Professional Experience and Personal Reflections
by Lisa Bowstead, Founder

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Students need LESS help. 
March 17, 2014

I became a middle school math teacher because middle school is when so many students learn that they are stupid... 
My personal mission is to show kids that they are NOT stupid. I have always believed that he most effective help when a student is struggling is not helping at all -- encourage and support, yes, but not providing any "answers."
My students have no doubt that I know the math. My job is not to show my students that I can do the math: my job is to show my students that they can do the math.  The only way to do this is to require them to do it for themselves. 
When students persevere, they learn so much more than how to answer the question: They learn how to approach the question, and how to figure things out; they learn to think for themselves, and they learn that they are not stupid.
A recent article in Education Week magazine explains that when teachers offer help, they are teaching their students to be helpless. 

Unlearning Learned Helplessness

Students will only unlearn helplessness when teachers unlearn helpfulness.