Friday, September 23, 2016

Are you a difficult student?

Yesterday, I was a difficult student. I was frustrated, upset, even angry at times. I'm sure my attitude was difficult and I know I didn't make my "teachers'" lives any easier. Why was I difficult? I was asked to complete some inquiry know, the kind where you're given a task to complete, but you don't know what it should look like, how to get it finished, or what process to use to complete it. Ooooohhhhh, was I frustrated!! Let me take a moment to apologize to my "teachers" - Karen, Krystal, Amy - for any stress or difficulty I caused them yesterday as well, and then share a few reflections and takeaways I have from that experience:
  • Learning is messy. Ever wonder why learners act the way they do during activities? Learning is messy...maybe they don't understand how to do what you're asking. Maybe they just want the end result. Maybe they just want structure. Maybe they've been spoonfed. Maybe, just maybe, they're like me and take longer to process something and later that day or even the next morning, they'll have their AHA moment and understand what to do and how to accomplish it.
  • Everyone is a learner...even the adults! Have you ever been to a PD training session and wondered why the adults were worse than your students or were working with your team and realized that you have just a difficult person in the group? We forget that adults are learners too with similar needs as the kids. They'll get frustrated, bored, upset, difficult, stressed, etc and will act - like me - just like the kids!
  • Maybe, I need to remember that teachers, administrators - well really all of us adult-types - are learners too. I need to treat the adult learners around me in a similar manner to the kids I work with. They think learning is messy and frustrating too. They need time to process, adjust, and figure out how to work through the "projects" they are given. They may be difficult, frustrated, and stressed, and I need to not take that to heart so much. It may have everything to do with me, or it may have nothing to do with's just the process!
In the end, am I going to stop asking learners, kids or adults, to do "messy learning"? Of course not, because messy learning is one of the best places to go deeper, reflect, and learn so much more than simply "sit and git" teaching. I just have to give myself and others more grace in the moment!


  1. Thank you for the honest reflection. I usually feel like this everyday! I also really need the reminder to be patient with adults - you are absolutely correct, we are all at different levels and are different learners. Sorry we pushed you, but not really. :)

  2. Kari, your reflection helps us remember what all learners go through. Adults tend to forget what it is like to get "down and dirty" with the learning process, and can sometimes get frustrated with their students not grasping something quickly. I know that when I sometimes get uncomfortable, I step back in to my comfort zone and give up before the deep learning takes place. It is important to push through those moments, and know what triggers the frustration in ourselves and others.