Dear School Struggler….Your Future is Brighter Than You Know

When I was a kid I swore I’d never work as a teacher because I didn’t like school all that much. The social aspect I handled just fine, but it was the work that I found to be too much at times. Especially math. I’ve struggled with math my entire life. Which is funny when you consider my dad worked as an Actuary, and my siblings were both academically advanced. I like to say that by the time I came along, all the numbers and logic genes had been taken.

Learning anything new was a challenge for me, and I felt many times that I lacked something my fellow peers had–the ability to know and understand the right answer. I also struggled with keeping myself organized, and was constantly losing papers I needed to turn in. I remember one time in 3rd grade we had an assignment to work on a small hand sewing project. This was a long-term project that we’d work on every day during story time. One day I discovered I had lost the materials–they must have landed in the same vortex as my lost homework and retainer–and panicked. Thinking that I wouldn’t be noticed, I pantomimed working on this sewing project, my hands under my desk, my head down. Of course I was caught. My memory becomes a bit fuzzy as to what happened next, but I still remember being embarrassed. My grades suffered due to my lack of organization and inability to recall facts. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though. I remember studying hard, but still coming up short.

As I grew older, my struggles continued. Mostly in math, but soon I added biology to the list. For biology I obtained the book the summer before class started and began reading. That’s the thing about struggling….eventually you figure out how to make things nominally better. And you follow through. Upon high school graduation, my grades were a tiny bit better. But the struggle remained.

I moved away to college. A place that is known for its intense academic environment. And wouldn’t you know, the darndest thing happened. I was passing all my classes. At the end of my 2nd year of college I had accomplished something I had NEVER done in all my years of school….I made the honor roll (in college they call it the deans list, which sounds even cooler 😉 ).  By the time I graduated college I had 2 deans list appearances under my belt.

So how did I suddenly accomplish academic success after years of struggling? Ah, young Padawan, your answer is in your question. If it weren’t for my struggle I wouldn’t have learned coping strategies that would help me be successful in college. Being able to tape record lectures and playing them back later–a strategy I picked up in high school–was one of my many life lines. Acknowledging my learning disability without shame was crucial to my later success. Oh, and that thing about not wanting to teach because of school struggles? I’ve worked in tutoring and child care for the last decade. See I have a useful tool for the classroom. Empathy for kids who are struggling. Kids that sit in classrooms every day and feel stupid. Just like I did all those years ago.

So, dear student, if you are struggling and have dreams of college, fear not. You are learning now the tools you’ll need later for college success. And that will put you ahead of the class.

I hope this encouraged you. Please share with anyone you know who is struggling in school.

Cheers!

wah-wah

*Peanuts image appears courtesy of google search

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3 thoughts on “Dear School Struggler….Your Future is Brighter Than You Know

  1. Thank you for this… I’ve always seemed to struggle in school. At least with math, and sometimes science. I seemed to always excel at reading and writing. It was really hard for me in high school because, and I barely graduated. And I’m feeling really frustrated now, because I’m going to school to become an English teacher. (I have to agree, I feel like its ironic as well, since I feel like school has never been my strongest thing) And unfortunately now that I’m in college, my depression and anxiety got bad enough that it has caused me to struggle more then I ever have these past two semesters. However, reading your post gives me some hope for the future, that maybe in my next few years of college, I can still try and pass and do better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you SO much for your feedback. I wrote that blog for someone just like you! I was also good at English and Reading (besides grammar, that always stumped me). Please consider talking with a therapist and maybe taking some medication to keep your anxiety at bay so you can concentrate on your studies. I’m proud of you for not giving up! Keep focusing on how you have a special tool to help kids who struggle because you are struggling now. It’s gonna be SO worth it!! It might be helpful to ask your professors if you can tape their lectures, or get a transcript of the lecture. This helped me like no other when I was in college. Keep communication open with your professors. They are there to help you succeed. Good luck! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I also forgot to mention part of my story….I did struggle in college, but did better overall academically than I had ever done before. Some subjects were still hard for me. I had to delay my associates degree for a year while I finished and passed one last math credit. I worked my butt off. I prayed. But I did it! Please keep me updated on your progress! I’m pulling for you!! 🙂

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