Overwhelmed

When I started the second grade at Glennon Heights Elementary School in 1969 I entered a world that disarmed me. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the expectations my Social Studies teacher placed on me. I’d been a successful student in Kindergarten and 1st grade, but was surprised to discover that my run of academic success might be coming to an end.

Why this change of perspective?

In a strategy to help teach us to be increasingly responsible for our own success, the teacher assigned a week’s worth of worksheets on Monday and set the due date for this stack as Friday. I’d never had so many worksheets to do and the enormity of the stack overwhelmed me. Fear of certain failure impacted my ability to try.

An emergency parent-teacher-student conference helped me gain perspective. When asked how many worksheets I could do, I replied (based on experience) that I could easily do 2 worksheets per day – sometimes even 3 in a day. – Some simple math – simple when not clouded by an emotional sense of impossibility – showed me that I could, indeed, complete the 10 worksheets assigned for the 5-day week.

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