Hmm…How about saying, “I choose to AVOID math rather than give it more attention,” and see how that feels?
Once upon a time, there was a 4th grade teacher who gave her students a timed multiplication test. In her class, there was a girl new to the school. She was terrified as she took that test, knowing that she was going to get more wrong than right…knowing she was going to FAIL. The teacher collected the test and said that this week was just practice, so the scores wouldn’t count as a grade. But next week, scores would count.
In this moment, the little girl could have decided, “Oh well…I am NOT a math person.” But that wasn’t an option for her. If she wanted a better score, she was going to have to work for it. So she marched home after school and sat down at the kitchen table. Using just a few sheets of notebook paper and a pencil, she recreated the test. She solved all of the problems from 0s to the 12s, noted how long it took her, then did it again, and again, and again.
The next week, she got an 86%. She improved! But there was more work to be done. She practiced and practiced. Eventually, the little girl reached her 100% that she had worked so hard for!
This little 4th grader was me. Math didn’t come always come easy for me, but I never thought, “I am NOT a math person.” I just knew that I struggled at things, and I was willing to work hard to get what I wanted.
Listen, I will be the first to say that we ALL have different strengths and weaknesses. Some brains are built to analyze and see patterns more quickly than others. Seeing kids for who they are, struggles & strengths, is something I love about being a teacher. And it’s okay for kids to struggle. School is their training ground for life, and SURPRISE, life is packed with struggle! Wouldn’t you rather send them into the real world knowing that when life gets hard, they have what it takes to figure it out, and come out even STRONGER than before?
What do you do in your classroom or at home help your kids embrace their struggle instead of avoid it? Share your sweet tips in the COMMENTS!