Frustrated Teacher Says The Majority Of His 13-Year-Old Students Do Not Understand Shapes

"That’s common sense. That has nothing to do with math."

math textbook and notebook Lum3n / Pexels

It’s no secret that many teachers are hitting their breaking points. Many claim that students just aren’t the same as they used to be — which is definitely true for one teacher and his classroom of 13-year-olds who he claimed are struggling with the concept of shapes.

A teacher said that his 13-year-old students do not understand shapes.

A teacher known on TikTok as @qbthedon shared two videos about his students’ struggle with shapes.


In the first, the teacher was sitting at his desk in front of his classroom of students. They were working on a math problem together, trying to solve the area of a rectangle. The students were having a hard time.



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As he looked out at his class in disbelief, he questioned, “So, basically what we’re saying is nobody in this class has an understanding of shapes?”

Several students raised their hands indicating that they knew how to solve the problem. He counted. “Five out of 33 have a concept of shapes,” he said. “We’re talking squares, rectangles, triangles.”

The teacher was exasperated and incredulous. “We haven’t even gotten to the hard shapes yet,” he argued.

Teacher Says His Students Do Not Understand ShapesPhoto: Melissa Ceballos / Canva Pro


He went on to explain that the answer was actually in their textbooks. There’s nothing that the students really even had to calculate. Despite this, they couldn’t comprehend the question.

“I haven’t asked y’all to do anything but identify shapes,” their teacher said. “We can’t get 13-year-olds to identify triangles, squares, and rectangles.”

Fellow TikTokers were confused as to how 13-year-old students could be working on such basic concepts in the first place. “Weren't we doing, like, long division and algebra at that age?” one person asked. Another said, “I struggled with math at 13 but it was algebra.”

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The teacher made a follow-up video to answer a viewer’s question.

One viewer tried to give the students the benefit of the doubt. “Can I see the question?” they asked. “Maybe [they’re] a little confused.”



The teacher was happy to acquiesce and made another video with a view of the textbook. He also further explained his students’ problems.

“It’s not that they don’t know squares and rectangles. It’s not that they don’t know what they are,” he admitted. “But like I said, when you cut a rectangle in half, what shape are you going to get?”


Furthermore, the teacher argued that “there is no retention of information.” He claimed that his students just learned about how to calculate the area of a square or rectangle.

“We just learned it last week,” he said. “So, there’s no reason why you can’t tell me what you just learned last week.”

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Students have been struggling in school since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-person learning, many students have had a difficult time keeping up


According to the Associated Press, “After the COVID-19 school closures, the stakes for children have in many ways never been greater. Opportunities to catch up are plentiful in some places, thanks to federal COVID aid, but won’t last forever. It will take better communication with parents to help students get the support they need, experts say.”

It’s well known that many students have a hard time with reading, but identifying shapes is something you don’t hear about as often. Knowing this is a problem affecting children is concerning, especially since it seems to be such an elementary concept that is typically taught before school even starts.

It’s clear that continuing support for students from all parts of the community is needed if students are going to be successful in the classroom and catch back up.


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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.