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But Words Will Never Hurt Me: Project 180, Day 44



“So far, you have not at all prepared me for the test at the end of the year or the real world.” 

While words may not hurt me, they certainly seem to keep me awake at 1 a.m. Above is a response one of the kids left on the optional, open-ended question at the end of the survey, which prompted them to share anything else they wanted me to know about their experience in 211 so far. Well, I asked for it, and I guess I got it. It stung yesterday morning, and it still stings today. Of course, I should know better than to let it upset me, and I do, but it’s funny how one negative comment can neutralize a host of positives. Funny, too, how such comments can seep so quickly and deeply into the cracks, the doubts of our foundation, rocking our world. Oh, it’s not the first negative I’ve encountered–there have been many over the past two decades, and now, as then, I will bounce back, clinging to the positives that surround me. But for a while longer, I will waver and worry. Can’t help it. It hurt.

Of course my wavering and worrying has made me analyze the comment over and over–yes, even at one o’clock this morning. I think what cuts here is that no quarter was given, no qualification–a kill shot, “not at all prepared.” I have grown accustomed to complaints about the Essay of the Week. It’s part of the teacher and student back and forth. Work is not always fun and it causes the push and pull between us. It’s expected. But this comment seems something else. And I wish I better understood. It seems something darker may be at play here, and it disturbs me. Is he/she angry at me, and this is a projection of that anger? Does he/she really feel that I have done nothing to advance his/her preparation or progress for the test or the world? Hmmm. I want to know. But sadly, I probably never will. I just hope that as we continue with our journey, he/she comes to see me and what I am trying to do in a different light. But I worry, with such a strong sentiment, that it may be too late. And that makes me sad.

But, I cannot linger here. I have too many others who not only depend on but also  seem to genuinely value what I am doing in 211, too many who need my energy and light. After all, we are currently in the mountains, and I have to see them safely through. No time to sulk. And so, I will regard the above comment for what it is. A perception. One’s part of reality. Not the reality of all. And so, instead, I will cling to and celebrate a separate set of words, words that help diminish the sting and shadow, words that usher in the light and delight of what I get to do: make a difference. Wish it were true for all.

“I enjoy my time in this class, it does more for me than you can realize.”

Thank you. Your words do more for me than you can realize. So much more. Thank you.

Happy Tuesday, all.



One Reply to “But Words Will Never Hurt Me: Project 180, Day 44”

  • Wow, I can understand how those words must have stung. As you said, you can not let this one comment bring you down. You have helped your students start this climb, you need to keep the safety ropes available and pull them in when necessary. This one person maybe was having a not so good day. You stay positive and not give up on your goal, it’s a good thing with some peaks that may seem hard to reach. I know that clear , blue skies and fresh air are waiting at the top. We will always have peaks set before us, but when reached the going gets easier.

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