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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Resistance is Part of Learning

Today is struggle.

 My 7th grader is struggling with the fact that he can't have two introduction paragraphs. He wants his hook to be a separate paragraph from his thesis statement. He keeps saying, "It just doesn't look right!"

I'm struggling not to lose it because that he won't just trust me, or the experts that wrote our writing curriculum. 

My son is honestly a great writer, other than formatting. His history summaries are detailed, insightful, and witty, but he hates being told how to format his writing. I know when he is angry because gets really quiet and quickly tries to wipe away his wet eyes (I cry when I'm angry too and it is the worst).

I share this because I want to let you know teaching is hard, but so is learning something new! Resistance doesn't necessarily mean they aren't learning, it is part of the process. As adults we all resist when told we are wrong, so why wouldn't a child do the same? Even if we are told in the kindest, most effective teaching method, it is still hard to hear you are wrong.

Does understanding the student's resistance mean we tolerate a melt down? Definitely not.

Understanding leads to compassion that enables more patience during the ten extra minutes of explaining why his introduction can't be two different paragraphs.

Understanding his resistance also keeps me from escalating as he escalates. As he gets defensive, I don't become offensive. I had to catch myself from saying "Just do it my way because I am the teacher!"

Some kids are going to be more defensive to being wrong than others. My oldest has ALWAYS been my "resistant to change/perfectionist" kid, but we have grown so much since those Kindergarten days when getting a wrong answer ended in tears for both of us.

I am so proud of his progress as a student and my progress as his teacher. I am also deeply thankful everyday we get to affirm that making mistakes means we are learning.

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