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Keith Sgrillo's picture

Response of Emotion

This was the first time during the institute where a particular subject matter presentation really provoked an emotional response to the activity and content.  I was very grateful to have had this experience. It really helped me to make connections to content that I don't think were intended (I guess this is what you could call the hidden curriculum).  I found it very interesting that when I hit my threshold I just could not process the information. It began to create feelings of frustration, irritation, shutting down, and even a question of self-worth as it pertained to my ability to contribute to the activity.  I then found myself feeling empathy for my partner who was breezing through the activity and thinking of many alternative ways to figure the problem out. 


As I reflected further, I analyzed one particular emotion that was brought out that I had not felt in a very long time.  This was the feeling of self-worth in terms of the value I had in contributing.  I began to associate this to what I will call an "Americanism" to be the best, to out-achieve others.  When I was unable to attain this, I felt left out.  In every aspect of my life, from sports to school, to social settings that I should stand out and be on top (as I think we continue to perpetuate this message in schools through standardized testing).  The "Americanism" to out-do everyone else created this impulse to become intensely competitive, even if it was just with myself, that burnt me out because my conscious and subconscious just were not clicking.  I was saying to myself "it's ok and no one really expects you to get this" but inside I felt this almost burning feeling of agitation in my brain that seemed to be a self defeating notion saying "you should be able to get this.  Why can't you get this?"  That conflict ultimately lead to shutting down and a total disconnect.  I feel as thought this has really brought me closer to my students and will encourage much more reflection on my lessons in the future.  So my question then is what message are we really trying to convey to our students and the educational community.  "Are we trying to educate our children to be the best or are we trying to teach our children to be better?"  jI feel these two messages are really in direct conflict with one another. 


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