Thursday, January 15, 2015

LONG DIVISION AND DEALING WITH THE HARD STUFF

There are a few things that I do not look forward to teaching fourth graders every year.  They are

  1. Long division
  2. Fractions
I remember learning those two concepts, er, ATTEMPTING to learn those two concepts, and they ruined my 10-year old mind.  I mean, tore it to shreds ... "left little bits of gray matter splattered on the wall" sorta ruined it.  RUINED.  IT.

So, I empathize with the kid that thinks I pulled this stuff out of left field and threw it at them.  

Yesterday.  Well, there aren't words for yesterday.  Day 2 of long division and oh my!  The confusion.  The frustration.  The utter despair on their faces.  Melodrama times at least 2!

At the end of Math, I sat them down and was all, "Listen guys.  Let's take a moment to step back, take a deep breath, and realize that we're going to practice this again tomorrow.  No need to get frustrated and upset.  Tomorrow is a clean slate.  We'll get back at it, and we're going to be that much closer to getting 'er done!"

They seemed cautiously optimistic.  Well, most of them did.

Fast-forward to last night, where I came to the realization that poor choices on my part have led to some not so great consequences.  Yeah, like gravity, poor choices always begets (begots, begotten, I'm a little shaky this one, folks) nasty consequences.  

I was whining to my partner in crime/best buddy/BFF, Elly, and she was all, "Baby steps, my friend.  Baby steps."

Okay, she didn't really say that, but we are good at reading between each other's lines, and those were totally what she said between the lines.  

As I looked at my clean slate for today ... as I crafted my goals to accomplish today, I realized that the pep talk I gave my 4th graders yesterday was coming back to bite me in my butt.  I was asking them to look at today as a new, clean slate where we could get back at it and make the most of it, but I wasn't ready to do the same thing for myself. 

It brings me to a question:   Why are we so daggone hard on ourselves, ladies?

We are willing to give others in our lives do-overs. Stupid fools that will never act any other way than FOOLISH, and we are willing to give them ten thousand do-overs.  But ourselves?

Nope.

No can do.

You failed; therefore, you are a failure.

Life.  It's a fickle thing. It isn't a bed of roses, and most of the time, we all fall in a vat of poop and come out smelling, well, like poop.  

Yet, every day dawns bright (well, unless you live in Michigan, and then give up on seeing the sun anytime between now and, ummm, say May), and it's stretched out before us to make better choices.

It's hard stuff, life is, but baby steps, taken one tenuous step at a time, gets us stronger and stronger, and before any of us know, we're running head-long into the next adventure.

It all starts with the baby steps ... 

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