Thursday, March 21, 2019

What are Problems?

In Problems and boundaries from  Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin states,

‘If there is no solution, then it’s not a problem…Once we can walk away from unsolvable situations that pretend to be problems, we can focus our energy on the real problems in front of us.”

When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me that I was overreacting. She would often tell me that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. In other words, she was saying that I really didn’t have a problem and I was wasting energy dealing with it. Looking back now as an adult, I can see that most of the time she was right. But at the time, the problems seemed real. They even felt real. They were not figments of my imagination.

I wish instead of being made to feel like I was a drama queen, someone would have taught me how to deal with these problems.

Whether they were small or big or imagined or real, to me, these were real problems.

As a teacher, when my students come to me with their problems, I try not to ignore them or make them feel inconsequential. Instead, I want to help them look at this problem from an objective point of view. I want them to step out of themselves and look at the problem less emotionally

First, I would ask them to describe what the problem is. If they can’t put it in words, I need to help them put a name to the problem. Once it is recognized in words, it takes some of the power away from it. Once we share it with someone else, it isn’t as scary.

Next, I ask them to talk about the consequences. What is the worst thing that could happen? I would help them make a list of the consequences. Then we would look at them and rank them according to the most probable to the least probable.

After that, I ask if the consequences happen, how will it affect the person in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? Will it affect the future? Will it hurt them personally or professionally?

I think we need to stop minimizing problems that people have and instead, face them. When confronted, they might become smaller. When we let them stay imaginary, we give them too much power.

How do you deal with your student’s problems? Please share?

Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Getting Things Done

I recently read the book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff and it really gave me insight into my own behavior. When I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was reading this, she remarked about how I got so many things done and how project-oriented I am. She was very surprised to hear me say that I had problems getting things finished. The bad part is that she is only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finished projects. She doesn’t realize how many unfinished projects are below the surface. Then I feel so guilty about the unfinished things that it makes it hard to get back to them. I feel like if I can hide them, they will quit making me feel so bad. But that really doesn’t work for me because I know they are still there, and I can’t get them out of my mind. It actually will keep me awake sometimes thinking about all the things I need to finish.

One of the things that I want to try is to stop getting derailed or distracted by all the other wonderful things I want to do. When I am working something, I don’t want to do, I think about how important it is that I need to start something else. Now I will have 2 things started and not finished. When those either bore me or frustrate me, I will start another thing. Eventually, my to-do pile can multiply astronomically, and I will have nothing to show for it. On these days, I usually tell my husband that I was “spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.”

If I follow the method the author recommends, I should be able to get more accomplished. I started out doing a bullet journal which has really helped me keep track of the projects I need to complete but the list keeps growing until it is overwhelming. What I’m going to do is make a list of 5 things I want to accomplish that day. If new things pop up that I want to do, I will add it to another page labeled “future projects.” As I finish the 5 projects on my list and work on the next day’s plan, I can pick an item off the future projects list and cross it off. This will help me stay focused on the main 5 things I want to accomplish that day. If I finish all of them early and want to add a new one on, then it is a stellar day for me. If I don’t finish something, I will move it on to the next day but no new ones get added until the original 5 get finished and I will have a new “original 5” to start fresh.

I will stick to this plan for a month to see how it goes. One other chapter is to use data to see if progress is being made. I will be able to look at the “data” in my bullet journal and see if this plan is working for me.

This may be a good plan to help my students get things finished. Maybe they have a list of things they want to do or have started to do but never finished. If they can learn a good habit of finishing things early in life, it may be a job skill that will help them in the workplace.

How do you get yourself to finish things? Please share.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Successful Teacher’s Handbook – Release

Well, the day has finally arrived. Today is the official release date of The Successful Teacher's Handbook. To all my friends, family, and supporters who have preordered the book, I hope you think it is worthwhile to read. If you thought it was useful, please write a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble for me so others may find it in their search for books that help their teaching.  For those who are going to buy the book, I truly appreciate your support.  I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart!