Have you ever looked back upon your life and seen a cross road?
When I was in 5th grade, I was a brown mouse — a little chubby but not fat just healthy looking. I had a southern states accent and not any friends at school. This wonderful woman Mrs. Wait took me under her wing, so to speak. She believed I was smart and told me so, even though my grades were C’ and D’s. She saw potential in me and encouraged me to write poetry.
When I was in my second semester of university, I was a wren- a little chubbier but healthy looking. I had lost my southern drawl by now after years of self-correction. I was failing college or rather it was failing me. Then, I met Dr. Edythe Leupp, a Teacher Education Advisor and Instructor took me under her wing, so to speak. She believed I was smart and told me so, even though my grades were D’s. She saw potential in me and encouraged me to write poetry. I published my first book of poetry and short stories a few years later, “The Dreamers Soul”.
Under her praise and tutlege I started earning A’s and nothing has stopped me since. You see, I had thought I was stupid and that the university was too hard for someone like me. (1st person to get GED and attend university in my family). I was on the verge of quitting. My Science professors thought poorly of my academics and let me know, I was down in the dump in my Socio-Psychology class. I sat in my desk long after everyone else had left, except this silver haired lady. She introduced herself and bought me a soda pop. I told her my troubles with college and she told me that I was underestimating myself and that I was smart and she would love to be my advisor. I was shocked all the other Science professors took turns advising me or passing me off to someone else, is more like it.
You can bet I was shocked to receive an A score in a course. I thought she had given it to me, but she beled that notion and said I had earned it; and it would be one of many to come — except in Science classes- they saw me as dumb (I only received 1 B).
Now, as I have three classes to go to complete my Master’s program, I have earned two B’s and ten A’s. I am currently taking two classes. I feel as though I am humbly smart, because of two very important womens point of view. My husband and children thought I was smart and still are. I may have not contributed much to working these past twenty-five years (mental-illness) but I have passed on the tenant that you must have faith in children and believe they are smart- even when statistics are screaming that they are stupid. We all learn in different capacities and having self-care is essential on the outcome produced by having faith in oneself.
If you are a teacher, and you are seeing a pattern in your low-functioning students– start praising them for anything sincerely. They may not have made a high score on that paper but they worked hard on three of the problems and it shows, given more time they would have maybe gotten it; so praise them for their effort. If you believe in them they will learn to believe in themselves, too.