Remember I told you about my best friend well here she is with me on a very happy occasion, Graduation Day. I had been out of School since January and the last thing I wanted was to be apart of this ceremony. It was June, it was nice out and I had to go because Dad bought me this beautiful corsage.
As a teacher, one of the most frustrating things to deal with is a student who just refuses to try. It seems that some children are immune to every strategy or trick that the teacher may have his or her repertoire.
However, there are other students, who, even though they seem to continually fail, pick themselves up and try repeatedly. These students are the true inspiration for the rest of us. Their diligence and determination are traits that will serve them through all the facets of their life. These are the students that Plato, a teacher, himself, was most likely referring in his quote, “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
Consequently, even small progress encourages the teacher to positively support the student and urge more frequent attempts at the lesson being learned. A pat on the back, a sticker, an acknowledgement of any kind can fill the student with pride. Moreover, when the light bulb glows in the student’s eyes, the gift is given back to the teacher as his or her own encouragement to keep trying. The cycle is complete.
Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Clive was wondering ,
happily and springing .
Cleo was resting ,
Now Cleo it seemed ,
So pretty she gleamed .
She wasn’t a star ,
couldn’t play guitar .
Clive the cat ,
in the bushes he sat.
listening to Cleo’s voice ,
reminded of angels rejoice
they’re eyes finally met
In love you can bet
They walked off hand in hand……
- Clive the cat (anexerciseindiscipline.wordpress.com)
following closely I burst at the seams
not to sure whats happening next
these readings certainly cast a hex
I ‘m having trouble putting it down
reading on , there’s my hometown
This one reminds me of myself
It’s all done so I return to my shelf
I need to feed my imagination
dreamers dream , what a creation
I have to admit that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my brain for as long as I can remember. Our relationship began to have trouble when I was in the third grade. Evidently, I was unable to keep up with the class when it came to math, and I was dispatched, to my utter dismay and humiliation, to a mobile classroom on the outskirts of the school for an hour each day. While the rest of my class stayed put, I would have to scoop up my flagrantly different math text-book, exit the class with my cheeks burning, walk the long distance to the Special Ed building, all the while feeling stupid, and meet a sugary sweet teacher who would talk to me like I was not only mathematically challenged, but also having trouble understanding the English language. The whole experience was completely appalling to me, and I decided that I’d work extra hard on my own so I could get out of the Special Education Math Class.
To me, my circumstances have always been something that I felt I could change, if I could just figure out a plan of action.
Evidently, I have always been a control freak.. :-)
My plan was to get better at math immediately. Back then, though, there were no home computers, much less the World Wide Web, so I was a tiny bit unsure about how to go about becoming a mathematical genius overnight. Luckily, my mother had a set of Encyclopedia Britannica‘s, and I began my quest right there. Everyday after school, I would begin my research into a quick, sure way to improve my brain’s performance. Often, I would get distracted from my mission, running across something entirely unhelpful, but way more interesting.
And in time, I found a little excerpt from an old research study that stated how the brain worked in general, and had come to the conclusion that people who write with their left hands tended to have better mathematical abilities. Ah Ha! I thought. All I needed to do, in my own estimation, was to teach myself to write with my left hand. This, I surmised, would “wake up” the right side of my brain, and I’d be a mathematical wiz…Good-bye, Special Ed Math. Hello, Popularity and Wealth. Actually, I didn’t really care about the popularity and wealth thing so much..just getting out of that humiliating class.
I had this gut feeling that I’d just stumbled on to a little known cure, and that soon, I’d leave my classmates in my mathematical dust…
So, I did exactly that. I practiced writing with my left hand for weeks, then months, and then years. To this day, I will occasionally write with it just to make sure I still can. I have so blended my left hand/right hand capabilities that I made myself somewhat ambidextrous. :-)
But did it help my math abilities? I did catch up in math during my fourth grade year, and then later, in high school, I was able to hold my own, and to get good grades. I scored higher than average in math on my SAT’s, though I always find English grammar, literature, and the like easier to learn and understand, and those scores were higher than my math scores. I ended up working most of my life in accounting.
I have no idea if my little quest tricked my brain or not. Maybe, because I believed that it would make me smarter in math, it did. All I know is that I’ve learned that the brain is exceedingly magnificent and complicated, and we can train it to do what we want. Too cool!
One teacher that I admired and respected once told me that I was unusually logical, always breaking everything down to its simplest forms, which was actually a mathematical skill, and he thought it was unlikely that I was ever behind in math, but instead just wasn’t being taught in a method that I could learn from. Back then, in the 1970′s, the multiplication tables were taught by memorization, and he theorized that this method would not have been something I could have kept up with. A bunch of numbers memorized for reasons I couldn’t explain would not have been easy for me to retain. Instead, had the teachers shown me what exactly was actually being done when you multiply 2 by 2, I would have kept up just fine.
I remember thinking that I liked that teacher’s theory about my brain, but a tiny part of me wants to believe that in elementary school, I figured out a way to trick my brain into being smarter in math. :-)
It has been mentioned a few times in comments (always kindly), and many times by me in my articles, that I tend to be kind of simplistic in my approach to pretty much everything in my life. While I am able to embrace this little characteristic of mine now, that wasn’t always the case. I waged war on being child-like for a really, really long time. To me, being
child-like and simple equated to being mildly retarded and plain stupid. And I blame that feeling directly on the handful of kids I went to school with at the Christian school, who all seemed genetically blessed with intelligence of Einstein proportions.
