Sometimes You Need a Little FlipDawn Meehan
I’m generally a “glass is half-full” kind of person. I see the bright side of any situation without too much effort; it comes naturally. I like other “glass is half-full” kind of people. I tend to gravitate toward them because, well, who doesn’t like hanging around upbeat, positive people? Then there are those “glass is half-empty” folks. People who focus on the negative bum me out. I avoid them if possible. And finally, there are those people whose attitude is more like, The glass is half-empty. No, actually, it’s more like 2/3 empty. I don’t think you could call it half-empty. That’s not right. It’s more than half empty. And this glass is dirty. There are water marks all over it. A glass like this should really be washed by hand. And, come to think of it, this glass is outdated. It doesn’t really go with my plates. Great, now I have to find new glasses that go with my plates. Or I need to find new plates. And you know how long that will take me! It took me over an year to find these glasses! Fabulous! Now my day is ruined! RUINED, I tell ya! Not that I know of anyone personally who fits this description, ahem.
Anyway, as I said, I’m definitely a glass is half-full kind of person (not that I don’t have moments now and then where I feel hopeless. I am human, after all.) and that’s generally how I view life. With this new job, however, I’ve been feeling like I’m fighting a losing battle. For every piece of homework I get these kids to do, it seems like three more past-due assignments pile up. It’s frustrating, to say the least. I do have some students who are a little slow to grasp concepts, but they want to learn and they want to do well. I really like helping them. I love when something clicks in their heads and they suddenly “get it”. You can see their faces light up. It’s pretty cool.
Then there are those kids who are disinterested at best, and more often downright mad that they have to be at school. They don’t seem to care about homework, grades, or much of anything. Those are the ones who frustrate me to no end. So, yesterday, I realized that about half of my students have at least one F. I left school, feeling like a failure. I mean, wasn’t I there to prevent the kids from failing? If half the kids have an F, then the only failure there is me, right? That’s how I felt yesterday.
Today, however, I realized my attitude sucked. That’s not me. I don’t get down in situations like this; I get tough. I don’t curl up in a ball and say that I’m a failure; I work harder and I flip that attitude until I see things in a more positive light. Determined to change my attitude today, I added up all my students’ grades. They have 64 As, 50 Bs, and 35 Cs. Yeah, there are 19 Fs, but look at all those fabulous grades! Talk about a paradigm shift! I have to believe that it’s partly due to my help. I do think there would be fewer As and more Fs if I wasn’t keeping on some of these kids to do their work.
It wasn’t just the grades that made me flip my attitude and see things in a more positive light. I have one period of 8th grade boys. These guys can be disrespectful, beligerent, and obnoxious. They talk tough and get up in each other’s faces every day. For the most part, it seems like they don’t care much about school at all. This morning, a couple of them came up and thanked me for being their “homework helper person who makes them do stuff for their own good”. After the shock wore off and I came to, I smiled. THAT was pretty cool.