Slice of Life Story Challenge March 9 - Attitude Is Everything

Attitude Is Everything

I observed a student today who was clearly out sorts with the world. In the few times I have worked in this particular classroom, this child has presented as a learner appearing to lack confidence. I don’t much like the term reluctant learner. So often the learner is either inexperienced, anxious or possessing a clear lack of confidence. As a consequence such children are hesitant and risk averse.

Sitting apart from the group of students gathered before me the child appeared sullen and non-communicative, mostly withdrawing from participation with anyone. The child’s teacher quietly and subtly encouraged the child to engage. That invitation was spurned.  The teacher shifted her attention to the other students rather than engage in a power struggle. It is never a good idea to put your wind into someone else’s sails. So while the invitation to join in remained open at all times, the student concerned was left to consider their choices. The result being that the child chose to sit quietly on the edge of the group, while the lesson continued.  

I recently wrote this poem, prompted by a similar observation, but it seems apt here:

Attitude Is Everything

Today I won’t pull up my socks
Or improve my attitude
Today I will not volunteer to help
Today I won’t put my best foot forward
Nor will I rush to get somewhere
I won’t raise my hand and contribute to class discussions
And today I won’t be striving to do my best at all times

Today, I think I may well
Scratch my ear with a pencil
Stare out the window
Pretend to read
And watch a fly annoy Amy Gaven

Today, I feel slower than a slug in sludge

Today, I am tired
Today, I am floppy and droppy
You could say I’m moping


Tomorrow, who knows? 

Comments

  1. Your poem was a visual reminder of those days when children and even myself want to hang back and watch the world rather than engage.

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    1. Someone on the outside looking in...

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  2. This is a very apt description of many of the students I see on a daily basis. I wish I knew how to "unlock" them and help them find the confidence they need to engage. Good food for thought.

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    1. It is the eternal search for the key to unlock the barrier to participation/engagement. That is why we must build trust and certainty.

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  3. Sometimes that's the way the cookie crumbles. As adults we are more adapt to push those feelings aside but our kiddos are still working through it. Great poem! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Amy. I think there is a developmental aspect to this too.

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  4. I love the idea "don't put your wind in someone else's sails," that's a new phrase for me, but one I want to hold onto. You just never know what lies below the surface to cause the behaviors. Wise teacher to let the child make their own choices. Love the poem, who hasn't felt that way at least once in a lifetime.

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    1. That expression I learned while studying Psychology. It is attributed to Rudolf Dreikurs, an American psychiatrist and educator. Like you I believe it is very apt in these situations. Thanks Elsie.

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  5. Sometimes, we just need to give kids room to be who they are. Moping is a human need, and we all snap out of the mood eventually.

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    1. Hard to disagree with you Tara. We all experience those moments. Self talk is therefore critical.

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  6. I think I feel like that some days, too. I like the way you end your poem on a positive note. It's good to remember that tomorrow is another day (a la Scarlett O'Hara).

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    1. Ah tomorrow, thank you for noticing Rose. The sun comes up on a new day, a new beginning.

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  7. Ahhh. I've seen this student too. He sits in my room many days....And I'm also not a fan of reluctant learner...your describing it as lacking confidence or just inexperienced is much more to my liking.

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