Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Not impossible

I just had one of the other students in. He stopped by and said, "I'm having some trouble with the homework, can you help me?"

So I sat down with him and talked him through the first problem. And he was all, "Oh, wait. I get it now." And he talked through the second one and he did get it.

So this is not impossible. You just have to be willing to try multiple times.

I interpret the problem person's problem as that perhaps she's never had to try hard before, that she's never hit up against something she had a hard time with, and it's making her shut down a little.

And maybe that's irritating me in particular because I see vestiges of the "old me" in that - I used to be that way, back before grad school, back before I realized that failing at something often doesn't mean failing forever, but rather means that the first approach you took didn't work and you need to try something new.

I'm not quite sure how to convey that idea to her - it was something I had to learn by experience - but I think once she realizes that (a) she doesn't know everything already and (b) having a hard time at something doesn't mean it's impossible/you suck at it/the person who's teaching it can't teach, life becomes a lot easier.

1 comment:

Kate P said...

Maybe you can get a pair of big girl panties printed up to say that last part--and throw them at that one girl the next time she starts whining.

That's probably the devil on my shoulder saying that, but my students were kinda whiny today, too.

But seriously, just maybe there's some way to drop a hint that she can come by sometime to go over things like that other student did. Or maybe that student can suggest it to her.