Two posts today, both kind of brief. They are about two aspects of my life. The first is my dad post, my Geometry teacher post is coming later today.
I have a 14 year old boy and an 8 year old girl. They are very different people. My son does not stress out about school in any visible way. While I hear parents in our community talking about their 8th graders spending hours on homework, I never see that. He is up an down in his school performance but he does not seem to judge himself by these exterior reports on his progress. Sometimes I wish he was just a little more concerned, but he’s doing just fine.
My girl cares deeply about these exterior reports on her performance. She wants her teacher to think highly of her, she wants to please us. I am charmed a bit by this but I also wish she was less stressed about these types of things. This morning she was unusually quiet and reserved before school. I thought it might be her allergies – she has pretty wicked seasonal allergies and spring has just exploded on us here – but that was only a small part of it. She was worried because in PE this morning she was due to take part of the annual fitness test. This made her super sad. She loves to run and play with her friends but she has already begun to identify some friends as ‘sporty’ friends and she does not see herself this way. She had tears in her eyes because of anxiety about a fitness test this morning. This brought tears to my eyes as I thought about other students crying in the morning because of an upcoming Geometry test (or an upcoming Biology test or whatever), I was shook up thinking about the impact on self-image, on feelings of self-worth, on just the general task of living through the day that I saw a glimpse of. I am so sad to think that I am seen as the cause of such stress in my students’ lives. I wish I had some insight into how to battle this for my daughter and for my students. I know with my daughter I can talk to her about how her time in running around a field has nothing to do with how much I love her or how I value her. I try, in an appropriate way, to let my students know that their grade on a paper is not an evaluation of them as people, just a snapshot of them as learners. I need to be more explicit with them more often as I was reminded this morning. I also need to be more explicit more often with my two lil Dardys at home.
Man, what a bummer of a way to start my day today. My next post will be about a much rosier ending to the day (at least the school portion of it.)