As a teacher, I believe it is my job to prepare students for life after school. In the real world, you don’t always have extra supplies, so you have to improvise.
In 6th grade reading, the students had a craft project that went along with the reading assignment. I had just the right amount of supplies for the class when we started, and I decided I would not have back-ups for this project. If anyone messed up, he or she would have to make it work.
One student made a mistake and decided he wanted to start over.
“Mrs. Farmer, I messed up. Can I start over?”
“Buddy, those are the supplies. You can’t have more. You need to make it work.”
“Great, now my day is ruined!”
“Hey, bud. Come over here, and let’s talk for a second. Is your whole day really ruined over this?”
In good nature, I mirrored his exasperated exclamation of the day-ruining event. He smiled and started to lighten a bit.
I asked him, “Do you think that reacting like that helps the situation?”
He grinned and shook his head.
“So, do you think there might be some way you could salvage your supplies?”
His shoulders drooped again and, dejected, he exclaimed, “I’m too stupid. I can’t fix it.”
“Whoa…I don’t allow my students to say negative things about my students. So, repeat after me: This is not a big deal. I can fix this.”
“Hmm…uh…This is not a big deal? I can fix this?”
“This is not a question, sweetheart. Say it! This is NOT a big deal. I CAN fix this.”
After three or four more tries, he finally repeated after me with emphasis. I asked him to bring me his project, and I showed him a method of fixing his mistake.
While it took him a bit longer than the other students, and he had to improvise a few more times, he worked hard and finished with his project! I’m so proud of his hard work!