so good on my math tests!”

I’ve been tutoring this girl in Algebra for awhile now, but she’s only had to take a couple of tests for the course so far. And none of them have been passing. And none of them were recent. So I had no idea what she was talking about.

So I asked, “What math tests are you talking about?”

“The CAHSEE tests,” she replied. “Mrs. Ramirez told me you said I was doing really good.”

With the beginning of the school year, our classroom has started doing CAHSEE prep workshops for the tenth graders, and I knew she was in the math workshop, but I had no idea they’d taken more than one practice test so far. I did know they’d taken one. The first day of the workshop, last week, I’d looked over the list of grades for the first test to check up on my set of kids. T was the only one of my kids who’d had a passing score, and I’d mentioned it to Michelle in passing.

Which I now remembered.

I looked at her a little bewildered. After all, I hadn’t even been the one to grade her test. It wasn’t my workshop. I do make it a habit to tell my kids when they do a great job on projects and assignments though, the ones that I grade and go over with them. So I wasn’t sure why she was so upset I hadn’t told her about her grade from a different teacher.

I tried to explain. “It’s not that I was keeping it from you, it just wasn’t my test, or my class. I didn’t grade it, I just looked at the grades after….”

She just kept looking at me.

I stopped trying to explain myself. “You know what? I should have told you what a great score you got.”

She nodded, grinned, and headed back to her seat.

So now I know. Even when they don’t seem to care, they do. And even if it’s not my workshop, or my assignment, or even my kid, I should be looking for every single chance to encourage their work. If all kids got as excited as T did about a passing grade, life would be much better at the Woodman classroom.