Today in tenth grade I helped a boy who threw his hands up in exasperation a few minutes into our discussion. That was just after another boy had buried his head in his hands moments after our work time together had begun. I was having a similar effect on other students. It’s just that you must have all the parts to the writing assignment interrelated. They cannot be disjointed and off-topic. So, we worked it out, in both cases, using diagrams and talk and quiet consideration. Both kids had smiles on their faces when they left me, and one even said, “I guess I’m kind of hard to work with sometimes.” He was embarrassed, it seemed, maybe because he’d felt frustrated that he’d put in so much work and it all had to be redone. He wasn’t being difficult. He was being educable, yet simultaneously exasperated with himself, and that happens to all of us some time.