The Public Spotlight Can Be Intimidating

“Are you scared?” I asked as my student as she sat down in the chair next ot my desk.  She nodded uncertain if I was asking a trick question.  I didn’t think much of the exchange, we were only reviewing essays, rough drafts, in order to get them ready for the final drafts and presentations next week.  However, as student after student came up to the front of the room I noticed the same sense of trepidation and worry as the student took his/her place in the chair.  As a teacher, and certainly an outgoing one at that, it is easy to forget how intimidating it can be to be put on the spot. Even more intimidating is to be put on the spot when you know you have done a sub-par job.

As a follow up, I asked my kids who were worried if they put in their best effort for the rough drafts, A resounding ninety percent said no.  The reason, it was a rough draft, they had time to make corrections later so rushing through was not a big deal.  This made sense as I always tell them the rough draft will not be perfect, there will be a need for changes.  One of the conversations we had at this point was the idea that each student needs to put out his or her best work.  While yes, there will be changes, that doesn’t mean you are up late typing your draft the night before so I can tell you what to fix tomorrow.

In the end, I know I need to work with my kids and teach them to plan well and feel confident in the end result.  With rallies, the kids know it needs to be good because everyone is watching, failure – or fear of failure – is a powerful motivator.  In the case of my English writers,  their fear of rejection was higher because they knew they did not do a good job; and that is where I need to be a better teacher; I was the public spot light.  I need to teach my students the value of character and doing what is right each time.  That way, instead of spending their lives wondering if they got away with it, they spend their lives knowing they did their best and can excel.

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~ by cadaleaders on May 7, 2010.

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