Published: Nov 3, 2016 | Category: Insights Learned from Students
Anxiety is a serious thing!After teaching my very bright beginner 2nd grade student the new skill of the "jumping 3rd finger" while keeping the 1st finger down, I exclaimed happily after seeing that he got the hang of it, "Good. Now, practice that pattern 25 times every day...," and before I could finish my sentence, he interrupts with, "What?!! I don't have time for that...!" This was then followed by a list of excuses as to why "25 times" was a daunting task.
Initially his exclamation made me laugh out loud a bit because his response reminded me that adults, too, have that same response. I caught myself in my response to him because there was something in how his whole demeanor changed at hearing "25 times" that perpetuated this anxiety to the point that his cute little face became red, and I could see the beginning of mist forming in his little eyes.
I explained to him that it is important to practice something new a lot, over and over. Then I got down on my knees and shared, "You don't have to look at the whole picture (25). What you do is break it down in little parts (5 in the morning before school, 5 after your afternoon snack, etc). Just do a little bit at a time and you will be pleasantly surprised how well you do at reaching 25." I saw his spirit grow calm, a smile of relief flood his face, and then I gave him a hug.