Introductory Challenge


There was a problem with the lesson, Lucille could see. Her student, Judy, wasn’t following the math teacher’s explanation. Lucille knew what was wrong and what needed to be done, and she was waiting for the teacher, Mrs. Jackson, to assign the practice problems. Finally, the lecture was over and the class was working on a set of five problems that Mrs. Jackson had given them. Judy was trying to work, along with the rest, but Lucille knew she was just pretending in order to look busy.

So Lucille told the teacher what Judy’s problem was and what needed to be done. Mrs. Jackson, though, had a different view of what was going on. “Of course,” thought Lucille. “No one around here takes me seriously.”

Then Mrs. Jackson surprised her. She said, “You might be right. You know Judy a lot better than I do. Why do you think that’s the problem?”

So Lucille explained.

And Mrs. Jackson said, “Will you monitor the class while I talk with Judy for a minute or two?”

Lucille agreed.

When she came back, Mrs. Jackson said, “Let’s try this.” And she explained.

It wasn’t what Lucille thought needed to be done! But Mrs. Jackson had said she’d thought Lucille’s observation about the problem was right.

So Lucille said “OK, I’ll try it.”


If you are working independently, perhaps write down your answers to the questions below. If you are working with a group, the facilitator might want you to discuss your answers with others in the group.

  • What do you think Lucille meant when she said, “No one around here takes me seriously”?
  • Why might Lucille have come to believe that her colleagues do not take her seriously?
  • What would it take for her to conclude that her colleagues do take her seriously?
  • What do you think Lucille should do if Mrs. Jackson’s suggested approach turns out not to work?
  • What do interactions such as the one between Lucille and Mrs. Jackson have to do with the quality of instruction?