can ruin a day. I don't know why four compliments can be so easily erased by one criticism. Maybe it was because of the way it was worded. This morning, a student with a very obvious chip on his shoulder asked for a clarification from me by telling me I explained an activity badly and he and his friends didn't know what was going on. I instantly assumed it was because I was crap and a horrible teacher and hopeless. It only occurred to me later that maybe this kid is just a shit with an attitude problem who sits in the back of the room and barely pays attention on a good day. And that maybe I had a right to check him on his disrespectful attitude, even if he had been right about my bad explanation. Another kid had asked for a clarification, so I probably should have explained better--I know I'm not perfect and that sometimes I ramble. However, the first student who asked merely said, "Can you explain it again so I'm sure I understand what you want?" That's the polite way to ask for help. His comment made me realize I should have explained better, but it did not disrespect me as a person. Not to mention that most of the groups seemed to have no problem completing the assignment as asked (in both sections of the course).
I could go on a rant about the entitlement that so many kids exhibit today, but the reality is that most of the students I've talked to here have been far from that. They are really great young adults, actually. Maybe that's another reason this kid today made such a negative impression. It doesn't match what I expect from them.
So, despite the inroads I've made in self-confidence the past year, I still find myself vulnerable to those moments of self-despair. I wish I could change that faster.