The second student had done poorly on a quiz and realized that she really didn't understand the basic properties of logarithmic and exponential functions. She sought me out and found me talking to a colleague about the recent Calculus test. This student wants to do well, but she often misplaces items, like her homework. Even though I have time to meet with students during the school day, there are still times I need to meet with students before school or after school. I have been meeting with one student once or twice a week since the beginning of October. He recognizes that without this accountability he probably wouldn't get his work done for PreCalculus.
Some may think that these students should be able to figure math out on their own. After all, the students I have described are seniors. Doesn't giving the students help make them weaker? First, the fact that they are willing to ask for help is a sign of strength. It can be challenging to admit that you need help and are struggling. If the first time a student asks for academic help is in college, it is likely to be even more challenging. It is good to learn this skill now. Second, I ask the students that I work with questions that they should be asking themselves. How is this like the problem we just did? How is it different? Does your answer seem reasonable, and why or why not? What do we know and what are we trying to figure out? Modeling the thinking and questioning that students should be doing will ultimately help the student to help themselves.