Many of you know that I was diagnosed with a few minor “learning disabilities” in 8th grade. I am very open about it as a parent and an educator. In various ways, this diagnosis helped me to figure out who I am and what I need as a learner. IMPORTANT stuff, for sure. It has made me stronger, wiser and more aware.
That said, I cannot deny the emotional impact that this experience had on me when I was a pre-adolescent. Feeling as though I was constantly compared to my peers in often negative ways left me feeling like I didn’t measure up. This was at a stage where “fitting in” was paramount. I vowed to become a teacher who always aimed to show students how valuable, unique and fantastic they truly are. I want them to know how crucial their process is, wrought with many accomplishments, mistakes, and successes.
I am generally a confident person, and I feel that I have grown out of many unhelpful habits that used to be commonplace in my demeanor. I am still working on it.
To name a few: making hurtful or irrelevant comments, over-sharing, attempting to focus energy on me in group situations. For years, this felt like the way to shine. For probably over a decade, I believed that this was what I needed to show that I was different in all of the RIGHT ways. I know that some of these behaviors come from my previous fears of “not measuring up.”
I write this post tonight not to shine a light upon myself. I write in hopes of reminding every teacher or parent who needs to hear this.
THIS I BELIEVE (and I am sure you do too):
We must aim to support children and students, as best we can. We should never tire of finding better ways to do this, always with love in our hearts. Maturity, self-motivation, empathy, and creativity, are the true goals. If they know that we truly care, we can set those firm boundaries and be honest. AND THEY WILL LEARN AND GROW.
So don’t lose faith, and don’t give up. Our desire to help will guide the way. It’s a PROCESS, not a race. True and measurable growth won’t occur overnight. Hang in there, because we are worth it.
AND, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!!!!
Thanks for reading!