One thing that I can say for public schools — most of humanity usually falls comfortably smack in the middle in some crowd or another. Unofficial clubs, if you will. There are so many kids with so many issues with so many things to overcome, you can pretty much find a “club” to belong to that you rank in the acceptable middle of. For instance, I played sports. I wasn’t the All-Star Volleyball player of the team, but I didn’t warm the bench every game either. Happy Middle of the Club. I got fantastic grades in English, but Chemistry kicked my butt — twice. In my self-analysis, they balanced each other out. I could successfully hide in the Average Section of humanity there, and be alright with the fact that while I wasn’t going to be the President of the United States one day, I probably wasn’t going to be homeless, either. I was okay with that.
But, I kept ending up back at The Christian School, and just to give you some perspective of just how much I wasn’t in the middle of this club, let me give you a list of what those miserable overachievers do now for a living: (all but Audra’s names have been initialized to protect the innocent).
For an introduction to Audra, my best friend, you can go here:
and also, here:
The Elite Club Membership at The Christian School:
J. – Successful Musician and published Poet Author
J.D. – Seriously Successful Heart Surgeon
Audra – College Graduate of a really prestigious, exclusive, hoity-toity University with a Communications Degree
A.C. – Successful career in the Military; fought in several of our wars.
R.N. – Owner of his own successful business
S.D – A Military Linguist — And not just for one language — More like 5 of them, and all of them the really hard ones that sound like made-up Star Trek languages
And Me: Bookkeeper
And because I know just how wonderful and kind all of you are, you are probably thinking to yourselves, “Now, that isn’t so bad…”. Yeah. It is. You can be honest. Only one in this class was riding the Short Bus, and it was me.
Now, please don’t get the impression that these kids rubbed my face in their higher-evolved-brains. They didn’t. We were just teenagers, and by the nature of the structure of this kind of private school, none of us were privy to what the other student was working on. We used PACES, which were workbooks that we completed at our own pace (hence the name). There was no classroom teaching with a teacher at the front chalk board, or open discussions, or any lectures. We were essentially sitting at enclosed little cubicles learning at our own speed. So, quite frankly, you could hide from the brainiacs that you were stuck on Geometry while they were coasting smoothly along through Calculus and Trigonometry.
I worked really, really hard at hiding from this accomplished group of students my true short-comings. And during middle-school years, I was fairly successful, I think, about fooling them into thinking I belonged in their Awesome Brain club. But when high school hit, I finally had to admit to myself that the jig was pretty much up. I mean, they weren’t stupid after all. Oh sad day when I looked myself in the mirror as I was getting ready for school and told myself: Yes. I am the dumbest one going to school today. And they all know it now.
And then Jesus stepped down from Heaven, showed up in the classroom and made the announcement that He was blessing me with a new, even-more evolved brain than theirs because He loved me so much. Not.
Instead, He was a bit more subtle, and He gave me something else…perspective.
There were some key people growing up that probably have no idea how much a kind word from them helped this struggling girl come to grips with who she was. I think God used them to patch up bleeding wounds in my soul, and actually guided me to a real path of healing and acceptance of who I really was.
The first one, hands down was a lady named Kay, and she was Audra’s mom. Kay was the kind of person that one experiences. I could write for a year every single day about some of what Kay has said and done to and around me, and I still wouldn’t run out of Kay stories. From the day I showed up for a visit in that household, the woman treated me like one of her own kids. Kay made me do the dishes the first time I’d ever spent the night at Audra’s house. And she checked them afterward to make sure they were really clean. She has complimented me, and yelled at me. She never bothered to try to be impersonally polite — oh, no. If she was telling me something about myself, I guarantee, it was what she really thought. Just the effort she put into me personally was enough for me to feel better about myself…she isn’t the kind of woman to bother if she just isn’t feeling it.
The next one was a lady named Joyce, who was actually the mother of one of the over-achievers. I don’t even remember the incident that sparked the statement, but she told me that I always was the courageous one in the group, always standing up for what I believed in. I remember my little heart almost beating out of my chest with pride — maybe I wasn’t brilliant, but I was brave! And it was coming from a person who I really admired because she never seemed to be holy, just real. Holy people have always made me nervous, but I’d heard her say a bad word, and I loved her all the more for it.
Another positive perspective actually came from my school supervisor. While muddling through my paces, I came upon an assignment where I had to write an alternate ending to a book. When I turned it in, I awaited for the constructive criticism that always accompanied my completions. Much to my surprise, he seemed genuinely impressed. And believe you me, the man didn’t impress easily! He said in kind of an off-hand way that I should focus on being a writer. That I had a talent for it. Sweet! That had been the only easy part for me in the whole stupid workbook. And being a writer was something I could enjoy doing… I was elated that I seemed to have at least one talent that could compete with the Elite Ones.
I was the regular babysitter for that same teacher and his wife. They would take me camping with them to help out with their girls. Once, on one of those camping visits, Virginia told me that they just weren’t comfortable leaving their daughters with any one but me. That they trusted me with what was the most important things in the world to them. I was trustworthy!
Those were the adults that really off-handedly helped put myself into some kind of realistic focus. It is a lot of hard work to try to fool people around you that you are want you are not. And it isn’t something you can keep up for any really extended amount of time either. Eventually, the person you really are will introduce yourself to the world. My advice for those fellow Bottom-of-the-List club members would be that we can’t possibly be on the bottom of every list in the world. Find the positive things in yourself and nourish those characteristics. Always aim to be a better you, without losing sight of just who YOU really are.
And try to be kind to those who feel like they are ranking the lowest in their own sets of clubs at the moment. Who knows just how much of a difference you’ll make to that person later on. :-)
- My Best Friend Cheats At Board Games (birdmartin.wordpress.com)