Sunday, November 2, 2014

Playing on a Rug

Today's Blog was written by a guest author, my 18 year old son, Andrew.  (AKA Mr. Cool)

I can't stop thinking about this essay, and with his permission, would like to share it.

I'm proud of the man that he has become.  The world needs more like him.

Andrew Keeley

Playing on a Rug

Since beginning math in first grade, I have loved and excelled at math; but I recently developed a new perspective and greater love for it. During my last semester of school I was in a Math 1050 class, and I had an A. Not a high A, but an acceptable 94.5% A. Not because I was lazy and didn't really know the material, but because I was fine with an A. I knew I could be one of the very best in my class if I tried, but I felt like it wasn't worth the time. 

Then one day the teacher brought in a rug. A rug like the kind that I had as a little kid and drove toy cars on; a rug with roads, trees and houses. What could my teacher have been up to? My teacher, who was my favorite, announced that this is a "perfect score" rug. He told us that one of his old students, a friend of mine, had given it to him and that if we got a perfect score on a test, then we could sit on the rug and play. 
He said that this was a strategy that had been tested with preschoolers, and that it seemed to work. For some reason, this was something that I decided to embrace, I wanted to sit on that rug. There was now a reason and a reward for achieving a perfect score.
I changed three things directly because of that rug. First, I started to spend more time doing the homework problems outside of school and taking notes of what the teacher was saying, instead of just doing the homework during class. The second change I made probably made the biggest impact, I took the time to check over each question on the test and prove to myself that my answer was right. The third change I made was that I carried a hot wheels car around in my backpack, just in case.
The test day came and I did all the things I had planned on. A few days later we got our tests back. I had gotten 100%. I got up out of my seat and sat down on the carpet, with my car. I felt great, but embarrassed because I was the only one who sat on the rug, so then I went back to my desk.

This happened last year, and at the end of the year, Andrew was awarded Student of the Year by this teacher.

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