Saturday, June 07, 2014

Viva La "Inflated Sense of Self"

And by the way, Viva La End of the School Year.

This week our school got together as a team and discussed children and things that may benefit them next year and what resources they may need that we should provide. Threaded through the conversation a handful of times was that so-and-so had an "inflated sense of self" with the meaning that the kid may be in for some wake up call in terms of college applications and acceptances. I nodded my head in agreement because I knew the kid(s), but then later I started to wonder if we have it all wrong.

I think back to my childhood, and alternately absent and alcoholic and human and goofy as my parents were, they ALWAYS made us feel like we could do anything and why shouldn't we and of course it's possible. Maybe we were living in a (champagne) bubble and other adults were going around tsking and shaking their heads and wondering when our big fall would come. I know my 6th grade teacher despised me and thought I scraped the bottom of the barrel, and I know a few HS teachers and college professors that would scrunch their faces if they knew what I accomplished, but being "bubble girl" (and I now realize "inflated sense of self girl") I still plowed on. 

Maybe that's one of the important things we can provide for the kids we teach, "of course you can do it" ... "why not you" ... "don't be silly, it's totally within your reach". This, obviously, has to be sprinkled with lessons on hard work and persistence and grit and the power of failing and getting back up and such. But how sad the alternative would be, a kid looking at you and your shaking head and attitude of "bless your heart" and taking that to heart and giving up on whatever before they even put out their whole effort into the endeavor.

There are students I have who I don't know if they'll "do it", but who am I to decide. And mostly, I hope what comes out of my mouth and heart is, "DO IT" "you can do it" "obviously it's within your reach". I just do this without thinking all year long, but I'm reminded of the power of this when I get a smattering of end-of-the-year cards that state, "thank you for believing in my and not giving up on me". I am also reminded of this when a student, just by happenstance, gets put into a position to shine, and they soar way beyond what we've seen of them before. These may not necessarily be the kids that think they are all that, but whatever "that" is, hopefully I don't, as a teacher, contribute to snuffing it out before it has a chance.


5 comments:

  1. There's a big difference between "I can do anything if I work hard enough at it" and "I can do anything without having to put in any effort." The first attitude is a good one to instill in students even if not quite accurate—the second one is not useful (and it is the second attitude that most teachers see as "inflated sense of self").

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    1. I agree with you about continually reinforcing the, "yea, but you have to work at it" school of encouragement. I guess I was more thinking about the vibe a kid may get from me that ultimately they won't amount to "fill in the blank".

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  2. Your blog has truly encouraged me alone. I always use positive things just as you stated in your blog. I love to say “come on you can do it”. I feel all students need the positive words daily. I know a lot throughout my life I didn't have the encouragement that I needed. Just as you are an amazing teacher in that area, I had some very important teachers who encouraged me as I need to be. A lot of times we have to look back at what was done to us or in many cases what wasn’t done to us and be that and more for our students today. From the blog I was able to gain the knowledge that often we have to look at ourselves. Look deep into those feelings you have hiding. Coming in contact with your past is key as it relates to teaching. Think about the right and wrong things teachers did to you in the past. Use that as a stepping stool to improve you as a teacher. I am going to continue to use this technique, because so many students need this.

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    1. Thanks, Tyra. It always helps my reaction to whatever situation if I remember to look back to me as a kid and reflect on what good and bad I was up to and how I changed. They are not finished products yet, these little HS rug rats.

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  3. Before giving SAT MATH test you must clear your math concepts it is very big issue and can create problem for student so must solve this in start. If you don’t know how to prepare this then arrange s tutor. How we can increase points in SAT MATH.

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