Why do you think Mr. Stetman stares at Melinda 's late pass "for long time"?
Melinda feels that Mr. Stetman is "a nice guy." He recognizes that Melinda has come extremely late to his class. He also probably "gets" that Melinda is struggling in Algebra, as she is emanating the idea that "Student divided by confusion= algebra." Unlike Mr. Neck, Mr. Stetman is perceptive enough to note the Melinda is in the midst of struggle and difficulty.
In his staring at the pass for so long, he is probably wondering why Melinda is so very late. She arrives to class with only about ten minutes to go. Mr. Stetman's perceptive nature, though not as perceptive as Mr. Freeman, is probably wondering why Melinda, a student who is struggling, is so late to his class. As demonstrated with his willingness to engage students in Algebra, he holds a high opinion of his course. In looking at the pass for so long, "staring" at it, he is wondering what could be the reason Melinda is so tardy for a class in which she is not necessarily finding success. Mr. Stetman's desire to "speak" to Melinda about it, but coupled with his inabilty to do so is representative of Melinda's life in this marking period.