Monday, February 17, 2020

How Bad Is It?


“So no matter what you're going through, keep that truth in mind. This problem probably feels bigger right now than it actually is.”

I tend to make problems bigger than they really are. My mother used to tell me that I would make mountains out of molehills. In my mind, my problems were sometimes unsurmountable and impossible to fix. To others, my problems were minuscule and trivial.

I’m sure that my students feel the same way about their problems. Sometimes this comes out in their behavior. I try to explain to them that worrying about something and keeping it bottled up is asking for disaster. They are like a pressure cooker and the pressure will need to escape or they will explode.

I want students to be able to share their problems with someone so that they won’t keep their problems inside. They can tell a teacher, guidance counselor, or a trusted friend. The reason it is hard to share problems with others is that you are afraid that someone will laugh at you or trivialize your problem. It is important if someone does share their problems with you to take them seriously. Remember that this is important to the person telling you their troubles.

When you share a problem with someone, you are taking the power out of the problem. Once the power is out of the problem, you can take a more objective look at the problem. Soon the problem becomes solvable and not impossible. Possibilities begin to form.

I think the most important step with problem-solving is to share it with someone. They don’t need to help you solve the problem but just by verbalizing the problem to someone can take some of the pressure off of you.

Sometimes the other person can give you some ideas from a different perspective that you had not thought of before. This opens even more options and opportunities that might help solve your problem.

I want my students to learn that this is an important step to problem-solving. They don’t need to feel that they are all alone in this world. They don’t need to feel isolated because this makes every problem in their life much bigger than it really is. I want them to feel comfortable with telling someone about a problem.

One of the best way to do this is by role-playing. I like to come up with common problems that students have and have them role-play what they could say to someone else. I even have them think about who they would have this conversation with. Then, if this problem comes up in their lives or a similar problem comes up, they will have some skills to deal with this.

How do you encourage students to solve their problems? Please share.

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