Thursday, December 5, 2013

Red hot in the face, eyes down....

Warning!  This post is a little bit of a rant.  

Dancing with one of my intermediate classes, physical education in primary and a nice chat at recess with a colleague would be the makings for a great day in my world.  And it was.  Until the dreaded happened.

I want you to think back to the last time you were in trouble.  Trouble that made your face feel hot, your eyes lower, and even made you stop whatever you were doing to just replay that exact moment over and over in your head.

Well, the good news is, I'll get over it.  But the bad news is, I'm still steaming mad at the way 'that' all just went down.

Let me explain.  

I know how I learn.  I do.  I'm also quite good at speaking up if I don't understand something, usually after I've tried to figure whatever it is by first doing my own little research project on the answer, AKA by Googling it!  So, when that fails, then I'll 'giddy up' and get help.

Here lies the problem.  When you ask for help and you don't receive the answer you are expecting in your own mind, then it's quite a shock when the person offering the support quickly shuts you down and dismisses your inquiry.

Today I asked how to do X, Y, and Z.  While asking, another participant and I began discuss how to solve my question.  As a group we were just on that very topic and I was simply looking for more info, more clarification, more insight into grasping the new concept.

That's when IT happened.  The TROUBLE.  Basically the "could you be quiet, people are trying to learn here!" speech.

My face grew hot.  My eyes lowered.  And I shut down.

That's it.  I was done.  Done trying to be a collaborator, a problem solver, and even a real participant.

As I write this right now, I'm still quite angry.  Quite hurt.  And even a little embarrassed.  Learning to me is almost emotional.  I see it in my students and I see it in myself.  Can you think of a time when you were so bloody proud because of an accomplishment?  And vise-versa, easily bringing forth a memory of when you failed to do something as well as you had hoped?  That's emotion.  That's learning.  That's LIFE!  

So, what to do?  Well, I thought about speaking to the person who, knowingly or unknowingly made me go silent.  But I still feel to... backhanded if you will?

Then I started thinking how students must feel.  How do we approach them when we are ready to move on and they are still where I was?  Still searching, still 'in' the conversation trying to make whatever concept it is click for them?  How do I react?  How do you react?  After today, I sure as better not ever make a student feel so shut down, so shut off, and to be honest, feel so unvalued.

Because I'm an adult and because I have strategies and supports, I can deal with today.  And I will.
I'm here now, getting it off my chest, trying to make this reflective.  Trying to learn from the feeling.  The best part is, in about twenty minutes I will be carolling with my son, his school choir, and spreading Christmas cheer.  Thank you for listening.  Thanks for hopefully seeing things from my point of view.  Helping me see it from the view of a student, and hopefully engraining this memory in my head as I move forward.


1 comment:

  1. Leslie interesting insight. You are right. We do get caught up in the time frames of teaching. The confinement of a classroom can be restrictive and in this case can be deflating to a student's motivation to learn. I will have to watch out for this in my classroom and see how I react in this situation.