Don’t be a Hater


Are you a hater?

I’m guilty of it, and I imagine you are also from time to time. Even though I like to think that I’m a positive person, but I have been guilty of hating on other subjects, school, and even other teachers. I don’t mean to be a hater, but in sympathizing with my child, I have inadvertently sabotaged my child’s attitude toward school.  How many times have you said something like this:

I don’t know why you have to learn the quadratic formula; you will never use it in life.

That teacher is the most unfair person I have ever met.

What a waste of time doing all of that busy work in science.

I don’t know why the English teacher is not putting quotation marks around these hypothetical quotes. (FYI – I am a post-modern writer and am choosing to not use punctuation and split my infinitives as part of my hip style).

I’m sure you can relate to most of these. I certainly can. I have told my kids they will never use mathematic concepts in real life and have griped about difficult teachers when in reality I missed a prime opportunity to help my kids become big picture thinkers. What if instead of fussing with my child about how unfair a teacher I use the opportunity to help her build skills in dealing with difficult people? What if instead of hating on things that make us uncomfortable, we embrace the lessons we will ultimately learn from them?

I am reminded of a chart that I saw from AP teacher Jacob Clifford which can help us focus our kids on the big picture of school and learning.

When a kid says                                      He or she really means

I hate math I hate problem solving and learning from my mistakes.
I hate English I hate critically thinking and communicating effectively.
I hate science I hate thinking objectively and figuring out how things work.
I hate history I hate the past and how I got here today.
I hate foreign language I hate other cultures and developing a skill that can get me a better job.
I hate PE I hate being healthy.
I hate school I hate staying focused, working hard, multi-tasking and applying skills that will decrease the likelihood that my life will suck.

I’m not at all suggesting to always say “School is cool” or adopt a Pollyanna completely- ignore-all-negative-circumstances-attitude; however, I do think we are quick to be haters and miss opportunities to focus our children and students on what school really is.  Just don’t get me started on haters and college football; that’s a completely different blog.

How can you encourage your student this week?

One response to “Don’t be a Hater

  1. I don’t know if I have a good answer on this, but I do try to share with my kids how my high school and college education helps me in my present job. Learning the building blocks is always a boring start, but I don’t know where I’d be today if I couldn’t automatically remember that 8 x 8 = 64 or Ohm’s Law. I wish there was a great way we can show them how this stuff pays off. I guess it’s a lot like baking your first cake, Yeah, you waste a lot of batter in the process, but what counts is the batter that ends up in your finished cake.

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