What a bright and intelligent person you are. You have such a genuine and honest voice on paper. You are able to put ideas together in a way that is so sophisticated, so mature, so clever. You’re a profound thinker, an outside the box thinker, and are not afraid to take risks intellectually or creatively. The only reason you are not getting As is because you have left out pieces of the required work. You only do the pieces that are important to you.
Your affect in class is giddy and surface, giggly and silly. But you are so smart you can’t help yourself. You share important and meaningful insights in class.
When you began to cry I was surprised. I didn’t realize how sensitive your feelings are about the school community. I hadn’t seen your struggle to maintain difference yet “fit in” at the same time. I hadn’t realized how clearly and critically you observed your peers and their aspirations and ambitions. I hadn’t understood the depth of your self-awareness or confident sensibilities. Your surface so belies the intense power beneath.
And then when your mother began to cry too I almost found myself misty-eyed as well. Real honesty and truth were being exchanged, about relationship, about hope, about our places in the universe.
Your Dad placed his hand on your shoulder to soothe you and both of your parents hugged you when the conference was over. Your facade and bravado were lifted briefly. We glimpsed the core of who you are. We saw the woman inside the girl.
I am still processing the words you spoke.
I wish I could be all things to all students. It’s hard being a teacher, needing to balance the needs and requirements for all. I have always thought I had struck a solid balance between the high achieving students and those who need more guidance and support. But today you shared that you needed more “meat” and that you didn’t feel that the preparation and ground work that I lay in each class was worth the time it took to establish it. You asked for more lecture and response to lecture as opposed to more open-ended discussion first and then grounding in content.
I respect your intellect and honest response and will take your suggestions seriously, though this is my style of teaching and seems to reach most of the students most of the time. Still I will be mindful of your insight and work to change it up every once in a while.
You have so many gifts and are incredibly creative. I know the work is hard and it is difficult for you to read, difficult for you to comprehend what you read. I so appreciate your sincere efforts at grasping the material we are exploring.
I too am working hard to figure out a way to help you more. I am trying to be as creative as possible in my thinking to find a way that will help you connect with the material and be able to grasp it so that you can control it. There seems to be a wall between you and the content of this class and I can’t seem to help you to cut through it. I can’t seem to find a chink in this barrier. I am not despairing. I am not giving up, but this is really difficult to figure out.
I know this must be what you are feeling too.